Orange County, California is home to almost 60,000 motorcycles as of 2023, so it should come as no surprise that motorcycle accident cases are a fairly common element in traffic law in the region.
The state of California differs from other states in the manner in which it assigns negligence during a motorcycle accident. The damages assigned will depend on how the principle of comparative negligence affects their case.
Let’s explore how the concept of comparative negligence and the role of an Orange County, California motorcycle accident lawyer can impact the outcome of a case.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
The term “comparative negligence” describes how liability is assigned in a vehicular accident, and it is how the court determines fault among the involved parties. States may select one of a variety of forms of comparative negligence; for instance, one of the most common types is modified comparative negligence.
In this circumstance, a driver who is found to be less than 50% (or 51%, depending on the state) at fault for an accident has the right to make a legal claim to recover damages. However, if a party is determined to be primarily at fault, they are not eligible to recover damages sustained during the accident, even if the other driver also played a role.
Another alternative practiced in several states is pure contributory negligence which means those involved in an accident are only eligible for compensation if they were entirely not at fault. If they are deemed even 1% responsible for the accident, they are no longer able to recover damages.
However, in California, the law follows pure comparative negligence. This type grants each party the right to attempt to secure damages in accordance with the losses caused by the accident, regardless of who is at fault. However, the value of the recovery will be impacted by the fault of the affected party.
Why Comparative Negligence Matters
As a pure comparative negligence state, in California when an individual has been involved in a motorcycle accident, the amount that they can recover in damages will be calculated based upon their liability for the crash.
For instance, if the court finds that a motorcycle driver is 30% at fault for an accident, and the motorcyclist is attempting to recover the cost of their totaled vehicle at $50,000, they would only be eligible to secure 70% of that $50,000. Their financial recovery has been limited by the fault that they bore in causing the accident.
In order to establish proper assignment of liability, connect with an attorney as soon as possible after the motorcycle accident. Attorneys understand the process necessary to properly document the elements of the scene.
They understand how to compile and present evidence to ensure that a driver is not unduly assigned fault. As a result, the individual can attempt to secure financial damages that more closely address their losses.
The Types of Damages Impacted by Assigned Negligence
Damages for which an individual can make a legal claim following a motorcycle accident vary depending upon what happened during and as a result of the crash.
Some of the most common factors include the value of the totaled vehicle, the cost to repair damage, and the expenses associated with seeking medical treatment or rehabilitation after the event.
However, other potential recoveries include lost income if the accident results in their inability to work for any period of time, or if their employment is terminated as a result.
Any type of damage category is open to adjustment according to California’s pure comparative negligence, which is why working with an attorney early in the process is vital for a better outcome.
Get Guidance from an Expert Orange County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, your first priority should always be your own safety and that of the people around you, and seeking medical attention if necessary. Once you are safe and the area is secure, take photos or videos of both the crash site and any injuries you have sustained or damage to property.
This evidence will be valuable for determining fault. Before speaking to the other driver’s insurance company or legal team, first consult with a motorcycle accident attorney who can advocate on your behalf and guide you through the legal aspects of the collision.
The professionals at Lehr Law can help you combat the financial losses associated with California’s pure comparative negligence rules helping you to recover the most amount of damages possible in your case. Contact Lehr Law to schedule a consultation.