Before you can seek compensation in a motorcycle accident—or any other type of auto accident—you must prove that someone else was negligent and show how they were at fault for the accident. Otherwise, you cannot have a valid claim for financial recovery. Below, we’ll go over how negligence is established in a motorcycle accident case.
Motorcycle accidents are often very serious, so you may be entitled to a lot of compensation for your damages. It also means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely be aggressive in trying to reduce what they pay you. However, with a lot of evidence and an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, you can demonstrate negligence in the best way possible.
The Definition of Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident
Under Georgia Code § 51-1-2, negligence is defined as the absence of ordinary diligence, which is the “degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances.” In the context of motorcycle accidents, every motorist has a duty of care to act in a way that does not directly cause harm to others.
If a driver does not uphold their duty of care and causes an accident, they have been negligent. The negligent party in any injury accident is liable for the resulting damages. As a motorcycle accident victim, you can seek damages as compensation for your injuries (Georgia Code § 51-12-4).
Examples of negligence on the road might be actions like:
- Running a red light
- Failing to yield
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to look before making a left-hand turn
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Following too closely
A driver does not have to have mal intent to be negligent in an accident. In fact, most motorcycle accidents don’t happen because the at-fault party meant to cause harm. However, they are still negligent if they acted in a careless manner that led to the accident.
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How to Establish Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
To file a claim for compensation, you’ll need to prove negligence. There are four main elements to proving negligence in a motorcycle accident:
1. The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care
If the defendant (the person you are bringing the case against) was another driver, it’s clear that they owed you a duty to be careful on the road.
If the defendant was a company or government entity (such as if a state government that owned the road and poor road conditions caused your accident), you’ll want to consult your motorcycle accident lawyer about demonstrating a duty of care.
2. The Defendant Breached Their Duty of Care
If a reasonably prudent person under similar situations would not have acted the way the defendant did, it means they breached their duty of care to you.
3. The Defendant’s Breached Duty Led to Your Injuries
You’ll also need to demonstrate that the injuries you suffered were a result of the accident. Some injuries are pretty obvious, such as broken bones or even concussions that can be shown through tests. Other damages might be harder to prove.
If you suffered pain and suffering injuries like fear, anguish, or memory loss because of your injuries, it’s easier for the at-fault party and their insurance company to say that the accident didn’t cause those damages or that they aren’t as serious as you’re claiming.
4. You Suffered Damages As a Result of the Accident
Lastly, you’ll need to show that you suffered losses because of your injuries. Damages you might face include:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you compile evidence to help prove each of these damages from your accident.
All four of the above elements of negligence will need to exist for you to prove that someone caused your accident and owes you compensation for your damages. The stronger your evidence of negligence and your damages, the better chance you have of being taken seriously by the insurance company when you file your claim.
Motorcyclists Face Unfair Stigmas
Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle often comes with bias and stigma. Some drivers have a view of motorcyclists as reckless or careless drivers on the road. Although this is incredibly unfair and not true of many, many bikers, these stigmas might play a part in your case.
Also, some drivers will not give bikers the same respect as other drivers. Many do not know that motorcyclists have the same right to be on the roads as other motorists. Drivers might fail to check for small vehicles like motorcycles before turning or merging, or they might not give motorcycles enough room to drive safely on the road.
Insurance companies are also more likely to be aggressive and/or dismissive of motorcycle accident cases. That’s because motorcycle accidents tend to be serious with a lot of damages, and insurance companies don’t like to pay out much on injury claims. The insurance adjuster might also feel like they can get away with offering less for a motorcycle accident, which is just not true if you work with an experienced lawyer.
Ways to Gather Evidence of Negligence in Your Motorcycle Accident
After your accident, if you’re well enough to do so, you can gather information at the screen and soon after the crash to begin building your case. When you contact your lawyer, it can help them to have evidence available that you gathered right after the accident.
Here are some things you can do to begin compiling information that will help establish negligence:
- Call the police to report the accident right after it happens
- Exchange names, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver(s) in the accident
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident
- Keep track of all medical bills, lost wages, receipts, and other evidence of your damages
- Take notes or keep a diary documenting what happened and how you’ve been feeling after the accident
- See a doctor as soon as possible after the crash, and follow all treatment instructions
- Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer right away
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
To get help with establishing negligence in your motorcycle accident today, call John Foy & Associates. WE have been helping injured bikers win the recovery they deserve for more than 20 years, and we can help you, too. To schedule a FREE consultation today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.