A motorcycle accident is assessed by insurance companies in terms of liability. The more a person did to cause the accident, the more liability they are assigned. Ideally, your own liability after a motorcycle accident will be as small as possible, hopefully down to 0%, meaning the other party is 100% liable for your damages.
The truth is that after an accident, any other motorist involved in the crash is more than likely going to try to blame you for what happened, even if you are certain they were the sole cause of your crash. If the picture of what happened isn’t clear, insurance companies may try to pin a percentage of the liability on you. You can help minimize your liability by planning ahead, respecting the law, and respecting common safety measures, though.
How to Reduce Your Liability as a Motorcyclist
When there is no clear evidence in a crash to pinpoint liability, insurance adjusters often try to determine which motorist or rider has a history of unsafe driving or irresponsibility. Using what they can learn about you, or about what you were doing immediately before the accident, they may estimate how much liability is fair to assign to you. To help prevent unfair liability being pinned to you, there are things you can do to show insurance companies and other parties that you are a responsible motorcyclist, potentially shrinking your liability in the event of a crash.
Five things you should always do to reduce your liability are:
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) researches motorcycle helmets available to consumers. Helmets that effectively protect a rider’s head during violent crashes can earn a DOT seal of approval. You should wear a DOT-compliant helmet if you want to not only best protect yourself, but also minimize your liability.
- Dress brightly and protectively: You should also be mindful of what you wear whenever you ride your motorcycle. Protective clothing like boots and gloves can save you from injury in a crash. Bright colors or reflectors also increase the chances of a motorist noticing you. If you are hit by a driver despite being extremely visible on the road, then that driver’s own liability will likely spike.
- Stay sober: The fastest way to significantly increase your liability in an accident is to be intoxicated while riding your motorcycle. Even when it is known that the other motorist struck you, liability can be pinned on you for being drunk because it is suggested that you might have been able to avoid the crash if you were sober as legally required.
- Invest in a helmet-cam: More and more riders are investing in helmet-cams, which affix to the top of their helmets and constantly record during each trip. A properly positioned helmet-cam can capture the moment an accident happens, which may definitively prove that you did not cause it.
- Perform Pre-Ride Inspections: Before going for a ride, you should always do a quick inspection to ensure that your motorcycle is in good and working condition. Make sure to follow the T-CLOCS inspection checklist from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The condition of the bike including your tires, cables, lights, oil, chassis, and stand can have an impact on liability.
Need more help proving you weren’t liable for your motorcycle accident? Call our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys from The Fran Haasch Law Group at (727) 784-8191 for more information or to start a claim.