Motorcycle accidents can be extreme. The losses caused by such events can set one back by a great deal. It is hard to imagine the burden of the physical, emotional, and financial damages that an accident victim has to go through because of such events.
However, since Texas is a fault state, you can sue the liable party for damages and demand fair compensation for damages from them. Things need not go to a court of law but may instead settle with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
But in either case, motorcycle accident victims first need to prove negligence on part of the liable party, this is true for all motorcycle accident claims.
This article will explore how you can do so.
What Does Negligence Mean In Personal Injury Law?
All personal injury accidents involve one component: someone fails to act as they are supposed to which leads to the said accident. For instance, in a motorcycle crash case, or that of any motor vehicle accident, a driver must've acted carelessly or violated the traffic laws to cause the accident.
The driver had a civic duty, an obligation to follow the traffic rules and to drive safely. Being mindful of other drivers on the road, not getting distracted, not being inebriated, giving the right of way when it is due, are all examples of duties owed to other drivers.
If someone fails to act responsibly here and this causes a crash, then the victim can blame the other driver for being negligent. Negligence, in this context, was the driver's failure to act in a way that would've avoided the accident.
Whenever someone acts in a way that creates a threat for others, it is deemed as negligence in personal injury law. For there to be negligence, there must be a duty or set of duties that the said person owed to other people and this duty must be violated for the action to be called negligence.
According to the law, if negligence is proven, the liable party will be responsible for reimbursing the victim for any losses, financial and otherwise, that the victim had to face because of their actions. Here are some examples of negligent behavior in the context of traffic accidents:
- Violating traffic signals
- Failing to yield the right of way to another driver/person
- Distracted driving (can be proven via cell phone records, etc.)
- Drowsy driving
- Driving with driver fatigue
- Driving under influence (drunk driving)
- Violating speed limits
- Aggressive driving
And the list goes on…
Some of the aforementioned don't necessarily result due to any bad intentions on part of the driver but maybe honest mistakes. Of course, this does not make them any less negligent – because being negligent does not require one to have the intention to do so.
Even simple carelessness will be considered negligence, of course, that is not to say that if someone shows exemplary negligent behavior while fully aware of the consequences, they may have to pay up punitive damages to the victim as an additional punishment.
Establishing Negligence In A Motorcycle Accident
As noted, you have to prove negligence on part of the other driver for your personal injury claim, and here's how you do it:
Prove That The Defendant Owed You A Duty
In the examples noted above, it is pretty clear what type of duties a driver owes another driver. However, the other driver may not be the only liable party in your case. For instance, if there was a manufacturing defect in your bike, then the blame will also be shared by the manufacturer.
Similarly, the governing body has a duty of care to ensure that the roads are safe and that all the hazards are removed from areas frequented by the public.
The point is, you need to trace things back from the causality, then you will find who owed you a duty and what was it.
Prove That They Failed To Uphold Their Duty
The point here is that the defendant acted neglectfully, in a manner that a responsible person would've not have acted. This negligence then became the reason for the accident, if it is indeed so, then the defendant will be considered negligent.
This Breach Of Duty Caused The Motorcycle Accident
Next, you need to link the negligence with the accident. Show exactly how their negligence caused the accident, and that it would not have happened had the defendant not acted this way. This is pretty simple to do if you know the details of the crash.
For instance, if the driver was texting while driving, they breached the duty they owed to you, and this negligence distracted them while driving, this distraction, in turn, became the primary reason for the crash. You just need to connect the dots here, that's all.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to fill in the gaps here via a private investigation..
You Took Damages Because Of The Said Accident
Lastly, you need to show how the accident caused you bodily harm, emotional distress, and financial troubles. The types of damages will be divided into economic and non-economic damages, and will include things like:
- Cost of medical care (medical bills, hospital bills, expenses for physical therapy, etc.)
- Lost wages/loss of earning potential
- Property damage
- Extra expenses necessitated by the accident
- Compensation for pain and suffering (physical and emotional)
- Loss of quality of life due to organ damage, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and similar catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death (loss of consortium)
Once you go through these four stages, you will be able to show that the other driver is indeed negligent and that you deserve to be compensated for the losses caused by their negligence. If at any phase, you find yourself stuck, just ask your lawyer how to proceed.
Some Good Practices For Proving Negligence
To ensure that you'll be able to prove the negligence of the other party when it's time, be sure to go through these steps:
- Call 911 at the accident scene
- Photograph the accident scene and record as much information as you can
- Exchange information with the other driver
- Seek contact information of any eyewitnesses (they can help via witness statements)
- Keep track of your losses and document everything (police reports, medical treatment records, past medical records, etc.)
- Journal your situation as accurately and descriptively as possible
- Don't delay seeing a doctor after the accident for your injuries
- Call a team of personal injury attorneys for legal advice and action as soon as you can
Hopefully, this will get you through, just remember that the statute of limitations applies here (two-year limit) and you must file your claim within the proscribed time limit to get compensated for your motorcycle accident injuries.
Call Us Immediately If You've Been In A Crash
Seeking legal consultation is not an option but rather a necessity for personal injury cases, especially in the event of a motorcycle accident. Since there are a ton of stigmas against motorcycle riders (i.e. they are considered careless), it is hard to prove someone's negligence without solid proof.
But you don't have to worry about a thing.
Every personal injury lawyer at the Glenn Law Firm is more than prepared for whatever challenges await in your personal injury case. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, we won't charge you a penny upfront for legal consultation or motorcycle accident attorney fees.
Instead, you'll only have to pay when you win your claim.
Seems fair, right? Call us today then and let's get started with your case!