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Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

In many motorcycle accidents, it’s important to figure out who’s at fault – that means who’s responsible for the crash. Statistics show that in a large majority of motorcycle accidents, it’s actually the other driver, not the motorcyclist, who is at fault. Studies reveal that around 60% to 75% of motorcycle accidents involving collisions with other vehicles are primarily caused by the drivers of those vehicles, not the motorcyclists themselves. Understanding who’s at fault can help make roads safer for everyone.

Understanding Motorcycle Accidents

Statistics on motorcycle accidents: prevalence and severity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), motorcycles represent a disproportionate number of road traffic fatalities globally, with an estimated 30% of all road traffic deaths occurring among motorcyclists.

In the United States, motorcycles account for around 14% of all traffic-related fatalities, despite motorcycles making up only a small fraction of vehicles on the road.

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable road users, being 28 times more likely to die in a crash compared to occupants of other vehicles per mile traveled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S.

The severity of motorcycle accidents is often higher due to factors such as lack of protective barriers, limited visibility to other drivers, and minimal protection for riders.

Factors contributing to motorcycle accidents

Sometimes, motorcycle accidents happen because of things like bumpy roads, slippery surfaces, or even bad weather like rain or fog. These conditions can make it hard for both the motorcyclist and other drivers to see or control their vehicles properly. So, it’s really important for everyone on the road to be extra cautious and aware of these factors to help prevent accidents.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Distracted driving

This happens when drivers are not paying full attention to the road because they’re doing things like texting or talking on the phone while driving.

Lane splitting and unsafe passing

Sometimes, motorcyclists try to ride between lanes of traffic or pass other vehicles in an unsafe manner, which can lead to accidents.

Speeding and reckless driving

Some motorcycle riders go too fast or drive in a dangerous way, like weaving in and out of traffic, which increases the risk of accidents.

How To Determine That Who Is At Fault In Motorcycle Accidents

Determining who’s at fault in motorcycle accidents involves looking at various factors, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They consider things like traffic laws, road conditions, and the actions of each person involved.

For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits a motorcyclist, the driver is likely at fault because they broke the law. But sometimes, both the motorcyclist and the driver might share the blame, like if the motorcyclist was speeding while the driver was distracted. In those cases, fault might be divided between them based on how much each contributed to the accident.

The NHTSA uses these details to determine fault and help prevent similar accidents in the future. It’s important for everyone on the road to follow traffic rules and be aware of their surroundings to help reduce the risk of accidents involving motorcycles.

Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?
Determining fault in a motorcycle accident

Legal Process After an Accident

Steps to take immediately following a motorcycle accident

  1. Ensure safety: Move to a safe location if possible and check for injuries to yourself and others involved.
  2. Call for help: Dial emergency services like 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed.
  3. Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident.
  4. Document the scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant signs or signals.
  5. Gather witness information: Get names and contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.
  6. Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s important to seek medical evaluation to check for any hidden injuries.

Overview of the legal proceedings

Filing a claim

Notify your insurance company about the accident and file a claim to begin the process of seeking compensation for damages.

Gathering evidence

Collect evidence to support your claim, including photos, witness statements, and medical records.


Your insurance company or legal representative may negotiate with the other party’s insurance company to reach a settlement.

Legal action

If a settlement cannot be reached, you may need to file a lawsuit and go through the court process to resolve the dispute.


The case may be resolved through a trial or settlement agreement, and compensation may be awarded for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Common misconceptions about fault in motorcycle accidents

Assumption of fault

There’s a misconception that motorcyclists are always at fault in accidents. In reality, fault depends on the specific circumstances of each accident, and other parties such as car drivers or road conditions can also contribute to the collision.

Speeding as sole cause

Another misconception is that speeding is always the sole cause of motorcycle accidents. While speeding can increase the risk of accidents, there are often multiple factors involved, such as distracted driving or failure to yield, which can lead to collisions.

Lane splitting is always illegal

Some people believe that lane splitting, where motorcyclists ride between lanes of traffic, is always illegal and automatically makes the motorcyclist at fault in an accident. However, the legality of lane splitting varies by state, and even where it’s allowed, it must be done safely and responsibly.

Motorcyclists are always reckless

There’s a stereotype that all motorcyclists are reckless or aggressive riders. In reality, most motorcyclists ride safely and responsibly, and accidents can happen due to the actions of other drivers or external factors beyond the motorcyclist’s control.

Helmets determine fault

Some believe that whether a motorcyclist was wearing a helmet determines fault in an accident. While wearing a helmet is crucial for safety, it doesn’t necessarily impact fault determination in an accident. Fault is based on factors such as traffic laws, negligence, and contributing factors from all parties involved.

Can I file a claim if I was partially at fault for the motorcycle accident?

Yes, you can typically still file a claim if you were partially at fault for a motorcycle accident. In many places, the legal principle of comparative negligence applies, which means that your ability to recover compensation may be reduced based on your degree of fault.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Chicago and you’re unsure who’s at fault, don’t hesitate to contact our motorcycle accident lawyer for help. Our experienced team can investigate your case, gather evidence, and fight to protect your rights. Call us today (312) 598-0917 for the support and guidance you need to seek the compensation you deserve.

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