Motorcycle accidents are some of the most devastating accidents on the road, this is because a motorcycle driver and its passengers are exposed to the elements and the risk of injury from the road. While there are hundreds of sad stories across the country about motorcycle drivers being injured or killed on a daily basis, there are some happier stories that still indicate the danger that motorcyclists face every day. Last year KOCO ran a story about a man who was driving his motorcycle from El Reno Oklahoma to Piedmont for work when another driver cut him off. The man stated that he was driving at approximately 42 miles an hour and that his motorcycle flipped several times. The man accurately stated that he would not have been able to make this report if it wasn’t for him wearing a helmet. However, even though he walked away with his life, he did sustain injuries including bruised ribs, bruised lung, and a possible broken wrist.
Accidents can happen the blink of an eye and when they do they often result in severe crashes that can leave life-long injuries and can cause injuries to both the motorcycle.
Motorcycle Drivers’ Negligence
Whenever you are driving on the road you have a duty to other drivers and to your own passengers to be reasonably careful. This does not always mean that legally you have to take extraordinary precautions such as installing state of the art equipment, but it does mean that you have to pay attention to the road and to avoid things that may cause you to be in an accident such as drinking and driving. Most people who wish to file a personal injury claim for property or personal injury do so under a negligence theory. Negligence cases all share the same elements no matter where you are in the country, however, each state has imposed its own specific negligence laws, which will be explained later. In any negligence case for an injured person to prove that another driver was negligent they must show the following elements:
- Duty – In motorcycle accident cases, the law requires drivers to be careful when they encounter anyone they meet on the road, this is often referred to the duty of reasonable care. Additionally, states can impose other duties on drivers when they are on the road, such as a prohibition on using a cell phone.
- Breach – anytime motorcyclists or other driver does not conform to this duty of reasonable care they can be said to be in breach. In the above example, if a driver decides to use their cell phone even though there may be a statute against using your cell phone, then they can be said to be in breach or that they are violating their duty of care.
- Causation – causation can be broken down into two distinct elements: proximate cause and actual cause. In simple terms, an injured person needs to prove that the defendant’s conduct caused plaintiff’s injuries . You must also show that the defendant’s conduct caused your injuries.
- Damages – damages often manifest themselves in the form of economic injuries such as hospital bills, medical bills, and missed time from work. In order for a party to receive damages they need to prove that the plaintiff suffered losses and/or was injured. Car accident and motorcycle victims are entitled to compensation for all injuries, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damage that they sustained. In addition, they are also entitled to certain non-economic damages. However, any person who has been injured must show evidence of his or her injuries and other monetary losses to be compensated. If you are the plaintiff, it’s important to keep complete and detailed records of all injuries, medical expenses, and property damage.
As noted above, each state has their own individual negligence statutes. Oklahoma is no different. Oklahoma follows something known as the modified comparative negligence rule, which can be found at Oklahoma Code Tit. 23 §13-14. Under the language of this statute:
Contributory negligence cannot be greater than the negligence of defendants. Damages reduced in proportion to such person’s contributory negligence.
This is the most common approach to recovery. In a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction, a plaintiff will not recover if he or she is found to be either equally responsible or more responsible for the resulting injury. In other words, in order to recover damages, the plaintiff must not be more than 50% at fault for the resulting injury. This is important for anyone who is considering whether or not to file a claim to consider. The jury will come together and make the final determination of how negligent each party was, and while many people believe that when they are involved in an accident that it is always the other person’s fault, they are often surprised when the jury returns a finding that they too were at least somewhat negligent.
Rely on an Experienced Oklahoma Motorcycle Accident Lawyer of Hasbrook & Hasbrook
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident in the Oklahoma City area, call our law offices (405) 698-3040 for a confidential and free legal consultation. Our experienced team of Oklahoma car accident lawyers will fight hard in pursuit of maximum compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and suffering.