Even people who have never been to law school have heard the word negligence. Most of them understand what it means. Negligence is another way of saying that somebody didn’t behave the way they should have and, as a result, somebody else was hurt. As familiar as someone may be with the term, they probably don’t know what it really means, not from a legal perspective. And why should they? Your SW Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer knows exactly what the term means. They also know it’s a lot harder to prove negligence than many people would think.
Just because you’re in a motorcycle accident, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to a ton of money. In order to get you any money at all, your Kalamazoo motorcycle accident lawyer has to prove two things in order to win your case. First, they have to prove that the defendant was responsible for your accident. The second thing they need to do is prove that you suffered damages. It’s not enough to say that you were in a horrific motorcycle crash. Your Kalamazoo motorcycle accident lawyer has to prove a lot more than that if you’re going to be compensated for your injuries.
What is Negligence and How Can Your SW Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Prove It?
As mentioned earlier, negligence is when somebody doesn’t act the way a reasonable person would have given the same circumstances. For example, if a doctor notices that their patient is displaying symptoms of an illness, they should run the necessary tests to diagnose their illness. That’s what’s expected of a licensed physician. If, instead of doing this, a doctor sends the patient home and tells them to take a few aspirin, he could be found negligent. If that same patient dies from a heart attack that night, it’s not a far stretch to point to the doctor. Had they done the necessary tests, like a normal doctor would, they probably could’ve prevented the heart attack.
In a motorcycle accident, it’s a little different. However, it’s still negligence. Your Kalamazoo motorcycle accident lawyer will have to prove the following:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care – All motorists owe a duty to other drivers. At a minimum, they’re expected to follow all traffic laws.
- The defendant breached their duty of care – Your Kalamazoo motorcycle accident lawyer has to show that the other driver didn’t behave the way a reasonable driver would have. For example, if they are speeding, they aren’t following the speed limit. That would constitute a breach of duty.
- You were hurt – It isn’t enough that you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. Your Kalamazoo motorcycle accident lawyer has to show that you actually suffered some sort of injury. This could be a physical injury. But it could also be things like lost wages, property damages or medical bills.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty – You also have to show that your injuries (losses) were caused by the defendant’s actions. For example, imagine you sue the defendant for damage to your motorcycle. If the defendant’s lawyer can prove the damage was there before the crash, you won’t be able to recover damages.
What Happens if You’re Partially at Fault?
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s very rare for any one driver to be 100% at fault in a motorcycle crash. Even if the other driver caused the crash, you may have done something that contributed to the accident. Maybe you were going a few miles above the speed limit when the defendant rear-ended you. Or perhaps your brake light was out, and the other driver didn’t see you coming to a stop. Some car accident victims fear that this could prevent them from collecting damages. That isn’t necessarily true. This is because Michigan follows the comparative negligence rule. As long as you’re less than 51% at fault, you can still demand compensation. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if your damages are $100,000 and you’re 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 20%.
Reach Out to an Experienced SW Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Right Away
If you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Kalamazoo, MI. This way, they can worry about proving negligence while you focus on getting better. Call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation today.