A California jury recently awarded a motorcyclist just over $3,700,000 in a case involving serious bodily injury. In that case, two motorcycles were sharing the outer lane traveling northbound on Interstate 5. As they were approaching the Los Angeles River, a car driver changed lanes without signaling. The car then came to a stop at a 45-degree angle in the motorcyclists’ lane. One motorcyclist managed to swerve in time but the second motorcyclist was unable to avoid the car. He collided with the car and was thrown from his motorcycle. His motorcycle landed on top of him causing serious bodily injury.
At trial, the car driver argued that he was not at fault for the incident and that the motorcyclist was at fault. The car driver argued the following:
- The motorcyclist was not paying attention
- The motorcyclist was following too closely
- The motorcyclist was not driving at a reasonable speed
- The motorcyclist was lane-splitting
Despite these arguments, the jury awarded $3,700,000 for the motorcyclist who argued that the car driver was not paying attention and was carelessly driving.
When awarding damages, the jury also found that the motorcyclist was 13% responsible for the accident with the car driver bearing 87% of the responsibility for the accident.
Does the Law Allow a Person to Win a Lawsuit When that Person Is at Fault?
In California, a person can be awarded damages even if he or she is at fault. When this happens, the amount that the person is awarded gets reduced by the percent of his or her fault. Even when the person holds the majority of the fault, that person can still file a lawsuit and prevail against the other party.
Knowing the Law Is Essential in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Many cases do not get filed because the injured party does not know their rights. Regardless of the specific facts, it is always important to consult an attorney to determine whether your case has merit.
It should also be noted that at the time of the accident, lane-splitting had not been specifically authorized by California law. This meant that there was a gray area as to whether the motorcyclist was at fault while lane-splitting. Beginning on January 1, 2017, a new rule will take effect that specifically legalizes lane splitting. Had this new rule been in effect at the time of this case, the award would have been even greater because the motorcyclist would have been less at fault.
Binder & Associates Are Experienced in Motorcycle Accident Cases
It is clear from this case that experience and knowledge about the law can greatly benefit a person involved in a motorcycle accident. Binder & Associates has the knowledge to help victims of motorcycle accidents. If you have been involved in an accident and would like to discuss your case with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, Binder & Associates will provide you with a free consultation at (626) 793-9124.