October 28, 2020 | Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles can be a great way to get around in Oklahoma. They’re an economical, environmentally friendly, and of course fun mode of transportation.
However, they can also be significantly more dangerous than cars and trucks.
In fact, while only 20 percent of those involved in car accidents are injured or die as a result, an astounding 80 percent of those involved in motorcycle accidents are injured or lose their lives. And the injuries motorcycle drivers incur as the result of an accident can be quite serious, in some cases altering the way they live for the rest of their lives.
Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash
- Fractured bones
- Torn ligaments
Any of these injuries can lead to massive medical bills and even lost wages due to missing work while recovering. Because the costs are so significant and because determining liability can be complex, it is often wise to hire a qualified motorcycle accident attorney if you have been injured in a crash.
Who Was At Fault?
One of the most important parts of any personal injury case, including c accidents, is determining who was at fault. If another party was negligent and that negligence resulted in the accident and ultimately your injuries, the other person could be found liable and be required to pay for some or all of the costs you have incurred.
Oklahoma is an “at fault” state, meaning the party responsible for the accident is required to pay for the damages other parties suffered as a result of their negligence.
However, the state is also a comparative negligence state.
This means that even if you are found to have been partially at fault for the accident and the injuries you suffered as a result, you could still receive compensation. This is true as long as it is determined you are no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If you were more than 50 percent at fault, then you would be barred from collecting damages.
For example, if a motorcycle driver was found to be 30 percent at fault for the injuries they incurred as the result of an accident, and their damages totaled $10,000, then they would be able to collect $7,000.
Factors That Determine Fault
As you might guess, determining fault can be complex and contentious. Variables such as road conditions, weather, speed of traffic and the vehicles involved, are all weighed and considered.
Other factors are also important in determining who was at fault. For example,
- Was the driver of a car on their cell phone?
- Was the driver of the motorcycle wearing a helmet (which drivers under 18 are required by law to do)?
- Were they wearing protective eye gear?
- Were they properly licensed?
- Did all parties involved have the appropriate insurance?
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into determining fault. Because it is such a complex equation, it is wise to have a motorcycle and car accident lawyer on your side to advocate for you and make sure fault is proportioned fairly.
Insurance companies will work hard to push as much of the blame onto you as they can. If you don’t challenge these tactics, you might find that your ability to recover compensation is compromised. And, under the state’s laws, you could find yourself on the hook for other victims’ damages, too.
Don’t Admit Fault – Let Your Attorney Do the Talking
After an accident, it is common for those involved to speak with a police officer. While it might be tempting to apologize or admit you were to blame if you think you contributed to the accident in some way, never admit fault for an accident.
Answer any questions an officer asks objectively by simply telling him or her what happened from your perspective. Even if the other party blames you for the accident, let them do so and remain calm. As long as you don’t admit fault, you could still be able to seek damages later on.
Finally, if an insurance adjuster contacts you to discuss the accident or even says they are interested in offering you compensation via a settlement agreement, don’t answer any of their questions. Instead, instruct them to contact your lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers have the experience necessary to speak with insurance adjusters on your behalf. They will know what to say and do to make sure fault is determined fairly and ultimately maximize the compensation you can receive.