Motorcycle accidents are handled very similarly to car accidents, but there are a number of factors that make these quite different cases. Additionally, motorcycle victims often face more serious injuries compared to people in cars and trucks because of the different safety features.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you could be left with serious injuries. Getting the compensation you need will often mean producing evidence of the defendant’s fault and showing that you were not at fault for the accident. In many cases, the other driver will try to blame you just because you were on a motorcycle – which is something our attorneys can combat.
Call Howe Law to speak with our motorcycle accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your case.
How to Prove Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
In any motorcycle accident case, you will have to prove fault before you can get compensation for your injuries. This holds true whether you are filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance or you are suing them through the courts. In both cases, proving fault will often mean denying accusations that you were partly at fault or that you contributed to your own injuries.
Proving the Defendant’s Fault
Our motorcycle accident lawyers will need to show four elements to prove that the other driver was at fault. Instead of proving that they intended to cause the accident or anything like that, we prove that they were “negligent” by showing that 1) they owed you a legal duty, 2) they breached that duty, and 3) the breach of duty caused you 4) damages.
The legal duty can be based on what a reasonable driver would have done in the same situation. For example, a reasonable driver will reduce speed if they come up behind another vehicle, they will keep an eye out for motorcycles, and they will keep both hands and both eyes on the road when possible. More explicit duties are also found in the traffic code – such as the duty to drive under the speed limit, the duty to drive sober, and the duty to signal before changing lanes or turning. If a violation of any of these standards ultimately caused your crash, that is typically enough to show that the other driver was at fault.
Damages must also be proven, which you can do by supplying medical records, bills, financial statements, and other evidence of the injuries and expenses you faced because of the motorcycle accident.
Denying Your Own Fault
As mentioned, defendants will often try to victim-blame and claim that the motorcyclist was responsible for the accident. There is often a strong bias against motorcycle riders in that many people think of them as “bikers” or “thugs” – or many people think that they are taking too many risks by riding a motorcycle. These perceptions are often completely wrong, and our lawyers can work to demonstrate that as part of your case.
In fact, most motorcycle riders are not at fault for their accident at all, and claims that they were taking risks by riding a motorcycle can be disproven legally. Motorcycles are perfectly legal in Alabama, and unless the rider committed a traffic violation or failed to follow other rules of the road, they cannot be said to be assuming any risks. Drivers who hit motorcyclists are just as responsible for those crashes as they would be for a crash with another car or truck.
Motorcycle Laws in Montgomery, AL
Motorcycle laws in Montgomery and throughout Alabama are in place to keep riders and others safe on the road.
Motorcycle riders must be specially licensed with a Class M license before they can ride a motorcycle. Young riders can get a restricted license for smaller engines that they can later upgrade to an unrestricted license as they get older.
Helmets and Safety Gear
Under Ala. Code § 21-5A-245, all riders and passengers must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Those helmets must comply with particular safety standards under § 32-12-41. Riders must also wear shoes, but no other safety gear is explicitly required. However, these gear requirements do not apply to motorcycles with enclosed cabs.
Keep in mind that failing to wear a helmet could implicate you as partially at fault for your injuries. Although failing to wear a helmet is unlikely to actually cause a crash, courts can find riders without helmets to be partially responsible for the sum total of the injuries they face. However, this must make sense in the context of the case. For example, in a crash where the rider suffered a broken arm and no head injuries, a helmet would not have made a difference.
Damages for Injured Motorcycle Riders in Montgomery, AL
If you were hurt in an accident while riding a motorcycle, you could be entitled to substantial compensation from the driver who hit you. Commonly, injured riders face long recovery times because their injuries are often quite serious. That could mean weeks or months of missed work – or even a total disability that prevents you from working and supporting yourself going forward. If you and your family are facing lost wages, it will also be harder to cover the medical bills and other expenses related to the accident.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can typically claim compensation for both the economic and financial harms as well as the pain and suffering of an accident. Pain and suffering damages can often be very high – but the medical bills and lost wages you face could be substantial as well.
Although damages can be paid through an insurance claim, many insurance companies will try to have cases settled at very low values to avoid long cases and trials. Ultimately, you should always have a lawyer review your case and consider the option of going to court to get full compensation if a fair settlement is not reached during negotiations with the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
Call Howe Law’s Montgomery, AL Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for Help
To receive a free case evaluation, call Howe Law’s motorcycle accident attorneys today at (844) 876-4357.