Motorcycle Accidents

Practice Area: personal injury

In motorcycle accidents, the chance of injury is extremely high. More than 98% of collisions result in some form of bodily damage. Motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to harm than drivers in passenger vehicles.

Nearly 75% of motorcycle accidents are collisions, usually with a car. In most cases, the driver of the passenger vehicle was at fault because they did not see the motorcycle until it was too late. Despite the use of proper safety equipment and defensive driving techniques, motorcycle accidents usually result in severe injury or death.

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Recovering from Motorcycle Accidents

As opposed to when you're in a passenger vehicle, when you're on a motorcycle, you're on two wheels rather than on four. You automatically lose 50 percent of your stability. You're also highly exposed and defenseless in the event of an accident. Although you might be wearing a helmet and leathers, motorcycles don't have any roofs, bumpers, crumple zones, airbags or seat restraint systems to protect you. It's inevitable that if you're in a crash, you're going to impact with another vehicle, a stationary object, the ground or all three.

Some Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

As a result of motorcycles affording less protection than cars and trucks, the likelihood of severe injuries and fatalities in motorcycle accidents increases dramatically. As per a Federal Highway Administration report of 2018, 5,286 motorcyclists died from injuries suffered in traffic accidents in 2016. More than 100,000 were believed to have been injured. Motorcycle accident statistics maintained by the NTSB indicate that per mile traveled, fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more often than fatalities of occupants of passenger vehicles. Here are some of the NTSB's findings as to the causes of motorcycle accidents:

  • Most motorcycle crashes involved a collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle.
  • In the majority of such crashes, the driver of the other vehicle either didn't see the motorcycle or didn't see it until it was too late.
  • Motorcyclists had only a couple of seconds to react to a vehicle failing to yield the right-of-way. They had insufficient time to act and successfully completed a collision avoidance maneuver.
  • Enhanced braking and stability control systems on motorcycles can improve safety and effectiveness of braking.

Left Turns

Most motorcycle crashes with other vehicles occur in intersections. NTSB motorcycle accident statistics indicate that about 56 percent of the time, the driver of the other vehicle was making a left turn in front of the motorcyclist when the motorcyclist was proceeding straight ahead.

Motorcyclists, Alcohol and Drugs

When you're in control of a motorcycle, you're required to maintain your balance while using your vision, depth perception, hands and feet to control it. You also need clear judgment from your brain on a roadway that is continually changing. Both alcohol and drugs will slow a rider's reaction time and diminish their ability to quickly respond to changing roadway conditions by as much as 25 percent.

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How We Can Help with Motorcycle Accidents

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle crashes are sudden and violent occurrences. As per the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 80 percent of all such crashes result in injuries to the motorcyclist or that individual's death. Since there is no enclosure or restraint system, motorcyclists and their passengers are often thrown from the motorcycle in a collision. That's when their bodies collide with objects in their path. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has studied injury patterns too well over a million people who were injured in motorcycle crashes. Their injuries were noted as per their locations on the victims' bodies. Here are some of the more common injuries:

  • About one-third of all injuries were suffered to the leg and foot involving fractures and cartilage damage.
  • Head and neck injuries made up about 22 percent of all injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage and facial fractures.
  • Another 22 percent involved chest, shoulder and back injuries involving damage to major organs, fractures, dislocations and spinal damage.
  • Of course, minor to severe road rash was suffered by nearly all of the victims. The dangers of infection from road rash cannot be ignored.

Any of the above injuries can have its' permanent effects. Brain damage, paralysis, disfigurement, and disability are far more common in motorcycle crashes as opposed to accidents involving cars or trucks.

Recent Motorcycle Fatality Statistics

Final numbers for the 2017 year have not been reported yet, but according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GSHA) it appears as if there was more than a five percent decrease in motorcyclist fatalities in 2017. The numbers appear to indicate that fewer than 5,000 people died on motorcycles that year. Aside from the factors listed above, here are some of the other factors that the GSHA considered as contributing causes of these fatalities:

  • Alcohol and Drug Impairment. About 25 percent of all motorcycle crash fatalities involve alcohol consumption or drug impairment.
  • Distraction. Although we might think of drivers of passenger vehicles being distracted while driving, motorcyclists become distracted too.
  • Aging. The average age of a motorcyclist who was killed in an accident in 2013 was 43 years old. About one-third of all 2016 motorcycle fatalities involved riders over 40.

Attorneys Experienced with Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Rider Bias and Prejudice

All motorcycle riders must remember that accidents resulting in serious injuries will inevitably involve issues of bias and prejudice that aren't ordinarily involved in auto accident cases. A motorcycle accident lawyer is aware of this fact from the onset of a claim or lawsuit. That prejudice must be carefully overcome. Here are the three most common prejudices against motorcyclists:

  • They're difficult to see.
  • They drive at excessive speeds.
  • Motorcyclists are irresponsible daredevils.

How Motorcycle Rider Bias and Prejudice Might Be Overcome

The people who hold these prejudices don't realize that nearly all motorcyclists are always aware of the fact that their bodies are exposed and highly vulnerable to injuries. From the moment that a motorcycle accident attorney is retained in a case, efforts must be made at overcoming prejudices. The fact that motorcycles might be challenging to see might be attributed to the fact that they are small with narrow and low profiles, even with their lights on. Motorcyclists have every right to share the road with other vehicles though.

Motorcyclists have every right to share the road with other vehicles

The allegation that motorcyclists drive too fast might be tied into their noise rather than their speed. Careful investigation and documentation at the scene of a crash can dispel the speed myth. Photographs, video evidence and measurements at the scene of a crash along with sightlines might show how easily the other driver might have seen the motorcyclist had he or she been paying attention. Don't forget about eyewitnesses testimony either. The irresponsible daredevil perceptions can be overcome through careful and thoughtful preparation by an experienced and effective motorcycle accident attorney. Employers, supervisors, co-workers friends, neighbors, and family members are in the best position to tell an insurance company, its attorneys and jurors what type of person that the victim is or was.

If you were seriously injured in a motorcycle crash, or if you lost a family member in one, you'll be doing yourself a favor by not speaking with the opposing insurer. It will only want to record what you are saying, and then, it will try to use your own words against you in the future. Contact us as soon as possible instead to arrange for a free consultation and case review with a motorcycle accident lawyer from our offices. We promise to listen to you carefully and answer your questions. After that, we're going to advise you on all of your legal options fully. Our objective is to maximize any settlement or verdict that you might receive.

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