Motorcycle Accident FAQ

A ground-breaking report on the causes and effects of motorcycle accidents was published in 1981 by researcher Harry Hurt.

Harry Hurt’s 1981 study offers insight into statistics regarding motorcycle accidents. The following statistics and conclusions are taken from the Hurt study:

  • Three-fourths of motorcycle accidents resulted from a collision with another vehicle (usually a passenger automobile).
  • In two-thirds of these accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle’s right-of-way, causing the accident.
  • The failure of motorists to detect motorcycles in traffic is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents.
  • Most motorcycle accidents are caused by a motor vehicle making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
  • Intersections are the most likely location for motorcycle accidents.
  • The view of the motorcycle or other vehicle’s driver is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of all motorcycle accidents.
  • Motorcycle operators between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to be involved in an accident.
  • Almost half of fatal motorcycle accidents are alcohol-related.
  • A typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist less than two seconds to complete a collision-avoiding action.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am involved in an accident on my motorcycle what should I do?

It is important that you do not admit any fault or sign anything (i.e. any forms from an insurer). If possible, you should take photos of any injuries or damage to your motorcycle. Keep copies of any medical records or bills, and make records of any related expenses. Try to immediately meet with an attorney.

If I am involved in a traffic accident must I tell the police?

Generally if a traffic accident involves a death, personal injury, or property damage above a specific amount, you are required to report an accident to the police, who will usually make a written report of the incident.

Can I still recover damages from the other driver if I wasn’t wearing a helmet and was injured in a motorcycle accident?

Even if you were not wearing a helmet, if someone else caused the accident, you may bring an action for your injuries. However, not wearing a helmet may make a difference in the amount of damages you receive. If not wearing a helmet did not cause or aggravate your injuries (for example, if you were hurt in your legs, and wearing a helmet would not have made any difference in your injuries), it probably will not make a difference. The issue may be relevant to the amount of damages you will recover, if it is shown that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries. An attorney will discuss your specific case with you.

Who can be held responsible for injuries or death to motorcycle operators and passengers?

Anyone who was at fault in contributing to the cause of a crash can be held responsible. Typically it is the driver of a car or truck that is found to be at fault in motorcycle cases involving injury. If a motorcycle operator is at fault, he can be responsible for the injuries caused to his passenger.

Can I sue the driver who hit me if I did not carry insurance on my motorcycle?

Lack of insurance on your motorcycle does not prevent you from filing a claim against the driver who was at fault that caused your injury.

Who is at fault in a traffic accident when a car turned left in front of me while I was riding my motorcycle?

Since the law requires that a motorist planning on making a left-hand turn must yield to all oncoming traffic, typically a left-hand turning vehicle is found to be at fault. Exceptions to this near-automatic rule might apply if the vehicle going straight was speeding, ran a red light or not maintaining an adequate look out.

Should I accept the other driver’s insurance company offer to pay me some money for an injury I sustained in an accident?

No! “Some” money might be all that you get for your injuries, and accepting that check may mean that you have released the other driver from all liability for your accident from any past, present or future liability for your injuries. You would do best to consult with an attorney who has experience handling motorcycle injury cases before you sign anything.

Is an investigation of my motorcycle accident case important?

A prompt investigation is essential because the insurance company will always attempt to prove that the motorcyclist was to some extent at fault in order to diminish the value of the motorcyclist’s claim.

Should I get a lawyer to help me if I get into an accident on my motorcycle?

It is important to have an attorney in a motorcycle injury case in order to make sure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company. An attorney can take responsibility for a complete investigation of the crash and make sure that the injuries you suffer are adequately documented to insure that you will receive adequate compensation. Issues in your potential case, including compliance with traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, medical treatment issues and liability all require analysis by an attorney who is experienced in the area of motorcycle and motor vehicle accident liability.

What am I entitled to receive for my injuries?

Every case is different. The exact type of compensation and the amount you might receive depends on your individual situation. For example, the amount you receive will vary depending upon how severely you were injured, whether you are working and what type of job you have, if your injuries are permanent, if you are married and numerous other factors.

As a general rule, you are entitled to recover for any of the following expenses:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future medical expenses
  • Probable loss of wages in the future
  • Property damage
  • Loss of relationship with your spouse
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses due to your injuries
  • In some cases, in which the other party’s conduct was unusually bad, you may be able to recover punitive damages.

If you have a question that was not covered in the above Frequently Asked Questions or if your question was not fully answered, call or contact us today for additional information.

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