Motorcycle Accident Liability

Posted on November 25, 2021 at 8:00 AM by The Biker Lawyers

Who is responsible for the damages in a motorcycle accident?

Liability will depend on the circumstances, but typically if the other driver was responsible, they will be liable for the damages. Basically, if a state uses a fault (tort) system, the driver responsible for causing the accident covers the victim’s damages (or at least, their insurance company does).

Keep in mind that motorcycle accidents can be caused by a number of things such as:

  • Reckless drivers
  • Inattentive riders
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Weather conditions (motorcycle riders in Iowa know all about this one)
  • Poor traffic conditions
  • Faulty bike parts

… and much more.

Speaking of which, did you know that even in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident, others may be held liable? For example, the motorcycle manufacturer may be held liable for defects in the machine or the local or state government may be liable for hazardous road conditions. Again, every case is unique so it’s important to understand all of the facts of a case for the most favorable outcome.

Determining Fault in Motorcycle Accident Settlements

Determining fault in motorcycle accident settlements is very important because it usually plays an important role when figuring out settlement amounts. The victim has to prove that the other party caused the injuries (known as the burden of proof). After all of the evidence is considered, if the victim can prove fault, they are more likely to get a favorable settlement. That said, if the victim cannot prove negligence or liability on the other party, it can be tough to get a large settlement.

Common Personal Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents

Look, we all know riding is dangerous. That’s part of the draw: the thrill of the risk. How big, exactly is that risk, by the books? In 2019 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report showing that there were 5,014 bikers killed in crashes that year.

Top Five Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Obviously, not all motorcycle wrecks end in death, but the list of common motorcycle accident injuries is nothing to snuff at. We’ve seen a lot of injuries over the years but here are a few to consider from (arguably) most to least severe.

  1. Brain Injuries – Brain injuries vary in severity as those with traumatic brain injuries may experience health problems that last a short time (a few days) or for the rest of their lives. As the leading cause of death in the United States, suffering a brain injury can significantly increase the amount of a motorcycle accident injury settlement, even if it’s not a wrongful death case.
  2. Spinal Cord Injuries – Settlements involving these types of injuries typically result in significant damages as they reduce the victim’s quality of life and can require long-term medical care. Spinal cord injuries sometimes lead to paralysis and other major nerve problems.
  3. Chest Injuries – Chest injuries can also vary greatly in severity from cracked or bruised ribs, to collapsed lungs, or even internal bleeding. The fact that these issues are not always easy to detect right away is another great reason to get to a hospital if involved in a wreck, even if you think nothing is wrong. At the very least, let paramedics check you out.
  4. Leg and Hand Injuries – In a recent article, we explained why and how the right gear can greatly reduce injuries, especially with hands and legs. Part of the reason that motorcyclists are often the most severely injured in accidents is the lack of overall protection. Your legs and feet are the closest part of your body to the ground while on a bike, so it makes sense that these are often the first to smack the pavement or get crushed under your bike during an accident. From broken bones to knee injuries and torn ligaments, healing from leg, feet, and hand injuries is not usually painless or a quick process.
  5. Road Rash – We’re not talking about the classic video game here, road rash is no joke. This can be anything from scrapes and abrasions caused by flesh hitting the pavement, to tearing tissues, muscle, and bone. Recovery from the most severe cases of road rash can include painful, extensive, (not to mention expensive) skin grafts to fix the skin.

Not all damages are physical.

Damages are costs incurred as a result of the accident. These can fall into a variety of categories including physical, psychological, and economic. Economic damages include medical bills, loss of income, other expenses, etc. After an accident, it’s critical that the victim does their best to keep track of bills, receipts, and as detailed a journal as possible that outlines recovery and the various ways the accident has impacted their life. All of this is evidence that can be used to prove damages and maximize the likelihood of getting the compensation you deserve.

We hope this helps but if you have follow-up questions, send ’em our way. Click the image below and we’d be happy to help!

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