Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Most motorcyclists are very cautious when they are on the road. However, society often views riders as thrillseekers who take unnecessary chances. As a result, it can be difficult for motorcyclists to be compensated fairly after accidents that are not their fault.
ICBC no-fault benefits are available for motorcycle accidents, but what if the driver of the other vehicle caused the crash? If this is the case, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you receive the benefits you deserve from ICBC and file a tort claim against the careless driver.
For assistance with a motorcycle accident claim in Vancouver and other areas of British Columbia, please call Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 today for a free consultation. Our motorcycle accident lawyers will perform a thorough investigation and pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Why Do I Need to Prove Fault?
Your avenues to compensation after a motor vehicle accident can be divided into two categories:
- A first-party claim: This is for Part 7 or No-Fault accident benefits through ICBC
- A third-party claim: This is a personal injury claim you pursue for compensation if the other driver was at fault for the accident
You do not need to prove that anyone was at fault for the accident for your first-party ICBC claim. Benefits are available regardless of who caused the accident.
However, to obtain fair compensation for pain and suffering and other damages not covered by your ICBC settlement, you will need to file a tort claim against the party responsible for the accident. In this situation, you and your lawyer will need to prove fault.
How to Prove Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
Simply saying that the driver of the other vehicle was at fault is not enough. You must be able to provide testimony and evidence to support your claim.
ICBC adjusters are often biased in their treatment of motorcyclists, considering them inherently reckless. They will use this assumption to undercut or deny your claim against the negligent driver. As a result, it is important to hire a lawyer who will prepare the strongest case possible to ensure that the blame for your motorcycle accident is placed where it belongs.
Some of the steps our motorcycle accident lawyers will take to determine fault in the crash include:
1. Investigating the Scene of the Accident
Crash sites can tell a lot about what happened in the moments immediately before an accident, as well as the aftermath. When necessary, we will send investigators to the scene of the accident promptly to document key details such as:
- The layout of the road or intersection where the accident occurred
- The positioning and timing of traffic lights
- The placement of road signs
- Skid marks, damage to curbs and barriers, debris in the road, and other signs of the accident
Our team will take photos and video of the scene. We can compare our records with reports prepared by the police and ICBC in order to develop an effective claim on your behalf.
2. Examining the Vehicles Involved
Although it is sometimes possible for our investigators to assess the condition of the vehicles before they are removed from the scene of the accident, this usually happens at a later date. During the inspection, we will look for the following:
- The nature and extent of the damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle(s) involved
- The location of the damage
- The presence of vehicle defects that may have played a role in the accident
- Information from the event data recorder; not all cars have these “onboard computers,” but they are becoming more common in newer-model vehicles
If ICBC contests liability in your motorcycle accident claim, Klein Lawyers may hire accident reconstructionists and other experts who can provide specialized analysis of the crash and offer opinions in support of your claim.
3. Interviewing Witnesses
Most accident claims are stalemates. One motorist will say the other is at fault, and vice versa. In addition to physical evidence, it is often helpful to have eyewitness testimony that can help establish who is truly at fault.
Accident reports often include the names and contact information for witnesses at the scene. If you weren’t taken to the hospital right away, you might even have talked to people who saw your motorcycle accident.
Our lawyers will find witnesses and interview them as part of preparing your case. We will assess their credibility and compare their statements to the facts of the case.
Their testimony may support your account of what happened in the motorcycle accident, or it may contradict your claim. In either event, a witness statement may be valuable; knowing disadvantageous facts in advance helps us anticipate possible arguments from ICBC.
4. Investigating the Driver’s Actions
In a motorcycle accident tort claim, the other driver must be found to be at fault for you to recover compensation for your injuries. As such, determining what the driver of the other vehicle did or did not do leading up to the accident is crucial for proving your case.
We will speak to you in detail about what you remember seeing the driver do before he or she hit your bike. Signs of negligence immediately prior to an accident may include:
- Erratic driving
- Tailgating, honking, or aggressively passing other cars
- Drifting into other lanes
- Disobeying traffic signs and signals
A combination of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony can support your claim regarding the driver’s careless behavior behind the wheel.
5. Determining the Involvement of Other Parties
In some motorcycle accidents, fault may be shared by several different parties. For example, in the event of an automotive defect, the manufacturer of the vehicle or part may be liable for your injuries. Or, if you are injured in a crash with a commercial driver, the driver’s employer could be partially at fault due to negligent hiring practices or poor supervision of its workers.
The only way to determine if additional parties are at fault in the accident is a thorough investigation taking into account all facts of the case.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
If ICBC benefits aren’t enough to cover your losses after a motorcycle accident and you believe the other driver was at fault, Klein Lawyers can help you pursue full compensation. We know that motorcyclists often face an uphill struggle in tort claims, and we have the experience and resources to help you overcome these challenges.
Please call (604) 874-7171 today for a free evaluation of your case. Our lawyers serve injured motorcyclists in the greater Vancouver area and all of British Columbia.