Millions of individuals can agree that motorcycles are a fun and exciting mode of transportation. Whether you ride your motorcycle to commute every day or simply for joy rides, motorcycles can make riding anywhere thrilling.
While motorcycles can be exhilarating, there is no denying they are dangerous to ride. Even if you are the most cautious and experienced of motorcyclists, it does not eliminate the chance of getting into an unfortunate motorcycle accident.
Several factors cause motorcycle accidents. The cause of an accident often dictates the type of accident riders experience and the severity of injury and damages.
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident and sustain injuries, do not hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for legal options and advice.
What Makes Motorcycle Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
While many assume motorcycle accidents are just about the same as car accidents, they are quite dissimilar. The following are some factors that make motorcycle accidents more dangerous and the claims tougher to handle.
Motorcycle Riders Do Not Have the Same Protection as Drivers
Motorcycles are simply more dangerous to ride than cars.
Motorcycle riders have little to no protection when riding motorcycles. A motorcyclist’s only type of protection is wearable protection, including helmets and boots.
This varies from cars, as vehicles offer riders extensive protection in case of an accident. Seat belts, airbags, and rollover racks all help lessen the severity of injuries for drivers.
Motorcycle Accidents Often Result in More Serious Injury
Mainly due to the lack of protection, motorcycle accidents quite frequently result in significant injuries. While car accident victims can also suffer from severe injuries, it takes less for motorcycle riders to suffer extensive harm in an accident due to their exposure.
More injuries usually mean more medical treatment, which translates to financial burdens and the great need for a larger amount of financial compensation to cover all the losses a victim incurs.
Visibility Is a Significant Issue
While cars have blind spots, it is much easier to see a car than a motorcycle. Drivers often cannot see motorcycles coming, especially if they are distracted, speeding, or under the influence, resulting in serious accidents.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can happen for many reasons; however, most collisions with motorcycles result from driver negligence. The following are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Distracted driving puts the driver and everyone they share the road with in danger of a collision.
Distracted driving can mean multiple different things, including:
- Visual distraction: Texting, changing the song on the radio, looking for an item that’s fallen.
- Physical distraction: Eating, putting on makeup, grooming.
- Cognitive distraction: Talking on the phone, daydreaming, falling asleep at the wheel.
When drivers are driving distractedly, they aren’t paying attention to the road and driving as they should. Therefore, it leaves room for accidents to happen, often because they don’t see motorcycles until it’s too late.
Speeding is one of the most significant causes of crashes of any type, including motorcycle accidents. Drivers speed for various reasons, like running behind schedule, trying to beat traffic, or as a form of aggressive driving.
Speeding is a dangerous driving behavior with several consequences, including potentially losing control of the vehicle and increasing stopping distance.
Additionally, accidents caused by speeding have the likelihood of increasing the severity of an accident and resulting in injuries. This is especially true for motorcycle riders. When a speeding car crashes into a motorcycle, the sheer force alone is enough to cause major damage and harm.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence puts everyone on the road at risk for harm. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle, as driving while intoxicated regularly results in accidents.
A drunk or drugged driver does not have the same level of control, skill, and ability as a sober driver. Also, when drunk drivers cause accidents, the victim has a higher likelihood of fatality than the intoxicated driver.
Failure to Yield
Every state has traffic laws regarding yielding. Drivers must yield to others on the road, including drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
A driver failing to yield appropriately to a motorcycle rider can result in an unnecessary but serious car accident.
Making a left turn at a light requires drivers to look at oncoming traffic to ensure they have the all-clear to proceed with their turn.
When a driver is distracted or fails to drive with a high level of care, and a motorcycle is rightfully proceeding into the intersection, the driver can cause a serious accident, especially if they were speeding into their turn.
A defectively designed motorcycle or a defective motorcycle part can cause a motorcyclist to get into an accident. These accidents are not the motorcycle rider’s fault – nor another driver’s fault. Instead, the bike or bike parts manufacturer is likely to blame.
Mechanical issues can cause a driver to lose control of their bike and get into an accident. For example, faulty brakes may leave a rider unable to stop, resulting in a collision with serious injuries.
Motorcycles are much more sensitive when operating, particularly bikes with only two tires, as they require balance. When roadway conditions are dangerous, this can easily cause a motorcyclist to lose their balance or run off the road.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
The type of motorcycle collision commonly rests upon the cause of the collision.
Some of the usual kinds of motorcycle accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Front-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Rollover accidents
The type of accident typically dictates the kinds of injuries and the severity of the injuries the victim will suffer.
Injuries Resulting From Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often vary based on the type of accident and cause of the collision.
However, some of the common injuries motorcycle riders sustain in an accident include:
- Road rash: Road rash is a type of burn that occurs when a person’s body skids across a hard surface, like asphalt. These burns can be particularly serious and painful, requiring skin grafts and resulting in scarring.
- Brain injuries: Motorcycle riders can sustain multiple types of traumatic brain injuries. When the brain, one of the most important organs in the body, suffers harm, it can lead to many negative symptoms. In the worst cases, patients end up in a coma, vegetative state, or dead.
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis: The spinal cord is a vital part of the body. Injury to the spinal cord often leaves riders with life-altering effects, including paralysis.
- Crush injuries: Motorcycle riders often experience crush injuries, especially in the lower extremities. This often occurs when their bodies become crushed under the weight of their bikes.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries, like internal bleeding, are especially dangerous because sometimes they don’t exhibit any symptoms, meaning a rider’s condition might be worsening without them knowing.
Many motorcycle accident injuries require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries and hospital stays. This can leave victims facing extensive financial struggles as medical bills begin to add up quickly after an accident.
In the most unfortunate cases, motorcycle accident victims succumb to their injuries and pass away.
If a victim passes away after a motorcycle accident, not all hope is lost to seek justice and compensation. Scenarios like these may allow the victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of their loved one.
Pursuing Financial Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you should consider pursuing financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Depending on your situation and state laws, there may be multiple avenues to take to obtain monetary recovery.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Some states allow accident victims to file a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In other states, your insurance may cover your medical expenses from your accident, while the insurance company later seeks reimbursement from the liable driver’s insurance.
While this may sound simple, dealing with insurance companies is seldom easy. Insurance companies have a reputation for employing certain tactics to limit their insured’s liability and get out of paying you what your claim is worth.
You should consult with a lawyer before going head-to-head with any insurance company, as it can be challenging.
Sending a Demand Letter
If for some reason, you’re unable to seek compensation directly through the insurance, your lawyer may need to get involved and show the insurer you’re serious about taking legal action.
Your attorney can draft and send a demand letter on your behalf.
Demand letters include:
- How the accident occurred
- Why their insured is at fault
- Details about your injuries and damages
Finally, your lawyer will include a total of your damages and request payment from the insurance company, including any available evidence.
The insurance company can either agree to pay the amount in the letter, begin negotiations for a settlement, or simply refuse to settle. If the insurance company is not open to paying or settling, your lawyer can proceed with filing a lawsuit for compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident and wish to seek compensation, this falls under personal injury law. Personal injury law protects victims who have suffered harm due to another’s actions. A personal injury lawsuit opens the door for you to pursue justice from the responsible party and monetary recovery.
Your lawyer can file the necessary paperwork with the court to initiate your case. They’ll then serve the insurance company with notice of the impending lawsuit. The insurance company can then file its response to your lawsuit petition with the court.
Once all of these steps are over, the lawsuit process begins.
Going Through a Lawsuit
A majority of the lawsuit process involves discovery. The discovery phase of a lawsuit allows both parties to request and obtain necessary evidence and documentation to build their cases.
During the discovery phase, both sides can use legal tools, including:
- Requests for admissions
- Requests for production
Lawsuits can be time-consuming and lengthy, often requiring several months or even years to resolve, depending on the complexity of your case.
Engaging in Settlement Negotiations
Once the discovery phase of a lawsuit finishes, your lawyer will likely try to engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. This is often successful, as insurance companies have the information they need at this point and may find it a better option to settle rather than proceed to trial.
Going to Trial
If your case cannot settle pre-trial, your lawyer may decide it best to proceed to trial. When your case goes to trial, it is heard before a judge, and sometimes a jury as well. Both sides present their arguments and evidence before the judge or jury ultimately decides the fate of the case.
Consult a Knowledgeable Lawyer as Soon as Possible After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident, don’t try to go at it alone. Consult with a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to begin working on your claim and legal strategy. Having the right legal support can increase your chances of receiving full financial recovery for your losses. Consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose by contacting a law firm near you today.