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Pointing Fingers: Determining Responsibility in Motorcycle Accidents

While the overall number of victims of vehicular accidents has been in decline for more than 10 years, the number of motorcyclists injured in crashes has steadily increased. Statistics indicate that motorcycle crash victims are generally males under the age of 30, but anecdotal evidence indicates that motorcycle riders of all ages are at risk for crashes and the life-threatening injuries that often accompany them.

In less than the blink of an eye

Most crashes occur so quickly that the rider doesn’t even have the opportunity to react. Frequently, the drivers of the other motor vehicle involved in the crash literally don’t see motorcyclists before it’s too late. Essentially, some drivers experience what is called inattentional blindness, which prevents drivers who are not expecting to see a motorcycle from actually seeing one. Inattentional blindness renders such drivers cognitively incapable of being conscious of the motorcycle’s existence. It’s no wonder, then, that crashes occur ― even to the safest, most conscientious drivers and motorcycle riders.

Determining who is legally responsible for a motorcycle accident

The devastating consequences of motorcycle accidents include staggering medical bills, lost wages and, in certain circumstances, loss of life. Often the primary concern for those involved in motorcycle accidents and their loved ones is determining who is legally responsible for the accident. Generally speaking, negligence is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. Recent examples of carelessness and/or negligence on our roads include a distracted driver who collided with and killed a motorcyclist because she was painting her nails. Glaring, tragic examples of negligence such as this are unfortunately all too common.

In other cases, a driver’s negligence may not be as clear cut. The negligence inquiry generally focuses on whether a driver’s conduct was so careless that it breached the driver’s duty to others to drive sensibly. To make this determination, a number of factors must be considered, including the specific facts of the case, the road conditions and any negligence on the part of the victim that may have contributed to their injuries.

Making determinations regarding negligence in motorcycle accidents is no simple matter. Frequently there are technical and scientific issues, as well as complex matters of law, that often only a competent motorcycle accident attorney with specific experience in motorcycle accidents can navigate.

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