Many people mistakenly believe that rear-end collisions are not very serious accidents. However, victims can suffer life-altering injuries or death in these crashes—especially if they are riding a motorcycle when they are struck.
If you were injured in a rear-end motorcycle accident, you will need to prove the other driver’s negligence before you can receive compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, establishing liability is easier in a rear-end collision than in other types of motorcycle wrecks.
Top Causes of Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents
Drivers have a duty under California law to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the one ahead of them so that they can slow down or stop quickly if traffic requires it. Unfortunately, this basic traffic rule is often violated when a motorist strikes a motorcycle in the rear. Here are the leading reasons why these preventable crashes occur:
- Tailgating. When a driver is impatient and tailgates a motorcycle, it will be impossible for them to slow down or stop before it is too late to avoid a rear-end collision.
- Speeding. If drivers are speeding, it will take them longer to quickly stop or reduce their speed. Motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or death when a rear-end collision is caused by speeding. This is especially true if the motorcyclist must slam on their brakes to avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of them and is sandwiched between two much larger autos.
- Distracted driving. Many drivers eat and drink, look at a GPS, text, or engage in other distracted driving practices that take their mind off their driving and their eyes off the road. This increases the likelihood that they will not realize that they are about to rear-end a motorcycle until after they smash into it.
- Drunk driving. Motorists who drive when intoxicated will have reduced vision, reaction time, and judgment. They will often engage in reckless behaviors, such as dangerous tailgating or speeding, that lead to rear-end collisions.
- Not driving for the weather. Weather conditions, such as rain, hail, and fog, can make driving treacherous. Drivers who fail to reduce their speed can lose control of their vehicle and cause a rear-end crash.
Who Is Liable in a Rear-End Collision?
The motorist in the rear will often be assumed to be the liable party in causing a rear-end collision. Why is this true? It will be presumed that they breached the duty to maintain a safe distance behind the motorcycle in front of them. Because of this, the insurance company for the at-fault driver is less likely to dispute their insured’s negligence in this type of motorcycle collision.
However, there are exceptions when a motorcycle rider who was rear-ended could be found to have caused the wreck. For example, if they stopped or slowed down suddenly for no reason, they may be the negligent party.
Although the insurance adjuster may not argue about the liability of their insured, this does not mean that they will offer a motorcycle accident victim a fair settlement. Instead, the insurance company is likely to raise arguments about the cause of or the seriousness of the motorcycle rider’s injuries in order to pay them less than they deserve in their settlement.
Consult With a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Was a family member or you hurt in a rear-end or other motorcycle accident in San Diego or Southern California? You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. You need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to collect the evidence you need and to fight with the negligent driver’s insurance company for the maximum recovery you are entitled to under California law.
Download or order my free book, The California Motorcycle Collision Legal Survival Book, to start learning about your rights. Then call my San Diego office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn about your options and how I can help you obtain the compensation you deserve in your settlement.