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Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

Various factors can cause motorcycle accidents, and riders typically face unfair bias when it comes to determining liability. However, when a motorcycle and a car collide, the driver of the car is most often at fault.

How Often Are Automobile Drivers Responsible for Motorcycle Accidents?

A comprehensive study initiated by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), called the Hurt Report, focused on 900 motorcycle accidents to identify their causes in detail. Although the study was conducted in 1981, it is the most in-depth investigation completed on this topic, and its crash data has been used nationally and internationally. Here are some of their discoveries:

  • When an accident involved a motorcycle and another vehicle(s), the other vehicle(s) was at fault for violating the biker’s right-of-way in more than 66% of those accidents.
  • The leading cause of these accidents was other vehicles failing to see the motorcyclist.
  • The most common type of collision was a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle going straight.
  • Intersections were the most commonplace for these motorcycle crashes.
  • Over 50% of motorcyclists involved in accidents had less than 5 months of riding experience.

Drivers often blame motorcyclists for being reckless or careless on the road, but this data proves otherwise. Most motorcycle accidents happen because of a car or truck driver’s negligent actions.

Partial Fault in Motorcycle Accidents 

In California, the rule of pure comparative negligence applies to motorcycle accident cases. Under this law, anyone who contributes to an accident or injury can be liable for damages. The insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to all parties, and compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but found 40% at fault because you were speeding when a driver turned in front of you, you will only receive 60% of the award or $60,000. Because of the law, the at-fault party or their insurer might try to blame you for the crash. Unfortunately, this can ultimately limit your compensation, but an attorney can help.

How Liability is Determined in a Motorcycle Accident

Although drivers are most often to blame for motorcycle accidents, there must be evidence to prove fault. The types of evidence that may help you hold another party accountable can include:

  • Photos of the scene, the surrounding area, damage to the vehicles, and of your injuries
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Police reports
  • Video surveillance footage of the accident, if available
  • Toxicology reports of the other driver(s)
  • Cell phone records
  • Your medical records
  • Physical evidence from the motorcycle
  • Your motorcycle’s maintenance records
  • Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert

Proving fault and understanding how liability is determined is crucial to obtaining the compensation you deserve after a crash. However, acquiring the evidence you need can be challenging without the resources of an experienced San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer. They will help protect your rights and will perform an investigation to collect the necessary evidence to support your claim.