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Who Is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

Posted on July 19, 2021 in

how fault is determined in motorcycle accidents

Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately common in the United States, leading to thousands of injuries and fatalities each year. In these collisions, determining the cause and the responsible party is important—in fault insurance states like Oregon, the at-fault party is financially liable for the damages of their victims. 

Many people, including insurance companies and motorists, automatically assume that motorcyclists are at fault for their collisions. In most cases, however, these accidents occur due to the negligence of the motor vehicle driver. If you are injured by a negligent motorist, you can hold him or her accountable for your losses.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

The Hurt Report, which was developed by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), provides a comprehensive overview on the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States. The study lists the following facts on motorcycle collisions.

  • In collisions involving motorcycles and other vehicles, the other vehicle violated the motorcycle’s right of way and is responsible for the accident in 66 percent of cases.
  • The most common cause of motorcycle accidents was the driver’s failure to recognize a motorcyclist in traffic.
  • Other accidents occurred when drivers violated right-of-way laws by turning left in front of a motorcyclist while he or she was traveling straight. 
  • Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections and during short trips.

Although this report was developed in 1981, the Hurt Report was the last comprehensive motorcycle crash study in the United States and is likely still relevant today. Motorcycle collisions still occur at an alarming rate across the United States, including Oregon. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, 930 motorcycle crashes occurred in Oregon during 2019, resulting in 839 motorcyclist injuries and 56 motorcyclist fatalities. 

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

If you are involved in an Oregon motorcycle accident collision, you will need to determine who was responsible for your crash to recover compensation. Under Oregon’s fault insurance laws, you could file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault driver—but you will need to prove that his or her negligent actions caused the collision and your resulting injuries. Since motorcyclists are often subject to unfair scrutiny and stereotypes during the claims process, this can be difficult to accomplish.

The actions you take immediately after the accident can protect your right to compensation and strengthen your future claim. Take the following steps to seek help, preserve evidence, and avoid future issues.

  • First, call 911 and report the accident to the police. Collect the responding officer’s information so you can find the police report later.
  • Seek medical attention and save all records, doctor’s notes, and other documentation related to your injuries.
  • Briefly exchange contact, license, and insurance details with the other driver. Do not make any statements about your injuries or the accident.
  • Take photographs of your injuries and the accident scene, and ask witnesses for their contact details.

Once you receive medical attention, a representative from the at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you. Do not speak to this representative until you contact an Oregon motorcycle accident attorney. Your lawyer can guide you through the claims process, advocate for your rights during negotiations, and help avoid errors that could impact your case.

Your attorney can also conduct a full-scale investigation into your accident and help you determine the at-fault party, using expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists who can testify on your behalf. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.