Motorcycles can be a lot of fun to ride. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of hitting the open road on a bike, hopefully with a close friend in tow.
However, many people choose not to get on a motorcycle because they fear the vulnerability that comes when they are protected only by their clothing in case they are struck. Statistics show that those fears are indeed warranted. Consider these facts (all figures compiled from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration):
- Motorcyclists are involved in fatal accidents at a rate 35 times higher than people who are in passenger cars.
- More than 10% of all accidents on the road involve a motorcycle, a stunning figure given that a much smaller percentage of vehicles on the road are motorcycles.
- The number of fatalities in motorcycle accidents doubled between 1997 and 2005, a rate significantly higher than the growth in registered motorcycles.
Those that drive motorcycles are not simply falling down on the road or sliding in gravel. They are often struck by other vehicles that do not see them or drive in a dangerous fashion. If you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident, you should call a motorcycle accident attorney who specializes in this branch of law.
Consider these numbers when examining motorcycle accidents (figures from 2009):
- More than ½ of all motorcyclist deaths did involve at least one other vehicle
- Almost ½ of all fatal motorcyclist crashes occurred when a vehicle turned left into a passing motorcycle
In other words, if you are struck by a vehicle on the road while driving a motorcycle, there is a very good chance that the accident was caused entirely by a motorist not looking to the left while turning or changing lanes. A competent motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to prove without a doubt that you were struck by a motorist that was not reasonably cautious when turning left in such cases.
In another area of motorcycle accident law, other vehicles are sometimes damaged by negligent driving on the part of motorcyclists. Pedestrians, cyclists and even other motorcyclists can be struck by motorbikes, and such cases call for the services of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney.
Here are several scenarios that produce motorcycle accidents caused by bikers:
- Weather conditions: riding a motorcycle in the rain can be especially dangerous for all involved. Motorcycles perform poorly in the rain due to their narrow tires and accumulated rain on the helmet visor, two factors involved in higher crash rates during bad weather.
- Lane splitting, when motorcyclists drive between two lanes of traffic. This is a common practice in Europe but disallowed in the U.S.
- Failure to use signals. Some motorcyclists get so caught up in their speed and fun that they do not use their turn signals.
- Inexperienced drivers. Many beginners on motorcycles try to go too fast too soon. Several celebrities, for instance, have been injured very soon after getting their motorcycle license.
- Defects in the roadway. These have a much higher impact on motorcyclists than on car and truck drivers. Potholes, speed bumps, loose gravel and all sorts of other hazards are not nearly as easy to navigate on a two-wheeled vehicle with a different suspension.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a motorcycle in any way, be sure to contact a good motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you in court. Whether you have been struck by another vehicle while on a motorcycle or been struck by a motorcyclist, a reputable motorcycle accident attorney will help you to get the maximum judgment in your case and be able to prove who was truly at fault.
If you are the victim in an accident that involved a motorcycle, here are several steps that you need to take to ensure a winning day in court:
- If you do not suffer a serious injury, wait for the police to come to the scene and file a complete report. Then, get a copy of the report. This type of evidence will be very useful to your motorcycle accident attorney.
- Get the other drivers’ or motorcyclist’s contact information. This should include driver’s license number, insurance company information, phone numbers and email addresses. Any witnesses to the accident that are on the scene should also be solicited for their personal information. All of these people can be contacted by your motorcycle accident lawyer to assist in building a favorable case for you.
- Practice a sealed mouth approach to your case. Only discuss case details with your motorcycle accident lawyer. Expert lawyers on the other side of the aisle often call surprise witnesses that people make offhand comments to about their cases. Avoid this scenario at all costs by saying little about your case, except to your personal motorcycle accident attorney.
- Similarly, do not sign any papers offered to you by the insurance company or any other type of document that does not come from your motorcycle accident lawyer. Keep discussion with the driver at fault to a minimum and let your motorcycle accident attorney handle the case.
- If possible, take photos of the accident scene.
- It is wise to consult a medical professional after your accident, even if you “feel fine.” Sometimes, injuries from motorcycle accidents do not flare up until a few days after the event. This can be especially true in the case of concussions. Also, serious internal injuries might not cause immediate pain, but they can become quite severe in the days to follow. Visit a physician and get a complete exam so that your motorcycle accident attorney will have all of the necessary information during the trial. You can file to have all of these medical costs reimbursed as part of your compensation.
In any case, let a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer prosecute your case in court. Do not settle for an insurance company settlement that might not cover all of your lost wages, medical expenses both past and future, and overall pain and suffering. Motorcycle accident lawyers are thoroughly trained in what their clients are entitled to after accidents. Let them get you far more compensation than you could on your own