Issues of Liability in a Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious and can cause grave, even fatal injuries. Determining who is at fault can be extremely difficult but crucial to obtaining damages for the accident. There are two types of damages to prove: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages cover medical bills, rehabilitation, loss of property and loss of wages either present or future. In the case of a death, the funeral expenses would be covered under this type of damage. Punitive damages are are intended to punish the responsible party for negligence.
According to Nolo.com, liability in most motorcycle accidents is governed by the law of “negligence.” A person is negligent when he or she behaves in a thoughtless or careless manner and causes injury to another person. A driver (both in autos and motorcycles) must use care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians — basically, anyone that he or she encounters on the road. If a driver is not reasonably careful and injures someone as a result, the driver is liable for injuring the accident victim. Some examples of negligence include: speeding, failure to stop at lights or signs, failure to use mirrors, aggressive driving or driving under the influence.
There are four major elements to look at a negligence claim. The plaintiff (the person suing or making the claim) must show that:
- The law required the defendant (the person who is being sued) to be reasonably careful. In car and motorcycle accident cases, this is a given. Motorists must exercise care when riding or driving.
- The defendant was not careful. In determining if the defendant was careful, the law compares the driver’s conduct to that of a “reasonable person.”
- The defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The plaintiff was injured or suffered losses. If the motorcyclist didn’t get hurt or can’t prove any damages, he or she can’t recover anything, even if the defendant behaved in a careless manner.
If you are unsure who should pay damages be sure to hire legal representation to investigate the events of the crash. Legal counsel can interview witnesses, investigate police reports and provide an accurate accident reconstruction to prove liability.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle in Massachusetts and are having trouble proving liability, call Brabant & Huynh LLP at 617-934-0913 for your motorcycle accident evaluation. We are located in Quincy and Dorchester and serve the greater Boston area. We will be glad to help you evaluate your case and ease the burden of going through the process.