COVID-19 Notice: Malman Law’s staff is working at office & from home so that we can do our part to fight the spread of this virus within our community.

Learn more x
Free Consultations | Tap To Call Today: 1.888.625.6265

Speak to a Lawyer 24hrs a Day


Free Consultation, Call Now!

What if I Am Partially at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?

Schedule Free Case Review

Free Case Reviews

Please fill out the form below and a representative at Malman Law will contact you within 24 hours to discuss the specifics of your personal injury case.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What if I Am Partially at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?

You were involved in a severe motorcycle accident. You have injuries, but you will recover. However, the time off work and the extensive medical costs are starting to drain you financially, which makes you turn to the idea of filing a personal injury lawsuit.

While you did not cause the accident, you feel that you might have contributed to the injuries in that accident. For example, you chose not to wear a helmet. Therefore, you suffered serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. Since you did not wear a helmet, are you partially at-fault here?

If so, how does that impact your compensation value, or will you receive compensation at all?

These types of cases are quite common, especially motorcycle and vehicle accident cases. One party might have contributed slightly to the accident or injury but did not cause the incident itself. While you could try to battle the insurance company and prove that you are not to blame, it is best that you consult with an injury attorney any time you are dealing with an injury case – especially one that involves you being partially at-fault.

How to Handle Motorcycle Injuries When You are Partially At-Fault in Chicago

When you might be partially to blame for your injuries, the insurance company uses it to their advantage. They will try to push the blame as much on you as possible to reduce their losses or get the case thrown out. Therefore, any time you question your role in the accident, you should speak with an attorney. An attorney can protect you from this common strategy used by insurance companies and defense attorneys.

Fault for Not Wearing a Helmet

Currently, the state of Illinois has no helmet requirements for motorcycle riders. While there have been attempts, once you are over 18 years old, you are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet. While you might not receive a citation for not wearing your helmet, your failure to wear a helmet could be used against you in a civil case.

The motorist might have caused the accident, but if most of your injuries and damages came from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the insurance company could argue that your choice to not wear a helmet is your contribution and that their client is not responsible 100 percent for the damages associated with that injury.

Understanding How the Negligence System Works

Before we can discuss how your negligence might affect your case, we must first talk about how the negligence system works in the state of Illinois. Illinois uses the comparative method for negligence.

Comparative versus Contributory

Negligence is what determines liability in an accident. In a motorcycle accident in Illinois, you must show which party was the most negligent to decide on how compensation is apportioned. There are two principal types of negligence used: comparative and contributory. Sometimes these terms are used synonymously, but they should not be. These are two very different types of negligence determinations.

Some states use contributory, while others use comparative or a modified version of comparative. Most states today use comparative, but there are still a few states relying on the older contributory rules.

Contributory negligence laws do not allow a victim to recover compensation if they are even partially at-fault. Therefore, if the courts find that you are even five percent at-fault, you are barred from seeking compensation entirely. As you can see, many victims would be unable to collect compensation, because all it takes is a good enough defense attorney to argue that the victim was even a portion at-fault.

That is why most states use comparative or modified comparative negligence laws instead. Comparative laws are used in Illinois, and they allow the injured party to collect compensation still even if they are partially at-fault for the accident. However, their damages are reduced with respect to the amount of fault.

The Three Types of Comparative Negligence

There are three types of comparative negligence being used in various states:

  • Pure Comparative Negligence
  • Modified Comparative Negligence – 50 Percent Rule
  • Modified Comparative Negligence – 51 Percent Rule

Pure Comparative Negligence

In pure comparative negligence, the judge assigns each party a degree of fault in the accident. Then, depending on the amount of responsibility assigned to you, your compensation will be reduced. For example, if your case settles at $100,000, but you were found 30 percent at-fault, your reward is reduced by $30,000 – which means you get $70,000.

Modified Comparative Negligence

In a modified comparative negligence system, which is what is used in Illinois, the judge looks at the percentage of fault by each party. Unlike pure comparative negligence, if your fault percentage goes over a threshold, then you will be barred from seeking compensation.

Some states use the 50 percent bar, while others use the 51 percent. In Illinois, the law applies the 51 percent bar. Therefore, if the judge decides that you are 51 percent or more at-fault, then you cannot collect compensation for your injuries. You can, however, still obtain compensation if you are 50 percent or less at-fault.

Defending Yourself Against Accusations of Fault

Unfortunately, because the state allows you to collect compensation up to 50 percent or less fault, many insurance companies will try to prove you are 51 percent or more at-fault. The evidence is your best defense against this common tactic. The more evidence you have proving fault, the easier it will be to thwart these attempts.

Some evidence your attorney will use to protect you include:

  • Witness Statements – Eyewitness statements at the time of the accident are essential. A witness could be the deciding factor in determining fault in your case. For example, the witness saw the driver on the phone at the time of the accident, helping you prove that they were distracted, and their distraction caused your crash.
  • Photographs of the Accident Scene – Photographs help paint a picture for the judge and jury. Sometimes photos can show the condition of each vehicle in the accident, your injuries, and road conditions.
  • Police Report – The police report can indicate any citations given at the accident or arrests made, but also the officer’s determination of what happened. For example, the driver was ticketed for speeding. This citation will help prove that the driver was reckless at the time.
  • Cellphone Records – If you think that the other driver was distracted, such as texting or talking on their phone, your attorney can request cell phone records to prove that they were using their phone at the time of the incident.

What Happens When You are At Fault?

Even if you are at-fault for the accident (partially), you can collect compensation for your injuries and damages. Some compensation you might be entitled to include:

  • Medical Expenses – Your medical costs from the accident, including hospitalization, surgery, ambulance transportation, emergency room costs, physician visits, and follow-up visits will be included in your compensation.
  • Lost Wages – Time you took off work to recover from your injuries, meet with your attorney, go to trial, and attend mediation can also be included in your damages.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity – If you are permanently disabled or partially disabled and unable to make the same wages you did before the accident, then you can request compensation for your loss of earning capacity. Your attorney will calculate how much you would have made had you returned to work, including inflation and potential bonuses or promotions you missed because of your injury.
  • Property Damage – Any property damage from the incident, including damage to your motorcycle, can be included in your compensation.
  • Pain and Suffering – Injuries from a motorcycle accident are often catastrophic. You could suffer from severe lacerations, brain injury, spinal cord damage, amputation, and permanent disfigurement. Because of the long-term physical and emotional pain associated with these injuries, you can seek compensation for those losses.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Motorcycle Accident?

Anytime you suffer from an accident, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney. An attorney has experience handling accident claims, including ones where you might be at-fault even partially. Your attorney can handle the investigation, evidence collection, negotiations, and the tedious tasks so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

After your motorcycle accident, seek medical attention right away. Then, contact the advocates at Malman Law. Our attorneys are here to help you receive maximum compensation. Do not assume that you cannot win a case just because you were partially at-fault. Our team has helped countless victims just like you receive compensation for their injuries.

Speak with an attorney today by calling 1-312-629-0999 or request more information online.

Related Posts

Why People Choose Malman Law

You’ll want your lawyers to be this good.
You’ll want our experience on your side.
  • Icon

    Credibility & Experience

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Track Record of Success

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Team of Litigation Lawyers

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years

Know Your Rights!

  • img

    They are very helpful, and when it comes to getting things done with your case I had the pleasure of working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.

    - Britany Weaver

  • img

    I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!

    - Cheryl Wagemann

  • img

    I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements, never I thought I would need their services because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this, long story short I was in a situation that I needed help & advice!!! In the right direction, I connected with the Firm & a very patient, understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care!

    - Elvira G.

  • img

    I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.

    would do everything they could for me.

    - Tony S.

  • img

    I contacted Malman Lawafter my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks, everyone!

    - Devin Jones

  • img

    Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!

    - Annie Ong

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If you’re interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!

    - Eugenia Cathery

  • img

    They are so efficient and professional. Always available to help. Attorney Boyer was great and very good with my case. I really appreciate Malman Law. I gave them 5 stars because there is nothing higher.

    - Omolewa Snyder

  • img

    I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.

    - Trevor Harris

  • img

    Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.

    - Ernest Pitts

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.

    - Ariel Fleming

  • img

    I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!

    - Carmen Rivera

  • img

    Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the reparations of the accident. We would recommend their services!

    - Greg Gustafson

  • img

    Excellent customer service and a great experience. Malman Law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose Malman Law again in the future.

    - Malak St.Clair

  • img

    Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.

    - Devri Lott

  • img

    I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.

    - Adrian Lopez

  • img

    A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.

    - Vanessa Leon

  • img

    Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey have been instrumental in helping me through many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, but they have also continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.

    - Nyah Vuljanic

  • img

    This law firm is the best they got me paid and Malman Law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position, they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker

    - Jeff Walker

  • img

    Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, he takes time to listen to his clients, and gather facts accordingly.

    - Steve Acosta

  • img

    Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff, kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.

    - Adrianna Gomez

  • img

    Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars

    - Jose Cruz

  • img

    Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!

    - Meagan Cruz

  • img
    Malman Law goes above and beyond handling your legal injury case needs. From the first appointment through to the ending verdict my sister and brother in law were very happy with their case results. Highly recommended!

    - Eddie Villarreal

  • img

    I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!

    - Madissen Miller

  • img

    Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!

    - Christina Ocon

  • img

    Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!

    - Adriana Martinez

  • img

    So glad I contacted Malman Law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr. Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!

    - Virgil Sanner

  • img

    I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!

    - Jazlyn Caraballo

  • img

    My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained the next steps, and got my case resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.

    - Ashley Jenkins

View more testimonials

What’s your case worth? Submit for a free case review


2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet

NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim