When filing a personal injury lawsuit following a motorcycle accident, one would normally include at least one claim of negligence against the at-fault driver. Negligence, in the legal sense, is the failure to exercise the same level of care, which a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances, or similar ones. California assigns five elements to a standard negligence claim, with each “element” serving as a critical unit of the claim. The latter would only succeed after all five were established.
- Duty: The defendant must be required by the legal system to act in a specific manner towards the injured motorcyclist. If the motorcycle accident involved a truck or passenger vehicle, its driver would be held responsible for the crash if they failed to exercise reasonable care.
- Breach of Duty: The driver with the legal duty should have breached the same, whether or not deliberately. In California, breaking a traffic law causes the courts to automatically assume a breach of duty from the defendant’s side, under a legal theory called “negligence per se”.
- Cause-in-Fact: The injured driver must prove that the other caused the injuries he or she suffered from, as well as any other losses they seek to claim. This element may also be called the “but-for” causation, as the injured motorcyclist is required to show that his or her injuries or losses could have been avoided if not for the actions of the defendant.
- Proximate Cause: In a motorcycle accident case, the driver is not responsible, either financially or legally, for any unforeseeable harm that the motorcyclist suffered from the accident. In most California motorcycle injury lawsuits, however, serious injuries fall under the foreseeable category, which means establishing negligence also establishes proximate cause.
- Damages: The injured driver is required to show that the accident he or she was in, caused legally recognized harm, which includes financial losses, bodily injury, and damage to vehicle and/or property.
Hiring a motorcycle injury attorney is often a good way to proceed after a crash. A good personal injury lawyer can gather evidence from all involved parties to build a strong case. The main focus of which would be to prove that the other driver was careless, that they caused the accident through their negligence, and that you suffered because of it.