Motorcycle accidents often result in devastating injuries for those involved. This is particularly true for motorcycle operators and their passengers who have very little protection from the force of a vehicle on the roadway. However, who is at fault for most motorcycle accidents in California? The reality is that fault can be challenging to determine after these collisions occur. Just like traditional vehicle accidents, these incidents have to be thoroughly investigated so that liability can properly be assigned and so that victims can recover fair compensation for their losses.
What the Data Tells Us About Motorcycle Accident Fault
If we look closely at data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, we can see that there were nearly 14,000 total motorcyclist injuries across the state during the latest reporting year. Unfortunately, 474 motorcyclists lost their lives as a result of collisions during that same year.
But what do we know about who causes most motorcycle crashes across California?
Data from the OTS states motorcyclists were at fault in fatal motorcycle crashes 64% of the time, and motorcyclists were at fault in injury crashes 53% of the time during the latest reporting year. This data is fairly clear that more than half of motorcycle accidents are caused by the actions of motorcyclists.
However, just because the data says that motorcyclists are at fault most of the time in fatal and injury-causing collisions does not mean that they are at fault every time. Motorcyclists often come up against unwarranted biases from other parties involved in these collisions, which can make determining liability a challenge.
Determining Fault and Getting Past Biases
Unfortunately, motorcyclists do face significant unwarranted biases from other parties involved, including insurance carriers, at-fault parties, and even attorneys. When a motorcycle crash occurs, every party involved is typically quick to point the finger at the motorcyclist, regardless of who caused the incident.
Motorcycle crash victims should work with skilled lawyers who can handle every aspect of their claim. A motorcycle crash attorney in California can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation in order to uncover any evidence needed to prove liability, including:
- Statements from any eyewitnesses to the crash
- Video surveillance footage captured on nearby cameras
- Photographs taken at the scene of the crash
- The police or accident report
- Mobile device data
- Vehicle “black box” data
- Driver safety histories
If necessary, an attorney can employ assistance from accident reconstruction experts who can analyze the evidence gathered and use their knowledge of mathematics and science to put together 3D renderings of what likely happened. All of this information can be presented to insurance carriers and even personal injury juries to help determine fault and ensure that crash victims receive the compensation they are entitled to.
Watch Out for Early Settlements
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the actions of another driver in California, we want you to be wary of any early injury and property damage settlements put forth by the other party’s insurance carrier. Insurance carriers lean heavily on the fact that the motorcyclist will want to settle the claim or be afraid to move the case forward to a jury. A low settlement offer should be the starting point of any negotiation. A skilled Riverside motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance carriers and at-fault party in order to recover full compensation.