Under the law, drivers of cars, trucks, and motorcycles have an equal right to use and enjoy highways and other roadways. Unfortunately, however, motorists and truckers often fail to keep a proper lookout for cyclists, with potentially devastating and even deadly consequences. If you have been hurt by a careless or reckless driver in Stuart or the surrounding cities, the injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation that you may be due under the law.Holding a Negligent Driver Liable for Damages
The relative size of a motorcycle puts riders at a substantial disadvantage when a collision occurs. This can lead to serious injuries, such as brain damage, back injuries, burns, amputations, fractures, and lacerations. In order to pursue a claim against the person who caused the crash, the victim must be able to make out a case of negligence. There are four steps in proving a negligence case:
- The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached the duty;
- An accident occurred as a result; and
- The plaintiff sustained quantifiable damages.
Each element must be shown by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that they are more likely than not to be true.
Once a case of negligence has been made, the main concern becomes the amount of money that it will take to compensate the injured person for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Damages fall into two general categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are those that can be quantified relatively objectively, such as medical expenses and lost wages. With regard to noneconomic damages that compensate the plaintiff for pain and emotional harm, it is up to the jury to make a determination as to the appropriate amount of compensation.
One issue that comes up frequently in motor vehicle accident cases is comparative negligence. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault law, a defendant can ask for a reduction in the amount of damages owed if he or she can prove that the opposing party was partially at fault in the accident. Unlike some states that follow harsher rules, however, the plaintiff is not completely barred from recovery if he or she was partially to blame.
In rare cases in which the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, there may be the possibility of punitive damages. Designed to punish the defendant, rather than to compensate the plaintiff, such damages are the exception rather than the rule, but they may be substantial if they are awarded.Discuss Your Motorcycle Accident Case with a Lawyer in Stuart
To make sure that your case is filed in a timely manner and to reduce the chance that spoliation of evidence will reduce your prospects of recovering compensation, it is imperative to speak with an experienced attorney. At Donaldson & Weston, we are skilled in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from accidents in the Stuart area. Our offices are conveniently located in Stuart and West Palm Beach, and we also serve people in Jupiter and other cities in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. We are focused exclusively on helping victims and their families. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 772-266-5555 or contact us online.