What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

While motorcycle accidents aren't necessarily more common than those involving other vehicles, they tend to cause more severe injuries. Fatal accident statistics tragically overrepresent motorcycle riders and their passengers because they have so much less protection than anyone in an enclosed vehicle. It's a sobering reality that motivates motorcycle riders to use as many defensive driving techniques as possible, but these measures can’t always keep them safe from negligent drivers. Reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.

Even relatively minor motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences, including long-lasting injuries and the financial strain of medical bills and other expenses. This article goes over some of the most common scenarios that lead to motorcycle accidents and how victims can navigate the legal aftermath of this incredibly stressful experience.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcyclists are undeniably more vulnerable in the event of a crash, which means they rely on fellow motorists to avoid creating unreasonably dangerous situations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a motorcycle collides with another vehicle, it's likely due to violations of the motorcyclist's right-of-way. 

These dangerous situations often happen due to motorists lacking the awareness to realize they're sharing the road with a motorcycle and acting accordingly. Failure to respect the motorcycle rider's space can result in catastrophic or fatal accidents, often due to negligent driving behaviors.

Some of the main causes of motorcycle accidents are:

  • Left-turn accidents: Vehicles that are turning left at an intersection are required to yield to oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, this is a scenario where it's very common for drivers to collide with motorcycles that were proceeding straight on the road, either due to misjudging the rider's speed or failing to see them all together.   
  • Driving while impaired: Drugs and alcohol are the root causes of horrific accidents every year, including motorcycle crashes. Intoxication impairs a driver’s reaction time, decision-making skills, and control of their vehicle overall. Getting behind the wheel while excessively fatigued or drowsy from medication is a lesser-known but equally dangerous form of impairment that can also cause these accidents.
  • Blind spots: Motorcycles are smaller and potentially harder to spot in a vehicle's side and rear view mirrors, which is one reason drivers are legally required to check their blind spots before changing lanes or turning. Failure to do so will very often contribute to colliding with a motorcycle. 
  • Distracted driving: The hazards caused by smartphone use and other distractions are a growing problem for all road users. However, motorcycle riders are more likely to bear the brunt of an inattentive driver's actions due to their higher risk of serious injuries. Aside from cell phones, any activity that distracts the driver's attention away from the road can have tragic consequences for motorcyclists.
  • Speeding: Driving over the speed limit increases the risk of any type of accident happening by extending the vehicle's "stopping time" to avoid a collision and generally making it more likely to lose control of the vehicle. Motorcyclists that get struck by a car traveling at higher speeds can suffer extremely serious, life-changing injuries due to the higher forces involved at the point of impact.
  • Reckless driving: All driving behaviors that violate transit laws or road etiquette can cause the conditions for a motorcycle accident because rider safety depends heavily on being able to navigate the flow of traffic. Making a sudden stop without ample warning, changing lanes without signaling, or following a motorcycle too closely are all not only illegal but also incredibly dangerous.

Types of Compensation You Can Pursue After a Motorcycle Accident

When a motorcycle accident happens due to someone else's negligence, the road to recovery can be an uphill battle for victims and their families. Motorcycle accidents very often result in the rider being violently thrown off, which can cause broken bones, severe road rash, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, or even death.

After these incidents can create a ripple effect of hardships due to a long recovery period, overwhelming medical expenses, and an overall disruption to normal life. Depending on your state and the specific details of your case, the compensation motorcycle accident victims can pursue with a personal injury claim can include: 

Economic Damages

The financial compensation under economic damages can cover all the quantifiable, out-of-pocket costs that can result from getting seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident, such as:

  • Medical expenses: Motorcycle crashes are typically emergencies that may require calling an ambulance, an extended hospital stay, surgeries, and even rehabilitative therapy to help the victim regain some form of functionality. 
  • Lost Income: If your injuries prevented you from working for a specific period of time, a personal injury claim can make up for this verifiable loss of income. There are also cases where the victim's injuries have such permanent effects that they can't return to their previous job, and their economic damages should compensate for the loss of earning capacity. 
  • Property damage: Being in a motorcycle accident is also associated with the expenses of repairing or replacing a crushed bike.

Non-Economic Damages

Depending on the type of legal action you're taking, motorcycle accident victims can also pursue compensation for the intangible losses that result from getting seriously hurt due to someone else's negligence, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and having a reduced quality of life.

While non-economic damages are subjective and much harder to calculate, these physical, emotional, and psychological costs are often the hardest aspect of being in a serious crash.  

Wrongful Death Damages

The most tragic motorcycle accidents cause fatal injuries and leave the victim's family grappling with an unbearable loss. If the driver could have prevented the accident through responsible behavior, close relatives of the deceased may recover compensation for a wrongful death.

Filing this kind of claim can cover damages for both the emotional and financial hardships the family faces, such as:

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased before their death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support, if the deceased had been one of the household's main breadwinners
  • Loss of love, companionship, and guidance, to recognize the grieving family's incalculable loss

How to Strengthen Your Claim For Compensation in the Weeks and Months After a Motorcycle Accident

Along with all the physical and emotional challenges of being in a serious motorcycle accident, victims must also navigate various legal complexities. The obstacles for trying to get damages covered can range from establishing liability for who caused the accident, demonstrating the full extent of your injuries, and dealing with dishonest insurance companies.

Getting adequate compensation will often depend on the steps you take in the weeks and months after the crash, so it's important to make strategic decisions that place you in the strongest possible position. Some of the ways you can protect the value of your claim after a motorcycle accident include: 

See a Doctor Immediately and Follow all Medical Advice

Taking care of your health after a traumatic motorcycle is obviously essential for your well-being, but it also has very important legal implications. Be prepared for your medical records to be closely scrutinized during the claims process and used against you if there's any excuse to do so.

Delaying medical care, missing follow-up appointments, or not complying with your recommended treatment plans can not only exacerbate your injuries but also allow insurers to argue that you couldn't have been seriously injured. Following all medical advice is also the best way to document the extent and severity of your injuries.

Document Your Damages as Thoroughly as Possible 

When pursuing compensation for a motorcycle accident, there's no such thing as too much when providing evidence of your economic and non-economic damages. Keep comprehensive records of your medical treatments, changes to your income, expenses related to the crash, photographs of the damage to your bike, and any other proof of your financial expenses. 

It's equally important to document and substantiate your emotional and psychological losses from the accident, such as by keeping a daily diary describing your pain levels, stress, anxiety, and the accident's impact on your quality of life. For example, if you are an avid cyclist that can no longer enjoy this hobby due to your injuries, write about the effects of this loss.  

Avoid Direct Communication With the At-Fault Party's Insurer

Anything you say to representatives from the at-fault party's insurer can potentially harm your claim, even if it's a seemingly innocent conversation about the basic facts of what happened.

Insurance companies are highly motivated to minimize payouts by denying liability, blaming the victim for what happened, or downplaying the extent of their injuries. The only goal insurance adjusters have for contacting you is to gather information to undermine your version of the story as much as possible. 

They also use high-pressure tactics to get stressed-out motorcycle accident victims to accept a lowball settlement offer and sign away their legal rights. That's why referring all communication from the at-fault party's insurance company to your attorney is a good rule of thumb. Your attorney's experience makes them best equipped to handle these interactions while representing your interests.  

Hire an Experienced Lawyer To Protect Your Rights

Motorcycle riders face biases, often perceived as risk-takers or irresponsible, even when this isn't supported by the facts. Unfortunately, these stereotypes can affect the claims process and cause insurers to unfairly blame motorcyclists for their accidents.

A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can avoid these issues by gathering and preserving essential evidence to strengthen your case. For example, if the at-fault party's insurance company argues that your motorcycle's excessive speed contributed to the accident, your lawyer can present evidence from traffic camera footage or witness testimony that shows you rode responsibly.

How An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help

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Gabriel Levin | Motorcycle Accident Attorney

A motorcycle accident comes with many significant challenges, from physical injuries and emotional trauma to financial uncertainty about how to cover all your expenses.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can use their skills and resources to help you navigate the legal process and dramatically improve your chances of fair compensation. The right lawyer can also provide the empathetic support you need during this challenging time.

Some of the ways hiring a motorcycle accident can make a difference include:

  • Investigate the circumstances of your accident: Establishing liability in a motorcycle accident case requires a thorough investigation of all the available evidence to establish the sequence of events that led to the accident, which can include consulting with accident reconstruction experts.   
  • Substantiate the full extent of your damages: The expertise of a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can be invaluable in helping victims quantify and substantiate their economic and non-economic damages, including future expenses that will continue to be a burden long after the accident. 
  • Handle all legal proceedings: Dealing with the considerable amount of paperwork and procedural rules surrounding a motorcycle accident can be confusing and overwhelming, especially during a time when you should be focusing on your physical recovery. Your lawyer can handle all these legal proceedings on your behalf and prevent mistakes that can potentially jeopardize your case.
  • Negotiate a settlement with insurance companies: Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are skilled negotiators who understand the strategies insurers use to minimize compensation, often with explicit dishonesty. They can use these years of experience to negotiate effectively and secure a fair settlement that accurately reflects your losses and damages. Your lawyer can also prepare your case for a court trial if necessary. 

Most motorcycle accident lawyers operate on a contingency-fee-basis, with no hourly fees or upfront costs. This means they only get paid after securing a settlement or verdict that compensates your injuries from the accident and have a vested interest in working diligently on your behalf. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

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Gabriel Levin - Attorney

Gabriel Levin is a highly experienced and credible attorney with over 10 years of practice in Pennsylvania. Known for his tenacity, he has represented clients in a wide range of civil matters, trying hundreds of cases. He prepares each case as if it will go to trial, ensuring meticulous attention to detail.

Unlike many firms that delegate tasks, Levin personally handles every aspect of a case and maintains open communication with clients throughout. He has secured millions in compensation, making him a reliable choice for those seeking legal representation.

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