What is comparative negligence in a motorcycle accident?

By: Zack Hendon | Posted on: August 24, 2015 9:00 am

Motorcycles on the roadIf you ride a motorcycle or know motorcycle riders, chances are that you known how dangerous the roads can be. Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, often causing serious injury. The last thing anyone wants to hear after a motorcycle accident is that they are barred from recovery because of comparative negligence.

What is comparative negligence? I have been a licensed motorcycle rider for forty years so this concept is important to me. This is what you need to know about comparative negligence.

What is comparative negligence?

Georgia used to be what is known as a contributory negligence state. Contributory negligence is a defense used to eliminate verdicts by the defendant. Contributory negligence meant if an injured motorcyclist was 50% or more at fault, he or she was barred from recovery.

What are the Georgia laws about comparative negligence?

Georgia now has what is known as a modified comparative negligence law, which means the injured motor cycle rider’s recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault which is attributable to the motorcycle rider.

For example, if the motorcyclist was 25% at fault and the verdict was $100,000, his recovery would be reduced by $25,000. However, if bike rider’s fault reaches 50%, the motorcyclist would still be barred from recovery, just like it used to be under contributory negligence law.

How do you defend against contributory negligence?

To reduce the effects of this harsh rule, it is important for the attorneys to develop evidence through eye witness testimony and an accident reconstructionist to place the greater blame on the other driver. There is a natural bias against motorcyclists which will need to be challenged. Studies have found that in crashes involving another vehicle, about 2/3 of the time it is the other driver’s fault.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are about 35 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than the other driver. Even if death does not result from the crash, often the injuries to the motorcyclist are catastrophic including paralysis and limb amputation.

If you are in need of an experienced accident and death attorney to discuss a motorcycle wreck, please call The Hendon Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation at (770)284-3737.