Motorcycle Accidents: Understanding Negligence and Navigating Insurance Claims

  • Personal Injury
August 20, 2023

If you ride a motorcycle, you are far more exposed to danger on a bike without the protection of a car frame and seat belt. Bad weather, poor road conditions, and careless motorists can upend your life in a heartbeat.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, here’s what you need to know about negligence and navigating insurance claims.

Proving Negligence

In a strictly legal sense, motorcycle accidents are no different from other types of traffic accidents. If someone injures you while you’re on your motorcycle, to collect compensation, you will have to prove that they were negligent.

Here are the essential elements of negligence:

1.A Duty of Care

This means that the other person had an obligation to do or not do something to avoid harming you. In traffic cases, this is easy to demonstrate. All motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles carefully so as to not injure the people or property around them.

2.Breach of Duty

Someone breaches their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care in that specific situation. This is often the core issue of a negligence case. In the traffic context, it is often clear who was at fault. Did the other person change lanes without looking? Were they texting and driving? Did they run a red light?

3.Causation of Injury

Did the defendant’s actions cause your injuries? Again, this is generally pretty apparent in a traffic case. If someone strikes you with their car, or they strike another car which in turn hits you, or they run you off of the road, they have caused any injuries that result from their actions.

Sometimes, however, the chain of causation can be stretched so far that the defendant is not responsible. For example, suppose someone hits you on your motorcycle, and on the way to the hospital another car hits your ambulance. In that case, the first driver isn’t legally responsible for your injuries from the second crash, even though the two events have a cause-and-effect connection.


Negligence law only recognizes injuries that can be compensated monetarily. However, this does not limit your personal injury case to strictly economic damages such as medical bills, lost time from work, etc. You are also entitled to compensation for your noneconomic damages, often called “pain and suffering” damages, physical impairment, and any disfigurement.

Navigating Insurance

While the legal side of things is essentially the same for motorcycle cases as other types of traffic accidents, the reality of dealing with them can be quite different. This is mainly because motorcycle accidents tend to be much more severe. When your injuries are worse, for the defendant, that means more money is on the line.

Insurance adjusters will try to settle motorcycle cases as soon as possible for two main reasons:

1.You May Not Know the Full Extent of Injuries

After a severe motorcycle accident, it is very common that injuries take weeks or even months to manifest. For example, you may have hurt your head and not realize it until you start experiencing symptoms and see a specialist. If you settle your case before knowing all your injuries, you won’t receive any additional compensation later.

2.They Don’t Want You to Hire a Lawyer

After an accident, insurance companies know that every day that passes makes it more likely that you will hire a lawyer to represent you, and they don’t want that. People that have legal representation almost always recover significantly more money. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what your case is worth and won’t be pressured into settling prematurely.

Is There a Helmet Law in Colorado?

In Colorado, the Department of Transportation highly encourages the use of helmets for motorcyclists over the age of 18 but it is not required by law. Because of this, wearing a helmet will only give you a slight chance of beating negligence claims. That’s why it is crucial to hire a professional who will work to get you the right compensation for your injuries regardless of helmet protection. While it’s important to always take safety precautions while riding a motorcycle, wearing a helmet in the state of Colorado lawfully has little to no effect on damages.

Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk to an attorney about your case. Our experienced personal injury specialists can ensure you avoid costly mistakes and help you get the compensation you deserve.

To discuss your situation and come up with a plan for moving forward, contact our office and schedule an initial consultation.

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