If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by a motorcyclist, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The experienced Alabama motorcycle accident lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana can explain your legal rights and assess whether you have a claim. For a free initial consultation, call us at (251) 444-7000.
Why Choose Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana?
- Choose Caldwell Wenzel and Asthana because we have stellar litigation skills, excelling in the courtroom, so much so that other attorneys often refer their clients to us when litigation is necessary.
- Experience paired with skill is an asset to our clients. With more than 25 years of diverse experience, we have a powerful history in our community.
- We are results driven and have recovered millions in compensation for our personal injury clients. We work tirelessly for the best outcome, even in the most challenging cases.
When is a Motorcyclist at Fault for an Accident in Alabama?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be asking yourself, “When is a motorcyclist at fault for an accident?” The answer is there are times when a motorcycle driver could be at fault. Some instances are obvious, while others may be more subtle. In all cases, the actions of the motorcyclist would have to meet the legal definition of “fault” or “negligence.”
These are some of the actions which could lead to a finding of fault on the part of a motorcycle rider:
- Riding a motorcycle while drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, oblivious to the safety of other motorists
- Disregarding road signs and failing to use turn signals
- Passing another driver on the shoulder
- Texting while riding a motorcycle
- Driving through a pedestrian crosswalk without stopping.
Who is at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
The best way to determine whether a motorcycle driver is at fault is to talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer and explain the facts surrounding your accident so that your case can be reviewed. As Mobile motorcycle accident lawyer, Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana possess the expertise to analyze the facts surrounding your accident and advise you on the next steps.
If a Motorcycle Driver is at Fault, How Do You Prove It?
A plaintiff in a motorcycle accident injury claim will need to prove negligence to have a successful claim. “Negligence” refers to one party’s careless or reckless behavior, ignoring the safety of others and causing harm to an individual. The four elements of proving negligence include:
- Duty The defendant in a motorcycle accident claim owes the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” to ensure the safety of other motorists.
- Breach A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing or failing to do something that a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
- Causation A plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injury.
- Damages Damages mean that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries.
To prove that the driver was negligent, these four elements must be clear. The driver had a duty of care or responsibility to drive with the safety of others in mind. It must be shown that the duty of care was ignored and that they acted in a way that endangered others.
Not only must it be demonstrated that they owed a duty of care and that they breached this duty, the plaintiff must prove that the accident occurred because of their breach of care. Once those three points are demonstrated, the plaintiff has to prove that they suffered economic damages as a result. This may be medical bills or lost wages.
Risks of Motorcycle Riding
Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon, and because motorcycles weigh less and offer less protection than cars and trucks, a motorcyclist is often injured severely in crashes. Some of the risks of motorcycle riding include:
- Low visibility
- Motorcycles can be hard to see in traffic and are often not visible in a car’s side or rearview mirrors.
- Less protection
- Rather than steel doors, a roof, and significant bumpers, a motorcyclist has only a helmet and boots for protection in the event of a crash. That’s why there are often traumatic head injuries, broken bones, and road rash in motorcycle accidents.
- Inadequate skill level
- People drive cars every day, but many motorcyclists are new to cycling or only ride on the weekends. Less time on a bike means less skill and agility, which can lead to accidents.
- Hazardous road conditions
- While gravel and potholes are relatively easy for a car or truck to maneuver around with minimal impact, these road conditions can spell disaster for a motorcyclist. Spinning out on gravel or going over the handlebars after hitting a pothole can cause severe injury and trauma to a cyclist.
With adequate precautions and in good weather, motorcycles are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. Motorcyclists should take care to follow traffic laws, acknowledge other drivers, and do their best to avoid accidents. It is crucial that they remember that they share the road with other drivers and owe them a duty of care to behave accordingly.
Potential damages in a motorcycle accident case
When you’ve been injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your losses. Some of the possible damages are:
- Current and future medical expenses, including doctor and hospital bills, lab tests, X-rays, rehabilitation, costs of medical equipment and devices, and handicap-accessible home modifications, if necessary
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Loss of future earnings if you become disabled or are not able to perform at as high a level as before the accident
- Pain and suffering due to trauma, depression, anxiety, fear, or phobias
- Loss of consortium (typically filed by a spouse), providing compensation for the diminishment of loving companionship and care, in some cases
- Punitive damages, meant to punish the negligent party in cases of especially egregious negligence.
Motorcycle helmet laws in Alabama
Alabama law requires anyone who rides or operates a motorcycle to wear a helmet with a hard shell and a non-crushable material that endures road impact. Passengers on motorcycles must also wear helmets that are specifically designed for riding. The helmet must also have interior padding and a permanently attached chin strap. Protective headgear requirements are described in law in Section 32-12-41. The only helmet exception to the law is for a passenger riding in an enclosed motorcycle sidecar. Alabama statute Section 32-5A-245 describes in greater detail laws about headgear, shoes, and responsibility for juvenile riders. There are additional Alabama laws regarding motorcycles that govern the rules of the road.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a crash with a motorcycle, you should take the following steps:
- Call 911 and ask that police and medics respond to the scene of the accident. Accept medical treatment that is offered, including being transported to the hospital by ambulance if appropriate.
- Get the name, contact info, driver’s license number, and insurance company of the other driver.
- Answer police officers’ questions succinctly, but do not try to explain yourself, and DO NOT admit responsibility for the crash.
- If you are able, use your cell phone camera to take pictures of your injuries and the crash scene.
- Get the names and contact info of any eyewitnesses and bystanders so they can be interviewed later by your lawyer.
- Do not sign anything from the insurance company of the other driver.
- Hire a skilled and experienced motorcycle accident attorney to represent your legal rights and direct all communication from insurance company representatives to your lawyer.
Contact Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana today
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana have proven case results that show we know how to win meaningful settlements and jury awards. You can read our client testimonials to find out what our satisfied clients have to say. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at (251) 444-7000.