Motorcyclists are at a significant disadvantage in an accident scenario compared to car drivers and passengers. This is because motorcyclists do not have an outer metal shell or thick covering that protects them in a serious crash. Rather, motorcyclists experience direct exposure to their surrounding environment, and if they fall to the ground in an accident, they may suffer serious and sometimes deadly injuries.
In addition to undergoing emergency medical treatment after their motorcycle accident, victims may need to miss time from work, resulting in mounting medical bills. They may also endure significant pain and suffering due to their injuries for the rest of their life.
If you suffered injuries in a recent motorcycle accident, always have a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney representing you throughout your case. First, your lawyer can meet with you to discuss how your accident occurred, your injuries, and the medical treatment you underwent. If you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company, your lawyer can help you do so.
Finally, your attorney can assist you during settlement negotiations and possible litigation in your case. Your lawyer will do everything they can to help you maximize your monetary recovery so that you become whole again, to the greatest extent possible.
Common Injuries that Motorcyclists May Suffer in an Accident
It’s no secret that motorcycle accidents can lead to extremely serious and debilitating injuries. This is especially true if the cyclist is not wearing a helmet when the accident occurs. Many states do not require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets, so some people lawfully choose not to.
Even if they have a helmet on, a motorcyclist can suffer severe traumatic head and brain injuries. Helmets can sometimes crack or otherwise fail to protect the biker’s head and neck. Research indicates that helmets only protect against head trauma and brain injuries about 67 percent of the time, so head trauma is still possible with a motorcycle helmet.
Other potential injuries that motorcycle accident victims may suffer depend on various factors, including the type of accident that occurs, the force of the collision, and whether the cyclist falls off their bike in the crash, which is common and causes additional trauma.
Besides traumatic head and brain injuries, motorcycle accident victims may suffer crush injuries, bone fractures, internal organ damage, road rash, bruises, soft tissue contusions, and spinal cord injuries.
One of the most serious spinal cord injuries that a person may suffer leads to full or partial paralysis. Paralysis injuries typically happen when one or more nerves become severed. In motorcycle accidents, paralysis injuries typically occur when a driver falls off their bike onto the ground, striking their head, neck, or back.
A partial paralysis injury affects only part of the accident victim’s body. For example, the accident victim may not use their legs or feet, but they may have feeling and sensation in their arms and hands. On the other hand, a full paralysis injury typically affects all four of the accident victim’s limbs.
Motorcycle accident victims may experience tremendous pain, suffering, and inconvenience from their injuries. If the accident victim suffers a permanent injury, they may have to endure this pain for the rest of their life. Permanent injuries can also mean a lifetime of not working, undergoing costly treatment, or even needing assistance with everyday life.
You should always learn about your legal rights, no matter what type of injury you suffered in your crash. If someone else caused your motorcycle accident, you deserve full compensation for your injuries and losses, whether they seem minor or catastrophic. Always consult with a motorcycle accident attorney immediately.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur just about anywhere, including rural country roads, major highways, or even parking lots and parking garages.
Some of the most common accidents that involve motorcycles include:
- Rear-end accidents, where the front of a car or truck hits the back of a motorcycle, usually near a traffic intersection or during a traffic back-up that occurs on a busy highway
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a car or truck hits the front of a motorcycle, usually because of distracted or intoxicated driving
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a car or truck strikes the side of a motorcycle, potentially knocking the cyclist off their bike and onto the ground
- Broadside collisions, or T-bone accidents, where the front of a car or truck hits the side of a motorcycle, usually at a traffic intersection where the at-fault driver fails to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist
If you sustained injuries in any of these accidents that resulted from driver negligence, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf, seeking the monetary compensation you deserve.
Who Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
In most instances, motorcycle accidents result from negligent drivers. A driver is negligent when they fail to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe and prudent manner under the circumstances.
Negligent drivers usually do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver should not have done in the same situation. Alternatively, a negligent driver might fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver should have done under the same circumstances.
In most instances, negligent driving involves:
- Violating a traffic law.
- Engaging in road rage.
- Failing to watch the route attentively.
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired.
Drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles according to all traffic laws and regulations. When they break the law, they significantly increase their chances of crashing with a motorcyclist. Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to motorcycle accidents include speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist when it’s appropriate to do so, and failing to use turn signals at the proper times.
Motorcycle accidents can also happen when car and truck drivers engage in road rage. Road rage is a driver’s inappropriate reaction to other drivers. As a result, an angry driver might impatiently honk their horn, tailgate the motorcyclist, or cut them off in traffic. They might also weave in and out of busy highway traffic to try and get around the cyclist, inadvertently causing a serious accident that dislodges the cyclist from their bike.
Motorcycle accidents may also happen when drivers fail to watch the road attentively. This is called distracted driving. A distracted driver might be listening to loud music in their vehicle or roughhousing with vehicle passengers. Alternatively, electronic devices, like cellular phones, GPS navigation systems, and tablets, may distract a driver’s attention away from the road. When a driver looks away for any reason, it may cause them to miss seeing a cyclist in the vicinity, causing a serious crash that leaves the cyclist injured.
Moreover, some motorcycle crashes happen when drivers operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The driver is legally intoxicated if the breathalyzer device records a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.08 percent or higher. Minor drivers who are under 21 years of age, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, must follow stricter legal standards.
If a driver incurs a conviction for DUI, they may face administrative and criminal penalties, including loss of their driving privileges, high monetary fines, and even jail time. Moreover, if they cause a motorcycle accident due to drunk driving, they and their insurance companies may be responsible for civil damages.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous. This is because alcohol significantly slows down a driver’s reaction time and may also cause a driver’s vision to blur, preventing them from noticing a nearby motorcyclist. Moreover, alcohol may delay a driver’s reaction time, and they might not slow down or stop when necessary.
You May Hold Other Parties Liable
Although most motorcycle accidents result from driver error and negligence, accidents sometimes happen because of negligent repair work on the motorcycle. Motorcycle repair facilities must perform all repair work in a careful, safe, and workmanlike manner. When they fail to do so, and a mechanical function causes a single-vehicle motorcycle crash, the cyclist can bring a claim against the repair facility for negligence.
Moreover, companies that manufacture motorcycle parts, such as braking systems, handlebars, and steering components, have a duty to do so in a reasonably careful manner. They must also test their products sufficiently before making them available for sale to the public. When they fail to do so and a motorcycle part malfunctions and causes an accident, the accident victim can bring a claim against the product manufacturer or distributor.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash resulting from another person or entity’s negligence, you have legal rights and options. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your area can investigate the circumstances of your crash by reviewing police reports, speaking with eyewitnesses, and, if necessary, retaining an accident reconstructionist to piece together how the crash occurred. Your lawyer can then help you file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company and work to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf.
Recovering Monetary Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Following a motorcycle accident, accident victims may be eligible to recover various damages. To recover these damages, the accident victim must ordinarily establish that their accident resulted from someone else’s negligence, that they suffered one or more physical injuries, and that their injuries directly resulted from the accident. A medical expert can establish this causal connection. The types and amounts of monetary damages that injured cyclists may recover usually depend upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the force of the collision, the extent of their medical treatment, and the cost of their treatment.
Accident victims can recover monetary compensation for all of their related medical treatment expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, permanent disfigurement or disability, humiliation, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area will help determine if you can recover these damages. If so, they can help you maximize your damages by highlighting the strengths of your injury case while downplaying any weaknesses.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit for Damages
The first step to pursuing the monetary damages you need following a motorcycle accident is for your attorney to file a personal injury claim on your behalf. When your lawyer submits a settlement demand letter and a complete demand package to the insurance company adjuster, they will review the documents and evaluate your claim. The adjuster may then make an introductory settlement offer to resolve your claim.
Since first-time settlement offers are usually far below the claim’s true value, your attorney will probably need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before they increase their offer meaningfully. If that does not happen, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate your case through the court system. At that point, your case can still resolve via settlement or at a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Call an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Time is of the essence if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that resulted from recklessness or carelessness. In certain states, motorcycle crash victims only have three years from their accident to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages.
If they file their lawsuit even one day after the deadline expires, they waive their right to recover monetary damages for the injuries they suffered. Therefore, the sooner you involve a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you, the better off you will be.
Your lawyer can immediately start investigating your accident circumstances and negotiating a settlement offer with the appropriate insurance company.
If the insurance company does not compensate you fairly for your injuries, your attorney can file a lawsuit in the court system and assist you throughout the litigation process. Finally, your attorney can represent you at all legal proceedings, including a civil jury trial, and pursue the best possible damage result on your behalf.