Just because you were riding a motorcycle does not mean that you were doing anything “unsafe” or that you “assumed” any of the risks associated with driving. Motorcyclists have every right to ride a motorcycle instead of driving a car, and other drivers are supposed to take care to avoid accidents with riders as they would with drivers. Even so, if you were hurt in a crash while riding a motorcycle, it might take a strong legal team to get you the compensation you deserve.
As experienced attorneys on your side, we can stand up for you against accusations that you were actually at fault or that you caused your own injuries. We can also stop insurance companies from undercutting your damages or trying to end the case quickly with minimal settlement offers.
For help with your injury case, call our motorcycle accident lawyers at Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.
Determining Fault and Fighting Victim Blaming in Cleveland, TN Motorcycle Crashes
In most motorcycle accidents, the lawyers and insurance companies will display an immediate bias against the motorcyclists. In their eyes, motorcycles are unsafe, and they will usually attempt to blame the rider for the crash – or for taking their own life in their hands by simply being on a motorcycle. Any motorcycle accident lawyer worth their salt – and anyone who’s ever ridden a motorcycle – knows that the dangers often come from other drivers instead of the rider.
Proving a Driver is at Fault
Motorcycle riders want to do everything they can to keep themselves safe on the road. That means driving defensively and keeping their eyes peeled for dangers the whole time. In many accident cases, the fault actually falls on the other driver.
To prove that the driver who hit you was legally at fault for the crash, you need to show that they violated a legal duty, and that that violation caused the crash. In most cases, this will be a traffic violation, with most serious accidents involving speeding, distracted driving, or drunk driving. In other cases, it will be a violation of safe-driving principles that might not be explicitly written down in the law, like the basic rule that you should keep your eyes on the road while driving.
If you can show that a violation of either kind caused the crash, that will be enough to legally put the blame on the other driver.
The defendant and their lawyer – or the lawyer assigned to them by their insurance company – will usually try to deflect and place the blame on you instead. They will accuse you of speeding or driving unsafely, but many of these challenges are defeated by your testimony about what you did leading up to the crash. Testimony from eyewitnesses can also help defeat these accusations.
Defendants might also try to place the blame on you by saying that you were leaving yourself exposed to danger by being on a motorcycle in the first place. This kind of argument is unfounded, as it is perfectly legal to ride a motorcycle under Tennessee law – assuming you are properly licensed. As such, our attorneys can try to stop these arguments from even being made, let alone being successful before a jury.
In some cases, the defense is right: you might have done something that is legally considered a contributing factor in causing the crash. But this does not mean that their driver is absolved of all fault. Instead, Tennessee law simply assigns partial fault to each driver.
Under Tennessee law, you can still win your case as long as you are under 50% at fault. If you share 50/50 fault with the other driver, then your case will be dismissed – but anything less than that still allows you to recover the fair share of damages from the other driver. For example, if your case is worth $100,000 and the court finds that your speeding contributed 10% to causing the crash, then the defendant still pays you $90,000 for their 90% share of fault.
Other drivers can also be included in this division of fault in cases where multiple drivers contributed to the crash. Each driver pays their fair share of fault so long as you are under 50% to blame.
Damages for Injured Motorcycle Riders in Cleveland, TN
Injuries in a motorcycle accident can involve a wide range of resulting damages. The most obvious damages you might claim in your motorcycle crash involve the cost of medical care to treat your injuries and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. However, other damages are available on top of these:
All damages meant to pay you back for harm can be broken down into economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages cover the expenses that have a set cost based on the receipts or statements involved. This is where you can claim medical expenses based on the bills you faced, lost wages based on pay stubs and records of your previous wages, and the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle based on professional valuations and repair bills. You can also claim other incidental damages that resulted because of the accident, such as the cost of reasonable household services (like laundry and childcare) while you are incapacitated.
Other damages that stem from the mental and emotional harm you faced in the crash can be claimed as well under the umbrella of “non-economic” damages. These are often called “pain and suffering” damages, as they reimburse you for the intangible effects the injury had on your body, your mind, and your emotional well-being.
Coming up with a value for these damages is often complex, but our attorneys can help.
Separate from the damages to compensate you for your injuries, you might also be able to claim additional damages to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing. Talk to a lawyer about how to calculate these damages and whether they are available in your case, as they often require serious wrongdoing and overwhelming proof.
Call Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for a Free Case Assessment
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free case assessment with our motorcycle accident attorneys.