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How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different Than Car Accidents

A motorcyclist in a helmet lies face down in roadway next to crashed motorcycle.

Although there may be similarities between motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle collisions, the differences involved, including the cause of the accident, liability issues, and the harm sustained, are significant. Not only can a motorcycle accident lead to life-long hardships for the motorcycle accident victim and their family, but obtaining just compensation for the harm and losses they suffered can be an uphill battle. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to another person’s wrongful actions and want to know more about your legal options and the financial remedies you can pursue, please reach out to an experienced personal injury motorcycle accident lawyer with Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341.8336 to discuss your case for free.

Are Motorcycle Accidents Worse Than Car Accidents?

By their design, motorcycles are far less crash-protective than other motor vehicles. Motorcyclists are also more exposed to certain dangers on the road, including road and weather conditions, than the drivers of cars, trucks, or SUVs. Furthermore, motorcycles are less visible to other drivers and less stable in operation than automobiles, both of which contribute to making motorcycle accidents especially dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motorcycle rider is about 24 times more likely than a motor vehicle occupant to pass away in a crash and four times more likely to be harmed in an accident. The organization also indicates that while only 20 percent of motor vehicle crashes result in injury or death, the amount jumps to 80 percent for motorcycle crashes. 

The Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents 

Unlike car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents are often the result of a motorist failing to recognize a rider on the road. Consequently, some of the more common causes of a motorcycle accident include the following:

  • A motor vehicle making a left-hand turn and not checking whether there is a motorcyclist approaching
  • Motorists operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Motorists driving at unsafe speeds
  • A motorcycle colliding with a fixed object, such as a tree or a light pole, which increases the rider’s risk of suffering fatal injuries

The above list is not exhaustive. Motorcycle accidents can occur for a number of reasons. If you have suffered harm and losses in a motorcycle crash due to another person’s intentional, reckless, or negligent actions, contact Steelman Gaunt Crowley to discuss your legal options.

The Injuries Sustained Following a Motorcycle Accident

In addition to the specific factors that make certain types of crashes more likely for motorcyclists than for those with whom they share the road, another way that motorcycle accidents differ from other motor vehicle accidents is in the severity of the injuries resulting from these crashes. In general, motorcyclists tend to suffer from more severe injuries in a crash than do the occupants of multi-passenger vehicles, and the injuries motorcyclists sustain are more likely to be fatal, owing to the lack of protection afforded by the structure of the motorcycle itself, which unlike cars or SUVs does not enclose its rider. 

According to Consumer Reports, most automobiles today enter the market equipped with numerous types of safety features that are designed to reduce fatalities on the road, including:

  • Airbag systems
  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Seatbelts
  • Antilock brakes (ABS)
  • Traction control
  • Electronic stability control
  • Collision warning systems, and 
  • Automatic emergency braking

In comparison, motorcycles do not have many of these safety features. They do not have seatbelts, airbags, or anything surrounding the rider to protect them as they operate their vehicle on the roads. Rather, motorcyclists rely on their protective riding gear, such as a helmet and sometimes gloves or padding in vulnerable areas, to keep them safe. 

The Injuries Involved

As a result of the minimal protection offered by motorcycles, some of the more common injuries that tend to result from a motorcycle accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Internal organ damage and bleeding
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Road rash
  • Facial trauma, including eye injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Amputations

Because motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries, the crashes can easily lead to hefty medical bills and devastating consequences. These financial realities can ultimately impact your legal claim and the amount of compensation you can pursue.

The Property Damages Involved Following a Motorcycle Accident

Following a motorcycle accident, it is common for the motorcycle itself to sustain damages whose repair cost exceeds the total resale value of the vehicle, a degree of damage informally referred to as “totaled.”. By comparison, the damages after a car or SUV collision are much more likely to be cosmetic. This is because a motorcycle is not only lighter than most cars but also smaller, which means it will not stand up well in a crash.

The difference in these property damages can impact a legal claim in two ways:

  • A motorcyclist will not be able to ride their motorcycle after a crash, which can substantially impact their life if they rely on that vehicle for transportation to work or other daily necessities.
  • The expenses involved with replacing or repairing a motorcycle can be much more expensive than those required to fix a standard passenger vehicle after a crash under comparable circumstances.

Obtaining Just Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident

Unfortunately, obtaining just compensation following a motorcycle accident is not always easy. Not only do insurance companies treat motorcycle accident claims differently from motor accident claims, but many adjusters have biases against riders. The insurance company or their representatives may consider motorcyclists inherently reckless and, as a result, try to reduce their monetary recovery by claiming that the motorcyclist contributed to the crash.

Additionally, because motorcycle accident injuries are often life-threatening, insurance adjusters frequently try to offer a lowball settlement to the injured motorcyclist as soon as possible after the crash. They hope that with this offer, the rider will accept it without looking into the potential that they will experience long-term health issues or confirming with an attorney if this amount is fair to them. Taking the first offer that comes their way can prevent the injured motorcyclist from obtaining the full compensation to which they may be legally entitled. That is why, before accepting any offer from an insurance company following a motorcycle accident, you may wish to consider discussing your crash with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help you take on this legal fight and pursue the fair compensation you need. 

Contact Steelman Gaunt Crowley To Go Over Your Legal Options for Free

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident and want to know more about your legal options, contact Steelman Gaunt Crowley today by calling (573) 341.8336. Our legal professionals can review your questions, assess what legal options you can pursue, and fight for your rights and the financial recovery you deserve under the law.