Let’s go over some critical motorcycle accident FAQ’s so that you feel more confident in your knowledge of the law and your rights as a potential claimant.
If you or a passenger on your bike was partially responsible for causing an accident, can you still file a liability claim against another driver, pedestrian, or other party?
Yes and no. Partial liability can be assessed in some cases. West Virginia employs comparative liability, meaning, if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for a motorcycle accident you can still recover for damages but less the amount you were deemed responsible. Thus, let’s say that you were 20% responsible for a crash but another party was 80% responsible. For instance, maybe your bike hit an unmarked pothole on a dangerous road maintained by the city, flipped and slammed into the guardrail and suffered broken ribs and a concussion. But maybe you were also going slightly over the speed limit and you overlooked a posted warning several hundred yards back from where the accident occurred. Whereas if the entity responsible for maintaining the road was 100% responsible, you might get $50,000; if you’re partially responsible, your claim may be pro-rated to reflect that fact and, for instance, you may only get $40,000.
Maryland and Washington D.C., however, employs contributory negligence. Essentially, contributory negligence provides that if you are in any part responsible for the motorcycle accident, even 1%, you cannot seek compensation for damages.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when you crashed, can you still sue for damages that have resulted from head injuries?
Yes. Just because you weren’t wearing a helmet – or weren’t carrying insurance, even – doesn’t mean that you cannot seek compensation from a liable party.
Should you provide statements to your insurance company and the insurance company of the driver who hit you?
This can be dangerous territory. If you make statements to an adjuster before talking to an attorney, it’s very possible that you might say something that could down the line hurt your chances to collect awards or litigate a claim.
Who are common defendants in motorcycle accident injury cases?
Here’s an incomplete list of potentially liable parties:
- The driver who hit your motorcycle.
- The city or other municipal body responsible for maintaining the road where you had your accident.
- Your insurance company.
- The insurance company of a negligent driver.
- The manufacturer of your bike or any of its parts.
- A maintenance company who failed to correct a mechanical problem on your bike or failed to warn about potential problems with a part.
- Other third parties indirectly responsible (for instance, if a truck driver hit you, you may be able to sue the owner of the truck company).
What kinds of damages can you seek in a motorcycle injury case?
- Missed wages at work.
- Missed future wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Medical and rehabilitation bills.
- Costs to compensate for property damages.
- Punitive damages.
Do you need to get a lawyer to help with your motorcycle accident case?
Even if the facts of the case seem cut and dry and simple, it may benefit you to consult with an attorney. Legal and logistical wrinkles have ways of appearing and can lead to unintended consequences for your matter. To get immediate assistance, contact the Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyers at the law firm of Steven H. Heisler through our website or dial the firm at (410) 625-4878.