How Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Motor Vehicle Accidents

By Daisy Rogozinsky
/
April 18, 2022

Although they are both types of vehicles commonly found on the roads, motorcycles and motor vehicles are very different to operate. As such, motorcycle accidents differ in many ways from motor vehicle accidents, including in terms of how common they are and how they are handled by insurance. In this article, we’ll explain the main differences you should know about between motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle accidents.

Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

Motorcycle drivers are much more exposed than drivers in cars, meaning that they are at much higher risk. As motorcycles are missing key safety features such as airbags, seatbelts, and safety glass, motorcycle accidents are likely to lead to much more severe injuries than motor vehicle accidents. 

With nothing to protect them from coming into direct contact with whatever they collide with, motorcyclists may be ejected from their vehicle and otherwise experience intense impact. This is only exacerbated by the relatively small size of motorcycles compared with the other vehicles they might collide with. All of this contributes to the fact that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in crashes than motor vehicle passengers. 

That being said, the one important safety measure that motorcycle drivers can take is wearing helmets and other protective gear. Helmets are 37% effective in preventing deaths and 67% effective in preventing brain injuries, making it crucial for motorcyclists to wear them. Additionally, other safety tips for motorcycle drivers include:

  • Wearing protective gear created for motorcyclists
  • Only riding at one’s skill level
  • Leaving enough space between yourself and other vehicles 
  • Not using distracting devices while driving
  • Driving defensively and anticipating the actions of other drivers on the road
  • Not riding in poor weather

While the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle accidents are often quite similar, there are certain injuries that are unique to motorcycle accidents. One is road rash or road burn, a type of injury in which motorcycle drivers suffer friction burns from being dragged along the asphalt at high speeds. Another is biker’s arm, an injury in which motorcyclists suffer damage to the bones, tissues, and nerves of the arm when they absorb the impact of a collision with a motor vehicle. Other common motorcycle accident injuries include broken shoulders and pelvis, joint injuries, and facial disfigurement or scarring, especially in the chin area. 

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to see a medical professional immediately. Not only will they be able to help treat your injuries and get you on the course to recovery, but this will also serve as evidence to your insurance company that your injuries were, indeed, serious enough to be compensated for. Often, insurers will not take injuries seriously if the driver did not seek out medical treatment for them. 

Fault in Motorcycle Accidents

When it comes to determining who was at fault for motorcycle accidents, car drivers are held responsible much of the time. This is because much of the time, accidents with motorcycles and cars result from car drivers not seeing the motorcyclist or giving them the right of way. That being said, fault must be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the available evidence for each individual accident. 

To help increase the chances that you will not be found to be at fault for an accident that you didn’t cause, it’s important to gather as much evidence as you can at the scene of the accident that will prove what happened. This includes photos, videos, witness statements, diagrams, police reports, and so on. 

Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claims

Individuals who were involved in a motorcycle accident are often entitled to compensation from their insurance company. There are a number of different types of damages that you can claim including the following:

  • Medical bills - This includes all medical bills for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident including doctors visits, surgeries, hospitalizations medical equipment, physical therapy, and medication
  • Lost wages - This is relevant if you were unable to work or have a reduced earning capacity due to the injuries you suffered in a motorcycle crash
  • Property damage - This includes costs to repair or replace your motorcycle
  •  clothing, protecting equipment, and so on 
  • Pain and suffering - This includes the mental and emotional distress that the accident has led to including pain, trauma, anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Wrongful death - If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you might be entitled to compensation for funeral bills, lost wages, and more

Because motorcycle accidents are often much more serious than motor vehicle accidents, the insurance claims made for them tend to have a higher value. As such, insurance companies have a tendency to fight harder to deny a motorcycle accident claim or offer lower payouts. Furthermore, juries tend to be harsher on motorcycle accident victims because they often perceive motorcyclists as reckless. 

This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced attorney when making a motorcycle accident claim. Not only will they help you navigate the insurance claims process, but they will advocate for you and fight to help you receive a fair payout.

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