Tag Archives: cyclist

Defendant Insurance Companies May Fault Motorcyclists

Defendant Insurance Companies Put Blame on Motorcyclists

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Injuries suffered by victims of motorcycle accidents are—by nature—more serious than injuries received by motorists in similar accidents. Insurance companies have potentially greater financial exposure at stake and must work that much harder to mitigate what can be greater financial awards for damages including greater past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, loss of life, and many other remedies available to plaintiff.

Negligence governs liability in most motorcycle accidents. Under the law of negligence, motorists have the responsibility to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring another pedestrian, cyclist or motorist.  The law evaluates the defendant’s conduct and compares it to that of a “reasonable person.”

In motorcycle accident studies, it has been found that in multiple vehicle accidents the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way, causing the accident in two-thirds of the cases. When a driver of a car, truck, or semi-tractor trailer acts in a negligent manner and is determined to be the single proximate cause of the collision involving the motorcycle, the offending driver may be found fully responsible for plaintiff’s injuries. But in cases where the cyclist bears some responsibility for the collision, a percentage of responsibility may be assigned to both plaintiff and defendant. You may remember a previous blog where I discussed “comparative fault”. In the case of comparative fault, if the cyclist was found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, he or she may be unable to recover any damages because of the comparative fault law. For that reason, the defendant insurance company will strive to deflect their client’s complete responsibility and assign a significant portion of blame on the plaintiff.

A vast amount of plaintiff attorney’s time and financial resources must be allotted to the investigation process in accidents involving motorcycles. Charlie Ward, a personal injury attorney experienced in litigating accidents and wrongful death claims involving motorcycles, trucks and semi-tractor trailers, understands how to investigate a motorcycle accident and confront the defenses used by Defendant insurance companies. Ward & Ward Law Office receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your motorcycle accident and receive a free analysis of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501

 

Trying the Motorcycle Accident Case Before a Jury, Part III — Common Defenses Used by Insurance Companies in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Was defendant driver’s conduct reasonable?

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Liability in most motorcycle and auto accidents is established by fault or negligence. By law it is the duty and responsibility of all motorists to use due diligence of care not to harm or injure another while driving or riding. In determining whether a defendant to an accident claim exercised due care, the law compares the driver’s conduct to that of a “reasonable person.”

Has defendant driver violated cyclist’s right-of-way?

Findings from The Hurt Study—Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, conducted by the University of Southern California— have demonstrated that in multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way, thereby causing the accident in two-thirds of accidents studied. The study further shows that 92% of motorcycle riders involved in an accident have received no formal training. Since motorcycles have only two wheels, forward motion is necessary to achieve stability. It takes skill and experience to bring a motorcycle safely through a situation where the cyclist’s right-of-way has been violated by another motorist.

Due to exposure, motorcyclists’ injuries are more serious

Injuries sustained by cyclists involved in motorcycle accidents are by nature more serious than injuries suffered by other motorists in similar crashes. Motorcycles are smaller, lighter and lack the framework necessary to mitigate injuries of impact. Defendants to a motorcycle accident claim and their insurance companies have a great deal of potential financial exposure at stake and so their insurance carrier’s defense team needs work that much harder to deflect liability and minimize financial awards for injuries to plaintiff. These awards may include past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and all other remedies available by the law.

Insurance company defense strategies

When a motorist acts in a negligent manner and their negligence is the sole and single cause of a motorcycle accident, the motorist (defendant) may be found solely liable for claimant’s injuries. The jury’s award could potentially meet or even exceed defendant’s insurance policy limits depending upon the amount of coverage defendant has. The insurance carrier’s strategy against a judgment of liability might include the defense crash team’s search for evidence to establish plaintiff’s negligence through eyewitness statements and expert discovery. The defense team will often criticize the excessive speed of the rider. Or in a case involving a rear-end collision, defense will usually allege that the speed plaintiff was traveling was unreasonably slow or that plaintiff suddenly or improperly stopped.

Another strategy used by defense would place some “degree” of fault upon the plaintiff. In Indiana, a claimant who is found to be greater than 50% responsible for their own injuries cannot receive compensation for their claim under the comparative fault law. Defense may declare that their client was unable to see claimant and that claimant acted irresponsibly by not wearing apparel that would increase their visibility on the road. By convincing the jury that plaintiff had a significant amount of contributory negligence in the actions shaping the accident, defense could significantly reduce or even eliminate financial awards to the plaintiff.

Experienced attorneys mount a proper investigation of the accident

To prepare an adequate case on behalf of motorcycle injury victims, a vast amount of attorney’s time and resources must be allocated to the investigation process. Charlie Ward is a personal injury attorney experienced in representing injured motorcyclists and families of those who have lost their lives in accidents involving motorcycle, auto and trucking accidents. The law office of Ward & Ward receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on our client’s behalf. Call Charlie today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your motorcycle accident and receive a free analysis of your claim.

Email: Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501

https://www.wardlawfirm.com