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Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
Ask a Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Legal Advice
There are over 8 million registered motorcycles in the country, according to the Department of Transportation. In 2014, there were approximately 92,000 injuries every year over 4,000 fatalities due to motorcycle accidents, according to the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, respectively. Unique laws are in place regarding insurance for motorcycles and it’s wise for any motorcyclist to take the time to understand these provisions.
How Are Motorcycle Accident Claims Unique?
A motorcycle accident claim usually involves serious injuries or even wrongful death, especially if a larger vehicle was involved in the collision. Some differences that set motorcycle crashes apart from car crashes include:
- Causes. Driver distraction and inattention are common causes of motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles. Due to the smaller size of a motorcycle, drivers in other vehicles may fail to notice an oncoming rider, causing a deadly crash. Additionally, negligent drivers may try to pass motorcyclists or share a lane, which increases the chances of a wreck. Finally, drinking and driving is one of the leading causes of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents and deaths, according to the CDC.
- Possible hazards. Certain hazards that may not affect cars and trucks can be deadly for motorcyclists. Road defects in particular may be dangerous for motorcyclists. Additionally, adverse weather and defects in the bike and/or equipment may contribute to motorcycle injuries.
- Possible biases. In some cases, insurance adjusters and/or juries may have biases against motorcyclists. For example, these parties may be more inclined to assume the motorcyclist was driving recklessly. Additionally, not wearing a helmet may make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation. Though helmet use does not legally affect your ability to recover, it may affect the amount of compensation you are able to be awarded.
- Higher verdicts and settlements. Since the injuries and damages a motorcyclist suffers are usually high, the result of a motorcycle accident claim may be higher when compared to other claims. Since this compensation is usually necessary for riders to afford medical treatment, it is a good idea to consult an attorney who can protect your claim.
What are the Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common types of accidents occur due to driver negligence or lack of training. Some common errors involved in motorcycle accidents include failing to check blind spots, not compensating for limited visibility, and attempting unsafe maneuvers.
Let’s go over some important motorcycle-related crash statistics, courtesy of Insurance Information Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Since 1997, deaths from motorcycle wrecks have increased over 40%.
- In 2017, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than car occupants to die in a crash.
- Motorcycle crashes result in severe and fatal injuries than passenger cars. Motorcycle deaths made up 14% of all vehicle deaths in 2017, according to the NHTSA.
- The most common victims of motorcycle wrecks are male and between the ages of 16 and 24.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
The litigation process for motorcycle accidents is complex because multiple parties can be involved and it can be difficult to prove the reason for the accident. Some wrecks occur because of road hazards or weather conditions. Many of the issues raised in motorcycle wrecks include determining liability and responsibility, medical expenses, and legal compliance.
Depending on the particular circumstances of the case, several parties may be liable in your particular case.
This may include:
- The driver. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by the driver’s negligent operation of the bike, lack of training, or incapacitation as the result of DUI or DWAI. Additionally, drivers may violate traffic controls or have their attention diverted by distractions. Due to the higher speeds offered to riders by their motorcycle’s design, it can be tempting for motorcyclists to indulge in that speed to the detriment of their safety. In cases when there was no structural, environmental, or mechanical error at play, the driver may be held personally accountable for the crash and its resulting injuries or fatalities.
- Driver of another vehicle. If the crash was the result of another driver’s negligence, then that driver may be held personally responsible for resulting injuries, on grounds of negligence, reckless driving, or DUI/DWAI. In instances where the driver was not at fault, but the accident occurred because of an issue of the car or truck’s manufacturer, that company may be held accountable instead. Furthermore, a driver’s employer may also be held liable if the driver was operating the bus while performing their work duties.
- The motorcycle manufacturer. Due to cutting corners or mere gross negligence, a motorcycle accident may occur when the motorcycle manufacturer sends a defective vehicle out on the road. In this case, product liability now plays a part in your claim.
- The parts manufacturer. The manufacturers and/or retailers of defective motorcycle parts that contributed or fully caused a motorcycle to malfunction and a subsequent accident may be liable for related injuries and fatalities.
- The city or government body. When a road defect or inaccurate signage is primarily at fault for a motorcycle crash, the city or government body responsible for the safe upkeep of that road may be held liable. This is also true when a crash occurs due to ongoing road construction.
- Private organization. Private groups, such as leasing companies, which may have lent a dysfunctional motorcycle to a client may also be held responsible for damages.
Do You Have a Claim for a Motorcycle Accident?
Depending on the nature of your or your family member’s injuries due to a motorcycle accident, your personal injury lawyer may identify possible claims for:
- Medical expenses. Injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident may include: road rash; whiplash; broken bones and/or fractures; burns; head, neck or back trauma; spinal cord injury; loss of limbs; brain injury; disfigurement; paralysis; and, in worst case scenarios, death.
- Lost wages (or impairment of earning capacity) as a result of hospital stay-time, or, for the loved one of a motorcycle accident victim, the necessity to temporarily or permanently extricate themselves from work in order to provide care.
- Life care expenses, such as life support or ongoing medical expenses for chronic injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering, for both emotional and physical distress.
- Loss of care and companionship
- Wrongful death.
- Funeral expenses.
State laws determine what can be defined as a motorcycle, which may or may not include mopeds. All-terrain vehicles (ATV) or other off-road vehicles are not considered motorcycles.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you need a personal injury attorney that understands the emotional and physical toll this wreck could take on your life and understands the complexities of motorcycle laws. An experienced attorney will be aggressive in seeking the compensation that you deserve.
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