A lot of riders enjoy the freedom and thrills that only come from riding a motorcycle. However, this freedom comes at a price; motorcyclists are much more exposed than they would be driving a car, which means they are a lot more prone to serious injuries in the event of an accident. In fact, motorcyclists are several times more likely to die from an accident than someone inside a car. This statistic grows substantially when the motorcycle is a sports model, as they are capable of much higher speeds.
Due to the high risk that bikers face, it is crucial for them to be aware of how to handle a traffic accident incident, especially if they are injured. This includes steps like how to prove that their actions didn’t cause or contribute to the crash, that there was negligence on the part of the other party or that the negligence of other drivers caused the motorcyclist injury and harm.
Motorcycle Accidents Overview
Motorcyclists face a lot of unique challenges compared to drivers of automobiles. Aside from simply being more at risk for injury and death due to the unprotected nature of a motorcycle, there are a lot of other conditions that challenge a biker during their travels, which are rarely issues for an individual driving a car.
For example, because of their smaller profile, motorcycles are often harder for drivers to spot on the road. Additionally, bikers are more prone to inclement weather and road hazards. What might be just a small bump for a car or truck, can spell disaster for a biker. At high levels of speed, motorcycles can also experience what is commonly referred to as “speed wobbles,” where the vehicle becomes unstable and starts to shake. All of these issues require motorcyclists to be more alert than your average automobile driver.
After being involved in a motorcycle accident and youve made a claim seeking damages for your injuries, the legal side of things is much the same as any other motor vehicle cases. Thus, it will always revolve around negligence. Did the driver act negligently, which resulted in the accident, or was it the actions of the motorcyclist that caused or contributed to the incident? Essentially, it is a matter of determining who is to blame for the accident.
Sometimes, however, the fault is not with the driver (or the motorcyclist), but rather the manufacturer of the bike or its parts. For example, a common contributing factor that can result in dangerous speed wobbles is misaligned tires. This may be caused by a defect in the vehicles design or a simple deviation from the normal way the machine is assembled.
Proving Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Incidents and Winning A Claim
Again, the law of negligence, which dictates that a person is responsible and at fault almost always decides liability in motorcycle accident claims when they act or behave in a way that is careless or even reckless. Generally, it is a behavior or course of action that a normal and safe operator would not have done, if put in the same position.
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, this expected, standard of care and caution on the road is much higher because of the larger potential for risk. This is why the majority of motorcycle accident claims are found for the biker, rather than the driver of the car or truck. This negligence could be caused by speeding, failing to stop at a traffic light, not checking mirrors before turning or changing lanes and other poor driving behavior. It may also be caused by actions as simple as failing to give the motorcyclist enough room on the road.
There are four steps to successfully proving that a driver acted negligently and had a successful accident claim.
- Understanding that the law requires motorists to exercise care and caution when operating a vehicle.
- Determining that the defendants actions did not demonstrate the reasonable careful or cautious that a typical driver would have.
- Proving that this unsafe behavior or action caused the motorcyclist injury.
- Additionally proving that this injury resulted in damages or losses to the biker.
The last two steps of this process are important to look at. If the motorcyclist didnt sustain any damages, losses or harm during the incident, then there isnt anything for them to recover. Thus, even if the defending driver acted carelessly and negligently, there isnt much to support the claim because there were no damages.
As aforementioned, a lot of motorcycle accidents are the fault of drivers of cars and trucks, but there are times when the negligent individual is the motorcyclist. They have the same standard of caution and care as automobiles, which means if a motorcyclist is speeding, driving erratically, under the influence of an impairing substance and so on, then there is a strong case to be made that their behavior caused or contributed to the accident, not the operator of the automobile.
In these cases, it is highly likely that the motorcycle driver would not be able to claim any damages because of their role in causing the accident. In other scenarios, the courts may find that both parties acted negligently. Thus, each person pays a part portion of the damages, based on the amount of fault.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
As always, your priority after an accident is to assess your immediate health and safety. This includes calling emergency services, if you have any minor or severe injuries that need attention and also getting yourself to safety and out of a potentially busy roadway or intersection.
If you can, it is a good practice to ask any witnesses on the scene about what they saw happen. These eyewitness testimonies can be invaluable evidence towards proving the negligence of the other driver and winning your claim.
Once the accident scene is settled and youve been cleared to leave by any law enforcement that has arrived, your next step is to contact a lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident claim. Ideally, you want a law firm that specializes in these types of cases and is adept at helping you prove negligence on behalf of the other driver(s).
If you believe that the cause of the accident may have been due to a defective or malfunction part of the motorcycle, then you should pursue a lawyer that specializes in product liability. It may also be a good idea to investigate if there are any part recalls regarding the make and model of your bike.