According to the most recent statistics, there are roughly 8.3 million on-road motorcycles registered in the United States. That figure is almost double the number of motorcycles registered in 2002.
As motorcycles become an increasingly popular way to move around, more riders will be on American roads in the coming years. Increasing demand for newer, better motorcycles will push the US motorcycle market size to a staggering 10.88 billion by 2025.
But while motorcycles are a reliable, fun means of transport, they don’t come without risks. Getting involved in a motorcycle accident is a common occurrence.
Even more worrying is the fact that injuries suffered after a motorcycle are by far more likely to lead to death than those suffered during a car crash. Recent statistics revealed that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die than passenger car occupants during an accident.
After a motorcycle accident, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit if you believe someone else was to blame for the accident. Of course, it must be clear that the other person is at fault for your insurance claim to be successful.
Here’s the process of establishing fault in motorcycle accidents.
Factors in Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
In many states, victims of a motorcycle accident must be less than 50 percent at fault to qualify for non-economic damages. These damages include the pain and suffering the victim experienced or is going through as a result of the accident.
The process of attributing fault to the parties involved in an accident involves a variety of factors, including:
The Police Report
Police usually assess the scene of the accident when trying to determine who is at fault. Typically, they’ll talk to both parties to get a clear picture of what happened.
Traffic officers also draw information about the accident by looking at the damage done to the motorcycle and the other vehicle and their post-crash positions. They also look at skid marks and other physical evidence.
If the situation is clear-cut, such as one party running a red light, the officers will issue a ticket. But where the cause isn’t immediately obvious, more investigation will be done to determine the fault.
If there were witnesses to the accident, the police will get their statements. Try to get contact information for these witnesses as well. If you decide to hire an attorney for your personal injury lawsuit, chances are your lawyer will want to interview these witnesses to corroborate your version of how the accident happened.
If there were cameras located close to the scene of the accident, you’re in luck. Footage from these cameras may prove a great help when it comes to determining the at-fault party.
Expect the insurance company of the at-fault party to make a thorough assessment of the accident. That’s why you need to gather all evidence that might help your case, including photos of the scene and the vehicles involved, witness statements, and so on.
Admission of Fault
One of the parties might state that they were responsible for the accident. Just make sure it is not you.
Admitting fault to anyone is always a terrible idea. That’s because once you’ve made that admission, even in error, it’s hardly possible to reverse it. If possible, don’t discuss how the accident occurred until you’ve talked to a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney.
How the Insurance Company Goes About Determining Fault
As we pointed out, the insurance company will use insurance adjusters to review all the available evidence. This evidence may include the police report, existing camera footage, physical evidence from the accident scene, and so on.
Adjusters also review any statements parties present at the scene of the accident made. They may also conduct interviews with some of these parties to find out whether they have changed their original statements.
So, why does the insurance company go through all this? They want to look for any information or evidence they can use to turn down your claim or give you a low settlement. They’ll do all they can to prove you, the victim, responsible for the accident.
For this reason, you should never try to face the insurance company on your own. Hire a lawyer who’s experienced in fighting for clients like you and winning compensation for them. Click the following page to find out some of the things a motorcycle lawyer can do for you.
Which Parties Can Be at-fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
Most motorcycle accidents in the US involve cars, trucks, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles. In many of these cases, the motor vehicle’s driver is the cause of the accident.
But drivers aren’t always the party at-fault in motorcycle accidents. Other possible parties that may be responsible include:
- The rider
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle
- The entity charged with maintaining the road
- The manufacturer of the defective motorcycle part that caused the accident
- The motorcycle repair shop where your motorcycle was repaired negligently
On some occasions, more than one party is responsible for the motorcycle wreck. Your attorney must prove how each of the parties was responsible for causing the accident.
What if You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?
In most states, bikers and passengers are allowed by law to ride without helmets, provided they meet certain conditions. For instance, you and your passenger must be over 21 in some of these states.
If you suffered a severe head injury, you can still sue the at-fault party, whether or not you were wearing a helmet. However, note that the court may consider you partially responsible for your motorcycle injury if you weren’t wearing a helmet, which would ultimately impact the amount you receive as a settlement.
Take the Appropriate Action after Your Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident can be both shocking and devastating. If you believe the accident was not your fault, it’s only reasonable to seek compensation for your injuries. Understanding how the process of determining who is at fault for the accident works helps you act accordingly, so you don’t hurt your chances of winning your claim.
Would you like to read more great content on motorcycle accidents? Please keep visiting our blog.