Motorcyclists are at greater risk of serious injury and death than occupants of passenger vehicles such as cars and light trucks. That probably comes as no surprise, given how exposed a biker is compared with someone riding in a car or SUV. But you may be surprised to learn just how much greater the risk is.
In 2020, motorcyclists made up more than 17% of the traffic fatalities in Ohio, though just 1.6% of traffic crashes in the state involved motorcycles. The most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute (III) shows that the fatality rate for motorcyclists based on the number of vehicles registered is more than six times that for occupants of passenger vehicles. On a per-miles-traveled basis, the risk of death for a motorcyclist is more than 28 times as high as the risk to someone in a car.
This greater risk means victims of motorcycle crashes and their surviving family members are often in need of compensation to help them rebuild. That may mean covering the costs of extensive medical care and an extended recovery period, compensating for lost earning potential after a permanent injury, or replacing a spouse’s or parent’s contributions after a fatal collision. In 2019, nearly half of those killed in motorcycle accidents were under the age of 40, and 62% were under 50.
But there’s a wrinkle for many motorcycle crash victims and their families: A significant percentage of motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle accidents. Many victims of no-contact motorcycle accidents are uncertain about where to turn for compensation. However, there are several circumstances under which someone injured in a no-contact motorcycle crash or the surviving family of someone killed in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident may be entitled to damages from a third party.
Possible Responsible Parties in a Single-Vehicle Motorcycle Crash
Of course, the motorcyclist is one candidate for full or partial responsibility for the crash. Even if someone else was partially liable, it’s possible that the biker contributed to the accident in some way, such as driving too fast or failing to take evasive action because they were distracted. But with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your corner, the investigation doesn’t end there. Here are a few examples of situations in which a third party may be wholly or partly responsible for a single-vehicle accident:
Another driver negligently triggers the crash
The fact that no other vehicle made contact with the motorcycle doesn’t necessarily mean that no other driver caused the accident or aggravated the harm. For example, if a distracted driver drifts into the motorcyclist’s lane, forcing the motorcyclist to swerve, that driver may be at least partly responsible for a resulting crash, even though they didn’t actually hit the motorcyclist.
The motorcyclist collides with debris in the road or crashes while swerving to avoid debris
Articles falling from trucks or lying in the road can cause serious accidents. The owner/operator of a vehicle that dropped debris on the road may be liable for accidents caused by the material they left behind. Or in some cases, the governmental entity responsible for road maintenance may be liable for damages.
Faulty equipment caused the accident or aggravated injuries
A manufacturer may be liable if a defective motorcycle or motorcycle part contributed to or caused the accident. For example, if a motorcyclist was unable to avoid a collision because the bike’s brakes failed due to a defect in design or a manufacturing flaw, the manufacturer may be responsible for injuries sustained. Similarly, the manufacturer of protective equipment that fails may be responsible to the degree that the equipment failure worsened injuries.
Negligent road maintenance caused or contributed to the accident
Road debris isn’t the only maintenance failure that may contribute to motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes. In fact, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to defects such as potholes in the road, since a jolt that might just damage an automobile tire can knock or throw the motorcyclist from the bike. In this situation, the city, county or state responsible for road maintenance may be wholly or partly responsible.
Learn More about Your Rights after a Motorcycle Crash
The bottom line is that if you’ve been injured in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident or lost a loved one to a no-contact crash, you may have options you’re not aware of. The best way to protect your rights and ensure that you make the best decisions for you and your family is to get information from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Acting early is especially important where governmental entities may be involved, since notice requirements and differing timelines often mean that you must act quickly to protect your rights. At Plevin & Gallucci, we’ve been helping Ohio injury victims recover fair compensation for decades. We have the knowledge and experience to assess your motorcycle accident and identify any possible responsible parties. To learn more, schedule your free consultation right now. Just call 855-4PLEVIN or fill out the contact form on this page.