How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
A person on a motorcycle is more vulnerable to injury than someone in a car. They are less protected, even with proper gear and a helmet. Those who ride love the freedom of the road, but they take risks. Over 5,000 motorcycle riders died in an accident in 2017 and 89,000 suffered injuries in accidents.
Some of the common injuries motorcycle riders suffer after an accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken legs and other leg injuries
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Road rash
In legal terms, motorcycle accidents are personal injuries, just like car accidents. However, several important factors play a role in the odds of winning a lawsuit and damages recovered. For instance, motorcyclists injured in accidents often have higher medical expenses. In court, jurors may view them as reckless and at least partially at fault in accidents.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
There are several unique issues for motorcycle riders that drivers in cars either do not face or face to a lesser degree:
- Motorcycles are smaller than cars and therefore harder for other drivers to see.
- Potholes, puddles, debris, and other hazards on the road are not typically dangerous for cars but can be catastrophic for motorcycles.
- Riding a motorcycle requires more skill than a car. If a driver is inexperienced, they may be more likely to get in an accident.
- Motorcycle front wheels may wobble at high speeds, which can destabilize the bike and cause an accident.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
There are certain types of accidents that police and lawyers see time and again with motorcycles:
- Head-on collisions, which are often fatal to the rider
- Collisions as cars turn left, also common with car accidents but more dangerous with motorcycles
- Accidents caused by motorcycle riders lane splitting, driving between lanes of cars
- Speeding or alcohol use by the motorcycle rider
- Collisions with fixed objects
- Road hazards that cause crashes
Motorcycle Accidents – Who Is Negligent?
Some motorcycle accidents are the fault of the rider, for being reckless, not following traffic laws, driving under the influence, or other mistakes. In some cases, someone else can be held liable for damages because of their negligence in the accident.
For instance, the driver of a car not paying attention or failing to give a motorcycle enough space, may cause an accident and be considered negligent. If a part on the bike fails and causes a crash, the manufacturer could be negligent. Sometimes, fault is held both by the rider and the driver of another vehicle.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accidents fall under the category of personal injury. If someone is negligent in an accident, you must prove four things:
- The individual had a duty to act in a reasonable way, such as following traffic rules or paying attention to other motorists on the road.
- The individual breached that duty by getting distracted or driving under the influence, for example.
- The breach of duty caused the accident. If a distracted driver doesn’t see a motorcycle until it’s too late and strikes it, they caused the crash.
- The accident resulted in damages. The motorcyclist would not have medical expenses and other related costs if not for the accident.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. You may not know if someone else can be held liable for your expenses, but a lawyer can clarify the situation. Do not talk to an insurance adjuster, who may pressure you to accept an unfair settlement amount, until you have spoken to a lawyer.
Motorcycle accident lawyers are personal injury lawyers specializing in helping these unique victims in motor vehicle accidents. Reputable firms offer free consultations, so there is no risk of losing money while seeking advice on your situation. A lawyer can explain your options, give you an idea of the strength of your case, explain who you may want to sue, and help you take legal action if you decide it’s the next best step.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
An accident is a scary and stressful situation. The first thing you should do is get medical attention. Whether it seems like an emergency or not, get checked out. Sometimes injuries are more serious than they first seem. Your health should be the priority.
- File a Police Report
The next step is to contact the police. They will investigate and document the scene, collect information from everyone involved, get witness statements, and file a report. You may need that report later to make your case.
- Preserve Evidence
If you can, take pictures of the accident. Document your injuries as well, by taking pictures and keeping your medical records and bills. Make notes on the incident while it remains fresh in your mind. Get information from witnesses who saw what happened along with their contact information. Save evidence to an internet-based cloud system or external hard drive to keep it safe.
- Do Not Talk to the Insurance Company
The insurance company of the person in the other vehicle may contact you. Do not talk to them or accept any settlement amount. Note that each call will be recorded and may be used as evidence against you. Their job is to pay as little money as possible and to avoid admitting the person they insure is negligent.
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Find a lawyer with experience helping motorcycle accident victims. These specialists know the laws and how best to advocate for riders. They can talk to the insurance adjuster for you, representing your best interests. They will advise you on taking further legal actions, such as negotiating a settlement or suing.
A motorcycle accident is a devastating incident. Even in accidents that are minor for cars, motorcyclists can be severely injured or even killed. Take care of your medical needs and then talk to a lawyer for advice.