No, motorcyclists are not always at fault in a motorcycle accident. The party whose carelessness caused the collision may be at fault. According to the American Bar Association, your lawyer will have to prove all of these factors to hold someone responsible for your injuries:
- Duty of care: the defendant (the person who gets sued for someone else’s injuries) must have owed the injured person a legal duty of care. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle has an obligation to drive safely and obey the traffic laws.
- Breach of duty: when a person does something that violates the duty of care, their conduct is considered negligent. Perhaps someone driving a passenger car at an intersection pulled out right in front of a motorcycle that had the right of way. The car had a red light, and the motorcycle had a green light. The car driver did not obey the traffic laws and was, thereby, negligent.
- Causation: the careless act must be the thing that caused the accident. Maybe the motorcycle swerved and braked sharply, trying to avoid a collision with the car. The motorcycle struck the car nonetheless, and the motorcyclist got thrown from the bike. The negligent act caused the accident.
- Quantifiable damages: you must have measurable losses to go after compensation in a motorcycle or car accident case. Physical injuries satisfy this required element of liability. If the motorcyclist suffered injuries in the crash, the car driver may be liable for the motorcyclist’s damages.
When you can prove all of the necessary factors of liability, you may pursue a claim against the at-fault party. Motorcyclists are not always at fault in a motorcycle accident—someone else may be the negligent party and therefore liable for the people they harm.
Damages in Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims
The amount of compensation you can pursue for a motorcycle accident injury claim will depend on the facts of your case. For example, a person who suffered minor injuries, healed completely, had low medical bills, and did not miss much time from work will likely get less in money damages than someone who will never be able to walk again.
Here are some of the common types of compensation people can pursue for motorcycle accident injuries:
- Medical bills: the reasonable cost of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries. This category can include things like emergency room or trauma center care costs, doctors’ bills, surgery fees, hospital bills, blood transfusion expenses, physical therapy costs, specialized rehabilitation facility fees, and the cost of over-the-counter and prescription drugs needed to treat your injuries.
- Lost wages: you can usually include the money you lost when you could not work because of your injuries in your injury claim. Lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of regular income can count as financial losses. You cannot include amounts that your employer paid you.
- Long-term care: after devastating injuries like spinal cord damage or severe head trauma, some people can no longer live independently. If you need daily assistance with medical treatments or personal care, you might have to move into a long-term care facility. The person who injured you should have to pay the bills you receive from such a facility.
- Diminished earning capacity: if you had to take a lower-paying position or reduce your working hours because of ongoing problems from your injuries, you can seek to make the at-fault party pay for this loss.
- Intangible losses: these things are “intangible” because they typically do not come with convenient ways of measuring them in terms of dollars, like receipts or invoices. Still, these are legitimate damages. These items can include things like disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death: if your close relative died because of injuries from a motorcycle accident, we might be able to go after additional compensation for their legal beneficiaries.
Please do not wait too long to talk to a legal professional following a motorcycle accident. Every state limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from someone who hurt you carelessly. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is generally two years, according to 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5524. If you miss the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may lose the right to ever go after money damages for your losses, no matter how badly you got hurt.
A long negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company may cause you to miss the deadline, and you may be unable to come to a fair settlement. Once the deadline passes, the insurer and the at-fault party have no legal obligation to pay you any money.
For a free legal consultation, call (412) 661-1400
Call Berger and Green Today
At Berger and Green, we help people who get hurt because of the negligence of others. You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 to find out how we may be able to help you. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation. If we take your case, we do not get paid until you win.