Motorcycles are a fun and exhilarating method of transportation, and it’s no mystery why motorcyclists enjoy riding so much. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle poses a greater degree of risk than operating a standard passenger car. Without the protection of the car’s body and safety features, such as seatbelts, motorcyclists are far more likely to suffer from serious or fatal injuries than other motorists. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in an accident than other motorists per mile traveled.
Although riding a motorcycle poses certain risks, that doesn’t mean that motorcyclists are inherently more dangerous drivers than others on the road. Many people hold the misconception that motorcyclists are reckless, and they assume that motorcycle accidents are caused by bikers. There are, of course, many cases in which bikers are at fault, but standard passenger drivers could easily be liable depending on the circumstances.
In this blog, we discuss common causes of motorcycle accidents, who is at fault in most motorcycle accidents, and determining liability.
What Is the Most Common Cause of a Motorcycle Accident?
Many causes and factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident, and frequently, multiple people are at fault. The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is drivers failing to see bikers on the road, resulting in a collision. Motorcycles are much harder to spot than other vehicles, and drivers often don’t expect to see a motorcyclist on the road. These accidents are especially common at intersections. 70% of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur at intersections, and they often happen because motorists fail to spot motorcyclists who have the right of way.
Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Motorcyclists lane splitting
- Sudden lane changes
- Cars turning left
- Distracted driving
- Road hazards
- Negligent maintenance of a vehicle
- Defective vehicle parts
- Motorists opening their doors in front of an oncoming motorcycle
Who Is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents
Road authorities, motorists, and insurance companies frequently assume that bikers are at fault for accidents, but statistically, passenger vehicles are more likely to cause motorcycle collisions.
What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are Caused by Cars?
According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, standard-car motorists were at fault for 66% of motorcycle-car collisions. These wrecks frequently occurred because a driver failed to see a motorcyclist at an intersection and they collided with the biker when turning. Bikers had the right of way, but motorists failed to see them.
A few other situations in which motorists could be at fault for motorcycle accidents include:
- The driver changed lanes without noticing a motorcyclist
- The person drove while distracted
- A driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A person drove recklessly
Why People Assume Motorcyclists Are at Fault
People hold misconceptions about bikers because they often view motorcycles as inherently dangerous. Sadly, insurance companies and road authorities also frequently hold biases against motorcyclists, meaning that a biker is more likely to be found at fault for an accident that they didn’t cause or only partially caused.
Indianapolis motorcycle accidents often happen because both the motorcyclist and the other driver made a mistake. They may share partial liability as a result. For example, if a motorcyclist was speeding at the time of the accident and the driver merged into the motorcyclist’s lane, both could be found partially liable.
Each driver will be assigned a percentage of the blame, and that percentage impacts the amount of compensation they can recover. If the motorcyclist is assigned 15% of the liability, that reduces the amount they can recover in damages by 15%. Indiana uses a modified comparative negligence system, which means that if a person is more than 50% liable for an accident, they cannot recover compensation for injuries.
Determining Liability After a Motorcycle Accident
Proving that a driver was partially or wholly responsible for a motorcycle accident is essential for recovering compensation for property damage and injuries. Because insurance companies, road authorities, and the general public hold biases against motorcyclists, it’s especially important for bikers to provide sufficient evidence for the claim. Some evidence you can use to prove that you were not at fault for a motorcycle accident include:
- The police’s accident report
- Photo and video evidence
- Eyewitness statements
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Medical records
- Cell phone records, which can prove someone drove while distracted
- Toxicology reports
Contact an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The best way to prove that someone else is liable for your motorcycle accident is by hiring a motorcycle accident attorney. For legal support in motorcycle cases in Indiana, contact the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery Attorneys at Law. We’ll help you recover the compensation you deserve for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call us today at 1-800-265-9881 or schedule a free case review here.