What Are Most Motorcycle Accidents Caused By?
Motorcycle accidents can occur for various reasons, from inclement weather to human negligence. Regardless of the reasoning, they are among the most dangerous and deadly auto accidents. Suppose you suffered an injury or lost someone important to you as a result of a motorcycle accident. In that case, you deserve the chance to get the financial compensation you deserve from the person or persons responsible for your pain and suffering.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are related to human error. Examples include:
- Speeding. One of the top causes is speeding, which decreases the driver’s ability to react to changes in road conditions and makes it more challenging to respond to other drivers’ actions on the road. Motorcycle accidents occurring at high speed often result in the most devastating injuries.
- Stopping suddenly. Tailgating is the number one cause of rear-end accidents. When a driver follows too close and the front vehicle stops abruptly, the results can be severe for a motorcyclist.
- Making unsafe lane changes. Failing to signal or check for blind spots can easily lead to an accident for motorcyclists, considering they can be more difficult to spot than a larger vehicle.
- Making unsafe left turns. Drivers of passenger vehicles may misjudge distance or make a right-of-way error, which can be a deadly mistake for a motorcyclist.
- Lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist maneuvers between vehicles in parallel lanes. The act is dangerous and illegal in many states.
- Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of any intoxicant impairs the driver’s ability to remain alert and make responsible decisions. Additionally, drunk or drugged drivers will also face criminal changes.
- Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers can make poor judgments on the road that could endanger the lives of other drivers.
- Car doors. Roadside parking can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Drivers opening their doors in the path of a cyclist can cause a severe accident.
Sometimes accidents are the result of multiple causes. For example, if someone drives under the influence at excessive speed during inclement weather, their potential for causing a severe auto accident significantly increases. However, not all accidents have one clear at-fault party. In some cases, more than one party is responsible.
What Happens if Both Parties Share Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
Every state mandates laws for motorcycle accident cases to deal with shared fault. They either adhere to the contributory negligence rule or the comparative negligence rule. Very few states follow the contributory negligence rule, which states you cannot receive compensation for your losses if you bear any responsibility for the accident. Most states adhere to one of the two types of comparative negligence.
Comparative Negligence Rule
If you live in a comparative negligence state, you can still recover a portion of damages based on the percentage of fault you bear for the accident. The comparative negligence rule states that the amount received equals the total award for damages less your portion of responsibility. Additionally, each state uses one of the two types of the rule:
- Pure comparative negligence. Your eligibility for compensation is unaffected by the percentage of fault you bear, meaning you can be more at fault than the other party.
- Modified comparative negligence. You cannot be more at fault than the other party, meaning if your percentage exceeds the defendant’s, compensation is not available to you.
Most states follow the modified comparative negligence rule. If you know you bear some blame for the accident, speak openly about it with your attorney upfront. They can help you understand if you still have a chance to recover damages in a modified comparative negligence state.
What Damages Can You Recover From a Motorcycle Accident?
Damages are the actual losses associated with your accident. In a motorcycle accident case, the damages you could recover include compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, since every accident has unique circumstances, the damages vary from case to case.
Compensatory damages come in two forms: specific damages and general damages. Specific damages refer to the economic losses, such as:
- Medical care costs
- Income lost due to days off from work, loss of earning capacity and lost benefits
- The cost of damage to the vehicle and any other property
- The cost of help you may need as you heal, such as transportation, in-home care, or childcare services
- Any additional expense that came out of pocket as a result of the accident
The general damages refer to non-economic losses. They have no inherent financial value but are quantifiable in a personal injury lawsuit. Examples include:
- The pain and suffering from your physical ailments
- Mental anguish or emotional distress caused by the changes the accident made to your life, including any mental illness diagnoses
- Loss of your ability to enjoy your life
- Loss of companionship or consortium if you lost a loved one in the accident
- Disfigurement or disability
Your attorney can help you quantify general damages using evidence, such as statements from family and a multiplying factor.
Plaintiffs rarely receive punitive damages in motorcycle accident cases. These are reserved for cases involving malicious or particularly heinous behavior by the defendant. If the court decides the at-fault party in your case acted with no sense of care for anyone else on the road, they may require them to pay you punitive damages as punishment.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you find yourself battling the insurance company to reach a fair settlement for your motorcycle accident case, your next step in receiving the compensation you deserve may be to file a civil lawsuit. You are under no obligation to hire a motorcycle accident attorney. However, there are several reasons why you may want to consider it. The benefits of having legal representation include:
- You do not have to deal with insurance companies. Your attorney handles all communication.
- You will likely receive a settlement that more adequately reflects your losses.
- You will have a professional to walk you through the legal process and help you understand your rights.
- You will have access to experts and resources you would not have on your own.
- You have someone on your side who understands the burden your case causes you and can offer support as you heal.
- If the insurance agent fails to offer an adequate settlement, your attorney will advise if it is best to go to trial and prepare for it should you take the case to court.
- Your attorney will collect sufficient evidence to support your claim by conducting an independent investigation.
- You have a better chance of accurately valuing the damages, especially the non-economic damages.
If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident where another party was at fault, a personal injury attorney at Mike Morse Law Firm could help you get the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has years of experience working with similar cases and will present evidence and fight for a settlement that helps you get your life back on track. We are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. You can call us at 800-MIKE-WINS, start a live chat on our website, or fill out the online case evaluation form.