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Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle and A Car Accident: What’s The Difference?

The difference between motorcycle and car accidents includes: (1) the heightened fatality risk for motorcyclists; (2) the increased vulnerability to injury that is inherent to riding; (3) the availability of No-Fault benefits; and (4) the requirements for claiming pain and suffering compensation.

A motorcycle and a car accident pose different dangers

The most significant difference between these types of crashes is the danger posed to the people involved: 

  • Nationally – Motorcyclists were 28 and 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018 and 2017, respectively, according to NHTSA.
  • Michigan – Motorcyclists were nearly 17 times more likely than vehicle occupants overall to be killed in an automobile crash in 2019, based on data from Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.

Different fatality rates

A motorcycle and a car accident each have different fatality rates. The fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2017 was 6 times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants, based on registered vehicles.

There is a difference between the volume of crashes for each crash type

Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, even though they made up only 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2017.

Likelihood of injuries in a motorcycle and a car accident

Because they lack the protection that the steel, crash-tested frame of a car or truck provides to drivers and vehicle occupants, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injury – both fatal and non-fatal – if and when they are involved in a crash with another automobile. 

Not only can they be struck in the head or body by a motor vehicle, but the force of the collision may cause motorcyclists to be thrown off their bike.

The risk that motorcyclists face is evidenced by the significantly higher fatality rates they face. 

No-Fault benefits apply differently to motorcycle and car accidents

If a motorcyclist is injured in a crash that does not involve another motor vehicle, then Michigan’s No-Fault auto insurance law does not apply and, thus, no No-Fault benefits for medical bills and lost wages will be available. No-Fault benefits are available only in crashes involving motorcyclists and automobiles.

Pain and suffering claims are different for each type of crash

If a motorcyclist is injured in a crash where the driver of the automobile was at-fault, the motorcyclist must show he or she suffered a “serious impairment of body function” in order to sue for pain and suffering. However, the same requirement does not apply if the motorcyclist was at-fault. 

Jurors often have different perspectives about each type of crash

Unfortunately, the experience of many motorcyclists is that when they go to court after they have been injured, jurors have different perspectives on a motorcycle and a car accident. Due to misinformation, jurors frequently and wrongly assume the motorcyclist was being “reckless” and blame them for their injuries.

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If are a motorcyclist who has been injured in a Michigan automobile crash and would like to speak to an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.

(Sources: NHTSA, “Traffic Safety Facts – Motorcycles – 2017 Data,” published August 2019; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, “Fact Sheets,” “Motorcycles,” 2019; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Statewide Reports, “Quick Facts” and Vehicle/Driver, “Michigan Motorcycle Crashes,” 2019)