Understanding the Standard of Care for Motorcyclists
Let Our Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help
If you are a motorcyclist who was injured due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover damages as compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result.
Motorcycle accident litigation — not unlike other motor vehicle accident litigation — can become quite complicated when the facts are “messy.” In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may not be entirely absent of fault. It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to have acted negligently and thereby contributed to the accident in their own way.
So, how does this affect the dispute? Let’s dive in for a closer look.
Comparative Fault in Arizona
In Arizona, pure comparative fault rules apply. What this means is that an injury plaintiff is not barred from recovering damages even if they have acted negligently (and this negligence has contributed to the injuries at-issue). Instead, the plaintiff’s overall damages will be reduced in accordance with their fault contribution.
For example, suppose that a plaintiff was hurt in a motorcycle accident and has suffered overall damages equivalent to about $100,000. If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at-fault for their injuries, then they will be entitled to recover $100,000 minus $40,000, or $60,000 in total.
As the plaintiff, it’s not only important that you “win” your case (i.e., negotiate a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict), but also that you secure the maximum possible compensation given the circumstances. An effective litigation strategy will therefore seek to minimize your fault.
Standard of Care Basics
For the defendant to prove that you — the motorcyclist plaintiff — were negligent (and that your damages should be reduced accordingly), they will have to show that you violated the applicable standard of care and that this negligence substantially contributed to your injuries.
The standard of care is the degree of caution that must be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances. When determining whether the standard of care has been violated in the motorcycle accident context, the court will consider how another motorcyclist would have acted under similar circumstances.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a left hook motorcycle accident where an incoming car made an illegal turn in front of you. At the time, you were distracted, and thus did not have enough time to stop safely before the collision. In evaluating your own contribution of fault, the court will have to determine whether a reasonably prudent motorcyclist in the same conditions and with the same training/experience would have come to a stop before the collision occurred. Expert testimony will help illuminate what could be expected.
Speak to Our Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Assistance
Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm.
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling claims on behalf of those who have suffered harm due to the fault of others. We represent motorcyclists and others involved in motorcycle accidents, and unlike many of our competitors, our focus is on motor vehicle accident disputes — this has given us deep insight into what is necessary to succeed in such litigation. Since our founding, we have helped clients recover over $100 million (in verdicts and settlements).