Liability And Damages In Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

When motorcycle accidents are caused by the willful or negligent conduct of another party, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed seeking damages from those responsible. Motorcycle accident cases, like most vehicle accidents, are generally based on claims of negligence. Negligence can be understood as the failure of a person to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent and careful person would exercise under similar circumstances. Negligence is a tort, which is a civil wrong.

In a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant owed a legal "duty" of care to the plaintiff under the circumstances, that the defendant "breached" or failed to perform that duty, that the defendant's breach of his or her duty "caused" the accident or injury that resulted harm or "damages" to the plaintiff. When we drive, we all owe a duty to the other people on the road to drive with reasonable caution in the circumstances. That duty is breached when a person drives in an unsafe manner, for example when he or she runs a red light. If the defendant's breach of his or her duty causes an accident in which the plaintiff is harmed, the defendant may be held liable for the plaintiff's injuries and property damages.

Like any other case, damages in a motorcycle accident will depend on the nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries but will typically include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. When a motorcyclist is partially at fault for his or her own injuries, the amount of compensation he or she will be entitled to receive from the defendants will be reduced in proportion to that fault. If a motorcycle accident results in a fatality, the family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death action against the responsible parties.

Under legal rules known as "statutes of limitation," there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit arising from a motorcycle accident. If the injured person's claim is not filed within the time limit set by law, his or her claim will be barred and his or her right to sue and recover damages will be lost forever.