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How Is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident?

Posted in Motorcycle collision on March 29, 2023

If you get hurt in a motorcycle accident, you need to understand your rights and know how to protect them. It is well-known that the insurance industry has biases against motorcyclists. It is highly likely that you will encounter problems when trying to recover compensation for your motorcycle accident, such as the insurer trying to blame you for the crash or your injuries. Learn how fault is determined for these wrecks to prepare for the claims process ahead.

What Happens After a Motorcycle Accident?

In the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident, you should take certain steps to protect yourself. First, exchange information with the other driver. Do not admit fault for the accident. Call 911 to immediately report the crash to the police. Obtaining a police report can help you with an insurance claim later. Give your side of the story to the police and write down your police report number. If you suspect that the other driver is under the influence or guilty of another infraction, tell the police.

The police will conduct a thorough exam of the crash scene and write up a detailed crash report. This report may include the officer’s opinion of what caused the crash; however, an insurance company will still carry out its own investigation. This may involve revisiting the scene of the accident, studying property damage in person, contacting witnesses and hiring experts to reconstruct the collision. The insurance company and its agents will look for information to build a case against the motorcyclist, in most cases, so that they can save money on the victim’s payout.

What Evidence Does an Insurance Company Analyze?

After you contact the other driver’s car insurance company to file an accident claim, someone known as the insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to you. The adjuster is the insurance representative responsible for investigating your accident and deciding whether or not to accept your injury claim. It is important to protect yourself during conversations with the claims adjuster. Do not admit fault or give a recorded statement.

An insurance company may base its crash investigation on many types of evidence, including:

  • The police accident report
  • Statements from law enforcement officials
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Crash footage and photographs
  • Traffic or surveillance camera footage
  • GoPro camera footage
  • Debris or markings on the road
  • Damage to one or both vehicles
  • Accident reconstruction from experts

You will also be asked to provide proof of your losses, such as medical records proving that you were injured in the motorcycle crash. Do not sign a blanket medical authorization release form, as this will give the insurance company full access to your medical history. Instead, work with a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney to only send the insurer medical evidence that is relevant to your claim. The goal of the insurance investigation will be to determine which driver or party violated a traffic law and caused the crash.

How Can You Prove the Other Driver’s Fault?

Under West Virginia law (W.V. Code 55-7-13A), you could be barred from receiving a financial recovery if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the motorcycle accident. Expect an insurance company to try to give you the majority share of fault for the crash. Combat this by hiring an accident attorney to help you preserve, collect and present evidence of your own.

An attorney can help you prove that the other driver was negligent and that this caused your accident, such as by hiring experts and returning to the scene of the crash. Although most motorcycle accident cases achieve insurance settlements, going to trial is a possibility if an insurance company is refusing to offer a fair settlement or has rejected your claim. A lawyer can present evidence and witnesses before a judge and jury, if necessary.