Many people assume that the only way to recover damages after a motorcycle accident is to prove that the other driver was totally at fault. It’s perfectly understandable why you would think this. However, as your motorcycle accident lawyer in Fairburn will explain, you may still be entitled to damages even if you were partly at fault.
Fairburn Accident Attorneys Understand That Rarely Is One Driver 100% at Fault
When the police arrive to investigate your motorcycle accident, they will try to determine who was at fault. Now, they don’t attempt to determine whether one party was 100% at fault. They simply look to see if one driver was primarily at fault.
It would be nearly impossible to say that either driver in a motorcycle accident was completely at fault. No matter how great a driver you may be, there is always the chance that you did something wrong.
Even the Most Careful Motorcycle Riders Are Far From Perfect Drivers
Nobody is a perfect driver. Everybody has their own shortcuts and idiosyncrasies when it comes to driving. For example, some people ride their motorcycles a little too fast. Others choose not to wear a helmet if they’re going for a very short drive.
In either of these scenarios, a judge or jury could find that the driver was partially at fault for the accident. What this means is that your Fairburn motorcycle accident lawyer doesn’t have to prove that the other driver was the only one in the wrong.
They just have to prove that the defendant was negligent. They’ll also have to demonstrate that the other driver was more at fault than you were.
Proving Fault Is the Hardest Thing for Your Fairburn Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Of course, the hardest part about your motorcycle lawsuit is proving that the other driver was at fault. To do this, your Fairburn accident attorney must prove that the other driver was negligent.
To prove negligence, you must demonstrate four things.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty.
- You were injured.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
If your motorcycle accident lawyer in Fairburn is able to prove all four of these things, you’ll have a good chance of recovering damages.
It Shouldn’t Be All That Difficult for Your Fairburn Accident Attorney to Prove Injury
In order to recover damages, your Fairburn accident attorney needs to show that you suffered an injury. While you can collect damages for financial losses, you usually need to prove that you suffered a physical injury.
As long as you go to the hospital immediately after your motorcycle accident, it shouldn’t be difficult to prove your injuries. The doctor who examines you will document your diagnosis and treatment plan in your medical records.
Your Fairburn motorcycle accident lawyer will then submit a copy of these records to demonstrate your physical injuries.
What Kind of Damages Can You Demand in Your Initial Complaint?
If the insurance company denies your claim, your Fairburn accident attorney will file suit on your behalf. You’ll be suing the other driver directly as it is not possible to sue the insurance carrier in Georgia.
When your attorney files your initial complaint, they must list all the damages you expect to recover. Generally speaking, you should be entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
Every case is unique so it’s impossible to know ahead of time exactly what you’ll be entitled to. However, once your Fairburn motorcycle accident lawyer reviews your case, they’ll have an idea of what damages you can demand.
Will a Judge Award You Damages if You Were Partly at Fault for the Crash?
You may be afraid that you’ll be denied compensation if you were partly at fault. For example, if the brake lights on your motorcycle were broken, the defendant will argue that you caused the crash.
The same thing may be said if you were driving five or ten miles over the speed limit. As long as your Fairburn accident attorney can prove that the other driver was more at fault than you, there’s a good chance that you’ll still collect damages.
The Good News Is That Georgia Follows a Modified Comparative Fault Rule
According to Georgia statute §51-11-7, plaintiffs are still allowed to collect damages if they were partly at fault. As long as you were less than 50% at fault, your lawyer can demand damages.
Just keep in mind that if you were partly at fault, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Imagine that you were driving your motorcycle down the highway. You were driving 70 mph in a 65 mph zone.
Another driver tries to pass you and ends up hitting your bike. You are thrown from your motorcycle and suffer severe head trauma. You sue the other driver for $500,000. The court finds that you were 15% at fault since you were going five miles over the speed limit.
In this example, your $500,000 damages would be reduced by 15%, or $75,000.
This Is Something That Will Be Worked Out During Settlement Negotiations
In the example above, we said that the judge was the one who determined you were partially at fault. In more than 95% of the cases our motorcycle accident attorneys in Fairburn handle, there is no judge involved.
Most motorcycle accident cases settle out of court. What this means is that the defendant’s lawyer will bring up your being partially at fault during settlement negotiations. This means your Fairburn accident attorney will have to compromise a bit. However, they’d have to do this anyway if they intend to settle your case.
Contact an Experienced Fairburn Motorcycle Accident Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
As discussed here, it’s very rare that one driver would ever be 100% at fault for an accident. Our Fairburn accident attorneys have seen many cases over the years where both drivers played a role in the crash.
The good news is that, even if you were partially at fault, you may still have a right to damages. It all depends on two things. First, you must be less than 50% at fault. Second, your motorcycle accident lawyer in Fairburn must be able to prove this.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to see if your case has merit. It also gives our motorcycle accident attorneys the opportunity to see if they want to handle your case.
Contact our office at (770) HELP-NOW and schedule your free consultation. Or, if you prefer, you can always schedule an appointment through our website.