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What kinds of factors can help my motorcycle accident case?

A: Driving a motorized vehicle of any kind is inherently risky. Some of the risks involved are things that we can control, and some we cannot. No one can eliminate the element of risk posed by the presence of other drivers on the roadway. However, where we do have a measure of control is in the decisions we ourselves make.

If you use an appropriate level of prudence when operating your motorcycle, in effect, you are taking steps in advance to protect both yourself and your right to recover damages from any motorist who causes you harm while riding, in the event that you are involved in an accident.

What are some things that can help your case? Bear in mind that one of the key elements of a motorcycle accident law suit is the assessment of fault. The lawyer for the other side will want to argue the doctrine of contributory negligence - that is, to suggest that something about your own behavior either caused or contributed to the accident (i.e. that in the final analysis, that you were at least partly to blame for your own injuries).

With this in mind, here are some of the things that will help your accident case:


  1. That you were not found to have been drinking and riding: Alcohol consumption, even at levels that put you below the legal blood alcohol limit, can lead to impaired coordination and slowed response times. There is a known correlation between alcohol consumption and motorcycle accidents. Evidence of drinking and riding will definitely furnish grounds for finding fault on the part of the rider.
  2. That you were not tired or distracted while riding: Shockingly, 50% of motorcycle accidents causing fatalities in the U.S. do not involve another vehicle. Riding a motorcycle is a challenging activity, requiring more attention and acts of coordination than driving a vehicle typically does. Rider inattention is well-documented as a major contributing factor to motorcycle accidents. It will help your case tremendously if there is no evidence that you were tired (for example, had been riding for a very long period of time without a break), dazed by the straight road, or distracted by something when the accident occurred.
  3. That you demonstrated sufficient skill in operating your motorcycle: It goes without saying that to avoid being found at fault for an accident, you have to demonstrate a sufficient level of skill as a driver. One challenging area, where the demonstration of skill is concerned, is in the avoidance of blind spots. Many accidents involving motorcycles occur simply because the rider is traveling (on a much smaller vehicle) in a straight line in the other driver's blind spot. The rule of thumb to follow is that you must be able to locate the other driver in their side view mirror, in order to be able to count on their being able to see you. You should also avoid coming too close to another vehicle (whether behind or on the side). Demonstrating skill as a rider and observing these basic rules will help your case, if you are in an accident.
  4. That you made yourself sufficiently visible: As a rider, you have an obligation to ensure that you are sufficiently visible to other drivers. In fact, a majority of accidents are caused when the driver of a car fails to see the motorcycle and its rider. To enhance your visibility, consider wearing bright clothing and/or a bright helmet. Use your headlights and signals appropriately, and consider turning on your brights or even gesturing in some way when going through an intersection to ensure that other drivers see you. Having taken these steps will stand you in good stead, from a liability standpoint.
  5. That you obeyed all relevant laws (federal, state and local): Speed is a major factor in many motorcycle accidents. Ensure that you are obeying the speed limit. Moreover, ensure that you are not riding your motorcycle in a way that could be construed as reckless or careless. And make sure you wear your helmet! Having obeyed all laws is key, when it comes to attempting to recover damages from the other party in a motorcycle accident. It makes it much harder for the other driver to invoke the defense of contributory negligence.


If you have recently been involved in a recent Bellevue motorcycle accident, contact a competent motorcycle accident attorney without delay toll free at 1-800-318-0502 to learn more about your legal options.