High Sided Motorcycle Crash Causes and Legal Next Steps

    High-sided and low-side crashes are major hazards for bikers. These accidents happen when a motorcycle starts to lean too far during a turn and the tires lose traction with the road surface, causing the bike to slide out from underneath the rider. High-sided crashes often result in serious injuries for the motorcyclist as their body impacts the pavement.

    In this comprehensive blog post, we will examine the physics and causes behind high-sided motorcycle wrecks. We’ll also outline the typical injuries sustained and review legal considerations for pursuing claims after these traumatic accidents. Most importantly, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on actions bikers should take following a high-sided crash to protect their rights.

    Understanding High-Sided Motorcycle Crashes

    A high-sided crash occurs when the motorcycle begins to tip or lean too far to one side during a turn, causing the tires to lose traction and slide out from underneath the rider. Often, only one side of the motorcycle makes contact with the road as the bike tips over onto its side and skids or tumbles. This differs from a low-side crash where both wheels lose traction.

    The physics behind these accidents relate to centrifugal force and friction. As motorcyclists enter a curve, centrifugal force acts to push them to the outside of the turn. To counteract this force, riders must lean their motorcycle into the curve. But leaning too far can cause the tires to exceed their traction limits and break free from the road, leading to a high-side crash. Friction zone length, tire conditions, road surfaces, speed, and leaning angles all play a role.

    Common scenarios that result in high side accidents include:

    - Emergently swerving to avoid a motorist who cut the biker off

    - Entering a curve too quickly and needing to lean sharply to make the turn

    - Encountering gravel, oil, uneven surfaces, or other hazards mid-turn - Braking improperly while leaned over, causing sudden loss of rear wheel traction

    - Catching loose items like a boot edge or saddlebag on the pavement mid-turn

    Causes of High-Sided Motorcycle Crashes

    There are four primary causes that can lead to high-side motorcycle crashes when riding through curves:

    Over-Braking - Applying too much rear brake pressure while leaned over can cause the rear wheel to lock up and lose traction suddenly. Even gradual braking requires delicacy when at lean.

    Improper Leaning - Entering a curve at higher speeds or needing to make sudden lean adjustments to avoid hazards require finesse. Excessively quick or sharp lean angles can lead to loss of tire grip and high-side crashes.

    Road Conditions - Uneven road surfaces, gravel, painted lines, metal grates, oil spills or other hazards in a turn, especially when taken at too much speed, can cause traction loss without warning. Riders must scan ahead in curves to identify risks.

    Mechanical Failures - Defective tires, brakes, frames or other motorcycle components can cause high-speed leans or sudden loss of control, leading to high-sided wrecks. Equipment issues must be fixed promptly.

    Injuries and Consequences of High-Sided Crashes

    High-sided motorcycle accidents often result in severe or fatal injuries due to the forceful, uncontrolled nature of the crashes. When the motorcycle slides out suddenly from below a moving rider, tremendous damage can occur.

    Common injuries include:

    - Road rash and friction burns if not wearing proper riding gear

    - Broken bones in arms, legs, shoulders, ribs, and hips from impact

    - Head and neck injuries including concussions, spinal cord trauma, paralysis or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) if helmeted improperly

    - Internal organ damage from abdominal impact with fuel tank

    - Muscle, ligament and soft tissue damage from being thrown from the bike

    In addition to immediate trauma, high-sided crashes can inflict long-term physical impairment, permanent disability, traumatic stress, PTSD, and huge medical expenses. Over 60% of motorcyclists injured in accidents sustain some level of permanent harm. High-sided wrecks in curves account for a large portion of single-vehicle motorcycle fatalities.

    Legal Considerations After a High-Sided Crash

    After seeking urgent medical care, consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney should become a top priority following any high-sided crash causing injury. An attorney can advise you regarding negligence liability and insurance claims to help you recover fair compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.

    Most high-sided wrecks qualify as single-vehicle accidents. However, liability may still rest with another party like:

    - A negligent driver who cut you off or caused you to swerve into a corner too quickly

    - Government agencies if road design defects or poor maintenance contributed

    - Manufacturers of defective tires, brakes or other motorcycle components

    An attorney can thoroughly investigate fault, build a strong case proving negligence and recklessness, deal with insurers seeking to minimize payouts, and take the case to court if fair compensation isn’t offered. Don’t jeopardize your rights by delaying legal counsel.

    Steps to Take After a High-Sided Motorcycle Accident

    If you or a loved one suffers harm in a high-sided motorcycle crash, stay calm and take these steps:

    1. Seek urgent medical care - Get transported by ambulance or have someone drive you to an ER. Even if you feel fine initially, injuries like internal bleeding can worsen rapidly.

    2. File a police report - Provide an accurate account of the incident to police and obtain a copy of the report for your records and claim.

    3. Gather evidence - Take photos of the scene, damage, skid marks, road conditions, etc. Get contact details of witnesses who saw the crash.

    4. Contact your insurance provider - File a claim for coverage regarding medical bills, motorcycle damage, lost wages from injuries, etc.

    5. Hire a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer - An experienced lawyer can maximize compensation through settlement negotiations or personal injury lawsuits.

    6. Focus on healing - Follow doctors’ orders closely to ensure proper recovery. Keep records of all medical bills, costs, lost work time, etc. to claim later.

    High-sided motorcycle crashes can inflict catastrophic injuries with severe long-term impacts. Understanding the causes of these accidents and promptly consulting legal counsel after getting medical treatment can help victims pursue maximum compensation to cover damages. While no amount of money can undo a serious motorcycle injury, holding at-fault parties fully accountable can aid the healing process and provide financial security. With proper action after a crash, bikers can protect their rights and take the first steps toward physical and emotional recovery.

    Dealing With Insurance After a High-Sided Crash

    After a high-sided motorcycle wreck, you’ll likely need to file a claim with your insurance provider as well as the at-fault driver’s insurer, if applicable. Unfortunately, insurance companies have a reputation for trying to deny or minimize claims to protect their bottom line.

    With motorcycle accidents, insurers may allege that the biker shares partial blame for the crash to reduce payouts. They may claim:

    - You were speeding, riding recklessly, or improperly leaned into the curve

    - You failed to slow or brake properly as you entered the turn

    - You swerved suddenly to avoid a hazard you should have seen

    - Your lack of skill caused the high-side crash

    Insurers know accusing riders of contributory negligence weakens injury claims. With an experienced attorney's help, such allegations can be refuted. Skilled motorcycle lawyers can prove:

    - You rode an appropriate speed for the curve based on sight lines, lane width, etc.

    - Road defects or hazards like gravel, oil spills, uneven pavement, etc. caused your high-side crash rather than rider error.

    - Mechanical defects like faulty tires led to loss of traction and control through no fault of your own.

    - Another driver’s negligence forced you into the corner too quickly.

    Never accept an insurer’s first settlement offer, which will be lower than deserved. Your attorney can demand policy limits plus extra compensation if the driver caused the crash. Don’t let insurers deny the compensation you need and are entitled to for your injuries and losses.

    With an attorney’s strong advocacy, most high-sided crash cases reach equitable settlements. If not, lawsuits can access additional insurance funds and hold all negligent parties fully accountable. Don't go it alone against insurers seeking profit over fair claims resolutions.

    Choosing the Right Personal Injury Attorney

    Not all attorneys possess the skills to maximize compensation for motorcycle accident victims. When selecting legal counsel after a high-sided crash, look for these attributes:

    - Extensive experience with motorcycle injury litigation  - Ask about years handling biker cases, past results/settlements, and trial experience.

    - Deep knowledge of state negligence laws and insurance claims processes - An attorney well-versed in these areas can optimize your case outcome.

    - A track record of big settlements for clients - Ensure they have a proven ability to win 6 and 7-figure rewards in complex cases.

    - Willingness to go to trial - The top lawyers aren't afraid to take insurers to court if settlement offers are inadequate.

    - A team with accident reconstruction and medical experts - Crash analysts and doctors can prove negligence caused your injuries.

    - Strong negotiators - You need hard-nosed negotiators who won't back down to insurers.

    - Access to resources - Large firms have in-house experts and the funds to litigate thoroughly.

    - Good client communication - Ensure they will regularly update you on your case progress.

    Take time to research lawyer qualifications and consult with multiple attorneys before signing a fee agreement. There are no guarantees, but choosing the right legal team greatly improves your chances of a favorable claim resolution. Don't leave compensation to chance - protect yourself with tenacious motorcycle accident counsel.


    High-sided motorcycle crashes can leave riders facing devastating injuries, trauma, and financial distress. Understanding how these accidents happen and taking proper legal steps after are crucial for victims and families.

    As we've covered, high-sided wrecks occur when bikes lose traction and violently slide out from under riders mid-turn. Though scary, the physics behind these crashes are predictable and avoidable with caution, skill, and equipment maintenance.

    When crashes do occur, bikers face daunting challenges like permanent disabilities, lost wages, and astronomical medical bills. Seeking experienced legal counsel early is vital to pursue maximum compensation through insurance claims and negligence lawsuits.

    Yet victims must be prepared to counter ruthless insurance adjusters seeking to deny or minimize liability. With an attorney's strategic negotiation and litigation skills, justice can be won, though the road is difficult.

    By selecting lawyers with proven records of securing 7-figure settlements, no stone will be left unturned in building an ironclad injury claim. Lawsuits can unlock additional coverage when insurers refuse good faith resolutions.

    While money can never undo catastrophic motorcycle injuries, holding negligent parties fully accountable provides critical closure and financial security for victims and families as they heal physically and emotionally. Through compassionate legal guidance, justice takes its proper course.

    By understanding high-sided crashes, injuries, and insurance battles, bikers can protect themselves should the worst occur. While motorcycle safety precautions come first, all riders must know their rights and legal options if ever involved in these traumatic accidents. With proper action, one can gain strength and closure. Riders, remember - you are never alone. Justice, care and hope always remain within reach.

    Moving Forward

    Both types of crashes - a high and low side motorcycle crash, - can cause severe injuries for motorcycle riders. If you've been involved in a motorcycle crash and suffered from motorcycle accident injuries, don't hesitate to reach out to our law office. Our experienced personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.

    To contact our office, call (630)684-2332 or visit our website at


    Mario Palermo is the Founder and Lead Attorney at Palermo Law Group in Oak Brook, Illinois. For the past 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to help injury victims and their families in their times of need. He is a seasoned authority on civil litigation, and also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious group of trial lawyers who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Palermo has been named a “Leading Lawyer” by his peers in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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