Why Negligent Drivers Are Liable for Most Motorcycle Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2020 Motorcycle Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, motorcycle accidents killed 5,579 bikers in 2020. In addition to fatalities, about 82,528 motorcyclists suffered injuries.

Motorcyclists can receive compensation for their injuries. If you suffer personal injuries in an accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your case. Even the most conscientious, law-abiding rider can find themselves the victim of driver negligence. We will look at the top causes of motorcycle-vehicle accidents, how to avoid them, and what type of compensation riders are eligible for following a motorcycle crash.


Top Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Riders and passengers on a motorcycle are extremely vulnerable to severe injury and death. They may suffer injuries from direct impact with the motor vehicle, be thrown through the air, or end up under the car that hit them. They have nothing surrounding them for protection at the time of impact.

The best line of defense is to learn the causes of motorcycle accidents and take proactive steps to avoid them.

Human Eye Blind Spot

Eye-tracking technology shows that drivers and motorcycle riders do not see the same things. Research shows a natural blind spot in the human eye called the phenomenon of saccadic masking. This means the brain selectively blocks visual data, impacting the visual habits of drivers and riders.

Drivers of automobiles concentrate on different things on the road. They often do not see motorcycles until the last moment.

Humans view only large objects as threats, which is why motorcycles go unnoticed. As a rider, you must expand how you read the road to assess potential hazards. Ride in anticipation of vehicle error and allow yourself an opening for counter maneuvers.

Wear reflective gear to make yourself more visible, and add reflective strips to your bike to increase its visibility.


Splitting lanes on a motorcycle is legal in the state, under California Vehicle Code §21658.1. Lane-splitting is riding a motorcycle between rows of vehicles that are either stopped or moving in the same lane.

Riding a motorcycle between two traffic lanes may speed up your trip, but it can bring your ride to a fatal end. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides lane-splitting tips for motorcyclists, including:

  • Consider the size of the vehicles around you
  • Consider weather and road conditions
  • The danger increases with speed
  • It is safer to split between the far two left lanes than any other lanes
  • Avoid splitting lanes next to large vehicles
  • Do not linger in the blind spot of vehicles

The CHP advises drivers that blocking or impeding a motorcyclist is illegal and may cause an accident or injury. Drivers of automobiles in the left lane are advised to move to the left to give motorcyclists sufficient room to pass.

Although vehicles are required to provide you with a right-of-way, they may not see you. Lane-splitting is dangerous and should only be done by experienced riders.

Bad Road Conditions

Driving in the rain or high winds can be deadly for a biker. Motorcyclists have less visibility, less protection, and less traction on the road, making them vulnerable to bad weather accidents. If you are riding in inclement weather, take steps to draw attention to yourself. Assume other vehicles can’t see you. Have reflective strips on your rain gear and bike.

If the weather makes it difficult to control your bike on the road, take refuge until it is safe to ride. This may delay reaching your destination sooner, but doing so can prevent a catastrophic accident from occurring.

Head-on Collision

When automobiles pass, they often fail to see a motorcyclist approaching from the other direction. They don’t allow enough time to pass before getting back into their proper lane, or they swing out too late and hit the approaching biker. Either way, these accidents are often fatal for the rider.

To avoid this type of accident, always be cautious of the movements of approaching vehicles. Keep an eye on the turn signals and front tires of approaching vehicles. Both can indicate that an automobile is planning to enter your lane to pass.

Left-Hand Turn Accidents

Accidents often result from an automobile turning left directly into the path of a motorcycle. This is usually due to the saccadic masking as previously discussed.

When approaching an intersection with a stopped vehicle, maneuver your bike to make it more noticeable. This can include swerving back and forth in your lane. Always anticipate the other automobile pulling out, and be prepared to quickly shift if necessary.


You Are Entitled to Compensation

If you suffer injuries because of another driver’s negligence, you have a right to compensation for your injuries and other “damages” you incur. In California, lawsuits must be filed within two years of the accident date.

However, if the negligent party is a government entity or official, the notice of claim must be made within 6 months, but the terms can vary for each case.

Your personal injury attorney will file a complaint that includes the four elements of negligence. This is necessary for the court to accept the complaint. They will explain how the other driver had a duty of care and breached that duty, resulting in your accident. A direct correlation will be made by tying the accident with your suffered damages.

Ultimately, any monetary losses or hardships that resulted due to the motorcycle accident may qualify for compensation. The purpose of compensation is to help the victim recover back to the same state (physical, mental, and financial) as he or she was in pre-accident.


Different Types of Damages

When a motorcyclist suffers personal injury or death in an auto-motorcycle accident, they can receive compensation for damages they incur. Your motorcycle lawyer will ask for damages applicable to your personal injury case.

Two kinds of damages receive consideration in a motorcycle personal injury claim. These are economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages typically have a dollar amount tied to the value, such as medical bills or bike repair costs. These make up the majority of the compensation you can be reimbursed for.

Non-economic damages do not have a fixed amount. These cannot be measured in a monetary sense. However, they still qualify for compensation, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium. When making a determination, a judge or jury decides on the value of intangible injuries.

Personal Injury Damages

Every case is different, so damages vary. There are numerous costs you will incur following a motorcycle injury accident, including:

  • Ambulance and paramedic costs
  • Medical bills—hospital, surgeries, rehabilitation, and physical therapy
  • Specialists for accident injuries
  • Repair or replacement of motorcycle and gear
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of wages, future wages, or inability to work
  • Permanent disfigurement

You may not require any specialists, or you may need several following an accident. For instance, severe vertigo may require an ear, nose, and throat specialist. A TBI (traumatic brain injury) may require a neurosurgeon.

Wrongful Death Damages

If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit following a motorcycle crash, in addition to the expenses above, you may also collect the following:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial site costs
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of future income

The key to receiving all damages you are eligible for is to hire a lawyer with experience in motorcycle personal injury lawsuits.


Finding a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcycle accidents often require extensive medical treatment or result in death. If you or a loved one is in an accident, one of your first calls needs to be Angeleno Accident Lawyers.

We will work on your case while you concentrate on recovery. There are no upfront fees; we only collect payment when we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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