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Fault in a Motor Cycle Accident in Wisconsin

Who is Usually at Fault in a Wisconsin Motor Cycle Accident?

A motor cycle accident can be horrific and motorcyclists know they must take responsibility for their own safety. Driving sober, wearing helmets and other protective gear, and obeying the rules of the road are all ways motorcyclists can protect themselves. Despite all of these efforts, motorcyclists are still at risk of serious injury in an accident. To make matter worse, they are usually the victims in road accidents, with passenger vehicle drivers bearing responsibility for most motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin.

The reason for this often comes down to a lack of awareness. Motorcycles are small and difficult to see; they are easily overlooked by inattentive drivers, especially in poor sight conditions or when making turns. Although a passenger vehicle driver may walk away from such an accident with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, the consequences can be deadly for motorcycle riders.

Wisconsin Motor Cycle Accident Numbers

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were 2,104 accidents involving motorcycles in 2020, the most recent year of data available. This resulted in 1,796 injuries and 112 motorcyclist deaths. When compared to statistics for passenger vehicles there was one death for every 25.3 motorcycle accidents versus one death for every 266.9 passenger vehicle accidents. A motor cycle accident in Wisconsin is 10 times more deadly than a car accident.

The 4 Ways Auto Drivers Cause Motorcycle Accidents

  1. They do not see motorcycles. As mentioned above, motorcycles can be difficult for drivers to see. They can be especially hard to see in traffic as demonstrated by the fact that many motorcycle incidents occur when an automobile driver turns left in front of a motorcycle going straight.
  2. They are distracted. Distracted driving is an enormous cause of road accidents regardless of the type of vehicle driven. Unfortunately, motorcyclists bear the worst consequences of distracted driving. Drifting into a motorcycle’s path is a common cause of distracted driving accidents.
  3. They are simply unaware. There are fewer motorcycles on the road than cars. This can lead to a phenomenon called inattentional blindness where people simply don’t notice unexpected objects around them. This causes “looked but failed to see” accidents.
  4. They misjudge speed and distance. Because motorcycles are smaller and less common than cars, it can be harder for drivers to gauge the speed and distance of a motorcycle. This is a primary contributor to the left-hand turn accidents mentioned above.

Determining Fault In a Motor Cycle Accident

Fault in a motorcycle accident is determined using the same methods as determining fault in any other type of auto accident. Evidence is collected by multiple means which can include:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Traffic/road camera or dashcam footage
  • Accident reconstruction

Wisconsin has comparative negligence laws. This means that both parties can be partially at fault for an accident. Operators are unable to recover compensation for an accident if they are 51% or more at fault for the accident. If they are 50% or less esponsible, any compensation awarded is reduced by the percentage of fault. If you are 25% responsible for the accident, your monetary award will be reduced by 25%.

The Motorcycle Attorneys at Eisenberg Law Are Here to Help

Due to the comparative negligence laws, an accurate determination of fault is crucial to securing adequate compensation after a motor cycle accident. The attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison, Wisconsin help motorcycle victims build their cases and present the facts to secure the highest amount possible. Without legal representation motorcycle accident victims run the risk of accepting a “low-ball” settlement offer that does not fully cover their recovery needs.

If you have been involved in a motor cycle accident in Wisconsin, contact Eisenberg Law Offices for help. We will work aggressively on your behalf to ensure you receive the full settlement amount you are due so you can focus on recovery after your accident.

Arrange a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.