What Percentage of Motorcyclists Have Accidents?

If you ride a motorcycle in Southern California or are interested in learning how to ride a motorcycle, it’s important to acknowledge the risks you face on a motorcycle compared to those you would face inside a standard passenger vehicle. A motorcycle offers very little physical protection to its rider in a crash. Most crashes result in the rider suffering the primary impact with the other vehicle and a secondary impact from hitting the ground. Motorcycles lack the safety features and protection offered by enclosed vehicles, and it’s natural to wonder about the risks of having an accident.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and various state-level agencies in California report that the percentage of motorcyclists that have accidents each year is actually very low. The number of motorcycle accidents reported in the United States each year is only about 1% of the total number of registered motorcycles. In California, the accident rate is 2%, twice the national average but still quite low.

It’s important to remember that while you can sometimes use statistics to make informed decisions about some topics, traffic is unpredictable. Despite your best efforts to operate your motorcycle safely and responsibly, you can never fully account for what other drivers may do with little to no warning.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Motorcycle accidents happen for many of the same reasons that other vehicle accidents occur. However, the inherently dangerous nature of motorcycles leaves riders vulnerable to additional risk factors. The risk of actually having a motorcycle accident may be statistically low, but motorcycle accidents tend to cause far more severe injuries to victims than passenger vehicle accidents.

Some of the most commonly reported causes of motorcycle accidents in Southern California are:

  • Distracted driving, which accounts for the majority of traffic collisions reported in the United States each year. Motorcyclists can easily suffer injuries if other drivers are not paying attention and do not notice them in time to avoid a crash.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, which is a criminal offense. If an intoxicated driver causes a motorcycle accident, they are responsible for the victim’s civil damages while also facing criminal prosecution. Penalties for DUI include restitution to the victim, fines, jail time, compulsory substance abuse treatment, and loss of driving privileges.
  • Speeding. Whenever drivers exceed speed limits, they reduce the time they have to react to unexpected changes in traffic ahead of them. A speeding driver may be unable to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. Accidents that happen at high speeds are particularly damaging. When it comes to motorcycle accidents, speeding is a contributing factor in many fatal accidents.
  • Moving violations. If a driver performs an illegal turn, runs a red light, fails to stop at a stop sign, or navigates an intersection incorrectly, these moving violations can easily result in motorcycle accidents. A small motorcycle may be in the path of the driver’s moving violation, and the negligent driver may not be able to avoid a collision in some situations.

If you believe another motorist is responsible for your recent accident, an experienced lawyer can help you explore your legal options for recovering your losses.

It’s important to note that time is critical for any personal injury case in California. Therefore, it’s vital for the victim of a motorcycle accident to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to recover their losses. Additionally, some motorcycle accidents can generate difficult insurance claims and disputes regarding liability, and it is crucial to have reliable legal counsel for navigating these issues.

Auto Insurance Claims for Motorcycle Accidents

Every driver in California must maintain auto insurance coverage that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. The at-fault driver is liable for the resulting damages when an accident happens. If they injured another motorist, the injured party could file a claim for coverage against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This same rule applies to motorcyclists; all riders must have appropriate insurance coverage for their motorcycles.

An attorney can help their client submit a demand letter to an insurance company seeking coverage under the terms of the at-fault driver’s policy. The letter must include a complete list of the claimant’s damages and the total compensation sought by the claimant. The insurance company must process this claim in good faith, and once an insurer notices a claimant has legal representation, they will be more inclined to process the claim efficiently.

Some motorcycle accidents can be resolved with just insurance claims. If an at-fault driver’s policy provides enough coverage to fully compensate the victim’s losses, the dispute can end there. However, if the injured party’s damages exceed the scope of coverage offered by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, a personal injury claim may be necessary for a full recovery.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents can easily result in devastating injuries, many of which are difficult to treat. In addition, the total losses from a serious motorcycle accident can easily eclipse a minimum coverage policy, prompting the victim to take further legal action in the form of a personal injury claim.

An experienced lawyer can streamline case proceedings significantly for their client. The plaintiff’s legal team can handle court filings and preliminary motions to start the case. An experienced legal team may also discern channels of recovery the plaintiff may not have noticed on their own. Most personal injury claims filed in California end in settlement, but heavily contested cases may go to trial. If this occurs, the plaintiff needs experienced litigation counsel they can trust.

Perry Personal Injury Lawyers understands the risks motorcyclists face on the roads of California and the uncertainty that can follow a motorcycle accident. If another driver caused your recent accident, you probably have many legal questions about your potential recovery. If you are ready to take legal action in response to another driver’s actions, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.