Why Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Auto Accidents

The differences between automobiles and motorcycles are vast and varied, with only a handful of characteristics in common. The main aspect automobiles and motorcycles share in common is that they are both forms of transportation. But as far as appearance, operation, and safety are concerned, these two very different forms of transportation couldn't be any more like night and day.

Because of the very nature of a motorcycle, accidents are a common hazard, and unlike car accidents, the potential of having a fatal accident is high. It is reported that anywhere from 70-80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in injury or death, while the injury/fatality rate of passenger vehicles is only 20 percent. There are several reasons for this. Motorcycles offer no protection from the elements and absolutely no protective barrier between the roads and the motorcycle, or between the motorcycle and car drivers. Recent statistics show that per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the number of reported motorcycle accidents was 776.57, while the number for passenger cars involved in accidents per 100 million miles traveled was 423.13.

More importantly, other drivers, particularly those driving larger cars, trucks, vans, etc., in many cases cannot see the motorcyclist. This is possibly the number one reason why riding a motorcycle can be more dangerous than driving a car and why motorcycle accidents are usually quite a bit more serious than car accidents. Simply put, motorcycles are much smaller visual targets, so drivers of larger vehicles easily overlook bikers. In a large number of motorcycle accidents, it has been reported that the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident could not see the motorcycle, and unintentionally violated the motorcyclists right of way. This is a common occurrence at intersections, where roughly 70 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur.

While automobile accidents certainly have the potential to be deadly, it takes a lot more to damage a car than it does a motorcycle. A minor tap at twenty miles per hour could send a motorcycle tumbling, whereas the same accident with a car may cause nothing more than a ding.

Even if the rider of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet while operating the motorcycle and got into an accident due to another driver's fault, they can still file a claim against that at-fault driver. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover a percentage of the damages. An example is if you were 10% at fault and the amount of damages for you amounted to $100,000, then you would receive $90,000.

Due to the potential hazards associated with owning and operating a motorcycle, it's important for motorcycle owners to know their local motorcycle laws (which differ from automobile laws), understand their legal rights, and be aware of what he/she may be entitled to in case of an accident. Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, as do insurance laws. If you have been in a motorcycle accident or are a family member of someone who was killed in a motorcycle accident, please contact a motorcycle accident lawyer or personal injury attorney today.

A good motorcycle accident attorney is one who has a solid foundation in personal injury law, but who also specializes in the particular laws that affect motorcyclists and motorcycle accidents. He or she will have experience in filing and trying motorcycle injury or wrongful death cases. Contact your state Bar Association to learn more about attorneys who specialize in motorcycle accidents.


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