Motorcycle crashes: Common causes and legal remedies

Tech innovations and proactive driving practices can reduce the risk of a crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports motorcyclists have the highest risk of fatal injuries compared to all motor vehicle users. The most recent data from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis reports 5,286 motorcycle fatalities in the United States in 2016. As noted by the NTSB, these crashes are generally "complex events" that result from a combination of human, vehicle and environmental factors.

Government agencies have conducted studies to find ways to mitigate the risk of motorcycle accidents. Findings from these studies, along with a proactive approach towards safety by motorcyclists, can help to increase the safety of motorcycles.

Government intervention to increase the safety of motorcycles

A recent study by the Federal Highway Administration focused on the causes of multiple vehicle crashes, those involving a motorcycle and another motor vehicle. The study found the driver of the other vehicle often reported a failure to detect the presence of the motorcycle and the operator of the motorcycle reported insufficient time to respond. As a result, the agency has called on advancements in vehicle-based crash warning and prevention systems to better detect the presence of motorcycles.

The NTSB also reports stability control issues and poor breaking systems as contributing factors to motorcycle crashes. This can be avoided by increasing the availability of enhanced braking and stability control systems within motorcycles.

Proactive approach can reduce the risk of a motorcycle crash

In addition to the recommendations above, motorcyclists can take an active approach to help further reduce the risk of an accident. Obeying speed limits and avoiding drinking and driving will both reduce the risk of a crash.

However, there are certain situations when an accident is unavoidable. In these situations, legal remedies may be available. These remedies can result in financial compensation to help cover the costs that result from the motorcycle crash. Costs like hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses and repairs to the motorcycle.

Two examples of parties that may be held liable in a motorcycle accident case include:

  • Other drivers. The driver of another vehicle may be liable if they operated their vehicle in reckless or negligent way that contributed to the accident.
  • Motorcycle manufacturers. In other cases, the accident may result from a defect within the motorcycle. This can include a speed "wobble" accident. These accidents result when the front end of the motorcycle begins to shake at high speeds, generally the result of a misalignment of the tires.

Victims generally need multiple pieces of evidence and may need expert testimony to build their case. An attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents can gather the information on your behalf and better ensure your right to legal remedies is protected while allowing you to focus on regaining your health after the accident.