Who’s responsible & what to expect

In 2011, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 17 percent of all occupant fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupants injured. In 2010, 4,518 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and in 2011, there were 4,612 motorcycle fatalities – an increase of 2 percent. Most motorcyclists involved in accidents are not the at-fault driver, but the victim.

Like every roadway accident, careful investigation and research is crucial to a successful claim for a motorcycle accident. A traffic citation may not determine responsibility in a civil lawsuit. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, talk to an attorney as soon as possible about what happened, who’s responsible, how you will pay for medical expenses and loss of income, and whether you may have a potentially successful case.

We understand that you may feel confused about the details or wondering if you could have done something to avoid the accident. But you also want to take some control of what happened to you, and what will happen next. You’re in the right place.

The attorneys of Chalat Hatten & Banker have represented victims in every type of roadway accident, and with every type of injury or circumstances of wrongful death. We know that deep experience, insight, and compassion are required. As the victim you are likely facing many months of painful physical and emotional recovery; or as the bereaved family, your suffering is already unimaginable. We’d like to be the experienced legal ally on your side, letting you focus on the difficult process of healing and closure, starting now.

Straight answers start here, with a basic overview of motorcycle accidents.

While the law is complex, we believe that an informed client is a more engaged and successful client. In a difficult situation, information is power. Read through our responses to the most common questions, or bookmark this page for later. Either way, please call us for a free one-on-one conversation with an attorney. We’ll take the time to explain and collaborate at every step, and you’ll see why our clients say that we are as invested as they are in a successful outcome.

Who is held responsible for my motorcycle accident?

Most serious motorcycle accidents will be assessed by the attending police officer or state patrol, but resulting traffic citations may not determine the responsibility in a civil lawsuit. Your personal injury claim for the motorcycle accident may be filed in a different court from the traffic offenses. If you believe that your motorcycle accident resulted because of the negligence of another driver, then you should speak to an attorney.

What makes a motorcycle accident case unique?

The common factor in most motorcycle accidents involving a second vehicle is the failure of the other driver to register the presence of the motorcycle. Most motorcyclists who are involved in accidents are not the at-fault driver, but the victim. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are over 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash. For all two-vehicle crashes during 2011 involving a motorcycle, over a third occurred when the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle.

Riding a motorcycle is not the same as driving a car, and we understand the implications of those differences when reconstructing a motorcycle accident and presenting the case to the jury. While we may not put on leathers and go for a run every weekend, we have successfully represented many clients that do, and would welcome the opportunity to help you.

What if evidence of alcohol is involved?

Few motorcycle accidents are without complications, such as speeding by the motorcyclist or alcohol levels detected. For all fatal crashes in 2011, a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver.

The percentages for alcohol impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes were 29 percent for motorcycles, 24 percent for passenger cars, 21 percent for light trucks, and 1 percent for large trucks. The evidence of an elevated BAC may complicate your claim for personal injuries, making experienced representation essential.


What to expect from a motorcycle accident lawsuit?

Investigation and research is the starting point for a successful motorcycle accident claim. Close review of the accident scene will help identify the primary factors contributing to the accident. We have working relationships with well-qualified engineers and traffic accident reconstruction experts whom we retain as is necessary for our motorcycle clients. Through these expert-witness relationships, evidence, and study, we have gained and can employ, for the benefit of our clients, our working knowledge of momentum analyses relating to accident reconstruction, Event Data Recorder (EDR) evidence, and US DOT coding.

A successful claim for a motorcycle accident usually involves serious damages. We have represented victims who were airlifted and hospitalized for Level 1 care. Therefore we understand the implications of complex, multiple and high-trauma injuries, related surgical procedures, and rehabilitation.


Our experience has involved every Level One hospital, and pediatric facility, in Colorado. We have a solid reputation for ethical and informed relationships with the medical staffs in these hospitals, as well as with the rehabilitation community including Craig, Spalding, and other rehab/TBI/SCI institutions.

The nature of the severe injuries suffered when a rider or motorcycle passenger crashes often means expensive treatment and rehabilitation are needed over a long-term period. Other expenses which arise include future medical expenses, often coupled with a loss of income if the victim was previously employed. Frequently other family members lose time away from work as well. The injured victim may seek compensation from the negligent party for all of these expenses. Read more about Damages.

Insurance Considerations

Our experience and knowledge extends to insurance questions and details including primary auto coverage, under-insured and un-insured policies, stacking, excess and umbrella coverage, permissive driving coverage, family car doctrine, bad-faith and excess claims. If you have a motorcycle accident with complications in insurance coverage, we have the experience to assist you.

Accidents happen. What’s next?

Chalat Hatten & Banker can help. Let’s talk one-on-one about your case. We’ll answer your questions during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 303.861.1042 today.