In Indiana, motorists who are partially at fault for an accident can receive compensation so long as they are responsible for 50 percent of the damage or less.
This is called the modified comparative negligence rule. And if you’re found to be partially at fault for the accident, your total settlement or compensation will decrease by that percentage.
For example, if the courts were to award $100,000 in damages for your motorcycle accident but find that you were at fault for 25 percent, you’d receive $75,000.
Determining Motorcycle Accident Fault
Determining fault in a motorcycle accident and proving negligence can be challenging. Some cases are clearer than others, such as in cases where the other driver is cited at the scene. But even in that scenario, the courts might find you partially at fault for the accident because you:
- Were speeding
- Failed to wear a helmet
- Didn’t yield properly
- Navigated traffic dangerously (i.e., zipping in and out of lanes)
- Rode without caution for other motorists
So although you weren’t the one who ran a stoplight or drove distracted causing the accident, you might be partially to blame for the accident.
Even with a clear police report naming the other driver for causing the accident, you’ll need to defend your actions and decisions if you want to win compensation.
This means presenting evidence in the case that you did all you could to avoid the collision and protect yourself and other motorists. Evidence that proves this might include:
- Accident scene photos
- Doctor’s reports demonstrating how and where you sustained injuries
- Skid marks on the road
- Witness testimony
- Expert testimony
You won’t be able to sit back and prove that the other driver was responsible without evidence. Instead, you’ll be presenting evidence of the other driver’s fault alongside your defense against their claims that you were also responsible for the accident.
Understanding Motorcycle Risks
Riding a motorcycle is riskier than operating a motor vehicle because there is less to protect you. Even if you’re riding defensively and keep your eyes on the road looking out for hazards, you might suffer injuries.
For example, when the car in front of you stops suddenly, you’re at risk of sliding your bike or going over the handlebars. And in that case, you might not even collide with the other motorist, but suffer severe injuries.
Because motorcycles are riskier, defending your actions in a motorcycle case can be more challenging, which is why it’s wise to hire an attorney. At a minimum, you should seek a consultation with an attorney to discuss your case and learn some defense tactics to avoid paying your medical bills entirely on your own.
Role of an Attorney in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Even though you were operating a motorcycle, which is more dangerous than a car, you have rights and should be treated fairly in accident cases.
Working with a motorcycle accident attorney can help you defend your case and receive compensation for your financial losses by doing the following:
- Engaging in expert negotiations with the insurance company to avoid court
- Ensuring timely resolution of your claim by working through it with the other party and filing paperwork quickly
- Seeking additional evidence in the case to ensure you aren’t found liable for a large percentage of the case
- Bringing in similar accident scenarios and court rulings so that the other party knows how other cases have been resolved to motivate negotiations and lead to timely resolutions
- Expert case review to create a legal strategy for the case
- Settlement calculations based on your injuries and expenses to reduce the impact the accident has on your finances.
This year, Stewart & Stewart proudly celebrates our 40th anniversary of treating clients like family. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Stewart & Stewart. Regardless of the fault listed in the police report, you should seek legal expertise before moving forward with your claim.