What Does a Motorcycle Accident Victim Have to Prove to Get Compensated for Injuries?

It may be possible for you to get compensated for a motorcycle accident if you can prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another party.  This party is typically another driver, but could also be a manufacturer if the accident was caused by defective motorcycle parts or other products.  If you were recently injured in a motorcycle crash, this article will help you understand what you will be expected to prove when you are seeking compensation.  However, you should consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Salt Lake City if you are thinking of filing an insurance claim for crash injuries in Utah.

What is Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit? 

While different strategies are involved in auto accident and product liability claims, both hinge on the claimant or plaintiff’s ability to demonstrate fault.  This responsibility is called the “burden of proof.”  We’ll talk more about what types of evidence the claimant can use to establish fault in the next section, but for now, let’s clarify the meaning of negligence and provide some examples of the forms it can take.

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Negligence is failure to exercise the care necessary to minimize the risk of an avoidable accident.  If an accident was foreseeable, yet the defendant didn’t take the proper actions to avoid it, he or she may have been negligent.

Negligence can manifest in many different ways, depending on the circumstances.  Driver negligence in a motorcycle crash will look very different from doctor negligence in a medical malpractice case, or landlord negligence in a Utah slip and fall accident.  For example, while medical negligence might involve problems like failures to diagnose an illness, or landlord negligence might involve failure to maintain a building’s stairwell, driver negligence generally involves careless errors and/or violations of traffic laws.  Some examples of negligent driving could include:

  • Excessive speeding.
  • Failure to maintain a safe following distance.
  • Failure to yield the right of way.
  • Playing with apps, sending text messages, or focusing on other distractions instead of keeping an eye on traffic.
  • “Zoning out” and not paying attention to the road.

Recklessness, which is different from negligence, is also an element of many motorcycle accident claims.  You can see some common examples of reckless driving in our article on the subject.

There are four elements of negligence in personal injury.  All four must be proven.  These elements are that:

  1. The victim was owed a duty of care by the other driver.  All drivers have a duty of care to other drivers.
  2. The other driver breached their duty of care by speeding, making improper turns, or making other errors.
  3. The accident was caused by the other person’s actions (or, in some situations, failures to act).  This is called “causation.”  Causation has two components: actual (direct) cause, and proximate (indirect/underlying) cause.
  4. The accident resulted in harm to the victim.

What Types of Evidence Can You Use in an Auto Accident Claim?

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You probably already know that, in a criminal case, the prosecutor must be able to establish “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”  The standard of proof in a personal injury case, which is civil instead of criminal, is not as rigorous.  Instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, there needs to be a “preponderance of the evidence,” which essentially means there is more evidence than not that the crash occurred due to the other person’s negligence.

This concept shouldn’t be confused with Utah’s modified comparative fault doctrine, which allows crash victims to recover compensation even if they were partially at fault for a crash, as long as the defendant’s share of fault was greater.  In Utah, you can be up to 49% at fault for a motorcycle accident and still get compensated, though compensation will be reduced accordingly.  This has to do with a crash victim’s portion of assigned fault, not the amount of evidence.

With regard to the types of evidence crash victims can use to help strengthen their claims, possible sources could include:

  • Crash wreckage and vehicle damage
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Medical records
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Photographs of the accident site
  • Police accident reports
  • Traffic camera footage

Contact Our Salt Lake City Motorcycle Crash Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Proving fault can be an uphill battle, even following accident situations that seem straightforward and self-explanatory.  Claims adjusters are good at finding reasons to deny liability or make paltry settlement offers, and in some cases, even resort to illegal and unethical bad faith insurance tactics.  Attorney Darwin Overson has handled numerous claims on behalf of injured motorcyclists, and knows how to negotiate aggressively yet strategically with insurance companies.  He is a tough litigator who is ready to take your case to court if doing so becomes necessary to protect your best interests.

To set up a free legal consultation with Utah motorcycle crash lawyer Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143.  Darwin handles injury claims in Wasatch County, Davis County, Summit County, Box Elder County, Tooele County, and locations throughout Utah.


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