Are Motorcycle Riders Always at Fault for a Virginia Motor Vehicle Accident?

Every motorcycle accident is different. The vehicles, the drivers, the traffic conditions, and numerous other variables are unique to each incident. As a result, there is no single correct answer to questions regarding fault for a specific type of accident because the answer will always depend on the events leading up to the collision.  

Who is at fault for a motorcycle accident?

Many people think that, in an accident involving a motorcycle, the rider is automatically at fault. The statistics regarding who is most often at fault in a collision between a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle and who sustains the most injuries and deaths tell a very different story. Establishing fault for an accident is an essential part of recovering any damages that you, as a victim, may be entitled to. 

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact the Virginia Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at the Virginia Beach personal injury firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. You can schedule your complimentary case review and discover what course of action we recommend for your circumstances.

Motorcycle Accidents and Fault Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published some concerning motorcycle accident fault data:

  • Bikers have a greater mortality rate than other vehicle operators. When riding in an enclosed vehicle, such as a car or truck, the occupants are shielded from some of the more serious accident-related injuries. Safety features like airbags, seat belts, and steel frames help to keep them somewhat protected, while riders are 35 times more prone to sustaining deadly injuries.
  • Around 80% of all motorcycle accidents end in injuries or fatalities. Even a minor fender bender in a parking lot can lead to severe injuries to the rider, and high-speed collisions are even more hazardous. If a motorcycle is involved in any type of accident, rider injuries are almost a certainty.  
  • ​Older motorcyclists are at a higher risk of being injured or killed than younger riders. Although many people think that younger motorcyclists are a lot more reckless, the delayed reaction times of riders over 40 accounts for their significantly higher injury and fatality rates. Older riders are also much more likely to die from crash-related injuries.  

These statistics make it clear that it is much more dangerous to be on a motorcycle than inside of a car during an accident but, when an accident does happen, who is to blame?  

What Percentage of Accidents Are the Motorcyclist’s Fault?

Single-vehicle motorcycle crashes notwithstanding, it is the driver of the passenger vehicle who is at fault more often. 

Motorcycle crashes can even be caused by other drivers in a no-contact scenario, such as where the driver of a passenger vehicle made an illegal or dangerous lane change, forcing the rider to crash or lay the bike down in an attempt to avoid an accident. 

About 60% of all motorcycle vs passenger vehicle collisions are found to be the fault of the larger vehicle, not the motorcyclist.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you could have a valid case for seeking a damages award or a settlement to compensate you for your losses. An experienced lawyer can help you secure a fair settlement.

What Damages Am I Eligible for After a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries to the rider. Even collisions that occur at low speeds can lead to head injuries and broken bones. When motorcycle accidents occur at high speeds, the odds of injuries to the spinal cord, avulsion injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are much greater. These and other serious injuries may require ongoing and long-term medical care. They can also leave victims unable to work and without the same quality of life they once enjoyed.  

Again, every accident case is different but, by and large, a damages award or pre-trial settlement could compensate you for:

  • Medical expenses for treatments and ongoing care
  • Loss of earnings and other work-related benefits such as health insurance 
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering  
  • Punitive damages, in some cases where the defendant displayed gross misconduct
  • Wrongful death damages such as funeral and burial costs, loss of earnings, and loss of fellowship for surviving relatives, if someone died in the accident

Even with health insurance and auto insurance together, your medical costs and other damages could easily surpass your current financial means.

Were You Injured in a Virginia Motorcycle Accident?

If a motorcycle accident left you injured, the Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Cases involving motorcycles can be challenging. We feel that every accident victim deserves to be treated fairly and have an aggressive and experienced attorney on their side. Schedule a free case evaluation with our Virginia Beach personal injury lawyers by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out the form on our website. 

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