Been in a Motorbike Crash? Here’s How Motorcycle Accidents Are Investigated!
The general safety of motorcycles is a contentious topic. Are motorcycle drivers typically wreckless, do they drive too fast, just because they can?
Driving a motorcycle comes with its own set of risks. But motorcycle accidents are not always the fault of the driver. Most motorcycle crashes are caused by other vehicles.
For more on how a motorbike crash is investigated for a personal injury claim, just keep on reading.
The 5 Elements of a Motorbike Crash Investigation
The outcome of a motorcycle accident is often traumatic. These types of accidents can result in serious head trauma, paralysis, and even the loss of limbs. Even minor accidents can result in serious bone fractures and muscle damage.
These injuries are life-changing and can have a lasting impact on how a motorcycle driver lives out the rest of their life.
Here’s how a motorcycle accident lawyer investigates the circumstances of an accident:
1. Establishing Negligence
To submit a valid compensation claim, you need to determine who is responsible for the crash and your injuries. This is where the law of negligence comes into play.
Essentially, all the elements of negligence will be assessed, which include:
- Duty-of-care: determined by the at-fault party’s legal obligation to drive or act safely. In other words, all motorists should try to prevent an accident from occurring.
- Breach-of-duty: if the at-fault party breached their legal duty to act carefully. I.e. if they were speeding or failed to follow traffic rules.
- Causation: the at-fault party’s actions were a direct cause of the accident and resulting injuries.
- Damages: you are required to prove that you suffered injuries due to the accident. This includes medical bills, loss-of-income, etc.
In short, a motorist’s conduct will be compared to that of a reasonable person during the investigation.
2. Assessment of Road Conditions
Other than establishing negligence, there are a few important factors that must be investigated. The first of which is the road conditions on the day of your accident.
Certain road conditions are known to cause accidents. These include curves, loose gravel, misleading signage, undivided highways, and pavement ridges. Many of these conditions can cause serious injury and even fatalities.
Busy intersections are often responsible for multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes. Single-vehicle motorcycle accidents are often caused by blind corners, curves, and undivided highways.
The investigation will question whether there was a significant problem with the construction or design of the road. They will also look at road signage and traffic controls.
3. Assessment of Vehicle and Safety Gear
Vehicle failure is not always a common cause of motorcycle accidents. But there is still a chance this could factor into things.
During the investigation, a qualified expert will conduct a thorough inspection of the motorcycle after the crash. They will determine whether vehicle breakdown or defect was a cause of the crash, or contributed to it.
After this, the motorcycle driver’s safety gear will be assessed. If the crash resulted in head trauma, the helmet will be thoroughly investigated to gauge its performance. An expert will look at elements such as its weight, style, thickness, chin strap, and rivets.
If all of the equipment complies with government standards, it will be ruled out of the investigation.
4. The Fault of the Motorcycle Driver
Of course, there is also the likelihood that the motorcycle driver was at fault and caused the accident. Perhaps not entirely, but in part. Common arguments are based on driver negligence, speeding, and recklessly veering in and out of traffic.
In some states, the concept of comparative negligence is applied. This means that comparative negligence on part of the driver results in a reduction of compensation.
So, if a motorcycle driver is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their compensation will be reduced by 20%.
5. Determining Liable Parties
Finally, to establish a solid compensation case, you’ll need to firmly establish the liable parties in your accident. This may sound similar to proving fault or negligence. But keep in mind there could be more than one liable party in the cause of a motorcycle accident.
It’s in your best interest to determine who all these liable parties could be, without overlooking all possibilities.
It’s important to include these possibilities in the investigation:
- The manufacturer of your motorcycle
- The component manufacturer of the motorcycle and its safety equipment
- A motorcycle rental company (where applicable)
- A motorcycle seller — whether you bought it first or second-hand
- A motorcycle repair business responsible for inspections, repairs, and maintenance
- Government entities responsible for maintenance of the roadway you were driving on
Once you have investigated all parties, you may have all the information you need to bolster your compensation case.
Important Steps to Take Following a Motorcycle Crash
If you’ve recently been involved in a motorcycle accident these are the most important steps to take:
- Do a thorough once-over of the accident scene, if possible. Take photos and collect all relevant evidence.
- Interview any witnesses at the scene of the crash, if possible.
- Do a thorough inspection of the motorcycle and safety gear after the accident. Take photos to record evidence.
- Keep all evidence from the crash in a safe place.
- Don’t send the motorcycle off for repairs. Keep it in your possession until the investigation is complete.
- Keep track of all medical expenses in the form of medical receipts, prescriptions, and physical therapy sessions.
- Keep track of lost wages.
By taking these important steps it minimizes the idea that you were the cause of the accident. All of this evidence helps to build a solid compensation case that’s reliable and will stand up to questioning.
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Involvement in a motorbike crash is a harrowing experience, especially if you’re not at fault. We hope this advice helps you find the compensation you deserve following such a life event.
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