Steven A. Bagen | November 3, 2023 | Motorcycle accident
Many people have biases against motorcyclists, believing they are reckless risk-takers who cause crashes and other chaos on the roads.
This is far from the truth, however, as many motorcyclists take safety very seriously. They love the feel of the open air as they travel, but this certainly does not make them automatically liable for accidents. In reality, other drivers are the most common cause of motorcycle crashes.
The following are some of the most frequent causes of injuries to motorcyclists on the road. If you suffered injuries, consult a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.
Distracted driving poses a severe threat to motorcyclists. When drivers divert their attention to activities like texting, eating, or using a GPS, they often fail to notice motorcycles sharing the road.
This negligence can result in devastating accidents. A distracted driver may not see a motorcycle approaching or misjudge their speed, leading to collisions or dangerous close calls that cause motorcyclists to swerve. Unfortunately, distracted driving is only increasing, and motorcyclists can suffer serious harm.
Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs significantly heightens the risk of accidents involving motorcycles.
Intoxicated drivers have reduced reaction times and impaired judgment, making them more likely to overlook or misjudge the presence of a motorcycle. This can lead to catastrophic collisions, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities for motorcyclists.
To prevent such tragedies, drivers should never get behind the wheel while under the influence and should always arrange for alternative transportation. Unfortunately, too many drivers continue to put others at risk by driving while impaired.
Speeding is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. When drivers exceed the posted speed limits, they have less time to react to unexpected situations, such as a motorcycle suddenly appearing in their path. This reduced reaction time can lead to collisions that result in severe harm to motorcyclists.
Additionally, the force of impact can increase at higher speeds, increasing the likelihood of serious injuries. Speed limits aim to keep motorists safe, and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in high-speed crashes.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Unsafe lane changes are a common factor in motorcycle accidents. When drivers switch lanes without properly checking blind spots or signaling, they may collide with a motorcyclist already occupying the lane.
Due to their smaller size, it is easy to overlook motorcycles when a driver is not careful enough, resulting in dangerous collisions.
Drivers who fail to exercise caution, use their mirrors, and signal their intent before changing lanes should be liable for such accidents.
Following Too Closely
Tailgating or following too closely behind a motorcycle is highly dangerous. It leaves no margin for error and drastically reduces the time a driver has to react in case of sudden stops or emergencies.
If a motorcyclist must brake suddenly, an inattentive driver following too closely may not have sufficient time to stop, leading to a rear-end collision.
Rear-end collisions are particularly concerning for motorcyclists. The small fender benders between two cars can send a motorcyclist flying over the front of their bike. This is often deadly in high-speed traffic.
Aggressive driving behaviors like excessive speeding, sudden lane changes, and hostile interactions with other road users pose a grave threat to motorcyclists. Such behavior can startle or intimidate motorcyclists, potentially causing them to lose control or take evasive actions that lead to accidents.
Aggressive drivers may also fail to give motorcyclists the space and consideration they need for safe navigation.
Failure to Yield
Failure to yield the right of way is a common cause of accidents involving motorcycles. When drivers do not give priority to oncoming motorcycles, especially at intersections or when merging onto highways, collisions can occur.
Motorcyclists have the same rights as any other vehicle on the road, and drivers should be vigilant and yield when necessary. Failing to do so can result in devastating accidents and severe injuries for motorcyclists.
Dangerous Road Hazards
Dangerous road hazards present a significant risk to motorcyclists. Potholes, uneven surfaces, debris, and poor road maintenance can lead to loss of control or accidents. For motorcyclists, even minor road imperfections can have serious consequences.
Uneven surfaces can cause a motorcyclist to lose balance, while debris can become a hazard if a motorcyclist does not see it in time to safely navigate around it. Additionally, hazardous weather conditions like rain or snow can exacerbate these risks.
When road authorities or construction crews fail to promptly address and repair such hazards to ensure safety, they should be responsible for injuries that result.
Defective Motorcycle Parts
Defective motorcycle parts can lead to accidents due to sudden mechanical failures. Whether it’s faulty brakes, a malfunctioning engine, or defective tires, these issues can arise unexpectedly and result in losing control and collisions.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce safe and reliable products, including motorcycles and their components. When a defective part leads to an accident, you may file a product liability claim.
Determining the Cause of Your Motorcycle Accident with Help from an Attorney
Understanding the cause of your particular accident is necessary for pursuing a successful claim for compensation. An experienced attorney can use their resources to investigate and establish liability.
Below are only some examples of how an attorney can determine the cause of a motorcycle accident and more.
- Thorough investigation: One of the primary roles of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney is to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. This involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing police reports. They may also collaborate with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the scene and provide valuable insights into how the accident occurred.
- Identifying negligence: Determining negligence is necessary in establishing liability. An attorney will scrutinize various details of the crash, such as whether the other driver was distracted, impaired, or violated traffic laws. They will also examine road conditions, potential defects, or inadequate signage that may have contributed to the accident. This careful assessment helps pinpoint who was at fault.
- Reviewing medical records: Understanding the extent of injuries sustained is pivotal in assessing damages. An attorney will carefully review medical records, consult with healthcare professionals, and potentially work with experts to estimate future medical costs and rehabilitation expenses. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that all relevant damages are part of the claim.
- Engaging expert witnesses: In complex cases, expert witnesses play a crucial role in determining causation. They can provide professional opinions on issues like accident reconstruction, mechanical failures, or medical prognosis. Their expertise strengthens the case and bolsters the argument for compensation.
- Assessing insurance coverage: A knowledgeable attorney will scrutinize all insurance policies involved, including the other party’s coverage and potentially your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. They will identify available resources to maximize the compensation you may be entitled to.
- Establishing liability for road hazards: If the accident was due to dangerous road conditions, an attorney will investigate whether a government entity or private party is responsible for maintenance. They will gather evidence to demonstrate negligence in road upkeep, potentially leading to a premises liability claim. If a government entity caused your motorcycle accident, act quickly to provide the necessary notice of legal action in most states. This deadline is much shorter than the usual statute of limitations for injury lawsuits.
- Gathering eyewitness testimony: Eyewitness accounts can provide invaluable perspectives on how the accident transpired. An attorney will interview witnesses promptly while their recollection is fresh, ensuring their statements are documented accurately.
- Preserving evidence: Evidence such as photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries can determine liability. An attorney will ensure to collect all pertinent evidence, and then preserve and present it effectively during negotiations or at trial.
Collaborating with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is invaluable in determining the cause of your accident. Their experience, investigative skills, and legal knowledge can build a strong case for the compensation you deserve.
By thoroughly examining all aspects of your injury-causing incident, an attorney can provide you with the best chance of obtaining fair compensation that covers your injuries and losses.
Serious and Costly Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes
Due to the inherent lack of protection for motorcyclists compared to other vehicle occupants, motorcycle crashes often result in particularly severe injuries:
- Road rash: Road rash is a type of friction burn that occurs when a motorcyclist’s skin comes into contact with the road surface during a crash or slide. It can range from mild to severe, requiring extensive medical treatment. Protective gear like jackets, pants, and gloves can significantly reduce the severity of road rash.
- Head injuries: Head injuries are a significant concern in motorcycle accidents, as riders are more exposed to impacts. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, and skull fractures can have long-lasting effects. Wearing a properly fitted helmet is the most effective way to mitigate the risk of head injuries.
- Bone fractures: Motorcyclists often suffer fractures, commonly in the limbs, pelvis, or ribs. These injuries may require surgery, immobilization, and physical therapy for recovery. Wearing protective gear, such as armored jackets and pants, can reduce the risk of fractures.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can have devastating consequences, potentially leading to paralysis or other lifelong impairments. The impact of a motorcycle accident can exert extreme force on the spine. Wearing a back protector and adopting safe riding practices can reduce the risk of spinal injuries.
- Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma in a motorcycle accident can cause internal injuries like organ damage, internal bleeding, or punctured lungs. Prompt medical attention must assess and address these injuries, which may not immediately manifest.
- Joint dislocations: The force of an accident can cause dislocations in joints like the shoulders, hips, or knees. These injuries often require immediate medical attention to ensure proper reduction and prevent long-term complications.
- Soft tissue injuries: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be stretched or torn in a motorcycle accident, resulting in sprains, strains, or more severe injuries like ligament tears. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can aid recovery.
- Burns: Burns can occur if a motorcycle catches fire or if the rider makes contact with hot surfaces. They may range from first-degree to severe third-degree burns, requiring specialized medical treatment.
- Psychological trauma: Beyond physical injuries, motorcycle accidents can lead to emotional and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Seeking mental health support is essential for overall recovery.
After an accident, seek prompt medical attention and consult with legal professionals to ensure proper care and appropriate legal recourse.
Severe injuries lead to severe losses, and a successful motorcycle accident claim allows you to seek compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
If you lost a close family member in a crash, you can seek compensation for wrongful death and the resulting losses.
Seek Help from the Right Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle accidents can lead to devastating and costly injuries, making it critical to receive full compensation from all liable parties. This process begins with hiring an attorney who can determine the cause of your crash and begin pursuing all you deserve.
Seek a free case evaluation from a personal injury attorney today. Doing so protects your financial, physical, and mental well-being following a serious collision.