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Following a motorcycle crash, it is important to take note of any evidence that may later help reconstruct the event. If you are injured in the collision and need to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a negligent party, you will need to present evidence establishing the defendant’s liability. Unfortunately, there may be cases where, due to the circumstances of the accident, there is a lack of evidence. For example, there may have been no eyewitnesses to the accident.
In some cases, the accident victim may not be a credible eyewitness because he or she has no recollection of what happened. This problem arose in a recent motorcycle accident lawsuit dismissed by a Court of Appeals. A car and a motorcycle collided head-on. There were no other persons present besides the motorist and the rider, and the car driver was killed.
The surviving rider sued the family of the deceased driver, alleging his negligence caused the accident. The plaintiff himself did not remember what happened. An accident report prepared by a County sheriff’s deputy was the only available evidence. The deputy could not locate any eyewitnesses and was not able to determine the point of impact. Also, a toxicology report on the deceased driver showed the presence of prescription opioid painkillers in his system.
The plaintiff's lawyer argued the toxicology report established that the decedent was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle, which is considered negligence. According to the trial judge, the problem was that even if the deceased was intoxicated, that did not prove he caused the accident. There was no evidence that the driver crossed over into the plaintiff’s lane of travel or did anything else to cause the accident, said the judge dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judge’s decision.
It is always recommended to gather as much evidence as possible in support of a personal injury claim before going to court. This is especially important where, as in the case described above, there is no eyewitness testimony, and even the victim cannot recall the circumstances leading to his or her injuries. A trial court will not merely take a plaintiff’s word at face value that the defendant was negligent.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and need advice from an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer on how to proceed, contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary right away.