In our last post, we mentioned that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and began speaking about two particularly important messages about which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is attempting to educate the public with respect to motorcycle safety. The first of these, as we mentioned, is the importance of road-sharing, while the other is the importance of sober riding.
Drinking and riding is especially important for motorcyclists to avoid, first of all because they are most at risk in an accident with another vehicle. This is particularly the case with larger vehicles. In addition to the sheer threat of injury, there is also the possibility of not being able to recover full damages if another driver causes an accident. What do we mean by this?
Like many other states, Colorado operates under a system of comparative fault in personal injury cases. Comparative fault says that an injured party’s damages may be reduced according to the degree to which they contributed to their own injuries. Different states have different rules regarding how at-fault a plaintiff may be before he or she is unable to recover any damages against a negligent party. Here in Colorado, there is a 50 percent bar rule, meaning that a plaintiff is unable to recovery if he or she is deemed to be at least 50 percent at fault.
An intoxicated motorcyclist who is harmed in an accident as a result of the negligence of another motorist, therefore, runs the risk of losing out on part or all of his or her damages. In cases where this is a possibility, of course, the motorcyclist should be sure to work with an experienced attorney to help maximize his or her damages. The best plan, though, is to put safety first and avoid risky behavior in the first place.