Riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous because in the event of an accident with another vehicle (usually a car) the motorcycle rider is left completely unprotected and exposed. Even a relatively minor, low speed accident between a car and a motorcycle can have catastrophic consequences for anyone on the motorcycle.
This page will look at some of the most common causes of collisions between cars and motorcycles and how the motorcycle rider can get financial compensation for their injuries by filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Common Causes of Motorcycle and Car Accidents
There is a common misperception that most accidents involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle are the fault of the motorcycle rider. This assumption comes from the view of motorcycle riders as reckless. The reality, however, is that most motorcycle accidents are the fault of the car, not the motorcycle. Why? One of the main reasons is that motorcycles are not as easy to see as a car, so drivers often fail to yield or turn in from of them and cause collisions. Listed below are the most common causes of motorcycle vs. car accidents.
Failure to Yield on Left Turn
One of the leading causes of all motorcycle accidents is failing to yield while making a left-hand turn. This scenario occurs when the driver of the other vehicle is attempting to make a left-hand turn in the face of oncoming traffic from the opposite direction. What happens all too frequently is that the driver of the left-turning vehicle simply fails to notice a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction and makes a left turn in front of the motorcycle causing a collision.
These types of negligent left-turn collisions can be particularly dangerous for the motorcycle rider because there is usually no opportunity for the motorcycle to slow down prior to the collision. They also tend to happen on roadways with relatively high speeds. When a motorcycle traveling 40 mph strikes a car head-on, the force of the impact will usually eject the rider from the motorcycle and onto the ground with extreme force. Catastrophic injuries often result from this.
Busy intersections are always very dangerous for motorcycles because other drivers tend not to see or notice the motorcycle among all the other traffic. Most intersection collisions end up being caused by a negligent left turn into or in the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Intersection accidents are usually less dangerous for the motorcycle rider, however, because the traffic is typically moving at a lower speed through the intersection.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
Even with cameras, rear-view mirrors, and other modern safety features, drivers in passenger vehicles will always have some blind spots. In fact, about 40% of a passenger car’s perimeter is not even within the driver’s line of sight, which makes lane changing inherently risky. Motorcycles are particularly at risk of being lost in a blind spot because the exterior profile of a motorcycle is much smaller than a car. This means that the motorcycle can disappear in a blind spot much easier and more frequently.
Given these circumstances, it is hardly a surprise that blind spots and lane changes are a leading cause of accidents between cars and motorcycles. These also tend to be very dangerous for motorcycle riders because many blind spot accidents occur on the highway at high speed.
Smartphones, social media, and texting have made distracted driving a major issue and a contributing factor in many accidents. If a driver is on their phone they are taking their eyes off the road and significantly increasing the risk of an accident. Motorcycle riders are particularly at risk from distracted drivers because motorcycles have a smaller visual profile. This means a distracted driver is less likely notice a motorcycle in their peripheral vision and look up from their phone.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Unlike a passenger car, a motorcycle offers its rider no protection whatsoever in the event of a collision. Being ejected from the motorcycle can happen in even a minor accident. Protective equipment such as helmets, globes, and protective clothing can only offer limited protection. Forceful impacts in motorcycle accidents often result in the following serious injuries:
- Spinal Cord Injuries: spinal cord injuries can be devastating because they often result in temporary or permanent paralysis. Spinal injuries are caused by trauma exerting force on the back and spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can be very costly and require extensive medical care.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: a traumatic brain injury is always a concern in accident between a motorcycle and a car. Even though helmets are required by law, and most motorcycle riders wear them regularly, they can only offer limited protection. The sudden stopping force of an accident can cause the brain to bounce into the inside of the skull, causing extensive internal damage.
- Bone Fractures: Broken legs, broken arms and other types of serious bone fracture injuries can commonly occur in motorcycle accident cases.
File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit and Get Compensation
Anyone who is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a car can file a motorcycle injury lawsuit and get financial compensation. Injured motorcycle riders are entitled to get monetary damages for things like medical expenses (both past and future), lost wages (past and future), and mental pain and suffering resulting from the injuries suffered in the accident.
Motorcycle Accident Verdicts and Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and settlements in accidents involving motorcycles vs. cars.
$89,351 Verdict (Oregon 2023): The plaintiff was operating a motorcycle on a dirt and gravel roadway that leads away from his residence. The defendant was operating a Jeep in the opposite direction. The plaintiff contended as he was about to round a curve, the defendant rounded the corner and entered his side of the roadway, causing him to brake suddenly. As a result, plaintiffs tires went out from under him, and he was thrown from his motorcycle. The plaintiff suffered a Shoulder injury; right scapula fracture; and degloving injury to the right knee.
$75,000 Verdict (Alabama 2023): The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle in Birmingham, AL, when the defendant turned into him while proceeding through a busy intersection. As a result, plaintiff injured his left shoulder, left forearm, back, three ribs, and left lung.
$182,000 Verdict (Arizona 2023): The plaintiff was on his motorcycle when the defendant (driving a car) rear-ended him at relatively high-speed. The plaintiff was ejected from his motorcycle and suffered a fractured clavicle along with other physical injuries. The defendant argued comparative negligence as a defense, asserting the plaintiff failed to properly turn to enter a gas station by suddenly stopping without giving an appropriate signal.
$259,262 Verdict (South Carolina 2023): Plaintiff was operating her motorcycle and came to a stop at an intersection with her left turn signal on. The defendant slammed into the rear of her motorcycle shortly after she came to a stop. The plaintiff suffered sprains and strains to her back, spine, pelvis, and hips. The size of this verdict is very unusual given the relatively low level of the injuries.
$250,000 Settlement (Oklahoma 2023): Plaintiff, a 13-year-old male, was a passenger on a motorcycle traveling northbound when the defendant attempted to make a left turn at an intersection and struck the plaintiff’s host vehicle. The plaintiff suffered very serious physical injuries.
$75,845 Verdict (Iowa 2023): The defendant allegedly made a negligent left turn in her father’s car and caused a collision with the plaintiff who was riding a motorcycle. The defense argued that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent in failing to yield the right-of-way; failing to maintain a proper lookout; failing to drive at a careful speed; and failing to have his motorcycle under control. The jury was not convinced.
$75,000 Verdict (Nevada 2023): The plaintiff, an 11-year-old girl, was a passenger on a motorcycle when it was struck by the defendant’s car in a side-impact collision. The verdict included $9,000 in medical expenses and $41,000 for pain and suffering.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident with a car, contact our accident lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.