California is indisputably the world capital of motorcycle culture, with our beautiful weather, serene oceanside and mountain drives, and celebration of rugged individualism. But it’s also home to some of the highest rates of motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities in the country. This is no doubt due to our crowded streets and highways, and our reputation for having some of the worst drivers in the nation. But when a collision happens between a motorcycle and a car or truck, it is of course the motorcyclist that often pays the highest physical price given the lack of a protective vehicle covering. Whether the motorcyclist can recover in a personal injury lawsuit (or whether the motorcyclist himself may be liable in such a lawsuit) is going to come down to who was at fault in causing the accident.
California Uses a Reasonable Person Standard in Determining Fault…
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident (whether you are the motorcyclist, a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian), you will need to prove, at the very least, that: 1) the defendant failed to act reasonably under the circumstances, and 2) that failure to act resulted in the accident that caused your injuries.
If “failure to act reasonably” sounds like a flexible standard, it most certainly is. Some situations may be clear examples of this. For example, if a driver drives drunk and runs into a motorcyclist stopped at a stop light, this will be a fairly easy circumstance in which to show a failure to act reasonably. Other accidents caused in a split-second at high speeds may be harder to pin down with regards to failure to act reasonably.
…but Both Driver and Motorcyclist May Be at Fault
Furthermore, there can be cases where there is a collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle in which both operators acted unreasonably. For example, if both were speeding when the accident occured, a court might find that both were at fault.
The important thing to remember, here, however is that this does not mean that the motorcyclist (or any other injured party) cannot still bring a suit. In California, a plaintiff can win a personal injury lawsuit even if he was also negligent in causing the accident, although such a fact may affect his ultimate financial recovery.
Why It’s Important to Speak with an Attorney as Soon as a Motorcycle Accident Occurs
Because determining fault is so critical for winning a personal injury lawsuit in California – as well as in winning a settlement, which is influenced by what the attorneys believe would happen at trial – it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
By doing so, your attorney can immediately step into action to collect the necessary evidence to show fault, which can include physical evidence from the scene of the accident, evidence from your vehicle or the other party’s vehicle, eyewitness evidence (which can fade quickly), any camera or recording evidence, and so on.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in the Inland Empire
At McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP our personal injury team – led by by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire in the millions of dollars. Our attorneys understand that the fear, anxiety, and pain that you and your family are going through following a personal injury, and we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help our clients get the help they need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.