Roseburg, OR asked in Personal Injury and Car Accidents for Oregon

Q: Driver 1 speeding no license or insurance and driver 2 pulls out in front of him who is at fault?

Driver 2 thought he had enough time to get out to the center lane (what he told the officer) but driver 1 (motorcycle) let go of the motorcycle realizing he was not going to have enough time to stop and the bike hit the driver 2 dodge ram truck and caused damage and driver 1 was injured from road rash and injury to his foot. Who is at fault? Witnesses say he was speeding about 70mph in a 35 speed zone.

3 Lawyer Answers
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Whether a driver has insurance or a license doesn't matter as to fault. If you can prove he was speeding you would likely get some comparative fault on the motorcyclist.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Jennie Lynn Clark
Jennie Lynn Clark
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Liability, meaning who is at fault for an accident, is a question independent of whether a person is driving with or without a license and insurance. In this case, there are at least two applicable motor vehicle laws of speeding and there are possibly applicable laws regarding pulling out of a driveway or other roadway. However, you have not described the accident in enough detail to determine the applicable statute in relation to driver 2. It is not necessarily an either/or question, as Oregon has the principle of contributory negligence. To recover, a plaintiff must show that the opposing party was more than 50% at-fault.

Honestly, I wouldn't be willing to represent either on a contingency fee basis with the information given, as both parties appear to be at least partially at fault and it is difficult to determine the extent to which each driver is at-fault without a clear video. If driver 1 was speeding and witnesses back that up, then I see driver 1 as being responsible for his injuries, especially given that he was going substantially over the speed limit. Driver number 2 should have looked before pulling out and seen driver 1 and made a proper estimate of time, regardless of whether driver 1 was speeding or not. Without a clear video of the event, it would be difficult to attribute more fault to one driver than to the other.

Virgil Royer and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

Virgil Royer
Virgil Royer
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Salem, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: First, whether a person is insured or even licensed will not play into the determination of fault in terms of negligence. Although it could be a factor in determining degree of fault after it is established. A person who is likely to forgo the responsibilities to the public in getting a license and/or insurance might be more likely to ignore traffic control devices, speed limits, and right of way. Second, however, as here, a motorcycle rider who jumps off his bike in fear of an imminent crash, likely has a sincere belief that the crash was inevitable. If he was traveling twice the legal speed limit, then it is safe to assume he bears some fault. Thinking you can move out of the center lane and knowing you can, are two different things. In order to prevail on a negligence claim in Oregon you have to prove the other driver is more than 50% at-fault. At-fault determinations are sometimes very simple; in this case, it is a little less clear. If the Ram drove into traffic, it would likely be their fault for failure to maintain proper lookout, failure to yield, and/or making a unsafe turning movement. This is just based on what is written in the question, and there may be many factors that would alter that opinion. Third, while it might be tough to find a lawyer to handle this case, you might be able to settle things with your insurance under the uninsured motorists policy (UIM). If you can show that you had ample time to successfully complete your movement across the lane and the only reason for the accident was the motorcycle's speed--then you will likely prevail, assuming you are the driver 2. You have a two (2) year statute of limitations from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver in court and/or make a demand for arbitration with your UIM carrier. You might have other requirements to make a UIM claim, such as notifying the insurance company in a timely fashion.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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