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Determining who is at fault between a motorcycle, other vehicles


There are many kinds of cars, trucks and other vehicles that share Tennessee's roads. While often times these vehicles operate together without incident, this is not always the case, and accidents involving different types of vehicles can result in disaster when there is a significant disparity in size between the vehicles.

For example, in cases involving a motorcycle collision, the difference in size between a motorcycle and a car, truck or semi can result in a very dangerous situation for the motorcycle rider. A motorcyclist can be seriously injured or killed when facing up against a large vehicle, particularly when traveling at high speeds.

Motorcycles also operate much differently than other vehicles, and these differences can lead to the accident itself. For example, semi-trucks can have large blind spots which make it difficult to see other vehicles on the road, particularly smaller ones like motorcycles. Even cars and other trucks can fail to see motorcycle riders if they are not carefully driving, which can result in tragic accidents.

Ultimately, if a motorcycle rider or driver of a car, truck or other vehicle is injured in an accident, the rules for determining liability in a personal injury lawsuit turn more on the driver's conduct than the particular vehicle at issue. If a motorcyclist is driving unsafely, such as by weaving in between cars or driving at excessive rates of speed, for example, the motorcyclist can be held to be responsible for the crash. On the other hand, if the driver of a car or truck failed to yield or see the motorcycle rider, that driver may be held liable. The liability determination is vital, because only those who are held liable can be ordered to pay compensation to injured persons.

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, "Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual," accessed on Nov. 28, 2014

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