It’s not surprising that motorcycle accidents and car accidents have significant differences. Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, lack of exterior protection, and lack of visibility to other vehicles, motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe with consequences ranging from injury to death. In 2014, there were approximately 92,000 injuries every year over 4,000 fatalities due to motorcycle accidents, according to the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, respectively. Unique laws are in place regarding insurance for motorcycles and it’s wise for any motorcyclist to take the time to understand these provisions.
How are Motorcycle Accident Claims Unique?
A motorcycle accident claim usually involves serious injuries or even wrongful death, especially if a larger vehicle was involved in the collision. Some differences that set motorcycle crashes apart from car crashes include:
- Causes. Driver distraction and inattention are common causes of motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles. Due to the smaller size of a motorcycle, drivers in other vehicles may fail to notice an oncoming rider, causing a deadly crash. Additionally, negligent drivers may try to pass motorcyclists or share a lane, increasing the chance of a wreck. Finally, drinking and driving is one of the leading causes of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents and deaths, according to the CDC.
- Possible hazards. Certain hazards, such as road defects, that may not affect cars and trucks can be deadly for motorcyclists. Adverse weather and defects in the bike and/or equipment may contribute to injuries.
- Possible biases. In some cases, insurance adjusters and/or juries may have biases against motorcyclists. For example, these parties may be more inclined to assume the motorcyclist was driving recklessly. Additionally, not wearing a helmet may make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation.
- Higher verdicts and settlements. Since the injuries and damages a motorcyclist suffers are usually high, the result of a motorcycle accident claim may be higher when compared to other claims.
Who is Responsible?
The litigation process for motorcycle accidents is complex because multiple parties can be involved and it can be difficult to prove the reason for the accident. Many of the issues raised in motorcycle wrecks include determining liability and responsibility, medical expenses, and legal compliance. Responsible parties might include:
- The Driver. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by the driver’s negligent operation of the bike, lack of training, or incapacitation as the result of DUI or DWAI.
- Driver of Another Vehicle. If the crash was the result of another driver’s negligence, then that driver may be held personally responsible for resulting injuries, on grounds of negligence, reckless driving, or DUI/DWAI.
- The Motorcycle Manufacturer. Due to cutting corners or mere gross negligence, a motorcycle accident may occur when the motorcycle manufacturer sends a defective vehicle out on the road. In this case, product liability now plays a part in your claim.
- The Parts Manufacturer. The manufacturers and/or retailers of defective motorcycle parts that contributed or fully caused a motorcycle to malfunction and a subsequent accident may be liable for related injuries and fatalities.
- The City or Government Body. When a road defect or inaccurate signage is primarily at fault for a motorcycle crash, the city or government body responsible for the safe upkeep of that road may be held liable.
- Private organizations. Private groups, such as leasing companies, which may have lent a dysfunctional motorcycle to a client may also be held responsible.
Do You Have a Claim?
Depending on the nature of your or your family member’s injuries due to a motorcycle accident, your personal injury lawyer may identify possible claims for medical expenses, lost wages, life care expenses, vocational rehabilitation, loss of care, pain and suffering, wrongful death or funeral expenses. A qualified motorcycle accident lawyer will know the ins and outs specifically for these kinds of cases. The right lawyer does not have to be in your market, they just have to have the knowledge for motorcycle injury cases.