In most motorcycles accidents, the liability of bikers and other vehicles is governed by the general laws of negligence. Sometimes driver negligence is obvious — for example, running a red light, failing to check traffic before a left turn or driving drunk. Liability is not always clear and is fact specific.
Under the Florida comparative negligence standard, damages can be reduced in relation to other parties by the percentage you were at fault. Even if your fault was greater than all others, you can still potentially recover compensation. However, if your driving fault contributed to your own injuries — for example, if you did not wear a helmet and suffered a head injury — it may reduce your compensation.
Motorcyclists are subject to particular perils that may impact the degree they and the other driver are hurt and/or are comparatively at fault:
- Failure to wear a helmet — It may reduce your claim for damages. Unlike a car, you don’t have as many safety features to protect you in a head on-collision.
- Lane splitting — The motorcyclist cannot legally pass in the same lane occupied by another vehicle.
- Road hazards — Due to lesser size and stability, road hazards like uneven surfaces, dead animals, slick roads and potholes can increase the chances of a crash.
- Defective parts — Like a car, defective parts can contribute to your accident.
- Less visibility — Due to smaller sizes, motorcycles may not be seen when a car or truck is changing lanes, turning, backing up, stopping or yielding.
- Sharp turns or stops — All vehicles should give proper warnings.
Negligence cannot be inferred from the mere fact there was an accident. As drivers are required to be reasonably careful on the road, a driving negligence claim must establish that:
- The driver was not careful under the circumstances
- The driver caused another’s injuries
- The injuries the claimant sustained were caused by another driver’s lack of care
If all elements are not satisfied, a party cannot recover, even if other parties were absolutely reckless.
Selecting an experienced and detail-oriented motorcycle accident lawyer may be decisive to the outcome of your case. Call the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, PA today.