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How Are Motorcycle Claims Different From Car Accident Claims?

A motorcycle lying on its side after having collided with a grey automobile.

Motorcycles do not have the same safety features as other vehicles. Riders are exposed to the elements and are more susceptible to severe injuries and death than people traveling in cars.

More serious injuries mean higher medical expenses, longer recovery times with lost wages, and higher pain and suffering claims than what someone riding in a car would experience.

Motorcycle accident claims are, therefore, usually much more significant than car accident claims.

Most Common Type of Collision Between Cars and Motorcycles

The most common accident between a car and a motorcycle happens at intersections when the vehicle turns left across the path of the bike. The motorcyclist may try to swerve to avoid a collision, but this could force them into other traffic or off the roadway, causing another accident.

It is also possible that they will not be able to avoid the accident at all. Motorcycles are more difficult to see than other motor vehicles, and sometimes drivers simply forget to look for them, especially when they are watching other traffic.

Busy intersections with cars waiting for a break in traffic so that they can make a turn are especially hazardous for motorcyclists.

Drivers can become so focused on watching the cars and trucks that motorcycles are completely unseen until it is too late, and a collision has occurred.

How Can I Prevent Accidents Between Cars and Motorcycles At Intersections?

Motorcyclists must be extra vigilant when approaching intersections to avoid potential collisions. As the more vulnerable vehicle, the motorcyclist often takes accident prevention more seriously.

  • Reducing speed while still keeping up with the flow of traffic will decrease your required stopping distance.
  • Be extra aware of cars waiting to make a left turn or U-turn.
  • Plan an escape route to get out of danger fast.
  • Exit the intersection as quickly as possible.
  • Make your motorcycle as noticeable as possible. Wear bright colors and stay well-lit by using your high beams during the day.

Why Are Left Turn Accidents So Common?

Because motorcycles are more challenging to see, people driving cars in areas without many motorcycles are usually not accustomed to watching for them and can easily miss seeing their small profiles.

The danger of not being seen is also more severe in the spring after motorcycles have been off the road all winter.

How Does Distracted Driving Cause Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that “distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Dangerous situations form so fast, especially while traveling at highway speeds. Taking your attention away from the road for only a moment can end someone’s life.

Vehicles traveling at 60 mph travel 88 feet a second. If you glance away from the road, that is 88 feet of driving blind.

Drivers need to focus only on driving at all times. If they are doing anything else, they are not actually driving during that time.

What Are The Main Differences Between Motorcycle Accidents and Car Accidents?

Cars carry more safety features and provide better protection for drivers and passengers. Four wheels on the road create much better stability, especially while traveling at slow speeds and while stopped.

Cars are metal enclosures equipped with crumple zones, seatbelts, and airbags. Motorcycles do not have any of these features.

Motorcycles are less stable with only two wheels, and riders are more likely to be thrown from their bikes during a crash.

Combine these facts with the low-profile/visibility issue that puts motorcyclists at risk, and accidents usually end up as the fault of the other vehicle, while the motorcyclist is more likely to suffer serious injuries or death.

What Happens When a Motorcyclist Is Killed In an Accident With a Car?

Deaths caused by motor vehicle collisions are always a tragedy. Motorcycle riders are at far greater risk of harm in a crash with a car than vice versa because of the reduced safety features.

When the driver of the car caused the accident by not checking for motorcycles while turning or changing lanes, which are the most common causes of car vs. motorcycle accidents, the driver can be held liable for the wrongful death of the rider.

The surviving family members of the motorcyclist would be the ones to file the wrongful death lawsuit.

Although motorcycles are more difficult to see, all motorists are required to give a standard amount of care to all other vehicles around them.

What Other Factors Can Cause an Accident?

There are more reasons why cars and motorcycles get into accidents. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:

  • Poor Visibility
  • Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated
  • Speeding
  • Lane Splitting
  • Hazardous Road Conditions
  • Adverse Weather Conditions

Poor Visibility

Low visibility doesn’t just refer to the motorcycle’s low profile. Other examples of low visibility situations that result in car and motorcycle accidents are winding roads and blind intersections.

Speeding vehicles can suddenly come up on a slower-moving or stopped vehicle when rounding a bend in the street. Vehicles turning onto a main road from a side street at a blind intersection are in danger of being hit by another vehicle that is unaware of the crossroad.

For motorcyclists, this danger can be somewhat mitigated by wearing bright colors and using bright lights. Doing so helps improve their chances of being seen.

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated

According to Very Well Mind, “intoxication is a state in which a person has consumed enough alcohol or drugs that their mood and physical and mental abilities are noticeably affected.”

The amounts of alcohol or drugs that can cause intoxication differ between people and also situations. For example, a person may be more susceptible to changes in their abilities while they are tired, sick, or dehydrated.

Driving a car while intoxicated is extremely dangerous and puts everyone’s life at risk. Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated is just as irresponsible but also places the rider in an extremely perilous situation.

Operating a motorcycle takes balance, concentration, and good judgment. All of these requirements become impaired while someone is intoxicated, which is why deciding to ride or drive while intoxicated is selfish and illegal.


One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents is the use of excessive speed. The motorcyclist is usually the one speeding in this case, but that does not mean that they are entirely at fault for a collision.

Missouri’s pure comparative fault rule will divide the percentage of fault between all involved parties. The amount of compensation the victim receives will be adjusted by the amount of responsibility they share in causing the accident.

Cars are more likely to collide with a speeding motorcycle because they become even more difficult to see. Judging distances and speeds from other vehicles is more challenging when someone is traveling faster than the flow of traffic.

Therefore, cars are more likely to pull out in front of a speeding motorcycle than one traveling with the traffic flow, while the excessive speed makes stopping more difficult for the bike.

Lane Splitting

The act of riding on the white line between two vehicles traveling in the same direction to pass by them is known as lane splitting.

This maneuver is only legal in California and is supposed to allow motorcyclists to pass by slow-moving or stopped traffic instead of becoming trapped in dangerous stop-and-go traffic.

Passing through traffic in this way causes accidents when the other vehicles do not see the motorcycle and either swerve within their lane or change lanes right in front of the approaching motorcycle.

Hazardous Road Conditions

Motorcycles have less stability than cars because they balance on two wheels. They can lose balance when they hit potholes or uneven pavement on damaged roads or during road construction. Other poor road conditions that make accidents more likely to occur are as follows:

  • Missing or Hidden Road Signs
  • Faded Paint Markings
  • Sharp Shoulder Drop Offs
  • Any Debris on the Road
  • Harsh Speedbumps
  • Unexpected Dips in the Road

Adverse Weather Conditions

Weather conditions should always be checked and planned for before every motorcycle ride. Rain is the most common, and while uncomfortable to ride in, it also reduces the motorcycle’s visibility.

Raingear should be brightly colored and reflective. Fog, icy roads, high winds, and thunderstorms are all very dangerous, and the safest way to handle them is to wait until conditions improve before riding.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Accident Claims

If you were in a motorcycle accident, call Goldblatt + Singer at (314) 231-4100 for a free consultation. We will discuss your accident, and our experienced personal injury lawyers will be able to guide you in your next steps.

Everyone’s case is unique, and we listen to our clients to ensure our efforts achieve your goals. We are here to help so you can focus on healing, and you can rest easy knowing we are on your side and fighting for your best possible outcome.


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