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Can the Defendant File a Counterclaim in Your Motorcycle Accident?

A wrecked motorcycle from an accident.

Most motorcycle riders have an idea of how other drivers view them. For years, people have had a very negative opinion of bikers. Our Cincinnati motorcycle accident attorneys have seen this firsthand in the cases we’ve handled.

Your Cincinnati Accident Attorney Understands That Very Rarely is One Driver 100% at Fault

One thing your motorcycle accident lawyer in Cincinnati will tell you is that nobody is ever 100% at fault. If you’ve ever been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you know what happens.

The two drivers immediately point fingers at the other party. They insist that they had nothing to do with the crash. However, your Cincinnati accident attorney knows better. They are also experienced enough to anticipate the defendant filing a counterclaim.

Even the Most Careful Drivers Make Mistakes

Most people do their best to drive carefully. However, over time, people become complacent. We get a little lazy when we’re behind the wheel. You can look at the most careful driver and find things to criticize.

The moment your motorcycle accident lawyer in Cincinnati files suit, this is what will happen. The defendant’s lawyer will scrutinize the way you were driving. They will argue that you were equally responsible for the crash.

There Is a Certain Bias Against Motorcycle Riders

Like it or not, most people have a negative opinion of people who ride motorcycles. They may not personally know anybody who owns a motorcycle. However, they assume that motorcycle riders like to drive too fast and weave in and out of traffic.

The truth is that most motorcycle riders are just as careful as any other driver. They follow the rules of the road and respect traffic laws as much as anyone does. Unfortunately, a few bad apples can affect the whole bunch.

Most Motorists Complain That Motorcycle Riders Are Reckless

One of the most common complaints motorists have about bikers is that they drive too fast. They claim that motorcyclists are always trying to get ahead of the other cars.

The truth is that motorcycles may seem to be going faster than other cars. One reason for this is that they are louder and stand out. Plus, a lot of people only take their motorcycles out once or twice a week. They do test the limits when they’re on the highway.

The Defendant Will Probably Argue That You Were at Fault

The point is that your Cincinnati accident attorney will fully expect the other driver to point the finger at you. This happens in almost every motor vehicle accident case we handle.

The defendant would hurt their case if they didn’t do this. They have to at least try to shift the responsibility. This way, even if they are found liable, they won’t have to pay you as much in damages. This is because Ohio follows the comparative negligence rule.

Cincinnati motorcycle accident lawyer concept

Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Cincinnati Will Submit Evidence Showing the Driver Was Negligent

The defendant will allege that you caused the crash. However, your motorcycle accident lawyer in Cincinnati will still search for evidence to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent.

When it comes to a motorcycle accident lawsuit, your Cincinnati accident attorney must prove negligence. This requires that they show the following four (4) things.

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care. This won’t be difficult to prove. All motorists owe a certain duty of care to other drivers.
  • The other driver breached this duty of care. You need to demonstrate that the defendant didn’t behave the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances.
  • You were injured. This is why Cincinnati accident attorneys always tell their clients to go to the hospital immediately after their crash.
  • You must show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s behavior. If the defendant caused the accident, this should be a given.

When it comes to comparative fault, it is this last element that the defendant’s lawyer will challenge.

The Defendant’s Lawyer May Even File a Counterclaim Against You

Over the years, our motorcycle accident lawyers in Cincinnati have had cases where the defendant filed a counterclaim against our client. While this is not unusual in certain types of tort cases, it is rare in a motorcycle accident case.

Sometimes, filing a counterclaim is nothing more than a tactic to get the plaintiff to settle for less money. There are times when your Cincinnati accident attorney can file a motion to dismiss. If there’s no evidence, the motion may be granted.

What Is a Counterclaim and How Does it Affect Your Case?

One way to think about a counterclaim is that it’s what the defendant does when the plaintiff sues first. The other driver may have wanted to sue you for damages. However, if you filed your complaint first, their only option would be to file a counterclaim.

A counterclaim is treated just like a regular complaint. You’ll have a chance to file an answer. At that point, it is almost as if the courts are trying two cases at one time.

Thankfully, Ohio Follows a Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

The good news here is that Ohio follows something called the comparative negligence rule. According to Ohio Revised Code §2315.33, a plaintiff can still collect damages as long as they are less than 50% at fault.

The rule also states that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, imagine that you sued the other driver for $100,000. They were able to prove that you were speeding at the time of the crash.

The judge decided that you were 20% liable for the accident. Your claim would then be reduced by 20% of $100,000, or $20,000. The remainder would be $80,000.

Call One of Our Cincinnati Accident Attorneys Today to Discuss Your Case

Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Cincinnati have handled a lot of cases over the decades. In most of them, the defendant tries to point their finger at our client. Part of this is human nature. However, another part can be attributed to the negative stereotypes people have about motorcycle riders.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, there’s a good chance the defendant will say you were at fault. They may even file a counterclaim, demanding that you pay them damages.

If this happens, don’t panic. Contact one of our Cincinnati accident attorneys. We’ll do what it takes to prove that you were the true victim in the crash. We’ll also work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. You get to sit down and have an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Cincinnati review your case free of charge.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association