Who is Liable
Every motorcycle injury case we handle needs to be evaluated for liability. “Liability” is defined as the state of being responsible for something, especially by law. In other words we must determine who is responsible for the crash and how much each person or persons are responsible.
This sounds relatively easy, and sometimes it is, but we must also determine if the motorcycle rider is also responsible for any of his or her own harm. In Utah, if a motorcycle rider is determined to be 50% or more responsible for the motorcycle accident he or she will receive nothing at trial. This is called modified comparative negligence.
As motorcycle accident lawyers we often have to play the devil’s advocate and try to see if the person we represent is responsible for the crash. Questions we always ask:
- Were you speeding – too fast for traffic/conditions?
- Was your motorcycle in good repair – lights work, brakes work, good tread on tires?
- Did you violate any other traffic laws – passing on right, following too closely, illegal left turn?
So far we have been talking about a simple motorcycle accident scenario where a car crashes into a motorcycle. Adding other vehicles to the mix complicates the analysis.
Assume the crash occurs on the highway involving a semi-truck driver who has not slept for over 12 hours. The semi crashes into the back of a car that lost a wheel due to faulty maintenance. The car careens across three lanes through the ditch and catapults up the other side of the highway. The motorcycle rider sees the wrecked car sliding toward him causing him to brake hard on bald tires. The motorcycle high-sides and the rider ends up with a fractured pelvis and femur. Complicated to say the least but factually close to a motorcycle crash we have handled.
The defense insurance attorney for the trucking company claimed that had the motorcycle not been speeding and had good tread on his tires he would have easily avoided the crash. We were sensitive to this anticipated claim because once we received the crash report photos of the crash scene we knew the motorcycle tires were not in the best of shape. Anticipating that the defense attorney would argue the “bald tire and speeding defense” we engaged the services of an accident scene reconstructionist that showed the defense was without merit.
The result was a win for the motorcycle rider and his family getting him full, fair, and complete compensation from the trucking company that caused the crash.
I have been a motorcycle rider for over 30 years and have also been a registered nurse. My law practice focuses on representing injured and killed motorcycle riders and their families. We can help you with medical bills, getting your bike fixed and getting you the money you deserve from the person that caused the crash. Utah Bike Law and its attorneys are licensed to practice law only in the State of Utah and maintain offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. No attorney client relationship is established by simply visiting this website.