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What Happens if a Car Accident Involves a Motorcycle?

By one estimate, California has 950,000 registered motorcycles, so a collision between a car driver and a motorcycle is not unusual on our roads. But what is the settlement process like when one of the vehicles involved in a crash is a motorcycle? The answer is: not much different than if two cars had collided.

At the Law Office of Brian P. Azemika, our car accident lawyer can explain the settlement process and answer any questions accident victims have. In most cases, we make claims on the at-fault motorist’s liability policy, and we will gladly take a look at the facts of your case to determine your rights.

Motorcyclists Are Subject to California’s Financial Responsibility Law

In California, you cannot register your car unless you can show financial responsibility. The easiest way to do this is to buy minimum liability coverage. As of 2023, the minimum coverage is:

  • $15,000 per person for bodily injuries
  • $30,000 per accident for bodily injuries to two or more people
  • $5,000 for property damage

Liability coverage kicks in when you are at fault for an accident. Anyone you end up hurting can make a claim on your policy for damages involving medical care, lost wages or income, and pain and suffering.

If you were riding in a car when it was hit by a motorcycle, you can make a claim with the motorcyclist’s insurer. Similarly, any motorcyclist hurt by a negligent car driver can make a claim on the driver’s insurance.

Put simply, the process for receiving compensation is not that different when a motorcycle is involved. Because California is a fault state, your attorney will spend considerable time analyzing all surrounding circumstances to determine who is to blame.

How Motorcycle Collisions Differ

Having said that, there are some unique wrinkles when motorcycles are involved in accidents. For one, motorcyclists tend to suffer much more severe injuries. This is understandable. There is no steel cage around the motorcycle offering protection. A biker can suffer a direct blow to the body or be catapulted off their bike. Injuries are gruesome: pelvic fractures, back injuries, head injuries, and road rash are some of the most common.

Because injuries are serious, accident victims often seek larger sums of money to pay for their medical care and other out-of-pocket expenses. Serious injuries like concussions and spinal column damage warrant much more in pain and suffering. Consequently, a negotiated settlement could become harder to achieve because so much money is in play.

Motorcyclists might also stand accused of driving negligently. Some insurance adjusters are prejudiced against bikers, wrongly believing that you take unnecessary risks out on the road. As a result, it is often harder to disprove comparative negligence.

Call Our Car Accident Attorney 

We have helped many people injured while riding a motorcycle or in a car crash. Our law firm will provide a free case evaluation to help you better understand your legal options, including what will qualify as a fair and reasonable settlement. Call our firm today.