Comparative Negligence and Motorcycle Accidents in California

By |2023-03-22T10:30:19+00:00December 31st, 2015|

Any motor vehicle accident can cause terrible injuries or death to any of the people involved. However, motorcycle accidents have a tendency to be one-sided with regard to who suffers the more severe injuries. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to grave injuries in accidents simply because motorcycles offer little protection when it comes to keeping riders safe from a direct impact.

In many motorcycle accidents, drivers in other vehicles are at fault because they fail to see the motorcycle on the road. Riders in Orange County should understand this problem so that they can anticipate it and try to avoid the terrible consequences of an accident with another vehicle. Sometimes, however, a motorcycle accident is caused by both a driver in another vehicle and the motorcyclist.

Just because the rider may be partially at fault for an accident does not necessarily mean that they cannot recover compensation for their accident-related damages. California’s negligence laws provide that an injured person can sue another party for the percentage of damages that the party caused. This legal concept, known as comparative negligence, means that if a motorcyclist can prove that an accident was caused in part by a driver in another vehicle, the motorcyclist can recover damages from that person.

Comparative negligence can be especially important in motorcycle accident cases because the rider might suffer a back or head injury that leads to burdensome medical expenses, while the other vehicle’s driver might only suffer minor injuries or none at all. Thus, even partial responsibility on the part of the other driver can mean substantial compensation for the injured rider.

If a negligent driver causes an accident with a motorcycle, the rider and their close family members should understand how they might be able to pursue a legal claim. In California, victims and their families have legal options, even when the motorcyclist may have been partially responsible for the accident.


About the Author:

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Doug Easton has practiced law since 1971. After 20 years of practicing with various large litigation firms, he founded the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton in 1991 as a solo practitioner. In the years that followed, Doug’s sons Brian and Matt joined him in the practice and helped build the firm into a powerful force to help right the wrongs done to their clients. Much of their success over the years has stemmed from the dynamic created by the familial nature of the firm and how harmoniously they all work together, each of their individual strengths complementing and fortifying the group as a whole. Accordingly, the firm changed its name to Easton & Easton, LLP in 2014 to better reflect the true dynamic of the firm and Doug now serves as Managing Partner of Easton & Easton. In 2015, Doug was selected as a Top 100 Litigation Lawyer in California by The American Society of Legal Advocates. In addition, Doug is listed in Strathmore’s Who’s Who, and in 2008 was named its “Professional of the Year” in Medical Malpractice.
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