Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur than car accidents because of the added danger of motorcycles having significantly less mass than an automobile. They also lack many of the safety features of a car, such as airbags and a simple roof. Car and truck drivers often have difficulty taking notice of motorcycle riders, which can too easily get lost in the highway shuffle. It is not uncommon even for the drivers of larger vehicles to intentionally “bully” motorcyclists by tailgating them or cutting them off. Hazardous weather, bumpy roads and potholes, obstructed visibility and general inattention can all be factors in motorcycle accidents.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The following are common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Lack of basic riding skills
- Failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics
- Failure to appreciate the limitations of the motorcycle
- Failure to use special precautions while riding
- Failure to use defensive driving techniques
- Lack of specific braking and cornering skills
- Failure to follow speed limits, or speeding
- Head-on collisions
- Cars making a left-hand turn in front of the motorcycle. The turning car typically strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is:
- going straight through an intersection
- passing the car, or
- trying to overtake the car.
- Lane splitting
- Motorcyclist alcohol use
- Collisions between motorcycles and fixed objects (such as light poles and parked cars)
- Road hazards facing motorcyclists (such as objects in the middle of the road, dead animals, and potholes)
- High Performance Motorcycles
- Supersport motorcycles.
- Sport motorcycles.
As can be seen from the examples above, not all motorcycle accidents are caused by the impact of the motorcycle with another motor vehicle. But the driver of another vehicle may still be at-fault even if there is no collision or impact between the motorcycle and the other vehicle. For example, if the motorcyclist has to lay down the motorcycle because a car negligently turned left right in front of him, the driver of the car may still be negligent even if the motorcycle never hits the car.
Click here for motorcycle safety tips based on these causes of accidental injury.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Since motorcycles do not offer the same protection as a passenger vehicle such as a car or truck, when an accident does occur the resulting injuries are usually extremely severe. Most motorcyclists do not have any protection besides a helmet and some other limited safety gear. As you know, many riders do not wear a helmet at all. This places motorcyclists at a greater risk of severe bodily harm and makes them more likely to experience serious, life-threatening injuries such as extensive head injuries, concussions, “road rash” and more. This means motorcycle accidents cause double the amount of severe injuries and fatalities than any other type of motor vehicle-related accident. In fact, motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of fatal accidents on the road in the United States.
- Brain Damage, including Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI
- Facial fractures and disfigurement
- Head injuries
- Concussions, and other cognitive injuries (vision, hearing, speech)
- Road rash
- Bone fractures / broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Disfigurement, such as scars
- Pelvic damage
- Leg and/or arm amputations
After a Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcycle accident happens and the victim suffers serious injuries, he or she doesn’t always know what to do. After a motorcycle accident, the victim will typically go through extensive (and costly) medical treatments and procedures. Most motorcycle accident victims suffer head injuries, which can debilitating. In the most severe cases involving brain damage, the life of the victim (and the victim’s family) will be forever changed. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you should behave the same as for any other accident of the road.
After the regular on-site procedures (initial police investigation, information exchange, check for injuries), call your insurance company to report the incident, see a doctor to officially determine any injury, and take pictures of the damage to your motorcycle for proof of property damage. With the constant visits to medical providers, the mounting medical bills, rehabilitation, and the loss of income due to inability to work, motorcycle accident victims usually require legal help in recovering damages. Moreover, because the damages caused by a motorcycle accident are so severe, the victim may pass away due to the injuries suffered in the accident. This leaves the victim’s loved ones with the burden of having to pay for medical bills, burial services, and funeral expenses in addition to suffering the tremendous emotional damages from the accident.
Fault In a Motorcycle Accident
The fault for a motorcycle accident is usually found in the driver of the larger vehicle involved in the collision, unless, of course, it was obviously the fault of the motorcyclist. In some cases, the person held responsible is the one that created a hazardous road condition, sometimes even the state itself.
Hiring a Personal Injury Accident Attorney
If you have suffered personal injury, then there are several steps that must be followed to take legal action.
First, hire a lawyer experienced in the field of Personal Injury. This lawyer will discuss the case with you, gather necessary evidence and send a demand package to the defendants. This includes a description of the accident and the severity of your injury, as well a claim proposal. Negotiations will take place to determine the worth of your claim.
Things will then go one of two ways. Either the defendants will make you an offer that is satisfactory or they will refuse to pay what your lawyer has determined is a reasonable amount. At this point, a lawsuit is filed. Your claim is then settled in court by a jury or judge following a presentation from both sides.
If you or a loved one is going to pursue a personal injury claim due to a motorcycle accident, it is very important to hire an experienced lawyer to handle the case. Motorcycle claims can become tricky due to their well-known lack of safety features and an experienced lawyer can help you get the compensation for your damage you deserve. Call my office at 850-308-7833 if you would like to discuss your claim.