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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is Usually At Fault in a Vehicle Motorcycle Collision, and When to Call an Attorney

There are around 80,000 motorcycle accidents every year in the US. Many end in minor injuries or property damage alone- but others lead to more significant damage or even death. In any motorcycle accident, it is important to determine who is at fault and who has the right to make a claim.

Around two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are collisions with other vehicles, and the motorcycle rider is 28 times more likely to be killed than passenger car drivers.

Who to blame for motorcycle crashes is often the big question, and finding the answer is essential in compensation settlements or trials. Multiple parties may be at fault, but who is usually responsible? Here are the answers.

What Is Considered Fault in Motorcycle Accidents?

What Is Considered Fault in Motorcycle Accidents?

Before determining fault and where it lies, victims and defendants must understand what counts when it comes to motorcycle accidents.

Fault is the failure to adequately perform a duty of care that is owed, and the result of that failure directly leading to the accident or incident. Every road user has a duty of care to others, and performs it by following road rules and driving safely.

In other words, fault in a motorcycle accident would lie with the party who, in some way, failed to act on their responsibility and in the process created circumstances that led to a crash.

Things get complicated in cases where there is comparative or partial fault. This means that more than one party's actions contributed to the accident. To give an example, a motorcyclist is speeding and is hit by a car pulling out at a red light. Both have acted negligently, and both have partial fault.

Comparative fault is used to determine who is most at fault and whether or not the other party's actions contributed enough to negate their claim. A motorcycle accident attorney in Nashville TN can help fight a case to ensure the most negligent party is held liable and accountable.

It is essential to prove fault or negligence to successfully claim for damages.

Who Can Be At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

In a motorcycle crash, there are several possible at-fault parties. In most motorcycle accident cases, it is one of the following. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for questions like What is the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

The Motorcycle Rider

Sometimes, the motorcycle rider is the at-fault party in a collision. Many younger riders do not have proper licenses for the motorcycles they crash, and many more are lacking in experience.

Motorcycle drivers may cause collisions by speeding or driving too closely to cars, and many get injured when lane splitting or attempting to weave through traffic lanes.

It is also fairly common for a rider to lose control of their motorcycle, either because they are going too fast for the conditions or do not have the proper training to handle the situation. This can easily lead to collisions, resulting in a motorcycle wreck and catastrophic personal injury.

If a rider is injured and is not wearing the correct protective gear, they may be seen as partially at fault for their injuries, even if the collision was not their fault. To give an example, someone hit by a drunk driver who suffers a traumatic head injury could sue the driver, but if they were not wearing a helmet, the defendant's motorcycle accident attorney could argue that the extent of the injury was not entirely the driver's fault.

Drivers of Other Vehicles

Although almost one-third of motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle accidents that are predominantly the fault of the rider, they are not always responsible for collisions with others. Most motorcycle collisions are the fault of the other drivers and not the motorcycle riders.

Car and truck drivers are more often at fault than motorcycle riders, because many accidents happen when they don't see the rider. They may pull out to switch lanes, go to turn left at an intersection, or suddenly stop- not realizing there is a motorcycle behind or beside them.

Other times, a negligent driver can cause an accident due to speeding, drunk or distracted driving, or road rule-breaking. Reckless passenger vehicle driving is one of the things most likely to cause any motor vehicle collision.

Motorcycle Manufacturers

Another possible liable party is the motorbike's (or other vehicle that caused the accident) manufacturer. The only cases where this would be valid fault is where a malfunction or defect in the motorcycle or vehicle caused (or was at least partially responsible for) the accident. It is not one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, but it does happen.

Property Owners or Managers

Lastly, if vehicles collide because of poor road maintenance or road management (failed traffic lights, missing stop signs, or serious potholes, for example), the person responsible for the upkeep could also be held responsible for the accident.

If it happens on private property (as long as the vehicles have the right to be there), the owner could be liable. On public property, it may fall to the council or government. In cases where maintenance was scheduled but either delayed, incomplete, or poorly finished, the company hired to handle the repairs could also be at fault.

Who Is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

In short, most motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers. Truck and car drivers are responsible for most fatal injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents involving more than one vehicle- most commonly at intersections or where there is a driver turning left. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has more information on which age group has the most motorcycle accidents.

The drivers of passenger vehicles causing these collisions are most likely to be one or more of the following:

  • Speeding

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Distracted (mainly on the phone)

  • Tired

What to Do After Motorcycle Accidents Happen

What to Do After Motorcycle Accidents Happen

Anyone involved in motorcycle accidents with another vehicle should contact a lawyer as soon as possible and take the following actions.

  • Contact the emergency services (police and ambulance).

  • Do not leave the accident scene until the police arrive.

  • Contact their insurance company to inform them of the accident.

  • Get the details of the other driver (including their insurance company details, driver's license, and license plate number).

  • Take pictures and gather evidence.

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In cases where injured bikers cannot take these actions, someone else must take over. If they suffer fatal injuries, the victim's family member can pursue a claim and seek compensation on their behalf.

Find the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Nashville at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Contact the Schuerger Shunnarah team today for a free consultation discussing fault in motorcycle accidents and the process of making a claim. The team goes to war for clients to prove fault and secure the justice they deserve.


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