The scene of a motorcycle accident can be a bone-chilling site: A car on the shoulder with its hazard lights blinking; a distressed-looking driver pacing back and forth as he talks into his cell phone; shards of plastic and metal littering the scene; the mangled remains of a motorcycle flung far down the road.
As a motorcycle rider, you are entitled to the same privileges and protections as any other driver on the public roadways. Unfortunately, many “cage” drivers often seem oblivious to this fact. Drivers also tend to forget that there are motorcycles on the road, and looking only for other cars, trucks, and vans when turning or merging into traffic.
The result of this is that even the best, most-careful motorcycle riders are prone to being hit by other drivers. If you are involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle and you want to pursue compensation, the question becomes: who was at fault in causing the collision?
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
As an attentive motorcycle rider, you see risks for potential accidents all around you. It is your job to avoid them. While other drivers are clearly responsible not to hit you, you are equally responsible for ensuring your own safety on the road.
Of course, this isn’t always possible. The following are all common examples of situations where motorcycle riders are helpless to avoid a collision with a negligent driver:
- A car turns in front of you as you approach an intersection with the right of way.
- You stop at a traffic signal and get rear-ended by a distracted driver or someone who was trying to run the light.
- In busy interstate traffic, a truck quickly merges into your space and you have no place to go.
What if I Was Partially at Fault in the Accident?
In Massachusetts, the courts follow a rule known as “modified comparative negligence.” This means that you will only be able to obtain compensation for your injuries if you were less at fault than the other responsible driver (or drivers). Say, for example, you were speeding excessively and the judge decided that you were 75% responsible for the accident—even though someone else was also partially to blame. In that situation, you would probably not be able to recover any damages. Clearly, then, demonstrating your lack of fault and proving the other driver’s’ negligence is paramount to a successful motorcycle accident claim.
By contrast, Rhode Island follows the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” As a result, if your accident occurred in Rhode Island and you were 75% at fault, you would possibly still be entitled to recover 25% of your damages from the other responsible party.
Of course, each of these rules has its own nuances, and proving comparative fault is a task rife with complexities and complications. If you have questions about motorcycle accident litigation in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, contact Attorney Mike Bottaro at (401) 777-7777, or fill out our online contact form.