Motorcycle Accident FAQ

Maine, like every other state, has their share of motorcycle enthusiasts riding the roads. But as with all other states, they always have to be on the lookout for other drivers who might not see them until it’s too late. If you’re involved in one of these mishaps, knowing some of the Maine motorcycle accident FAQs could help you through the ordeal.

How many motorcycle accidents are there each year?

Nationwide, almost 5,000 motorcyclists are killed each year from motorcycle accidents and another 105,000 are injured.

How many motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle?

Statistics show that three out of every four motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle. Most of these are a result of a vehicle striking the motorcycle in the front. That means that even when a cyclist is being careful and responsible, there is still a good chance that they can be involved in an accident.

How many of these accidents result in injury or death to the motorcycle rider?

Estimates are around 80 percent.

What is the main cause of deaths in these accidents?

Brain and head injuries.

Does Maine have a helmet law?

Yes. Anyone on a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet.

Since motorcycles are more prone to being involved in an accident, does wearing a helmet really make that much difference?

Yes, they do. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is estimated that helmet usage lowers the fatality rate in motorcycle accidents by approximately 30 percent.

A large majority of injuries are prevented due to helmet usage. A significant number of hospital stays are considerably shorter due to helmets saving the rider from sustaining more serious injuries. The savings of hospital and other medical bills due to riders wearing helmets also allows insurance companies to keep rates lower. This saves all insured motorists, not just motorcycle riders, money on premiums.

What if I am involved in an accident that was not my fault and I wasn’t wearing a helmet? Can I still seek damages from the other driver?

Yes, you can. Even though you were not wearing a helmet, you are still entitled to damages since the other driver was at fault. However, the other driver’s attorney may try to have your damages reduced since you were not abiding by the state’s helmet law. It will come down to the severity of your injuries and whether or not it can be proven that the extent of those injuries could have been lessened if you had been wearing a helmet.

As it pertains to the likelihood of being involved in an accident, how much more dangerous are motorcycles than automobiles?

When comparing miles driven, motorcyclists are approximately 30 times as likely to be killed in an accident as individuals who are operating an automobile.

What recourse do I have if I am in an accident which is caused by a defect in the motorcycle?

You might have a claim based on how the defect resulted in the accident. The important thing to do is to not discard the motorcycle- even if it is totaled. It will be needed as evidence so that it can thoroughly examined by experts.

What if I am in an accident where somewhere else was at fault?

You could be compensated for your losses. The important thing is to get a copy of the police report from the accident showing that the other person was responsible. This is especially important if the responsible party is not insured.

Who can bring a lawsuit in a motorcycle accident, an operator, a passenger, or both?

Both can bring suit. A lot will rest on whether the operator is at fault or if it is a case of negligence.

What constitutes as negligence?

Negligence means when an event occurred due to either someone being irresponsible or because of a disregard for someone else’s safety. If the operator of the motorcycle is found to be negligent then it will severely hamper, or completely prevent an operator or a passenger from filing suit.

What do I do if the other individual is at fault and they are uninsured?

The best thing is to file with your insurance under the uninsured portion of your policy. You can also talk to an attorney about taking the individual to court to recover expenses and damages.

Do I have to carry uninsured motorist coverage?

Yes. In Maine, it is required that all motorists carry uninsured motorist insurance. A recent poll showed that almost 5 percent of drivers are not insured. That totals more than 50,000 drivers that you can potentially get into an accident with that won’t have insurance to file against.

If I didn’t have insurance on my motorcycle, can I still file a claim against another driver if they were at fault?

Yes, you can still fail a lawsuit even if your motorcycle is not insured.

What is underinsured motorist coverage and how does it differ from uninsured coverage?

Underinsured coverage applies when another driver is found to be at fault and their liability coverage is not adequate enough to allow you to be sufficiently compensated for what you deserve. Uninsured coverage protects you in the event that you are in an accident with a driver who is found to be at fault and does not have coverage.

What if I was partially at fault in the accident?

Maine law states that if you are found to be at least 50 percent at fault for the accident then you are not entitled to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Lawyers for the other drivers will often try to use the fact that motorcycles do not offer nearly as much protection in an accident as automobiles. They will also use the misconception that motorcycles are often at fault in an accident to persuade the jury that no damages should be paid.

Motorcycles can offer a lot of enjoyment as long as they are operated safely and you are watching out for other drivers. Knowing what to do in the event that you are involved in an accident will help you to recover the damages that you need so that you do not have to needlessly suffer financially or physically.