Visitor Question

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for this Motorcycle Crash?

Submitted By: Michael (Atwater, CA, USA)

A was driving a motorcycle and a driver pulled out in front of me and stopped, so I had to brake and swerve. I ended up dropping the motorcycle before hitting the car. I burnt my leg on my exhaust pipe and my left leg got hurt while going down with the motorcycle.

Am I able to file a claim personal injury against the other driver?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Michael,

Yes you are. Before taking any action take a hard look at the facts of the case and the practical considerations of pursuing a claim.

You say the driver pulled out in front of you and stopped. If the driver was already traveling in front of you, and you were riding behind when she pulled out in front of you, there may be a problem with liability.

When a driver collides with the rear of another vehicle 90% of the time the at-fault driver will be the one traveling behind. That is based on the time honored basis most states rely upon; that for each 10 miles per hour the driver behind is traveling he should allow a distance of at least one car length (or motorcycle).

Most of the time doing so is a practical impossibility. Nevertheless, insurance companies have long relied upon that basis as a way to determine liability.

Your facts seem to indicate the other driver suddenly pulled out in front of you from a side street or adjacent lane. If that’s the case you should have a solid personal injury and property damage claim against the driver and her insurance company.

Hopefully you exchanged insurance information at the scene. If so, contact the driver’s insurance company and file a claim. The driver should have already notified her insurance company, so a claim may have already been opened.

Keep the claim number with you so you can readily access it every time you speak with the driver’s insurance company’s Claims Adjuster. Having the claim number accessible will save you time and frustration.

Normally the police are dispatched to the scene of an “injury-accident”. Your burned leg should have brought them out. When they arrived they investigated the case by speaking with you and the at-fault driver, and anyone else who may have been a witness. Those can include other passengers, people in other vehicles, or even passers by.

The police report is usually available for pickup a couple of days after the collision. In it will be important information, including the officers’ conclusions about liability. Insurance company Claims Adjusters rely heavily on the information contained in those police reports.

The reports often include the officer’s drawing of where she believed the two vehicles were in relation to the collision, and who looks to be at fault. The officers also often issue traffic citations to the at-fault driver. If the at-fault driver was indeed issued a citation, that will greatly inure to your benefit during the processing and negotiating of your claim and settlement.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 3, 2011

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One thought on “Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for this Motorcycle Crash?

  1. Every motorcyclist that has a valid claim still must face the prejudices against motorcycles. Heaven forbid if you do not have a helmet on. In Ohio, my state, you do not need to wear a helmet but the insurance company will still try to use this against you.

    Moreover if your case goes to trial you must keep this evidence out as most jurors look at this as a sign of risk taking behavior.

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