Biker stereotypes unfairly paint motorcycle riders as wild and reckless, which is why it is common for insurance companies to lay the blame on a motorcycle rider who was involved in an accident — even if the rider did not do anything wrong.
Insurance companies often argue that motorcycle riders “know the risk” when they get on a motorcycle or that “motorcycles speed everywhere they go, so they (i.e., riders) were probably speeding” when the accident happened.
But the fact is, each accident is unique, and there are many factors to consider when trying to determine fault. Attorneys typically must prove causation first to hold a party financially liable for damages. In other words, there are other legal elements to consider when building a personal injury case.
What are the Legal Elements of Negligence Claims?
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, so to build a case against another party, attorneys must establish all the elements of a negligence claim, which are:
- Duty of Care: This means that a person or organization must take reasonable care to avoid any event that could result in harm to other individuals and their property. Automobiles or trucks owe a duty of care to motorcycle riders to avoid crashing into or injuring them
- Breach of Duty of Care: A breach of care is when a person or organization fails to take reasonable care in fulfilling their duty of care.
- Causation: For a party to be held liable for injuries and damages, there must be a direct link between the breach of care and the cause of the other party’s injuries.
- Damages: This pertains to monetary compensation awarded to the party that was injured through no fault of their own.
For a motorcycle rider to be determined to be at fault for an accident, it must be proven that there was a breach of duty of care and that the motorcycle rider’s actions caused harm to another party.
Insistent insurance companies notwithstanding, if proven that there was no breach of duty of care or that the actions of the rider did not cause the accident, then the rider legally would not be held financially liable for damages.
What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Legalities aside, statistics also debunk the notion that motorcycles always cause accidents. For example, 42% of all accidents involving motorcycles and cars occur when cars make left-hand turns — which is considered the single most dangerous situation for motorcycle riders.
In these situations, the car making the turn usually strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is:
- trying to overtake the car
- passing the car
- heading straight through an intersection
The smaller size of motorcycles means that they are more likely to become “invisible” to other motorists on the road. However, it is usually other motorists’ inattentiveness or recklessness that causes accidents in the first place.
In some cases, road hazards like potholes, roadkill, slick surfaces, and rough roads are also to blame for motorcycle accidents. Due to their smaller sizes and less stable nature, motorcycles are more prone to such hazards.
What Can a Motorcycle Rider Do When an Insurance Company Tries to Blame Them for an Accident?
The smartest thing that a motorcycle rider can do when an insurance company tries to blame them for an accident is to call a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the full compensation that you deserve.
Do not let yourself be persuaded by an insurance company into thinking that you are at fault just because you were riding a motorcycle. If you were in an accident and it was not your fault, give 801-INJURED a call today.