What Are the Chances of Dying on a Motorcycle?

Motorcycles may be very fun to operate, but they are also inherently more dangerous than enclosed passenger vehicles for several reasons. They are smaller and harder to notice than most other vehicles. They are fast, light, and maneuverable, which unfortunately encourages risky behavior from some riders. They also afford virtually no physical protection in the event of a crash.

Considering these glaring risk factors, it is natural for anyone to wonder what the chances are of dying in a motorcycle accident. However, motorcycle accident statistics from various sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state-level departments of transportation around the country, and various independent organizations indicate the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash is statistically quite low. At the national level, the number of fatalities from motorcycles each year is only about 1% of the number registered motorcycles in the country. In California, the rate is twice the national average at 2% but still quite low regarding overall fatality risk.

Despite the apparent low risk of dying in a motorcycle accident, all riders must understand the inherent dangers they face when riding their bikes. Although motorcycle accidents may be statistically rare, and a rider may use the utmost caution in handling their bike, there is simply no way to account for what other drivers may do without warning.

Most Common Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents happen for many of the same reasons as other vehicle accidents. Top-cited causes across the country include:

  • Distracted driving. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off their vehicle controls, or attention away from the task at hand can potentially cause a motorcycle accident. Data from across the US shows that distracted driving is the most common cause of all vehicle accidents in the country.
  • Speeding. Exceeding the speed limit is quite dangerous; it contributes to about a third of all fatal motorcycle accidents each year. Speeding reduces the time and distance a driver has to slow down or maneuver to avoid hazards on the road or adjust to changing traffic conditions.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Consuming drugs or alcohol before driving reduces spatial awareness, diminishes reaction time, and impairs judgment. If a driver causes a motorcycle accident because of DUI, they face criminal charges and civil liability for victims’ damages.

Motorcycle accidents may be statistically rarer than car accidents, but this is solely because fewer motorcycles are on the road than cars. Motorcycle riders and their passengers must acknowledge that while the risk of having an accident is relatively low, the fatality risk when an accident does occur is much higher for motorcycle accidents.

It is important to note that determining fault for a motorcycle accident can be challenging, and an injured rider can bear partial liability for their recent accident. When partial fault comes into play in any personal injury claim, the plaintiff loses a percentage of their final case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the accident in question. Therefore, if you have any concerns regarding fault for your accident or are worried about bearing partial responsibility for your damages, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

What Happens If a Motorcyclist Dies?

If a motorcyclist does not survive an accident caused by another driver, their family would be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. This type of claim effectively replaces a personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they survived, with a few key differences from a standard personal injury case.

California law uses intestate succession to determine eligibility for filing wrongful death claims. Typically, the deceased’s surviving spouse is first in line to file a wrongful death claim, followed by children and other immediate relatives. If the deceased had no close family, a personal representative of their estate or anyone who can prove financial dependence on the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. Damages in a personal injury claim include the victim’s losses, but damages in a wrongful death claim apply to the surviving family.

The family of the deceased victim of a motorcycle accident can secure compensation for the lost financial support, household services, and care and comfort provided by the deceased. In addition, if the victim did not die immediately from the damage they received in the accident and their estate incurred damages, the family can file a survival action with their wrongful death claim. A survival action seeks compensation for the damages the victim could have included in a personal injury claim, such as medical expenses for final treatment, lost income while in the hospital after the accident, lost valuation of assets, and their pain and suffering.

Do I Need Legal Counsel After a Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one recently experienced a motorcycle accident and suffered injuries, or if you recently lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you can seek accountability with the help of an attorney. A successful personal injury claim can help the victim of a motorcycle accident recover as fully as the law allows. In addition, when grieving families must file wrongful death claims, experienced legal representatives are invaluable assets during these emotionally challenging times.

It’s natural to have many questions and experience significant uncertainty after any motorcycle accident in California. This is especially true if you think you must file a wrongful death claim in response to a fatal accident. However, the right attorney can provide ongoing support and guidance as you navigate the complex legal proceedings your situation entails. Perry Personal Injury Lawyers has a solid reputation for high-level legal counsel in California. We can provide the detail-oriented and responsive legal representation you need to navigate your case as efficiently as possible.

Time is crucial after an accident when it comes to ensuring accountability and securing compensation for damages. To discuss your motorcycle accident claim with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact Perry Personal Injury Lawyers today and schedule a consultation with our team.