FAQ: Motorcycle Accidents

Who is at fault in a traffic accident when a car turned left in front of an oncoming motorcycle?

Generally, a car making a left turn is liable for a collision with a vehicle coming straight in the other direction. Exceptions to this near-automatic rule can apply if the vehicle going straight was going well over the speed limit, or ran a red light.

What does "comparative negligence" mean when determining who is liable for a traffic accident?

Comparative negligence apportions fault among the drivers involved in an accident based on their degree of carelessness that contributed to the accident. Where a motorcycle is concerned, a common example of comparative negligence might be where the motorcycle's headlamp, brake light, or tail light is out, especially if the accident happened at night.

Will health insurance coverage or paid sick leave from work limit any recovery for a motorcycle accident?

If someone was injured in a motorcycle accident, whether he/she paid for medical care out of his/her own pocket or health insurance covered it is not relevant; neither is whether any lost time at work was covered by sick leave or vacation pay. Keep in mind, however, that the health insurance carrier may require that it be reimbursed, out of any settlement or award, for some or all of the amounts it has paid to treat for the injuries.

If someone was injured in a motorcycle accident, but wasn't wearing a helmet, can that person still recover damages from the other driver?

Even if a state has a mandatory helmet law, failure to comply with that law will probably not prevent someone from recovering for injuries if someone else caused the accident. Depending on the state, the issue may be relevant to the amount of damages recovered, if it is shown that the failure to wear a helmet contributed to the injuries.

Do the police need to be notified if someone is involved in a traffic accident?

Generally, if a traffic accident involves a death, personal injury, or property damage above a specific amount, the police must be notified, and they will usually make a written report of the incident.

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