Being the motorcycle rider in a collision between a bike and a car can often leave you recovering from some fairly severe injuries -- and more often than not, scrapping your bike and being forced to purchase a new one with your insurance proceeds. Especially problematic can be sideswipe collisions in which fault is difficult to determine; you may find yourself defending against an insurance claim or even a personal injury lawsuit filed by the vehicle's driver. What are your options if you're accused of being fully or partially at fault in your recent motorcycle accident? Read on to learn more about the evidence you'll need to gather to prove you weren't at fault in the crash, as well as your options if you're not sure you can conclusively show you weren't at fault.
What types of evidence will you need to introduce to prove you weren't at fault in the accident?
Although certain types of accidents (like rear-end collisions) are, by default, deemed the fault of the driver most in the rear, other types of collisions can make it much more difficult for insurance claims adjusters and crash investigators to make a judgment as to who was at fault. You'll need to act quickly to see if you can pull surveillance videos, track down witnesses, and take other steps to get a solid body of evidence that the other driver was distracted, breaking traffic laws, or otherwise behaving in a way that would help apportion fault in a traffic accident.
You'll want to make sure your attorney subpoenas the cell phone records of the other driver to ensure he or she wasn't texting or browsing the internet immediately prior to the accident, as this could be the sole evidence available to help tip the scales in your favor. You'll also want to have your attorney review the accident report as soon as it's made available. If there are any gaps or inconsistencies in the report, your attorney may send out his or her own investigator to compile a report and photos that may be able to strengthen your case.
What are your options if you can't gather sufficient evidence to refute the allegation you were at fault?
Once you review any photo or video evidence of the crash that may be available, you may discover that your actions at least partially contributed to the crash. In states that permit comparative negligence claims, both you and the other driver could be deemed partially at fault and damages assessed accordingly. In general, comparative fault states will require each party to pay for their own damages if they are deemed to be exactly 50 percent at fault, and pay for a portion of the other party's damages if more than 50 percent at fault. Those who are judged to be less than 50 percent at fault in an accident may be able to recover damages to the other party to the extent to which they were at fault. For example, if you were deemed to be 30 percent at fault and had $10,000 in medical expenses, you'd be able to recover only $7,000 from the other driver ($10,000 minus your own 30 percent responsibility). Fortunately, you should be able to turn the out-of-pocket amount in to your own insurance company and have these expenses fully covered (minus your deductible).
In some cases, there simply may not be much more evidence than "he said, she said." If the crash happened in a remote or rural area, or if it took place during the wee hours of the morning when no witnesses were around, evidence on either side can be scarce. In this case, your insurance companies may agree to each take care of their own clients' claims and waive any reimbursement from the other party.
If you are looking for a lawyer to represent you, contact a firm like Scherline And Associates.