How Are Car and Motorcycle Accidents Handled By the Law?

The road is a dangerous place, but you’re still bound to see the streets packed with motorists and different kinds of vehicles. With so many vehicles traversing the roads, accidents swiftly become an inevitability.

As car drivers, one common misconception we may have in a car and motorcycle accident is that car drivers are automatically at a disadvantage. It’s easy to see why many people might think this, especially when you consider that motorcycle riders are at an inherent disadvantage because motorcycles do not have the same structural integrity and mass as cars.

You’d be surprised to learn that there are many factors that influence how fault is determined in a car and motorcycle accident. The primary determinant of liability is the element of negligence.

Defining Negligence

Negligence occurs when a person fails to take reasonable measures to prevent an accident from happening. The doctrine of last clear chance states that the person who had the last chance to avert the accident but failed to do so is deemed to have been negligent. In many sources, negligence is defined as simply having a lack of skill and a lack of foresight, and that this lack of skill and foresight causes harm to others.

Proving Negligence

There are elements that must be proven before a party is deemed to have acted negligently. These constitute duty, breach (in that duty), cause (of the injuries), and damages.

Duty is where there must have been a law that required the party in question to behave in a particular manner. Some examples of this are the mandatory stopping at traffic lights, slowing down when approaching pedestrian lanes, and sticking to a designated lane. A duty can be violated through an overt action (like speeding through a red light) and through a failure to execute an action required of the driver or rider (such as failing to use signal lights before switching lanes on the highway).

A breach is simply the violation of the duty mentioned previously, with the addition that a violator failed to act accordingly in order to prevent the accident from happening (ie. riding a motorcycle despite being intoxicated).

Cause refers to whether or not the breach of duty directly resulted in the injuries sustained by the claimant. This is an important element that is founded upon the common wisdom that a person cannot be held responsible for your injuries if their actions did not cause the injuries to begin with.

Damages refers to the harm that the claimant suffered apart from the initial injuries. Some examples of this are financial damages (recurring medical bills), loss of function or mobility, and occupational damages (when a victim is unable to work because of sustained injuries.) This element is also founded on common wisdom that if the plaintiff did not suffer any harm, the court cannot award any damages.

If you find yourself in such an accident, it’s important to hire specialists like this Denver motorcycle accident lawyer to give you the best chance to secure full and fair compensation. While it’s completely possible to file a claim without the help of a lawyer, you’d be hurting your chances of getting the compensation you’re entitled to by doing so.