Pursuing compensation in a California motorcycle accident can be complicated. Before the defendant’s insurance company offers you any money, you must show the other driver was responsible for your injuries. To prove negligence in a motorcycle accident, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. Failure to meet all the required elements of negligence means you will not have a successful claim. Contact the California motorcycle accident lawyers at Beliz Law Firm today to learn more about your legal options.
How Negligence Is Established in a Motorcycle Accident
There are four main elements of negligence. Building a solid case can help prove the other driver was at fault. In California, you don’t have to prove the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident. You only have to prove they were at least partially responsible. That’s because California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can be partially at fault for the accident and still collect some of your damages. However, your percentage of liability reduces your overall compensation. That means if you’re 20% at fault, your maximum compensation will be 80% of your damages.
To better understand the personal injury claims process, read on to learn more about the elements necessary for proving negligence in a motorcycle accident.
Duty of Care
The first element of negligence is the duty of care. The defendant must have owed you some type of legal duty when the accident occurred. With motorcycle accidents, establishing duty is relatively simple. All motorists have a duty to follow traffic regulations and laws and avoid harming other motorists.
Breach of Duty
The defendant must have breached their duty of care. Did the defendant run a red light, speed, or engage in distracted driving? Were they drinking and driving or driving recklessly? Any action that violates the rules of the road can be a breach of duty.
You might think this is all relatively straightforward. However, the defendant’s insurance company may push back against your claim and argue your actions led to the collision. Comparative negligence means your insurance could be paying out money too. That’s why building a strong case is crucial to getting the compensation you deserve.
The third element of negligence is causation. You must show the defendant’s breach of duty is what led to your injuries. Someone can clearly break the law or breach a duty, but you must be able to show how that conduct resulted in the accident and your injuries. Proving causation is key to recovering compensation. If you cannot prove causation, you might not receive reimbursement for your injuries. Photos of property damage and injuries are one of the ways to prove causation. Another is through medical records and treatment.
The fourth element is damages. There are two basic types of damages you can receive in a motorcycle accident. Ones you can prove with a receipt like property damage estimates, medical bills, and loss of earnings. The second type of damage is not through a receipts like pain and suffering and loss of consortium,
Tips to Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident
Compiling evidence and proving negligence in a motorcycle accident should start immediately after the accident. Your actions following the crash can significantly impact your claim. Be very cautious with what you say at the accident scene. Do not say “sorry” or “I didn’t see you” or anything else that can be construed as you taking responsibility for the crash.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, take photos of the scene if possible. Get pictures of your motorcycle damage, the other driver’s damage, skid marks, and the surrounding scene. These photos can prove valuable as the liability investigation proceeds.
If there is a witness at the scene, get their contact information. Sometimes a witness leaves before the police arrive because they cannot wait that long. You don’t want to miss out on a witness statement that proves your version of the events.
Keep copies of all your records, receipts, and bills. You need evidence of your damages for the claim. Consider taking notes or keeping an accident journal to document your symptoms and how your injury is impacting you. This record-keeping will also help you if your case takes a year or two to resolve because it shows a progression of how the accident impacted your life. If you have to give a deposition a year later, you can review your notes to ensure you don’t forget important details.
Don’t delay seeing a doctor even if you think your injuries are minor. What you may consider minor may actually be a serious injury. The doctor will make notes documenting your injuries and can spot injuries that you would not have noticed. If the doctor gives you a treatment plan, you should follow it. Doctor’s notes, medical records, and bills can provide evidence of your injuries and your damages.
Contact Our California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
One of the best things you can do after an accident is to contact our California motorcycle accident lawyers at Beliz Law Firm. The other driver’s insurance will likely encourage you to resolve your claim independently and without hiring a lawyer. However, they are not looking out for your best interests. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner we can start protecting your rights. At Beliz Law Firm, we know how to prove negligence in a motorcycle accident and can help you build a strong case. We have almost two decades of experience assisting injured motorcycle accident victims. We know the stigma motorcycle riders face, and we’re here to help you pursue the maximum compensation possible. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.