Since 1998, motorcycle fatalities in Tennessee have more than tripled, according to the Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security. A motorcycle’s smaller profile puts it at risk of not being seen by a driver who fails to check mirrors and blind spots before switching into another lane. If you were injured by a driver who caused an unsafe lane changing accident, you may be entitled to reimbursement for costs arising from the crash. The Nashville motorcycle accident lawyer Matt Hardin has many years of experience pursuing the compensation that people like you deserve.
Filing a Negligence Lawsuit to Hold Careless Drivers Accountable
A cyclist hurt in an unsafe lane changing accident can seek compensation by filing a negligence claim. To prevail in most of these lawsuits, a victim must establish four essential elements:
The defendant owed a duty to the victim;
The defendant breached the duty;
The victim’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s carelessness; and
The victim incurred compensable damages because of those injuries.
These elements may sound technical and complex, but they are often straightforward in reality. All people have a duty to avoid unreasonable behavior that could foreseeably harm others. Unsafe actions while driving, like failing to check a blind spot, drifting into another lane, or breaking any other traffic rule, is usually considered a breach of this duty.
The third element, causation, has two parts. The injured cyclist must show that the accident and ensuing harm would not have happened if the driver had not breached the duty, such as by not checking a blind spot. Moreover, the victim needs to prove that the injury resulting from the breach was reasonably foreseeable. This is usually the case when a driver drifts into another lane without looking and strikes a motorcycle since there would be nothing surprising about a motorcycle or other vehicle driving in the other lane.
If the injured person can prove all three of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, he or she will be entitled to compensation for any physical, emotional, and financial injuries. These often include pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage to a motorcycle.
If the defendant in a motorcycle accident case violated a law that requires a particular duty of care, the victim may allege that the driver was negligent as a matter of law. This concept is called negligence per se. If successful, the cyclist only then needs to prove causation. Some victims choose to take this path because it prevents the defendant from arguing that he or she acted reasonably and therefore did not breach a legal duty.
Not every statute violation creates a negligence per se claim. In determining whether this type of argument is proper, the court will consider whether the victim was the type of person the statute was designed to protect and whether the victim’s injuries were the type of harm the statute was designed to prevent. A good example is a drunk-driving law that a driver violated by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By showing that the defendant broke this law, an injured cyclist can proceed directly to the causation element of a negligence lawsuit. A lawyer knowledgeable in Nashville injury claims can help you determine if this approach would make sense in your case.
Consult a Tennessee Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If you were hurt by a car in an unsafe lane changing accident, you may be able to seek compensation through settlement negotiations or in court and hold the negligent driver accountable. The Tennessee injury attorney Matt Hardin can evaluate your case and help you seek the money you need. Call email us to arrange a free consultation.