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Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Guide

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Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Guide 

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The United States experienced 5,579 motorcyclists killed during 2020, which accounted for 14% of all fatal traffic accidents. This was the highest number of motorcyclists killed in the nation during a single year since 1975.

It’s no secret that riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, but it can also be extremely dangerous if a collision occurs with another motorist on the road. Given the smaller size, frame, and less protection offered on a motorcycle in comparison to a standard car, the resulting injuries that a motorcycle driver can face are often catastrophic, even leading to death in many cases.

There were an estimated 99,613 motorcycles registered in the state of Kentucky in 2022. With that many people operating a motorcycle on the roads and highways across the state, it is imperative to understand the legal steps following a collision with a motorcycle. If you sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident that was caused by another person, you may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury claim.

As motorcycle accidents can be quite complex, we’ve provided you with a comprehensive guide to motorcycle accidents. This will help define relative definitions, list the process for dealing with insurance providers, and explain how to successfully win a claim to get your life back on track.

What’s the most important aspect of filing an injury claim after a motorcycle accident? Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can represent your case! So, follow along with Morrin Law’s advice on how to best handle a motorcycle accident in Kentucky.

How Does a Motorcycle Differ from a Standard Passenger Vehicle?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motorcycle includes two- and three-wheeled motorcycles, off-road motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, minibikes, and pocket bikes. Below are some helpful definitions:

  • The motorcycle rider is the individual operating the motorcycle;
  • The passenger is a person seated on, but not operating the motorcycle;
  • A motorist is a general term for referring to either the rider or the passenger; and
  • A motor vehicle crash is defined as an incident that involves one or more vehicles in-transport that originated on or had a harmful event resulting in injury or damage on a public highway or road.

A standard passenger car includes automobiles and trucks with a registered weight of 6,000 pounds or less. In comparison, motorcycles can range in weight from 200 – 800 pounds. Even with the variety in size, motorcycles are much smaller than standard passenger vehicles. They also offer much less protection, which is why accidents involving a motorcycle often result in serious injuries or death.

How Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

When a motorcyclist is in a collision, it can occur with another motor vehicle, another motorcyclist, a pedestrian, or a crash caused by certain conditions or external factors. Common types of collisions involving motorcycles include:

  • Rear-end collisions: When a vehicle crashes into the back of a motorcycle. These accidents can happen when a driver is following too closely, not paying attention, or is unable to stop in time.
  • Head-on collisions: When two vehicles collide front-to-front. In the context of motorcycles, this occurs when a motorcycle and another vehicle (a passenger car, semi-truck, or another motorcycle) collide head-on.
  • Side impact collisions: Also known as “T-bone” accidents, occur when a vehicle strikes the side of a motorcycle, which often happens at intersections.
  • Underride collisions: When a motorcycle goes under the rear or side of a larger vehicle, such as a truck or semi-truck).
  • Left-turn collisions: When a car makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle. These accidents typically occur at intersections, often due to the car driver’s failure to see the motorcycle or misjudging its speed.

According to NHTSA’s Crash Stats for 2020, the most harmful event of the 5,715 recorded fatal motorcycle crashes were collisions with motor vehicles in transport. In the crashes that only involved two vehicles, 76% of the fatal crashes were due to a collision from the front (head-on collision). In 42% of fatal crashes, the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcyclist was going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles.

Common causes of motorcycle accidents can include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure of other drivers to detect/recognize motorcyclists;
  • Motorcyclist riding in another driver’s blind spot;
  • Inexperience or improper handling of a motorcycle;
  • Drivers cutting off a motorcyclist with a fast lane-change;
  • Aggressive drivers not wanting to share the road with a motorcycle;
  • Either a motorcyclist or other driver speeding on the road;
  • Reckless driving from failure to signal;
  • Motorcyclist not wearing helmet or proper safety gear;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Consider contacting a Kentucky personal injury attorney if you’ve recently been involved in a motorcycle collision you believe to be caused by another person’s negligent or reckless actions.


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Injuries Sustained from a Motorcycle Accident

It should be noted that any accident involving a motor vehicle can result in severe injury. However, motorcyclists are at an even higher risk of injury due to their lack of protection and smaller frame. According to NHTSA, “per vehicle miles traveled in [the U.S.] in 2022, motorcyclists were about 22 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.”

When a person on a motorcycle is in a collision, some of the common injuries sustained can include:

  • Road rash: When a motorcyclist falls off their bike during a collision and is dragged along the road’s surface, they can suffer road rash in the form of cuts, scrapes, or abrasions on the skin.
  • Head trauma: Even with a helmet, impact from a motorcycle accident can cause a concussion, a fractured skull, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Broken bones: Since motorcycles do not offer any of the additional safety features that a standard passenger car has, it is highly likely that being hit in a collision can result in broken bones or even the loss of limbs.
  • Burns: In some instances, a motorcyclist involved in a collision where they encounter the engine parts can obtain 2nd or 3rd degree burns.
  • Soft tissue injuries: A motorcyclist can deal with ongoing pain from injuries to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. This can include sprains or strains.
  • Internal injuries: A motorcyclist who is thrown off their bike or caught under another vehicle could obtain internal injuries to important organs such as the kidneys, lungs, or intestines.
  • Neck and spine injuries: Head and neck injuries can easily happen when a motorcyclist is hit by another vehicle or gets thrown off their bike. This can include paralysis, herniated discs, or a cracked vertebra.

Keep in mind that these are just several examples of potential injuries. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and the injury isn’t listed above, still contact Morrin Law to discuss your options.

Before operating a motorcycle on Kentucky roads, the driver must abide by the safety rules outlined in the Kentucky State Police’s Motorcycle Manual.

The operator must have:

  • A valid license with a motorcycle operator’s endorsement, a specific motorcycle license, or an instruction permit to operate a motorcycle;
  • No passengers if they only obtain an instruction permit; and
  • Approved eye-protection and headgear on the driver and passenger, unless they are 21 or older and have held a motorcycle license for one year or more.

The motorcycle must have:

  • A seat or footrest permanently attached to the motorcycle;
  • A rearview mirror;
  • One headlight and low beam;
  • Taillight;
  • Horn;
  • Muffler;
  • Brake light;
  • Front and rear brakes;
  • Proof of liability insurance;
  • Turn signals;
  • Good tires; and

Additionally, all motorcyclists are advised to wear helmets while riding. Kentucky’s Motorcycle Manual recommends choosing a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation (DOT) and State standards. This includes a helmet that is snug and form fitting, allowing you to see as far to each side as possible. Avoid wearing a helmet with any obvious defects such as cracks, loose padding, or frayed straps.

Under Kentucky Statute Section 189.285(3), a person operating a motorcycle in the state of Kentucky must wear a helmet if:

  1. The motorcycle rider or passenger is under the age of 21;
  2. The motorcycle rider only has a motorcycle instruction permit; or
  3. The motorcycle rider has had a motorcycle operator’s license for less than one year.

To obtain a motorcycle license in Kentucky, the individual must be at least 18 years of age to apply for the instruction permit. If the person seeking a license is under 18, then they must have a parent or guardian sign for their permit. The only place a driver may legally ride or operate a motorcycle without a valid operator’s license and safety equipment is on private property. The motorcycle license applicant is also required to complete a safety course.

There are legal repercussions for a person who rides a motorcycle without a license or permit, such as being prohibited from riding on public roads. Kentucky Statute Section 186.620 also makes it a Class B misdemeanor for a person caught operating a motor vehicle without a valid license.

Kentucky Motorcycle Crash Data

Based on the information gathered in the 2022 Traffic Collision Facts, there were 196,260 motor vehicle collisions in Kentucky that year. Out of those, there were 1,619 motorcycles involved in the accidents.

The following data reflects recent statistics on motorcycle collisions in Kentucky:

  • There were 98 motorcycles involved in fatal collisions;
  • Motorcycle collisions represented 8% of vehicles in fatal collisions;
  • There were 1,004 motorcycles involved in injury collisions;
  • There were 1,198 total persons injured in motorcycle collisions;
  • 96 people were killed in collisions involving motorcycles;
  • There were 62 people killed where helmets were not used, and 33 people killed where helmets were used; and
  • There were 577 people injured where helmets were not used, and 543 people injured where helmets were used.

Additionally, we’ve gathered the top 10 contributing factors for Kentucky motorcycle collisions in 2022:

Driver Contributing Factors

All Collisions

Fatal Collisions




Not under proper control



Failed to yield right of way



Exceeded speed limit



Misjudged clearance



Alcohol involvement



Following too close



Too fast for conditions






Disregarded traffic control



To view the full 2022 annual report, click here.

What are the Legal Consequences of a Motorcycle Crash in Kentucky?

If a person is injured in a motorcycle accident, they can seek compensation through a personal injury claim for the injuries they sustained. Establishing the cause of the crash is crucial to determining fault and liability for the claim.

If you caused a motorcycle collision, you could use your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, unlike other vehicles, motorcycles are not required to maintain PIP coverage. The Kentucky Department of Insurance explains that PIP coverage is optional, and that unless it is purchased, the rider and passenger are not entitled to collect any PIP benefits under KRS 304.39-040.

Additionally, a motorcycle owner who does not purchase the basic coverage “is still considered to have accepted the limitations on his rights to sue and be sued for damages unless a no-fault rejection form is filed. If a no-fault rejection form is not filed, he/she will be unable to recover the first $10,000 of a motorcycle injury claim from the at-fault party.

If another driver or individual caused the motorcycle collision, you can file a claim against their insurance or consider a lawsuit. This is where the personal injury attorneys with Morrin Law can help.

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Kentucky Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Kentucky, motorcyclists must purchase liability insurance to help cover any property damage or bodily injuries suffered by other people in a crash that you’ve caused.

The liability motorcycle insurance policy must include the following minimum coverage limits per accident:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person;
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury if multiple people are hurt in the accident; and
  • $25,000 for property damage.

What To Do After Being in a Motorcycle Accident in Kentucky

No one intends to be involved in a roadway collision. However, it’s important to know the steps you should take. This is especially important if you were injured in an accident and are seeking compensation through a personal injury claim.

Follow these steps after a motorcycle accident in Kentucky:

  1. Seek medical attention – After any collision in Kentucky, seek medical attention. This is crucial even if you feel like your injuries are minor. In some instances, you may not feel the full extent of the injury due to shock from the collision. In any case, it is essential to receive immediate medical evaluation. This will also help document the evidence for a personal injury claim.
  2. Contact the police – Having a police officer respond to a collision is important for several reasons. First, the officer can examine the crash scene, speak to both drivers and any witnesses to determine the cause of the crash. Additionally, Kentucky law requires a collision report to be filed. If a police officer did not respond to your motorcycle accident, you have 10 days to fill out a civilian collision report.
  3. Document evidence from the crash site – It can immensely help to collect evidence from the scene of the crash. Taking documentation of the crash scene, any property damage, collecting witness statements, getting the other person’s insurance, phone number, address, and vehicle information can all significantly help in a personal injury claim.
  4. Notify the insurance company – The insurance company should be notified of the accident and any resulting damages. In some cases, insurers may not settle a claim if it is reported outside a certain time frame. So, it’s important that you or a personal injury attorney contact them in a timely manner.
  5. Contact Morrin Law – Securing the right legal representation after a car collision is paramount to a successful claim. Contact Morrin Law’s personal injury attorneys experienced in motorcycle accidents to discuss your options during a free case evaluation.

Potential Damages to Recover

The compensation an injured person can seek to obtain through a personal injury claim is based on the evaluation of the resulting financial damages caused by the motorcycle collision. This can include:

  • Medical expenses – Past, current, and future expenses relating to the accident injuries.
  • Lost wages – Current or future projected loss of income caused by the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Property damage – Any damage to the motorcycle or other vehicles involved, or the cost of replacing any vehicle.
  • Disability – The state of Kentucky recognizes that victims of motorcycle collisions are eligible for disability.
  • Pain and suffering – While it can be difficult to receive in a personal injury case, the victim can seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced due to the motorcycle accident.
  • Wrongful death – In the case of wrongful death, the cost of funeral and burial costs.

Contact the attorneys with Morrin Law to discuss to determine the total damages amounting from your Kentucky motorcycle accident.

Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering from a Motorcycle Accident?

Yes. In Kentucky, a person can file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or party if one or more of the following occurred:

  • $1,000 or more in medical expenses;
  • A broken bone;
  • Permanent disfigurement;
  • Permanent injury; or
  • Death

Motorcycle Accidents & Wrongful Death Claims

Due to the smaller size and lack of protection motorcyclists have on the road, they are considered 24 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than a standard vehicle. According to NHTSA’s overview of motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2021. This is despite motorcycles only making up 3.5% of all registered motor vehicles.

When a person perishes due to an unforeseen collision, a wrongful death claim can be filed on their behalf. In the state of Kentucky, only a court-appointed representative of the deceased person’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This usually includes the immediate family members, such as a parent, spouse, or adult children.

To initiate a wrongful death claim, you will need to identify the estate administrator or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This person is responsible for managing the estate and representing the family throughout the wrongful death claim.

The representative, with the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney, will need to establish that the death was caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness. A wrongful death attorney with Morrin Law can help you prove the financial impact the wrongful death has had on the remaining family members.

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim for a Motorcycle Accident?

For most civil matters, there is a time limit on how long you can pursue compensation. Kentucky’s Statute of Limitations on filing a claim for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident provides individuals with two years from the date of the accident or last PIP payment to do so. This includes motorcycle accidents.

If you are considering seeking compensation through a personal injury claim, you should be very aware of this time frame. Any attorney will tell you that the worst thing you can do for your case is wait to file. This is because it becomes more difficult to gather evidence, speak to witnesses, or have other important documents in a timely manner. If you attempt to file outside of the statute of limitations or do not have all the required information in time, your case could get barred, meaning you’d lose out on potential compensation. At Morrin Law, we understand the difficulties your injuries are causing you and will do everything we can to win you the compensation you deserve. Take the initiative today by contacting our team for a free cases evaluation.

Are There Attorneys Who Specialize in Motorcycle Collisions?

Yes! At Morrin Law, our personal injury lawyers specialize in motorcycle accidents. That means we have a deep understanding of Kentucky’s laws and regulations when it comes to owning and operating a motorcycle, as well as the legal consequences that come with being involved in a motorcycle collision.

When you trust us with your case, we will provide you with insight and guidance on how to make this a smooth case on all ends. We will be with you every step of the way, and fight to win you the compensation your injuries deserve.

Why is Choosing the Right Accident Attorney Important?

When choosing legal representation for a civil matter, finding the right lawyer is crucial. You want an attorney who is well versed in the statutes and regulations regarding motorcycles and collisions.

Unlike accidents just involving standard passenger vehicles, motorcyclists often suffer from much more severe injuries—some that are permanent and will require medical care for life. It can be difficult for motorcyclists to seek the full compensation they deserve due to facing stereotypes and jury bias that can come from the insurance adjusters. In many cases, a motorcycle accident can result in the death of the motorcyclist, leaving their family and loved ones to deal with the legal aftermath. Given these extra complexities surrounding motorcycle accidents, it is extremely helpful to work with a personal injury attorney.

If you choose to work with Morrin Law, you’ll receive the benefits of having a representative with expertise in motorcycle personal injury. Our attorneys also have trial experience for these specific cases, meaning we understand the legal process and how to accurately prove your injuries in court.

If you’re still considering legal representation for a personal injury claim, contact the team with Morrin Law today.

Contact the Motorcycle Personal Injury Attorneys with Morrin Law

When a person chooses to operate a motorcycle on a road or highway, they must follow the specific safety laws and guidelines. Even if all these measures are followed, accidents can still happen. When a motorcyclist is involved in a motor vehicle collision, the resulting injuries can be extreme, even leading to death. If you or someone you love was recently in a motorcycle crash and wish to seek compensation to cover the resulting damages, contact Morrin Law.

Our Kentucky personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free case evaluation when you call us at (859) 358-0300 today.

Contact the Commercial Truck Personal Injury Attorneys with Morrin Law

If you’ve been injured at the hands of another person or company’s negligence, you should not be held responsible for any resulting damages. It is already hard enough to go through the physical pain of an injury, on top of the mental anguish that may come with missing work or piling medical bills. If you’ve recently been injured by a semi-truck collision, consider hiring a personal injury attorney with Morrin Law.

Our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and legal insight to accurately represent your case. We understand the ins and outs of litigation in Kentucky and can take on the bulk of the work by negotiating with insurance companies and the at-fault party on your behalf. If your case requires going to trial, our attorneys will fight to ensure that you receive fair compensation to support your injuries.

Contact the office of Morrin Law Office today at (859) 358-0300 to receive a free case evaluation to go over the details of your Kentucky semi-truck accident. Our firm works on a contingency basis, so we only win when you do!

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Given the sheer size and weight of a commercial truck, it is no surprise that they can cause extensive damage and injuries to those involved in a truck collision. You may be facing long-term injuries that require extensive time and money. This is where a personal injury claim can benefit those who have become victims of a truck accident. If you file a personal injury claim in Kentucky and it is successful, you may be able to receive compensation for any past, present, or future damage caused by the collision.

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Funeral expenses for wrongful death; or
  • Any other accident-related expenses.

It is important to first consult with a personal injury attorney when filing a claim. An experienced attorney can review your case to help determine your injuries and the impact it has caused on your life.

File a Truck Accident Injury Claim

The attorneys at Morrin Law Office can provide legal guidance throughout the investigation, analysis, and litigation process. Receive a free consultation today when you call (859) 358-0300.