Blog | May 15, 2023

Alcohol and Compensation in Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accidents

Recently we took a deep dive into motorcycle accident statistics in Pennsylvania. One of the most striking statistics is related to drunk driving. The percentage of drinking motorcyclists involved in road accidents in Pennsylvania is higher than drivers of any other vehicle. In 2021, in Pennsylvania, 3,671 motorcyclists were involved in accidents in Pennsylvania. A massive 297 (or 8.1%) of these motorcyclists were drunk drivers.

What is “drink driving?”

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) gathers information annually about vehicle accidents on Pennsylvania roads. When compiling this information, PennDOT defines “drink driving” as any driver who is suspected of drinking by the police or has a measured blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) level of 0.01 or greater. This is not the same as the legal limit for criminal D.U.I. purposes, which is 0.08. With a B.A.C. of 0.01, physical impairment and loss of judgment is possible. Depending on a person’s weight, gender, and other factors, a driver could have a B.A.C of 0.01 after just one beer. 

Drunk driving can affect your liability in a motorcycle accident

If you are injured in a road accident in Pennsylvania, the PIP benefits in your own auto insurance policy should provide coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages. However, your coverage may not be enough to cover all of your losses, and PIP benefits never cover property damage or pain and suffering. To get full and fair compensation for all of your damages after an accident, you may need to bring a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurer. Therefore, finding out who was to blame for the accident will reveal who is legally and financially liable. If a driver in the accident was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are more likely to be found at fault and wholly or partly liable for compensating the victims of the accident.

Drunk driving not only increases your risk of being in an accident, but it increases your risk of being liable for the accident. 

Drunk driving can affect your compensation in a motorcycle accident

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your compensation may be reduced even if the accident was the fault of another driver. Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state, which means that your compensation after an accident will be reduced if you were partly at fault in the accident. If you were drinking and driving, a court may find that your negligence contributed to the accident. This not only puts you at risk of claims from other injured victims but can reduce the amount of compensation that you might be entitled to for your injuries.

When riding a motorcycle or driving any vehicle, drivers have a duty to other people to take reasonable care on the roads. If they breach this duty and someone is hurt, they can be found negligent and liable for the harm that they cause. If a driver or motorcyclist has been drinking, it is much easier to prove that they have been negligent.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident whether as a motorcyclist or other driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses. To find out more about your legal rights and options, see our Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents or contact one of our Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys at (610) 490-8877 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us give you the help you deserve.


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