This is the next post our series on Rochester, Minnesota motorcycle accident cases. Our last post provided an overview of topics that will be addressed in this series. We also discussed the need to retain a well-funded personal injury attorney to handle such matters. The law firm you hire must have the resources to retain expensive expert witnesses and to front other costs depending on what happens with your claim. In this article we will discuss the process of establishing and determining liability in such cases. Contact our office to speak with a lawyer if you or a loved one have been injured.
Rochester motorcycle accident cases are subject to Minnesota’s comparative fault laws
We have previously discussed how Minnesota’s comparative fault laws impact the rights of accident victims. These concepts also apply in motorcycle accident * cases. In our state a victim of an accident may recover compensation for injuries as long as he or she was not more than 50% responsible for the incident. In a trial, a jury decides the percentage of fault for each party. Any award is reduced by the victim’s share of the fault. This means that if a victim is awarded $100,000 for injuries, and a jury finds the victim is 40% responsible for the accident, the victim will receive $60,000 ($100,000 minus 40%). How fault is assigned in any given case does depend on the specific facts of the situation.
It may be easier to understand the concept of comparative fault by reading an example: If a Rochester motorcycle rider quickly changes lanes without signaling and cuts in front of a car that then hits the motorcycle rider, a jury may find the motorcycle rider at fault. However, if the driver of the car is texting on her cell phone and not paying attention to the road, she may be found to bear some responsibility for the accident. The rider quickly changed lanes without signaling and cut off a car while the driver was not paying attention to the road. Under this scenario it is possible that the jury would assign a majority of the blame to the driver. Such a finding would likely depend on being able to show that, in spite of the rider’s negligence, the accident would not have occurred if the driver had been paying attention. Again, a jury determines the percentages of fault for all parties.
Discovery is important for proving fault in Rochester motorcycle accident cases
Discovery is the process by which information is obtained from plaintiffs and defendants in a lawsuit. We previously discussed the use of discovery in truck accident cases. It also can be used to prove fault in motorcycle accidents. In our example above, the discovery process could be used to obtain the car driver’s cell phone records. These records would show the times she was making calls, texting, or posting on social media on her phone. Such records can help prove that the driver was distracted. You can see why discovery is vital to proving liability in motorcycle vs. car accidents. Discovery can be an expensive and lengthy process. That’s why it is important that you select a lawyer with the resources to handle the matter properly.
Our Rochester motorcycle accident attorneys have recovered more than $125 million on behalf of victims. We have the financial resources and experience necessary to handle your case from beginning to end. Contact us today for assistance.
We also serve the following southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”