Motorcycle Accidents vs. Car Accidents: Legal Differences and Challenges
By Space Coast Daily // June 5, 2023
Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling and liberating experience, but it also comes with a higher risk of accidents and injuries than driving a car.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of a car. When it comes to legal differences and challenges between motorcycle accidents and car accidents, there are several factors to consider.
Liability and Fault
One of the biggest legal differences between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is the issue of liability and fault. In most car accidents, liability and fault are determined based on the negligence of the driver(s) involved. This can include things like distracted driving, speeding, or failing to obey traffic laws.
However, in motorcycle accidents, there are often additional factors at play. For example, a driver who hits a motorcycle may claim that they did not see the motorcycle, which is a common defense in these cases. Additionally, some drivers may have a bias against motorcyclists and assume that they are reckless or dangerous, even if they were not at fault for the accident.
In these cases, it can be challenging for the motorcyclist to prove their case and establish fault. This is where having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a significant difference.
Damages and Compensation
Another critical legal difference between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is the issue of damages and compensation. In both types of accidents, victims can seek compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, motorcycle accident victims may face additional challenges when it comes to compensation. For example, motorcycle accidents often result in more severe injuries than car accidents, which can lead to higher medical bills and longer recovery times. Additionally, many motorcycle accident victims are unable to work while they recover, which can result in significant financial hardship.
Insurance companies may also be more hesitant to offer compensation in motorcycle accident cases. This is because motorcycle accidents are often seen as more dangerous and risky than car accidents, which can make insurers more reluctant to pay out claims.
Another legal difference between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is the issue of helmet laws. While all states require drivers and passengers in cars to wear seat belts, helmet laws for motorcyclists vary widely from state to state.
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws, which require all motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding. Another 28 states have partial helmet laws, which only require certain groups of riders (such as those under a certain age) to wear helmets. Three states have no helmet laws at all.
In states with universal helmet laws, failure to wear a helmet can result in fines and other penalties. However, in states with partial or no helmet laws, riders who are injured in accidents while not wearing a helmet may have a harder time seeking compensation for their injuries.
Finally, it is worth noting that comparative negligence laws can also impact the legal differences and challenges between motorcycle accidents and car accidents. Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that allows fault to be apportioned between multiple parties in an accident.
For example, if a driver is speeding and hits a motorcyclist who was also exceeding the speed limit, both parties may be found to be partially at fault for the accident. In these cases, damages and compensation may be reduced based on the degree of fault assigned to each party.
Comparative negligence can be particularly challenging in motorcycle accident cases, as riders are often seen as more vulnerable and at greater risk for injury. This can lead to biases against motorcyclists in court, making it harder for them to receive fair compensation for their injuries.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is essential to seek medical attention right away, even if you feel fine. Many injuries, such as concussions and whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term effects if left untreated.
It is also crucial to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. A motorcycle accident lawyer from SKG can help you navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong case to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
By understanding the legal differences and challenges between motorcycle accidents and car accidents, you can take steps to protect yourself and your rights as a motorcyclist. With the right support and legal guidance, you can overcome the challenges of a motorcycle accident and get back on the road to recovery.