Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

November 2, 2023 | David Abels
Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

Most motorcycle accidents happen when other drivers deviate from the standard of care and drive in a careless and unsafe manner. Unlike drivers and passengers in enclosed motor vehicles, motorcyclists have very limited protection if they are involved in an accident. Even if they are wearing a helmet, it may crack if they hit the ground with a significant amount of force. As a result, a motorcyclist may suffer a traumatic head injury or other serious injury.

If you recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident that a negligent driver caused, your first step should be completing your medical treatment and pursuing a full recovery from your injuries. Your next step should be to talk with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your area as quickly as possible. Your attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your accident with you and determine your eligibility for filing a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you can move forward, your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf or file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a resolution.

Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents

Based on your attorney's recommendations, you can make both intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case. For example, your Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company, continue settlement negotiations, or litigate your case in court. Your attorney will be in your corner every step of the way, aggressively advocating for you and helping you maximize your total monetary award.

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How Do Motorcycle Crashes Typically Happen?

Motorcycle accidents frequently occur when other drivers violate standard traffic laws. Typical traffic violations that may lead to a motorcycle crash include:

  • Speeding.
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists at the proper times.
  • Failing to use turn signals, especially when switching lanes on a multilane roadway.

Motorcycle crashes can also happen when drivers exhibit road rage and other aggressive driving maneuvers. For example, an angry driver might tailgate a motorcyclist or weave aggressively around the cyclist without using their turn signal. As a result, they may inadvertently bring about a collision with the motorcycle, causing the cyclist to suffer serious injuries.

A motorcycle accident may also happen when another driver becomes distracted at the wheel. Instead of watching the road and operating their vehicle safely and carefully, a distracted motorist might focus on a GPS, send a text message, roughhouse with vehicle passengers, comb their hair, apply makeup, or otherwise turn their head away from the road. When drivers take their eyes off the road, they may not see a cyclist who is low to the ground. Consequently, they may bring about an accident in which the cyclist suffers serious injuries.o

Another common (and unfortunate) cause of motorcycle accidents is intoxicated driving. When a driver comes under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may experience dizziness, confusion, and disorientation, preventing them from driving safely. They may also have difficulty judging distances between their vehicle and other vehicles, including nearby motorcycles. An intoxicated driver can also experience delayed reflexes and limited reaction time. As a result, the driver may not slow down or stop in time to avoid a cyclist, even if they noticed the cyclist beforehand.

In addition to the negligence of other drivers, some motorcycle accidents happen because of defective motorcycle parts and components, including braking systems and handlebars. Accidents may also happen when a repair facility fails to perform repairs in a workmanlike manner, causing the motorcycle to malfunction while on the road.

Finally, a motorcycle accident may happen when a government entity, such as a city or county, fails to reasonably maintain roadways within its jurisdiction. When roads have large potholes, cracks, and other defects, they may dislodge a cyclist from their bike, especially if the cyclist is traveling at a higher rate of speed.

Following a motorcycle accident, sometimes it can be difficult to identify all potentially responsible parties. Your motorcycle accident attorney can investigate your accident circumstances, identify those parties, and file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents That Occur When Other Drivers Are Negligent

When other people drive negligently and carelessly, they may cause several different types of motorcycle accidents, including rear-end accidents, broadside collisions, head-on accidents, and sideswiped collisions.

A rear-end motorcycle accident happens when the front of another vehicle hits the back tire of a motorcycle. These accidents frequently occur when drivers speed excessively or are inattentive to the road.

A broadside collision, on the other hand, happens when a driver negligently causes the front of their vehicle to hit the side of a motorcycle that is traveling on an intersecting roadway. These accidents frequently happen when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist at a traffic intersection, even one with traffic lights or signs.

Head-on motorcycle accidents happen when the front of another vehicle hits the front of a motorcycle, usually because a driver is not paying attention or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The negligent driver may cause their vehicle to cross a double line, or they may pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, striking a motorcyclist head-on.

Finally, a sideswipe accident happens in multilane traffic, where the side of another vehicle strikes the side of a motorcycle. As a result, the collision force might push the motorcycle into another lane of traffic, potentially leading to a multi-vehicle pileup that involves numerous motorists.

If you suffered injuries in one of these types of motorcycle crashes, it is important to realize that you are not alone. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your case while you focus your attention on seeking medical treatment and making a full recovery from your injuries.

Injuries That Motorcyclists Frequently Suffer in Accidents 

When a motorcyclist falls on the ground in an accident, they often stand to suffer extremely serious injuries and damages. For example, if a cyclist lands on their head, neck, or back, they may suffer a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion or coma. They may also suffer spinal cord damage and or a complete or incomplete paralysis injury, which may limit movement and sensations in various parts of their body. A motorcyclist may also suffer rib fractures, broken bones, or soft tissue injuries, depending upon how they land on the ground. Other potential injuries that a motorcyclist may suffer in an accident include internal bleeding or organ damage, road rash injuries, mouth and teeth Injuries, and eye injuries. Furthermore, in the most serious motorcycle accident cases, a rider may suffer fatal injuries that lead to premature death. In that instance, surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. 

In non-fatal injury cases, motorcyclist should concentrate their attention on pursuing the medical treatment that they need and deserve. Additionally, they should follow through with all medical provider treatment recommendations, such as medical procedures or physical therapy. By concentrating on your medical care, you increase your chances of achieving a full recovery from your injuries. You also show the at-fault driver's insurance company that your injuries are real and that you deserve to recover appropriate monetary compensation for them.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim

A motorcycle accident attorney can file a personal injury claim on your behalf with the appropriate assurance company. In any situation, your lawyer will file this claim with the insurance company of the at-fault motorist who caused your accident. To successfully recover monetary damages as part of a personal injury claim, your lawyer must submit several documents and a formal settlement demand letter seeking monetary compensation. Important documents in your case may include copies of witness statements, investigation and police reports, medical bills, medical records, lost-wage documentation that your employer provides, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and any video camera footage that shows the accident occurring.

The insurance company will review this demand package and determine whether to accept fault for your accident. If that happens, then the adjuster might place a settlement offer on the table. Many accident victims are surprised at initial settlement offers from insurance companies since they are typically very low. Insurance companies make low offers to settle a claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. After all, they do not gain anything by paying out a significant monetary settlement offer or litigation result. Conversely, they may stand to lose a significant amount of money under these circumstances.

Your motorcycle accident lawyer can aggressively negotiate for a higher settlement number. If that does not happen, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the state court system and handle your case there. During the litigation phase of your case, your motorcycle accident attorney may continue their settlement negotiations, prepare you for discovery depositions, and attend all litigation proceedings with you — including those in court (such as settlement conferences and jury trials). Instead of taking your case to trial, your lawyer may explore some options for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as binding arbitration or mediation, in your case.

Potential Motorcycle Accident Monetary Damages

Every motorcycle accident case is different, as are the injuries a cyclist suffers. Consequently, the types and amounts of monetary damages that an accident victim may be eligible to receive vary considerably from case to case. The total monetary award you receive through settlement or litigation will usually depend upon the severity of your injuries, the nature, and circumstances of your accident, the total cost of your medical treatment, and whether you missed time from work after your accident. The monetary compensation that you receive may include payment for some or all of the following: related past medical expenses, anticipated medical costs, loss of earning capacity, lost income, loss of spousal consortium, physical pain and suffering, mental distress, inability to use a body part, lost quality of life, permanent disfigurement or disability, and lifetime or long-term care costs related to your injuries.

Your motorcycle accident attorney can anticipate the types and amounts of monetary damages you might be eligible to recover in your case based on your accident and injury circumstances. Your lawyer can also develop a plan of action for your case to enable you to pursue the highest amount of monetary recovery available. Finally, your attorney will aggressively advocate for your legal interests every step of the way so that you become whole again as much as possible.

Speak with an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away

Motorcycle crashes can lead to extremely serious injuries and complications. Therefore, if you recently suffered injuries in an accident, you must contact a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in your area as quickly as possible. Under the statute of limitations, motorcycle accident victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of their accident date. Otherwise, they will not be eligible to recover monetary compensation for any of their accident-related losses. Given the relatively short statutory timeframe, always involve a skilled personal injury attorney in your case as quickly as possible.

Once your lawyer enters an appearance in your case, they can begin aggressively advocating for you and your legal interests. In addition to filing your claim and negotiating with insurance company representatives on your behalf, your motorcycle accident attorney can handle all aspects of personal injury litigation for you. Specifically, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf, continue settlement negotiations, represent you at all legal proceedings, and pursue the best possible monetary result in your case.

Without the right legal representation, you risk receiving much less than you deserve or even nothing at all. Insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented claimants, even those dealing with severe injuries and losses. These companies do not have your best interests in mind, so you need a professional on your side, willing to fight for full compensation.

Seek a free case evaluation right away so a motorcycle accident attorney can assess your best options for financial recovery.

David Abels Author Image

David Abels


David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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