Motorcycle crashes near driveways are serious causes for concern. When a driver gets onto a road or highway near a driveway, they may be looking for cars but may not see a motorcycle. A motorcycle crash often leads to serious injuries for the motorcyclist, even if the driver of the other vehicle walks away without a scratch. If you are injured in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury or premises liability lawsuit. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our experienced principal previously worked in the insurance industry and understands how insurance adjusters think about motorcycle accidents and the damages that flow from them. Our California motorcycle accident attorneys can provide victims with knowledgeable legal representation.
Motorcycle Crashes Near Driveways May Cause Serious Injuries
When a car or truck comes onto a road or highway from the driveway of their house or business, the driver is supposed to use reasonable care. This typically includes looking both ways and determining whether they can turn onto the road without endangering someone who is lawfully driving on the road or highway. In many cases, you can sue a driver who causes your motorcycle to crash and recover damages under a theory of negligence.
Establishing negligence requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in exiting the driveway and thereby caused the plaintiff’s motorcycle to crash and injuries to result. In most cases, a jury will find that a defendant’s failure to look both ways was negligent.
However, in some cases, a defendant will raise the argument that the plaintiff was also negligent. When comparative negligence applies in California, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by an amount equal to their degree of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist was weaving through congested traffic, and the defendant had looked both ways but not seen the plaintiff because they were hidden by a car, it is possible that there was comparative negligence. The jury will determine the total damages and assign a percentage of fault to both parties, and damages will be reduced accordingly if needed.
Sometimes there is a legitimate claim to be raised against a property owner as well. It is usually not a complete defense for a driver to claim that their view was blocked by signs or vegetation. A driver is supposed to edge out into the road when there is an obstruction so that they can see clearly. However, in some cases, a driver is edging out, but the motorcyclist still hits the front of the car. It may be possible to hold a property owner liable for creating an obstruction. When the driver is the property owner and failed to trim the bushes, for example, you may be able to hold the driver liable not only for their negligence but also for creating a dangerous condition.
You may recover damages if you establish a premises liability claim. Generally, you will need to show that a property owner created the dangerous condition or knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property that caused the injuries. The length of time that the problem existed may affect whether or not the property owner should have known about overgrown vegetation, for example. However, if the driveway is the driver’s home, it may be fairly straightforward to show that the driver had dealt with the vegetation issue in the past and should have taken steps to trim the bushes or trees that obstructed their view.