Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and How a Lawyer Can Help

People love to ride their motorcycles on the scenic highways and beautiful beaches of the Carolinas. There are more than 300,000 registered motorcycles on the road in North and South Carolina, and that number is growing. Unfortunately, the risk of an accident involving your motorcycle has grown too.

So what are the common causes of motorcycle accident injuries? And why is having a lawyer important to injured riders seeking compensation? Here are some answers to those questions – some of which may come as a surprise.

For clarity on your motorcycle wreck case with no obligation, call us at 1-866-900-7078 or submit your online form today for a free professional opinion.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Nationwide, about 1% of motorcyclists are injured in a crash each year. What’s causing them? The short answer is “other drivers.” It’s not that riders can’t also be at fault, but when other vehicles are involved, we may often be able to spot something that driver did that contributed to or caused the crash.

Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles:

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Icon of a YIELD road sign. Motorcycles have as much right to the road as cars and trucks do. Were you crossing an intersection properly and got hit by a car trying to beat the light? Their “I didn’t see you,” excuse doesn’t fly. Other possible examples of passenger vehicles failing to yield the right of way include drivers turning left across the road, pulling out of parking lots, and similar actions.

If you had the right of way, they’re probably in the wrong.

Unsafe Lane Changes and Blind Spot Collisions

A driver's blind spot on the road. Another common crash is the unsafe lane change or blind spot crash. Drivers are responsible for checking their surroundings, but some fail to use an indicator, or even ignore the beeping of their vehicle telling them someone is in their blind spot. When two tons of car improperly whips from the neighboring lane into yours, the outcome can be catastrophic. Remember the “I didn’t see you” excuse? It doesn’t work in this case, either.

Opening Car Doors

A car door opening and creating a hazard. For whatever reason, some drivers open their car doors into the street without looking. Hitting a car door when you’re traveling on your motorcycle is a one-way ticket to pain.


Icon of a speedometer showing dangerous speeding. Physics always wins. If someone is speeding, their required stopping distance is increased and their margin for error decreases. People have enough trouble telling the speed of a motorcycle as it is. When they’re blasting toward you from behind, it’s even easier to get it wrong. If you’re hit by a speeding driver, you’re likely to suffer potentially severe injuries. Being hit from behind could cause things like broken bones and spinal cord injuries.

Speeding is a leading cause of car crashes, both between passenger vehicles and between cars and motorcycles.

Following Too Closely

Warning about following a vehicle too closely. Have you ever had a driver in a hurry right on your rear wheel? This is often referred to as tailgating. Not only does the driver have almost no time to respond to an emergency, now neither do you. Car drivers who do not leave enough space can be at fault for accidents they otherwise should have avoided.

Distracted Driving

A ringing cell phone causing a distraction. Drivers these days have so many other things to distract them. In-car technology can be amazing, but it can also lead to drivers taking their eyes or attention off the road. Yes, texting and driving is still a problem as well. A moment of carelessness by a nearby car driver can result in very painful injuries – or worse – for a motorcycle rider.

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

Any motorcycle accident is likely to be painful, but injuries can vary. With just safety gear and a helmet, you’re still at the mercy of the mass of a car, the unforgiving pavement, and any number of other hazards.

As most riders know, the most common motorcycle accident injuries include:

In a motorcycle crash, an injury is almost inevitable. In 2021, there were 3,712 crashes involving motorcycles in North Carolina. 2,847 of them resulted in injury: that’s a 76.7% injury rate! South Carolina did not fare much better, with 2,146 collisions, 1,547 of which resulted in injuries. That’s a 72% injury rate.

Two pie charts showing the high rate of motorcycle accidents with injuries in the Carolinas in 2021.

How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Helps You

The law is a bit different between North Carolina and South Carolina, but the need is the same: someone to watch out for your best interests after you’re injured in a wreck caused by another. Some insurance companies may try to blame the rider for an accident – even when the passenger car culprit should be obvious.

As a rider myself, I know the battles that riders face. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney is vital, in my opinion, in order to try to get fair treatment.

Our attorneys help clients seek maximum compensation by:

  1. Trying to prove the other driver’s fault: In South Carolina, your possible compensation can be reduced by the percentage of your fault if any. In North Carolina, if you were even 1% at fault, you may be denied compensation completely. Your attorney investigates all other parties for fault, gathers evidence, hires experts if needed, such as to reconstruct the accident scene, and tries to ensure the at-fault party is held accountable.
  1. Handling the insurance company: The insurance company is protecting their interests, not yours. Some may deny your claim, blame you for the crash, make a lowball offer – and some may delay a decision just to put pressure on you. A lawyer has the experience and leverage to even the playing field between you and the at-fault driver’s insurer.
  1. Negotiating for a fair settlement: Most insurance companies are for profit, and most make more by paying victims less. Your attorney is your advocate and can help you seek compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
  1. Taking your case to court if needed: If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the at-fault driver’s policy doesn’t cover all your harms and losses, escalating from an injury claim to a personal injury lawsuit may be the right solution for you. You want an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who is willing and able to take your case to court if the situation calls for it.

Call the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

When a rider is hurt by a driver’s negligence, it hits home for me. I’m in their shoes, and I want to help.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we’ve helped more than 65,000 people recover more than $1.8 billion in total compensation since our firm began. And counting.1 We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront to hire us, and you never pay an attorney’s fee at all unless we’re able to recover for you. Guaranteed.2

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin received 4.8 stars out of more than 3,000 reviews.

Call us today at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free professional opinion on how much your case may really be worth.



Frequently Asked Questions

What endangers motorcyclists the most in North and South Carolina?

One of the biggest dangers riders face is head injuries. Of the approximately 4,500 motorcycle crash fatalities in the U.S. each year, about 37% involve head injuries. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk, but nothing can eliminate it entirely.

Where is a motorcycle most likely to crash?

While riders can crash on their own, they are most likely to be involved in a crash where traffic crosses. A very common crash occurs when a driver turns left in front of a rider, giving the motorcyclist no time to stop or swerve. Passenger car drivers don’t always look carefully before they turn.

What to look for in a motorcycle accident attorney?

You want someone with experience dealing with motorcycle accidents. You want an attorney who answers your questions, returns your calls promptly, and explains everything to you so you can make the best decisions for your life and family. Be sure to check the firm’s client reviews as well.

About the Author

Michael Jordan is an attorney at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in North Carolina and has been practicing law for more than 20 years. Mike assists clients with their personal injury, workers’ compensation, eminent domain, products liability, medical malpractice, mass tort, and other cases. He’s a member of the American Association for Justice and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), where he serves on the Legal Affairs Committee after previously serving on the Board of Governors. The NCAJ has recognized Mike’s active participation, service, and commitment by awarding him the “Order of Service” award most years since the award’s inception.