Who Is at Fault in Motorcycle Accidents?

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
November 15, 2021
A man riding a motorcycle down the road.

Every vehicle crash is unique. The drivers, the automobiles, the weather conditions, and countless other factors are different in each collision. This is why there is no one answer to a question like “Who is at fault in motorcycle accidents?” It depends on the circumstances surrounding the crash.

However, there are startling statistics regarding who is usually at fault when motorcycles and cars collide, and which drivers suffer the most injuries and fatalities. Determining fault is an important legal step in accessing the funds needed for medical care and recovery.

If you need representation from a motorcycle accident lawyer, contact Smith Law Center today by calling (757) 244-7000. To learn more about the causes and consequences of motorcycle crashes, read on.

What Are Motorcycle Accident Fault Statistics?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), here are some chilling facts regarding motorcycle accident fault statistics:

  • Motorcyclists have a higher mortality rate than other motorists. When riding in a car, truck, or other enclosed vehicle, drivers and passengers are protected from some of the most severe crash damages. Seat belts, air bags, and crash-rated frames keep other drivers safe, while motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries.
  • Roughly 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. Even minor parking accidents with motorcycles can cause immense harm to the operator, and high-speed crashes are even more dangerous. If a motorcycle crashes at all, injury to the rider is extremely likely.
  • ​Older riders are at a greater risk of injury and death over younger motorcyclists. Contrary to the notion that younger riders may be more reckless on motorcycles, it’s the slower reaction times in riders over age 40 that account for the higher rates of injuries and fatalities (over 50%). The older the rider, the more likely they are to die due to crash injury.

The numbers show that it’s far more dangerous to be a motorcycle rider than the driver or passenger of a car during a crash, but who is most at fault for car-and-motorcycle collisions?

What Percent of Motorcycle Accidents Are the Rider’s Fault?

The answer may shock you...if you’re not a motorcyclist.

Outside of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents (like those that happen due to adverse weather conditions), in collisions that involve a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, it’s the driver of the car who is more often at fault. Motorcycle accidents can even be attributed to other drivers in “no contact” situations, for instance where the driver of a car is held liable for dangerously changing lanes, causing a motorcyclist to wipe out in an effort to avoid a collision.

Roughly 60% of vehicle vs. motorcycle crashes are determined to be the other driver’s fault, not the motorcycle rider’s.

If you’re not at fault in a motorcycle accident, you may have a strong case to pursue a settlement or damages award to help cover your injuries and losses. However, even if you are determined to be partially or wholly at fault in a motorcycle accident, a dedicated attorney can still help you negotiate a fair insurance settlement.

Reach out to the Smith Law Center as soon as possible to make sure there’s someone with experience in motorcycle accident law on your side. Allow us to investigate all aspects of your crash, and protect your interests first.

Reach out to the Smith Law Center to make sure there’s someone with experience in motorcycle accident law on your side—we’re here to protect your interests first.

What Could a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Mean for You?

The injuries that result from motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. Even low-speed motorcycle collisions can cause broken bones and head trauma, but at high speeds, the risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, or amputation are greatly increased. These injuries can require consistent long-term medical care, and often interrupt one’s normal life, including the ability to work.

A pre-trial settlement or damages award could help cover:

  • Medical bills for emergency and ongoing care
  • Loss of income and other job-related benefits like health insurance coverage
  • Pain and suffering both physical and psychological
  • Punitive damages, which refer to “punishment” charges made to the negligent party and then awarded to you
  • Wrongful death expenses like funeral costs, loss of income, and loss of companionship for surviving family members

Even with auto insurance and health insurance combined, your injuries and losses may exceed the financial support you have access to on your own. Call the motorcycle accident lawyers at Smith Law Center at (757) 244-7000 to discuss your circumstances so you can secure representation right away.

How Can You Contact the Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Smith Law Center?

One of the top joys of riding a motorcycle is the feeling of freedom. A motorcycle crash can quickly rob someone of their freedom, vitality, and even their life. After such a tragedy, your best chance at recovery and a brighter future may be pursuing a legal case.

The lawyers at Smith Law Center hold a unique skill set in the area of motorcycle accident law. Founded by Stephen M. Smith, a graduate of Marquette University’s Neuro Anatomical Program, our firm brings a deep understanding of what it takes to heal after brain damage and other traumatic injuries commonly present in motorcycle crashes. Our case results show our experience in securing life-saving results for our clients.

You can contact the Smith Law Center via our online form, or by calling (757) 244-7000 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Determining fault after a motorcycle accident can have a great impact on the financial resources available to help you recover—make sure there’s an experienced advocate on your side to protect your best interests.

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About Smith Law Center

Our lawyers are more than lawyers. They are people who understand your injuries and the law that surrounds your options when it comes to holding others accountable.

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