Is a Driver Always Responsible for Hitting a Motorcyclist?
In most cases if a driver hits a motorcyclist, yes, the driver of the car or truck would be considered responsible. If a motorcyclist speeds through a red light in front of a car with the right of way, the motorcyclist would be at fault. But generally, if a vehicle hits a rider, it will be the car, SUV or truck driver who made the mistake.
Different studies paint different pictures of what usually happens in motorcycle accidents. Government agencies and insurance company regulators tend to just count the number of fatalities and injuries each year as opposed to digging down into exact causes and fault in motorcycle accidents, but here’s what past studies have suggested:
- 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involve at least one other vehicle
- In two out of three of those accidents the other vehicle violates the motorcyclists’ right of way
- Riders only have two seconds on average to avoid an imminent accident
These numbers aren’t all that surprising to most riders. Motorcyclists are harder to see on the road, are easier to miss in blind spots and often have to put up with dangerous situations, especially in stop-and-go traffic and intersections.
However, the average juror on most motorcycle accident injury cases – if it gets to a full-blown trial – often enters the case with some basic negative assumptions of riders. Car, truck and SUV drivers tend to remember the riders they see who are being reckless, and conveniently forget the vast majority of responsible riders on the road around them.
The Importance of Investigation
Knowing the car or truck driver was responsible for your accident doesn’t help if you and your lawyers can’t prove it.
Every accident is different. Ideally the police will show up to the scene of a motorcycle accident and figure out relatively quickly that the driver, not the rider, was at fault. In some cases, fault isn’t clearly discernable from the wreckage. It may require significant investigation to determine what truly happened.
There are a variety of steps every rider should take after an accident, if they are uninjured and able to do so.
We encourage you to read through some of our resources about what you should and shouldn’t do in the immediate aftermath of an accident, but here’s a brief overview of how you can help with your own investigation.
- Check on the other driver and their passengers and provide aid if necessary but NEVER admit fault; the less talking you do with the other driver the better
- Refrain from giving a statement to either law enforcement or any insurance adjuster until you have spoken with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
- Take pictures and cell phone video BEFORE your bike, the other vehicles or any wreckage can be moved
- Try to get the contact information of any potential witnesses – or even record their version of events on your phone (if you can)
- Speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer before talking to either the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company
Unfortunately, a lot of people involved in motorcycle accidents are in no shape to do all these things in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Serious injuries often don’t allow for lots of evidence gathering. That’s why it’s important to have a motorcycle accident plan.
We encourage every rider in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Georgia to download and fill out our Prepared Rider Kit. With this kit your emergency contact can know which motorcycle lawyer they should contact as soon as possible if you’re ever incapacitated in a motorcycle accident.
Get Help After Your Accident
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident or a family member was recently killed or severely injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to call our personal injury lawyers.
As fellow riders, we understand what you’re going through, and we know how to fight these cases. Even if you didn’t have much of a chance to gather evidence, we still may be able to help.