Florida’s traffic collision laws follow the pure comparative negligence approach, which pertains to both car accidents as well as motorcycle accidents. This approach focuses on the percentage of fault an individual has on causing the accident in question. The determined percentage of fault will then justify the compensation amount allowed for injuries and damages sustained in the accident.
The pure approach is simple. If a judge determines that you were less than 51% responsible for the accident, you’ll be allowed a certain percentage of damage compensation. The percentage in which you will receive, however, will be decreased by the amount of fault you were determined to have possessed. For example, if the total damage amount awarded was $20,000 and the judge found you to be 20% at fault, you would be rewarded $16,000 (100 percent minus 20 percent is 80 percent, so you get 80% of $20,000, which equals $16,000).
Determining Motorist vs. Motorcyclist Negligence Percentages
Negligence is defined as a failure to use reasonable care, which then results in damage or injury to another person or object. The term can refer to a variety of driving factors that cause a driver or motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle and collide into another.
In order to identify whether your accident was caused by someone’s negligence—and, if so, by whom—you must understand how the following actions can lead to a collision:
- Drunkenness. Driving while intoxicated—whether driving a car or a motorcycle—is extremely irresponsible. We all know that alcohol and drugs can drastically impair a person’s ability to see, concentrate, and respond to danger. Consequently, a driver who chooses to put himself in control of a vehicle when he is unfit to do so is considered negligent.
- Distraction. To drive safely, you must be able to focus your attention on the road ahead and be aware of your surroundings. Anything that could potentially take that focus away can be distracting (texting, changing radio channels, adjusting your helmet). By giving into a distraction and taking your focus off your safety responsibilities, you’re making the choice to behave negligently.
- Recklessness. A licensed driver has the legal obligation to act in a respectful and safe manner while driving. Any type of inappropriate or unsafe driving behavior—speeding, swerving in-and-out of traffic, driving erratically, etc.—that puts other drivers at risk is considered negligent. Choosing to ignore the responsibility your license gives puts you at fault for negligence and liable for any consequences that follow.
Keeping these factors in mind, a judge will investigate the circumstances of the accident—including evidence you and your lawyer provide—to determine whose negligence caused the accident and whether your actions aided the damage or prevented further damage. The judge’s determination will then decide how much damages should be awarded and from whom.
Although the majority of motorcycle accidents result from the negligence of drivers, this doesn’t automatically mean that you should be held liable for an accident caused by the negligence of a motorcyclist. If you feel that your collision resulted from the inappropriate actions of a motorcyclist, you need the experience of a seasoned lawyer. It can be extremely difficult to prove liability in motorcycle cases, especially since the rider will most likely have suffered worse injuries than you. However, just because he may have physically suffered more, doesn’t mean that you should suffer financially for his mistakes.
Fill out the convenient contact form provided on this page. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible to set up a free consultation and review of your case. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of or painted as the villain for something you didn’t do; contact us today to get the peace of mind and compensation you deserve.