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What to Do After a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident

Motorcyclist sitting in highway traffic.

It can happen in the blink of an eye: one second, you’re sitting at a light, waiting for it to turn green, and the next second you’re colliding with the pavement. A distracted driver hit you. Now you’re confused, frightened, and potentially injured.

A rear-end collision can result in serious injuries for a motorcycle rider and severe damage to their bike. Even with the proper helmet and protective clothing, no amount of safe riding can protect a motorcyclist from a negligent or aggressive driver.

Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable on the road than passengers in enclosed vehicles. They have a high chance of suffering a severe injury in a collision. In 2019, more than 5,000 motorcycle riders lost their lives, and an estimated 84,000 were seriously injured.

What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are Rear-End Collisions?

A rear-end motorcycle crash occurs when the front of a vehicle collides with the back of a motorcycle. In most cases, the larger vehicle is responsible for the damage and at fault for any injuries.

Of the thousands of motorcycle accidents that happen every year, up to 25% involve rear-end collisions. Seven percent of fatal motorcycle crashes are caused by being rear-ended.

Most motorcycles weigh about 400 lbs; the average passenger car weighs around 4,100 lbs. That’s 10 times the weight of a motorcycle and a huge amount of force being delivered in the event of a rear-end collision.

Common Reasons Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents Happen

Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles. If a driver isn’t paying attention, they can easily crash into the back of a bike on the highway or while coming to a stop at an intersection.

Besides distracted driving (which contributes to a majority of accidents), a rear-end motorcycle wreck may happen due to the following:

  • Impaired or drunk driving
  • Tailgating/following too closely
  • Speeding around blind curves
  • Overtaking during a lane change
  • Failing to stop in time for a traffic jam

Effects of a Rear-End Motorcycle Accident

Without safety restraints and airbags, motorcyclists are at higher risk of bodily injury in a rear-end collision.

Concussion - Motorcycle riders are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury during an accident, even if they are wearing a helmet.  (Note that not wearing a helmet increases the chances of a severe or fatal brain injury. In Georgia, motorcycle riders are required by law to wear federally-approved helmets.)

Back and Neck Injury - The neck, spine, and back bear the brunt of the impact in a rear-end collision. This can result in whiplash, herniated discs, muscle strain, and spinal cord injuries.

Internal Organ Damage - Depending on the speed of the collision and location of the accident, a rider may suffer internal bleeding and broken ribs. These injuries could result from the immediate impact itself, or after the rider is thrown from the bike, a secondary vehicle accidentally running them over.

Lower Limb Injury - Leg injuries are the most common injury motorcyclists suffer in an accident. Bones and joints can be shattered, dislocated, or crushed.

Road Rash - Road rash refers to any cuts, scrapes, or lacerations a motorcyclist suffers after being violently thrown from their bike and skidding across the ground or pavement.

5 Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Crash

If another vehicle rear-ends your motorcycle and causes you injury, there are several things you can do to protect your motorcycle accident claim.

  1. Call 911. Have someone contact emergency operators and request the police and emergency services. Explain what happened and any injuries you think you have to the best of your ability.
  2. Exchange information. If you aren’t transported to the hospital by ambulance, exchange identification, vehicle, and insurance information with the driver who rear-ended you. Get the investigating officer’s name and information so you can receive a copy of the crash report. In the case of a hit and run, try to provide as much detail as possible and ask witnesses for help.
  3. Take pictures and video. These can be taken immediately after the crash or later. If you were taken to the hospital, take pictures of your injuries. Be sure to also take pictures of the damage done to your bike, gear, and any other items with you at the time of the accident.
  4. Seek medical treatment. Even if you can stand up and walk after a motorcycle accident, that doesn’t mean you weren’t hurt. Eighty percent of all motorcycle crashes end with the rider either injured or dead. Go to the emergency room or an urgent care center to check for signs of a concussion and internal injuries.
  5. Talk to a lawyer. We advise speaking with a motorcycle accident attorney before contacting the insurance company. If you do speak with an insurance adjuster to report the accident, limit the information you provide: tell them about the crash but don’t mention you are injured. A lawyer can evaluate your motorcycle injury claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Treatment after a motorcycle accident can get expensive, and you’ll want to make sure you are fully compensated for both your medical care and pain and suffering.

Consult an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

To be rear-ended by a vehicle, especially without the protection of a steel frame and airbags, is a traumatic experience. The body will bear the brunt of the impact. Your bike is most likely totaled.

Yet the insurance company may still try to blame you for what happened. Don’t let the adjusters stonewall you or offer a settlement for less than what you deserve.

Our expert motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for riders’ rights. Even though the road to recovery may be difficult, we’re here for the long haul.

If you have questions or concerns about a motorcycle accident injury, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates today. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay us a cent unless we win.

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