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Motorcycle accident basics

With summer in full swing, Washington's roads are full of motorcycles. Now is a good time to brush up on some frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents.

Who is at fault when a car turns left into a motorcycle? This scenario happens all too frequently. When it happens, the rule is the same for motorcycles as for cars. The car turning left is almost certainly at fault when it collides with a vehicle going straight in the opposite direction. The only exception to this rule is typically when the oncoming traffic ran a red light or was going well above the speed limit.

If the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet when an accident happened, can they still recover damages from the other driver, assuming the other driver was at fault? Yes. But, damages are, in part, based on each person's responsibility for the total amount of damage. By not wearing a helmet, the motorcyclist may have increased responsibility for the total amount of damage. As a result, they may receive less money following a lawsuit.

That leads to the next question: What is comparative negligence? This is a legal term for acknowledging that each driver will typically hold some level of responsibility for the accident. There are few times when one driver is exclusively responsible for an accident. When two or more drivers share responsibility, the person receiving compensation may have that amount reduced by their level of culpability for the accident. But, each case is unique, so the facts in any given case will be important.

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accident FAQ," Accessed June 21, 2016

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