How Is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident?

December 18, 2020

Motorcycle accidents can be deadly for riders. A motorcyclist can suffer life-threatening head, brain, spinal cord or organ injuries in a collision. In 2019 alone, 170 victims in Arizona lost their lives and 2,235 were injured in motorcycle accidents. Understanding how insurance companies determine fault for a motorcycle accident could help you recover compensation for your losses as an injured victim.

Is Arizona a No-Fault State for Motorcycle Accidents?

Determining fault is necessary for an injured motorcyclist or surviving family members in Arizona. Arizona is a fault state, not a no-fault state. This means the party responsible for paying for a motorcycle accident will be the person or entity most at fault for causing the accident.

Before you can recover financial compensation for your losses after a motorcycle accident, you or your attorney must prove the other driver’s fault. Otherwise, you will have to file a claim with your own insurance company, which may not pay for your full losses and could lead to an increase in your premiums.

How Do Insurance Companies Investigate Motorcycle Accidents?

Call your own insurance company immediately after a motorcycle accident in Arizona whether or not you were at fault. Do not tell the insurance agent you think you caused the crash, even if this is the case. Instead, wait for the police and the insurance company to investigate and determine fault. If you have reason to believe the other driver in your wreck is to blame, call his or her insurance company to file a claim as well.

An insurance company will use an insurance claims adjuster to investigate a claim. This is a professional hired and trained to review claims, analyze evidence and assess a claimant’s eligibility for benefits. The claims adjuster will typically begin his or her investigation with a phone call to the injured victim and other parties involved. When an adjuster calls, be wary of what you say to him or her. The adjuster will not be on your side and is not your advocate.

The claims adjuster will ask you questions to find out how much you know about the crash. Be honest in your responses but do not give more details than requested. The adjuster will continue his or her investigation with an in-person vehicle inspection, in most cases. The adjuster may also visit the scene of the motorcycle accident. Then, the adjuster will analyze evidence submitted for proof of fault, such as medical records and police reports.

In Arizona, most insurance companies take no more than a month or two from the date it receives a motorcycle accident claim to make a decision. How long the investigation takes, however, depends on the facts of the case. If the claims adjuster’s investigation concludes that you are eligible for benefits, the insurance company will offer a settlement. If not, the company will deny your claim.

Proving Fault for Your Motorcycle Accident

You may have to prove someone else’s fault for your motorcycle accident if the insurance company is refuting fault or if your case goes to trial. These issues are more common in costly motorcycle accident cases, such as those that cause substantial injuries. If you are in a position that requires you to prove fault, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Arizona for assistance. A lawyer can help you gather evidence of the other driver’s fault.

  • Photographs and surveillance video footage
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police report
  • Traffic citation against the driver
  • Crash reconstruction evidence
  • Expert testimony
  • Medical records

Arizona is a modified comparative negligence state. If an investigation finds you to be partially to blame for your motorcycle accident, this could reduce your financial award. If you were 20% at fault, you would receive 20% less in financial compensation. Work with a lawyer to reduce your percentage of fault and maximize your recovery. A lawyer can help you refute a comparative negligence defense, prove fault for your motorcycle accident and move forward with a fair award.