How Comparative Fault Impacts Austin, Texas Motorcycle Accidents

September 28, 2016 | By DJC Law Attorneys
How Comparative Fault Impacts Austin, Texas Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle in car accident

This is the next post in our series on the handling of motorcycle accidents in Austin, Texas. Our last article discussed dealing with insurance companies after a motorcycle wreck. It is important that you speak with an attorney immediately and that you do not accept a “low ball” offer from insurers. In this post we will focus on another important discussion - how comparative fault impacts such cases. If the insurance company is insisting that you were partially to blame for the accident, it is crucial that you retain a personal injury lawyer.

Comparative fault impacts the compensation one will receive for an Austin motorcycle accident

We have previously discussed Texas’ comparative fault laws for injury cases. This is an important issue in motorcycle accident cases. In our state, a victim may recover for their injuries as long as they were not more than fifty percent responsible for the accident. It is the trier of fact’s role to determine the percentage of fault which should belong to the Plaintiff and to the Defendant. As long as the Plaintiff is not more than fifty percent responsible for the incident then they will recover damages that are reduced by their percentage of the blame. This means, for example, that if a victim suffers $100,000 in damages and the jury believes that the victim is forty percent responsible for the incident then the victim will receive $60,000 ($100,000 - 40 percent). The percentage of blame assigned to each party will depend on the specific facts of an individual case.

It is easy to see how comparative fault plays a role in Austin motorcycle accidents. Suppose that a rider is weaving in and out of traffic. They may be behaving in a negligent fashion when he or she moves into a new lane. Now say a driver of a car moves into that same lane without looking or signaling and hits rider. It is likely that both the rider and the driver of the car were negligent and each bears fifty percent responsibility for the accident. This means that the rider would still be able to recover damages. In such a situation it is important that the victim have an attorney experienced in such matters so that counsel may argue the idea of fault before the jury.

An Austin motorcycle accident lawyer can use discovery to dispute the issue of comparative fault

We have previously discussed the role of discovery in personal injury cases. It can be crucial when dealing with the issue of comparative fault. Let’s look again at the hypothetical above. The motorcycle rider was likely negligent for swerving in and out of traffic and the driver was likely negligent for not paying attention and failing to signal. At first glance, it may appear that each party was equally to blame. The discovery process, however, may show that the driver of the car was also texting on their phone or engaging in some other form of distracted driving. This additional information may then cause the jury to assign a greater percentage of the fault to the driver. This would, in turn, increase the amount of compensation the victim receives. This is just one example of how important discovery is when dealing with comparative fault.

If you have been injured while riding then contact our Austin motorcycle accident lawyers today. We also service Travis County cities which include Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.