What You Must Show the Court to Win a Verdict
If you’re hurt while operating or riding a motorcycle in California, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Most legal claims for losses suffered in a motorcycle accident are based on a legal theory of negligence.
What Is Negligence?
The principle of negligence has been at the forefront of personal injury law for hundreds of years, originating in the English legal system. To successfully prove negligence in court, you must show three things:
- that the defendant (the party from whom you seek damages) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances;
- that the failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
- that, because of the accident, you suffered “actual losses.”
The Failure to Act Reasonably
Under the legal theory of negligence, every person in society has a duty, at all times and in all actions, to behave as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. This “duty of care” applies to all the routines of daily life, such as driving a car, maintaining your property, using power tools, or manufacturing and selling a product. The law does not, however, identify exactly what constitutes reasonable behavior—that is determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis. However, to ensure some consistency in the outcome of cases, juries are bound by the principle of stare decisis, which requires that weight be given to rulings in prior cases involving similar fact situations.
The Cause of the Accident
To meet the cause requirement, you must demonstrate both actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause means that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause means that the consequences of the breach of duty were reasonably foreseeable at the time of the breach.
You may recover only for losses actually incurred. Any losses covered by insurance cannot be recovered again in a lawsuit. Likewise, you cannot recover for damage to property that has no value or for injuries that cause no pain and suffering, that do not prevent you from working, or that otherwise have no negative impact on your life.
Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to men and women across California who suffer personal injury, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.