Comparative Fault Issues in Motorcycle Accident Litigation

San Francisco | San Jose | Oakland | San Rafael, CA

The doctrine of comparative fault allows an accident victim to recover a portion of the damages proved against another negligent party, even though the victim’s own negligence is shown to have played a role in the accident. Many motor vehicle accident cases involve fault on the part of two or more motorists. The question for the jury is which motorist was more at fault.

Contact a personal injury attorney at Weber & Nierenberg at any of four Bay Area office locations to learn about your right to compensation for motorcycle accident injuries that may have been in part your own fault. You might have been speeding or given a ticket for a different moving violation. You might have been lane splitting under traffic conditions that were unreasonably dangerous. Your injuries might have been more serious than they would have been if you had been wearing a helmet, heavy boots or other protective gear.

The Amount You Recover Is Reduced by Your Percentage of Fault

Despite any of these circumstances, you still have the right to recover damages against another negligent motorist and his or her insurance company under California law. Our state follows a so-called pure version of comparative fault or negligence. In other words, no matter how the jury apportions the fault between the drivers in court — 50-50, 40-60, 90-10, 10-90, 20-30-50 or any other combination that adds up to 100 percent — you’re entitled to recover the portion of damages that represents the other driver’s percentage of fault.

For example, if you were speeding, stopped abruptly at a light, leaked into the intersection and got hit by someone making an illegal turn, you can still recover damages from the driver who hit you. If you were found to be 40 percent at fault, the other driver’s insurer would pay 60 percent of the damages proved at trial. If you were found 70 percent at fault, you could still recover 30 percent of your damages.

Comparative Fault Won’t Defeat Your Claim, But Reduces Your Damages

Our goal in cases where we anticipate a strong comparative negligence defense is to protect the greatest percentage possible of the damages we prove on your behalf. Weber & Nierenberg has handled many cases where our client’s partial responsibility for the accident was clear, but we still managed to recover a substantial damages award.

In one case, our client was speeding on his motorcycle when struck and seriously injured by an uninsured driver pulling out from a stop sign. Our investigation showed that a van illegally parked close to the intersection created a visual obstruction whereby neither the biker nor the driver could see the other. Our client was found to be 50 percent at fault, but still collected a jury verdict of more than $500,000 based on the van owner’s negligence.

Call 866-288-6010 for a Free Consultation in the Bay Area

As experienced trial attorneys focused on motorcycle accident litigation, we at Weber & Nierenberg encounter comparative fault defense arguments on a regular basis in our practice, and we often find ways to overcome them or at least protect as much of our client’s proven damages as possible. Contact us at any of our four Bay Area offices to learn more about comparative fault as it affects your claim to compensation.

With offices in San Francisco, San Rafael, Oakland and San Jose, the personal injury lawyers of Weber & Nierenberg represent motorcycle accident clients throughout the East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and other northern California communities, including Sacramento, Napa, Santa Rosa, Berkeley, Richmond, Fremont, Hayward, Modesto, Stockton, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Walnut Creek.

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