Some accidents occur not only due to another’s fault but also because of the victim’s negligence. In Michigan, you can still recover damages even if you bear partial responsibility for the accident. Nonetheless, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and to consult with an expert attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Michigan’s Comparative Fault System
Negligence happens when the following elements are present:
- The defendant has a duty owed to the plaintiff.
- The defendant violated the obligation.
- The plaintiff suffered injury.
- There is a direct connection between the breach and harm.
In other car and motorcycle accidents, the injured party might also exhibit negligence. Under Michigan law, individuals partially at fault can still be eligible for compensation. Nevertheless, the court has the authority to reduce the damages awarded to the plaintiff. Michigan also adheres to the 51 percent bar rule wherein the plaintiff may not recover compensation if they’re found to be 51 percent or more responsible for the incident.
The comparative fault system affects the allocation of damages in car and motorcycle accident cases. Suppose the court found the plaintiff to be 40 percent liable for the Muskegon motorcycle accident. Additionally, the court has decided that the total damages is $150,000. In this case, the plaintiff may only receive 60 percent of the total award, which amounts to $90,000. The remaining 40 percent cannot be recovered due to the plaintiff’s share of fault in the incident.
Partial Fault in Car Accidents
A plaintiff may be partially responsible for a car accident in different ways. For example, the court can reduce the damages of a car crash victim who fails to wear a seatbelt during the incident. Failure to wear a seatbelt can serve as evidence of negligence. The court may reduce their damages by more than five percent.
Distracted driving can also lessen a plaintiff’s damages. Drivers are prohibited from texting and calling while operating a vehicle. Moreover, speeding and driving under the influence can also affect a victim’s compensation.
Hence, gathering evidence and witness statements is important to refute the defendant’s claims. For example, the defendant may argue that you were using your tablet when the accident happened. You can present CCTV footage showing that you’re focused on the road. You may also approach witnesses so they can testify that you’re an attentive driver.
Partial Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle crashes can also involve negligent drivers. For example, a rider who resorts to improper lane changes may receive reduced compensation in the event of an accident. Motorists are not allowed to change lanes without proper care.
Drivers must also pay attention to road signs and obey traffic regulations, such as using signals before making a turn. Let’s say an individual was involved in a Muskegon motorcycle accident, and the court found that traffic rules were violated. That person may only receive a percentage of the total damages. Thus, riders must always adhere to safe riding practices.
Investigation of Partially at Fault Accidents
It may be difficult to determine fault in car and motorcycle accidents. Law enforcement, accident reconstruction experts, and insurance companies may perform their own investigations to help uncover each party’s liability.
Police officers consider several factors in their report, including the following:
- Weather conditions
- Presence of alcohol or drugs
- Involved parties and their injuries
- Estimated speed of the vehicles
- Witness testimonies
On the other hand, accident reconstruction experts may create 3D models to show how the accident happened. They study and analyze the physical evidence to develop conclusions regarding the possible causes of the accident.
Insurance companies also investigate accidents to determine the amount of payout. They usually employ insurance adjusters who will look into the causes of the incident by interviewing the involved drivers and witnesses.
Hiring an expert attorney can help you gather evidence and establish your case. A lawyer can use the evidence in your favor. Following a road accident, it is best to organize essential documents such as medical records, police reports, and any other pertinent evidence.
Shafer Swartz PLC is Here to Serve
Seek compensation after a partially at-fault accident with the help of our experienced lawyers here at Shafer Swartz PLC. We can assist you in recovering damages for medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. Our Muskegon accident attorneys are experts in Michigan’s comparative negligence laws, helping you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at (231) 722-2444 or contact us here to book an appointment.