There was a piece in the news the other day about a motorcycle accident suit in Pennsylvania. The accident itself was one that sounds like many others I have written about in this blog: a driver pulling out of a parking lot fails to yield the right of way to a motorcyclist. Many of these have resulted in wrongful death motorcycle accidents. However, in this case, the rider laid the motorcycle down, and slid into the rear of the car. He was seriously injured and had to resign his job as a police officer due to the disability from his injuries.The injured rider filed suit against the driver who failed to yield the right of way. The defense lawyer assigned to the case by his insurance company answered the lawsuit by claiming that the injured rider negligent in causing the accident.In Illinois, this defense is known as contributory negligence. The way that it works is that a jury is asked to assess the percentage of fault of each of the parties to the accident. If the plaintiff (the injured party) was found to be at fault to any degree, his damages are reduced proportionately with his degree of contributory negligence. This means that is a jury awarded an injured rider $100,000 in damages and found him 15% at fault, he would end up with a net verdict of $85,000, or $100,000 reduced by 15%. This is true all the way up to 50%. Once the plaintiff is guilty of more than 50% contributory negligence, the defense is entitled to a not guilty verdict.Cases like this are why injured motorcycle riders must hire an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer. Laying the bike down is a safety measure to be taken in an event like this. Had this rider not laid the bike down, he would probably be dead today. However, the defense lawyer will make it sound like he was out of control and made a poor choice to throw himself to the ground. Real motorcycle riders will identify that as hogwash, but unless a skilled lawyer can get a jury to understand otherwise, that is a defense that may gain traction with the jury and cost this injured rider a lot of money — if it doesn’t cost him his entire case.