If you were partially at fault in a motorcycle accident in Louisville or surrounding areas in Kentucky, you might still be eligible for compensation. Kentucky is a comparative fault state so it’s important to establish the degree to which each party is at fault. Unfortunately, too many people don’t reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer, inadvertently admit fault early in the process, and lose out on money to which they might otherwise have been entitled.
Comparative fault refers to a legal doctrine in which each party’s responsibility is determined relative to the others involved. Kentucky is one of several states where comparative fault prevails in tort law. In practice, this doctrine means that if you’re 50 percent responsible for an accident, you can only recover 50 percent of the damages.
In a personal injury case, comparative fault means that you must be able to present evidence that clearly shows the extent of your responsibility. If you’re not careful, you could be found 75 percent liable for something you’re only 25 percent liable for. And if so, you could forfeit money to which you should be entitled.
What might make you at fault for a motorcycle accident? Several factors might make you partially liable for your accident in the eyes of the law. Generally, the party who has violated a law will be found more at fault. But reckless driving or driver negligence on your part will be considered and can lower the amount of compensation you can recover.
For example, if a car blows through a stop sign and hits your motorcycle, they will likely enjoy a greater share of the blame. But if they hit you while you were on your phone and drifting from side to side, then you probably would not be entitled to 100 percent of the recoverable damages.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, take the following steps. While you may be disoriented, following these steps will help you maximize your odds of a successful outcome.
The very first thing you need to do is get yourself and others to safety. Move away from the scene of the accident and oncoming traffic. The last thing you want to do is make the accident worse. Get to a safe distance immediately if your vehicle or any other vehicle involved in the accident is smoking or on fire.
Whether in a major accident or a minor fender bender, it’s best to call the police once you’ve gotten to safety. In an accident, emotions can get rather heated, so it’s important to have a neutral third party on hand who can diffuse tensions. Moreover, when it comes to law enforcement and insurance agency-led investigations, investigators will closely scrutinize the on-the-scene police report, weighing it more heavily than the accounts of each party. If you don’t have one, you may find it more difficult to obtain the compensation you seek.
Too many accident victims torpedo their chances of recouping damages by inadvertently admitting fault. Admitting fault doesn’t always take the form of a full-on confessional (although some victims, distraught and shaken up by the accident, do just that). Sometimes, just by saying things like, “I’m sorry” or “My bad,” you can give the other party the evidence they need to claim that the accident was fully or partially your fault.
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask if the other party is physically okay and exchange contact and insurance information. However, besides these things, you should keep quiet, reserving any comment for the police officer who arrives or a reputable Louisville motorcycle accident lawyer.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, gather evidence. Your trusty smartphone is extra handy in this regard. You can use its camera to take pictures of the scene. And you can and should identify witnesses and gather their contact information while you wait as well. If a bystander shares what they saw while waiting for the authorities, ask them politely if they’re willing to let you record them saying it. The more evidence you gather at the scene, the easier it will be to determine who was at fault and to what degree.
Most people at this stage will start filing an insurance claim. After all, insurance companies make it so easy with mobile apps that allow you to start a claim in minutes. But that’s not the best approach to take. Any narrative or items you file with your claim are considered evidence by the insurance companies in their own investigation, and you may not be offering a complete picture.
Insurance companies strive to pay the least they are legally entitled to. You’ll want to talk to a lawyer before you speak with a claims investigator to make sure you’re providing them with the evidence that best supports your claim.
After you’ve spoken with a lawyer, you’ll want to engage your insurance company. With the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, Louisville accident victims will be able to successfully navigate the claims process and avoid falling victim to bad faith insurance claims. These claims occur when an insurance company doesn’t handle your case appropriately, either by unfairly trying to deny you what they owe or through negligence. You’ll want a lawyer by your side to help you handle these claims, as well as your personal injury lawsuit.
When you call Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, you’ll benefit from an experienced team of lawyers who know the ins and outs of personal injury law, the local court system, and the insurance claims investigation process. We are available to contact 24/7 and will provide a case evaluation completely free of charge. And if you work with Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we’ll help you build the kind of case that clearly demonstrates who’s at fault and gives you the best chance to recover the damages you’re entitled to. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Louisville, contact us at Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers today and take the first step toward getting the compensation you deserve.