Many obstacles stand in the way of compensation for motorcycle accident victims. Some of those obstacles are real, and some are imagined. When it comes to the second of the two, being partially at fault is among the most common.
Many motorcyclists are already reluctant to file compensation claims, and if they were cited for a traffic violation or contributing to a crash, they may forgo filing an injury claim altogether that they see as hopeless. But Oklahoma uses a modified contributory negligence system, which means that victims can still pursue compensation for their accident-related expenses if they were partially at fault for their crashes.
Your Compensation Is Proportionate to Your Level of Fault
Although you can still file a compensation claim after an accident that was partially your fault, the amount of money you’re eligible to recover is dependent on the percentage of fault you’re assigned. Here’s what you need to know about this system:
- You must be less than 51% at fault to file a compensation claim—If you’re ruled to be mostly at fault for a crash, you can’t pursue compensation. However, you may be able to get this ruling revised or overturned if new evidence is found and presented that shows you are not the majority at fault.
- Your award is reduced by your percentage of fault—You can’t get full compensation after a motorcycle accident if you were partially at fault for causing it, and the amount deducted from your claim is based on your percentage of fault. If you were 25% at fault for a crash and are awarded $10,000, $2,500 will be subtracted from your check to account for your degree of fault.
Your level of fault is typically initially decided by the police officer who is dispatched to the scene. However, this percentage can be later disputed, as the level isn’t always decided with extreme precision or with all of the facts in hand and mind.
The Insurance Company Will Argue That You Were More than 50% at Fault
Motorcyclists already face uphill battles when it comes to getting compensation, as insurance companies are notoriously biased against them. They’re reluctant to pay fair settlements even when victims are 0% at fault and did nothing to contribute to or cause their accidents.
So when there’s any indication of fault on the part of motorcyclists, whether it’s in the accident reports, in dashcam footage, or even in witness statements, they are quick to deny their claims altogether, often by arguing that their level of fault exceeds 50%.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is vital in helping prove your liability was less than 50%.
What Constitutes Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Even if you were hit by a driver who wasn’t paying attention to the road, you can still be considered partially at fault for any of the following reasons:
- You were speeding—It’s easy to briefly exceed the speed limit on a motorcycle due to their fast acceleration. But if the insurance company can prove you were speeding in the minutes or moments before the crash, they can use that fact against you.
- You didn’t have your lights on—Motorcyclists should always have their lights on, even when they ride during the day. That’s because riders need to be visible at all times. If visibility was even slightly reduced and your lights weren’t on, the insurance company may say that you’re partially at fault.
- You didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign—Even if the driver who hit you didn’t stop at all and you would have had the right of way at a stop sign, rolling through an intersection without coming to a complete stop can cause the insurance company to argue that your portion of the fault is enough to rule you out of receiving any compensation.
These are just a few of the common reasons that insurers conjure up to paint motorcyclists as being fully or at least more than 50% at fault for their crashes. There’s no limit to their imaginations, especially when they believe they can get away with twisting facts.
Our Lawyers Can Protect You from a Stubborn Insurance Company
Insurance companies aren’t the only institutions that are biased against motorcyclists. It’s also common for law enforcement agencies to believe motorcyclists are partially at fault for their crashes, too. Thankfully, you can still get compensation even if you’re partially at fault, but that just gives even more incentive to the insurance company to try to deny your claim.
When you contact our Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorneys, we’ll review all the facts to ensure that your level of fault, if any exists, is accurate and fair. Then, we’ll fight to ensure the insurance company will pay you a fair settlement based on your injuries and lost wages—even if you are still considered partially at fault.
Contact Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers today. We know what you’re going through, and we want to help.