When an accident involving a motorcycle happens, it’s often a knee-jerk reaction to blame the motorcyclist. We assume they had to be speeding, weaving, or otherwise operating unsafely. Many motorists simply assume that a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, and the rider simply has to be at fault.
This is not true.
According to the IIHS, 4,295 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents during 2014. It’s absurd to assume that every single one of them were at fault — because they often weren’t. An earlier study by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2003 showed that motorcyclists were either not at fault or at less fault than the motorist — almost 80% of the time.
Too often, we see motorcyclists having to fight the fight of their lives following an accident, only to be met with the assumption that they must have been at fault. For a motorcyclist to fight an uphill battle based on being a motorcyclist, is simply unfair.
How can we blame a motorcyclist when they’re involved in an accident where:
- A driver turns left in front of them
- A distracted driver claims not to see them
- A driver hits them head-on (which is usually fatal)
- Impaired drivers enter opposing lanes
- Drivers fail to adhere to Lane Splitting laws, where applicable
Of course, motorcyclists are not perfect. There are plenty of them who speed, ignore Lane Splitting laws, ride impaired, or engage in street racing. But at the same time, there’s drivers who do the same thing.
How does an injured motorcyclist even the odds, then? Is there any way for them to get justice in a society seeking to take it from them? They can, and it comes down to knowing the law.
When a motorist has broken the law, there’s not much else anyone can say. When an injured motorcyclist demands the police include the violation in their report, it’s as close to a slam-dunk as you can get. There’s also the factor of hiring an attorney who knows motorcycle law and is experienced in that sort of defense.
Problems arise when you consider the variable of jury opinions. While the law is pretty clear, in a civil trial, it comes down to a jury and what those 12 opinions say. Jurors are not lawyers, and don’t know the law inside and out. Presenting cold, hard facts with a side of the law is the only way out. When your attorney can tell a jury “This motorist violated the following laws, and here’s the evidence that proves it” — that’s the advantage of experience.
It can be intimidating to walk into court or an insurance office with the odds already stacked against you, based on being a motorcyclist. However, the numbers and the law don’t lie, and it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to pay close attention to both.
About The Author:
Reza Torkzadeh, Esq. is the founder of THE TORKZADEH LAW FIRM an Award Winning Personal Injury Law Firm representing victims and families of serious accidents. Over the past several years, Reza has obtained record setting results on behalf of his clients who have been injured in motor vehicle accident including defective products, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, dangerous premises and wrongful death claims.