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Proving Fault After a Motorcycle Accident

Posted on: August 19, 2020 by Tony Edwards

Motorcycle accident injury victim rescued by paramedics.

A critical part of any motorcycle accident claim is proving who is at fault. Recovering compensation will depend on whether you have strong evidence that the other party is to blame. Without compelling proof, accident victims can find it difficult to obtain the money they need after a wreck.

Establishing fault after a motorcycle accident can be a challenging task. At-fault drivers and their insurance companies often try to shift blame for the accident onto another party — or onto you — in order to minimize how much they have to pay out. An experienced Oklahoma motorcycle accident attorney at Edwards & Patterson Law can collect the evidence necessary to build a convincing case about what happened and who should be held responsible.

Were you or a loved one hurt in a motorcycle crash in Oklahoma? You could be entitled to compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

How Is Fault Proven in Oklahoma Accidents?

In order to prove fault in motorcycle crashes in Oklahoma, you must show that the at-fault party was negligent in some way. There are four main components of negligence:

  • Duty: You must establish that the responsible party had a duty to keep you safe from harm. If you were hit by another driver, this can be relatively simple to prove, because all drivers have a duty to drive responsibly.
  • Breach: Evidence must show that the other party breached, or violated, their duty to you. Running a stop sign or red light are examples of a breach.
  • Causation: The evidence must explain exactly how the breach resulted in your injury(s).
  • Damages: It must also show that you suffered injuries and other losses that can be resolved through a monetary settlement.

Hiring a skilled lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident case can ensure that all four requirements for proving negligence are met.

What Evidence Do I Need to Gather After My Motorcycle Accident?

Gathering as much proof as possible is essential in order to obtain maximum compensation after a motorcycle accident. There are many potential sources of evidence. You can obtain some of it yourself if you are not too injured, such as:

  • Accident-related bills: Keep track your medical bills, insurance statements, pay stubs, motorcycle repair receipts, prescription receipts, and other expenses that you have incurred due to the crash.
  • Police accident report: This will include information about the accident, the names of the motorists involved, the weather/road/traffic conditions, the names of any eyewitnesses, the types of injuries suffered or suspected, and whether anyone was cited or arrested for the wreck.
  • Insurance information: Collect the insurance information from all involved parties, including the name of their insurance companies, policy numbers, and the names of the insured.
  • Photos and video surveillance: Photos and videos from the accident scene can provide visual proof of what happened. Taking pictures of your injuries, damage to the vehicles involved, and any environmental factors that may have contributed to the crash (like skid marks or broken guardrails) can go a long way in proving fault.
  • Witness statements: Anyone who saw the crash may be able to provide valuable testimony to support your motorcycle accident claim. Try to get their names and contact information at the accident scene.
  • Medical records:  Your treatment history after the accident will form the foundation of your claim for compensation. Records from your doctors and therapists will show the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. It is sometimes quicker to obtain these reports on your own, but your attorney can help collect what you need, too.

Don’t worry if you are unable to gather all this information yourself. A knowledgeable lawyer will know what’s necessary to build a strong claim and can collect it while you heal. An attorney can also strengthen your claim by consulting with third-party experts for additional evidence.

Is Oklahoma a No-Fault State?

Oklahoma is considered a fault state. That means that whoever is at fault for a crash is responsible for paying for any injuries and property damage that result from it.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you will first demand compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, if they did not have insurance or not enough insurance to cover your damages, you could seek compensation through your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company After the Wreck?

No. Adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company have one goal – to get you to accept the minimum amount of money possible to settle your claim. One of the primary ways that they will try to do that is by seeking a recorded statement from you. It’s highly recommended that you contact a lawyer before providing any sort of statement or authorizing the insurer to access your medical records.

If the other driver’s insurance company calls before you have had a chance to speak with an attorney, politely tell them that you are seeking legal advice and will have your lawyer contact them. From that point, your lawyer can do all the talking so that nothing is said that could jeopardize your case.

What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

You can still collect compensation if you are partly at fault for a motorcycle accident in Oklahoma. The state uses a comparative negligence rule when determining fault. That means that each party is assigned a percentage of fault depending on how much they contributed to the crash.

It’s essential to ensure that you are assigned a fair portion of fault. As long as you are 49 percent or less responsible for the motorcycle accident, compensation is possible. But if you are 50 percent or more to blame, you cannot receive any money at all.

It’s important to note that your ultimate amount of compensation will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are assigned. For that reason, it’s beneficial to have a lawyer represent you so that you are not unfairly blamed.

Get Help from an Oklahoma Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, don’t fight the insurance companies alone. Our Oklahoma motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to help. At Edwards & Patterson Law, we stand up for accident victims so that they obtain the justice they are owed. Contact us today to learn your legal options in a free consultation.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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