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Broadside Collisions While on a Motorcycle: Who’s at Fault?

Broadside Collisions

Navigating the bustling streets on a motorcycle brings with it a sense of exhilaration and freedom. However, the same freedom also comes with its fair share of risks. Among the various dangers motorcyclists face, broadside collisions or T-bone accidents rank high on the list. Delving into the dynamics of these accidents can help us understand who is typically at fault and how riders can protect themselves.

The Anatomy of a Broadside Collision

When two vehicles crash perpendicularly, forming a ‘T’ shape, it’s referred to as a broadside collision. For motorcyclists, these accidents can be particularly devastating due to the lack of protection compared to larger vehicles.

Common Causes of Broadside Collisions

There are various reasons why these collisions occur, including:

  • Traffic signal disregard: A classic scenario arises when a motorist fails to observe a stop sign or red light, plowing directly into a motorcycle’s path.
  • Blind spot incidents: Motorcycles are compact, which can make them hard to spot, especially when they’re caught in a larger vehicle’s blind spot.
  • Erratic lane changes: Abrupt or unexpected lane switches without proper signaling can lead to dangerous intersections with motorcyclists.

Determining Fault: More Complex Than It Appears

While the above scenarios might make it seem like the other vehicle is always at fault, that’s not always the case. Some factors to consider include:

  • Right of way: Often, the driver who failed to yield the right of way is at fault. However, motorcyclists must also ensure they don’t speed or make risky maneuvers, which can compromise the right of way.
  • Traffic rules adherence: Sometimes, a motorcyclist might be partway at fault if they were splitting lanes illegally or not following traffic rules.
  • Witness testimonies: These can be invaluable in reconstructing the events leading up to the accident. Witness accounts can shed light on behaviors like speeding, erratic driving, and other negligent behaviors.

Legal Implications and Comparative Negligence

Many jurisdictions operate under the principle of comparative negligence. This means that fault can be split between both parties involved in an accident. If a motorcyclist is found to be 20% responsible for a crash, they might only receive 80% of the claim they file.

In legal battles, evidence becomes paramount. This can include photos of the accident scene, video footage, police reports, and expert testimonies.

Safety First: Protecting Yourself on the Road

Motorcyclists can adopt certain strategies to minimize the risk of broadside collisions:

  • Defensive driving: Always assume that other drivers might not see you. Be alert and anticipate potential hazards.
  • Proper signaling: Signal your intentions well in advance.
  • Bright clothing and reflective gear: Enhancing visibility, especially in low-light conditions, can be a game-changer.
  • Routine checks: Before setting off, ensure your motorcycle’s lights, brakes, and signals are in perfect working condition.
  • Stay out of blind spots: When riding next to larger vehicles, adjust your position to stay visible.

The Physical and Emotional Impact of Broadside Collisions

Broadside collisions, especially for motorcyclists, can leave scars both visible and hidden. The aftermath of such accidents is often more complex than just determining who’s at fault.

Physical Ramifications

Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements, and the lack of a protective frame around them means that the direct force of impact during a broadside collision can result in severe injuries. Common physical injuries include:

  • Broken bones: Limbs, especially arms and legs, can easily break upon impact.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Even with a helmet, the force can lead to concussions or more severe brain injuries.
  • Spinal cord damage: This can result in partial or complete paralysis.
  • Road rash: Sliding across the pavement can cause painful abrasions.

The Emotional Aftermath

Beyond the immediate physical pain, the emotional trauma following an accident can be overwhelming. Victims might grapple with:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Reliving the accident in their minds, heightened anxiety, and fear of getting back on the road are common symptoms.
  • Depression: The change in lifestyle, pain, and possible dependence on others can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Guilt and self-blame: Especially if the fault was shared, a rider might internalize blame, exacerbating their emotional distress.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

The road to recovery after a broadside collision is often long and challenging. It demands patience, resources, and a strong support system.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

  • Structured programs: Tailored to the individual’s injuries, these focus on regaining strength, mobility, and overall physical function.
  • Adaptive techniques: In cases of permanent injury, riders might need to learn new ways to carry out daily tasks.

Psychological Support

  • Counseling: Professional therapists can provide coping strategies and help victims process trauma.
  • Support groups: Sharing experiences with others who’ve been through similar accidents can offer emotional relief and communal understanding.

Financial Implications

Beyond the pain and emotional trauma, there’s the looming stress of medical bills, repair costs, and potential loss of income. It’s essential to be aware of these hidden challenges.

Medical Expenses

Hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy sessions can accumulate into staggering amounts. Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be daunting.

Loss of Income

Depending on the severity of the injuries, a rider might be out of work for an extended period, leading to financial instability.

Prevention: The Best Cure

Awareness and proactive measures remain the best defense against broadside collisions.

  • Advanced riding courses: Enrolling in advanced motorcycle training can equip riders with enhanced skills to anticipate and avoid potential hazards.
  • Technology aids: Modern motorcycles are increasingly equipped with advanced safety features. Anti-lock brakes, traction control systems, and even collision detection can make a significant difference.

Have you been involved in a broadside collision as a motorcyclist? Marc Albert Law is here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Whether you’re struggling to move the case forwards with your insurance company or are finding it difficult to navigate the legalities while recovering at the same time, we’re on your site.

Contact us today for a free consultation. You can find us at:

  • Astoria – 32-72 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11103
  • Brooklyn – 7113 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209
  • Syosset – 175 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791

Call now for a free consultation on (347) 472-5080.