What Happens If an Injured Motorcyclist Is Partially at Fault?
If you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident in California, there’s a good chance you can seek compensation for your injuries. Most personal injury claims, including motorcycle accident injury claims, are based on a legal theory of negligence. In essence, negligence occurs when someone fails to act as a reasonable person would be expected to act under the circumstances. A motorist might exceed the speed limit, fail to stop at a light or sign, or turn into the path of a biker without looking.
It’s fairly common, though, for both parties to an accident to engage in some type of negligence. For example, a motorist might be exceeding the legal speed limit when another runs a red light, and the two cars collide. If the latter driver had stopped, the accident would not have occurred, but the same can be said about the one speeding. So how is liability allocated when both parties contribute to an accident.
Comparative Negligence in California
For many years, the doctrine of contributory negligence applied in personal injury claims. Underthat legal theory, if an injured person contributed in any way to causing their own injury, there could be no recovery. In application, that rule became harsh, as injured people who contributed in very minor ways were left without a remedy for the extremely careless behavior of other motorists.
Around the turn of the 20th century, most states, including California, replaced the legal concept of contributory negligence with comparative negligence. With comparative negligence, the court first determines the total losses suffered, then allocates responsibility between the parties. The injured party’s recovery is then reduced by their percentage of liability.
For example, if you’re injured while riding a motorcycle and your total losses are $100,000, but the court determines that you were 25% at fault, your damage award will be reduced by $25,000. Because California is a “pure negligence” state, an injured person may still recover monetary damages, even if their percentage of fault is greater than the defendant’s.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Proven Personal Injury Counse
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims across California. For an appointment to discuss your options after a motorcycle accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.