Determining Responsibility After a Motorcycle and Pedestrian Accident in Indiana

When a motorcycle accident takes place, determining fault can be a complex task, particularly if a pedestrian was injured. In most accidents involving pedestrians it is the pedestrian who is assumed to be the victim. Pedestrians are almost always given the right-of-way, correct? On the other hand, motorcyclists are required to follow the rules of the road; therefore, it is a driver’s or motorcyclist’s responsibility to watch out for pedestrians and do whatever can be done to avoid a collision, right? Well…not so fast. In truth, both parties are expected to exercise reasonable care.

In some instances, it may actually be the pedestrian who is at fault in an accident. Maybe he or she was talking on a cell phone or texting and failed to notice that the light had turned red. Or, perhaps the pedestrian ignored a “Don’t Walk” alert and crossed the street. Any number of scenarios could exist wherein a pedestrian’s negligence or carelessness is responsible for causing injury in an accident involving a motorcycle.

Even in cases where a motorcyclist is determined to be primarily responsible for a motorcycle versus pedestrian accident, any contributing negligence on the part of the injured pedestrian could affect the case and the amount of compensation paid to the injured. In the state of Indiana, this is what is known as contributory fault.

Indiana’s Comparative Fault Law

According to Indiana Code §34-51-2-5, Effect of Contributory Fault, “In an action based on fault, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for any injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery except as provided in section 6 of this chapter.”

Section 6 then states the only way a claimant could be barred from recovering damages is if his or her contributory fault is greater than 51 percent. As an example, if an injured pedestrian attempts to file a claim or lawsuit seeking compensation and the motorcyclist was found to be 40 percent responsible, and the pedestrian 60 percent at fault, no damages will be awarded. If the pedestrian was determined not to be at fault, he or she would be able to pursue the full value of the claim. Any contributory fault assigned, up to 49 percent, reduces the claim amount respectively. The same holds true in accidents where an injured motorcyclist is seeking damages.

How Fault Is Determined

Determining fault in an accident often requires an in-depth investigation, which may include conducting an exhaustive review of evidence both at the scene of the accident and afterwards, speaking with potential witnesses, gathering medical records, and examining police reports and other data. Some questions which can be used to help determine fault in a motorcycle versus pedestrian accident are:

  • Was the motorcyclist speeding at the time of the accident?
  • Was the motorcyclist violating any traffic laws?
  • Was the motorcyclist distracted by a cell phone or other electronic device?
  • Was the motorcyclist acting recklessly?
  • Was the pedestrian distracted?
  • Was the pedestrian violating the rules of the road (not staying within a crosswalk or crossing against the red light)?
  • Did road or weather conditions play a role in the accident?
  • Were there other factors that contributed to the accident?

If both parties are determined to be partially responsible, comparative negligence will be used to adjust the value of the claim.

Why You Need a Skilled Indiana Accident Attorney

When an accident occurs between a motorcycle and a pedestrian, hiring a skilled Indiana accident attorney can significantly improve your chances of achieving a positive outcome. Whether you were the motorcyclist or the pedestrian, our firm will work diligently to help you sort out the facts of the case with regard to fault so that the responsible party can be held liable, and the compensation you deserve can be pursued.

To find out more about the legal assistance our attorneys can provide, contact Jacobs Law to schedule a free consultation today.