A Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle sales and riding have been on the increase in recent years. High gas prices and the return to riding by middle-aged former riders are part of the reason as well as the recreational aspect and ease of getting around in urban areas.
With the increase in riders is the spike in motorcycle accidents. Many people consider motorcycles as inherently dangerous vehicles since they offer little to no protection in an accident involving even the slightest collision.
Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in an injury or fatality compared to only 20 percent for passenger vehicles. Riders are prone to catastrophic injuries despite wearing the recommended protection such as leather gloves, boots, leather jackets and full-face helmets, which can help minimize injuries but not prevent them. For riders who opt not to wear protective clothing, especially in warm weather or in those states that do not require helmets, they risk severe abrasions, multiple fractures, and traumatic brain injury.
Causes of Accidents
The majority of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections where a motorist makes a left turn into the path of an approaching rider. A motorcycle is much smaller than a motor vehicle and a driver will often not immediately discern that a motorcycle is approaching. Glare, distraction, inattention and misjudging the speed and distance of a bike are other reasons why motorists tend to turn directly into the path of a rider.
Riders are responsible for about 25 percent of accidents. Speeding reduces the reaction time to see, appreciate, and avoid a hazard. Over-braking can lead to the rider and any passenger being ejected as can going too wide on a curve from excessive speed or under-cornering that can lead to loss of control.
Riders can help themselves by not tailgating, lane sharing, wearing protective clothing, avoid riding in inclement weather, and assuming that other motorists are not aware of them.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Head injuries are common even with full face helmets. Along with facial fractures, intracerebral hemorrhaging can occur and lead to a TBI. Symptoms include convulsions, headaches, nausea, slurred speech and loss of balance. In severe cases, victims suffer from significant cognitive impairments in learning, memory, behavior and recognition.
- Spinal injuries: Even wearing protective clothing, a violent impact onto a hard surface, another vehicle, highway barrier or tree can easily lead to a spinal injury such as disc and nerve damage. More severe injuries are partial or total paralysis.
- Disfigurement: A rider who has no helmet or a minimal one or who wears shorts and a T-shirt risks disfigurement or permanent scarring from lacerations when thrown from a bike or skidding on a road surface.
- Fractures: Being ejected from a bike can easily result in a broken arm, leg, hand or other part of the body. Facial fractures can occur from not wearing a full helmet.
In an accident, many law enforcement officers assume that the rider was at fault or at least partly responsible. Injured riders need to retain legal advice and representation from attorneys who are experienced in and have a successful record of achieving compensation for injured motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle attorneys appreciate how a bike operates and its capacity on the road. In many accidents where liability is at issue, the attorney can quickly have investigators and accident reconstruction experts on the scene to review and survey the accident site, interview witnesses, and uncover evidence that can prove that the conclusions of a biased police officer were wrong.
Attorneys who handle motorcycle accidents also have experience with traumatic or catastrophic injuries since many of these injuries are so severe and know the steps to take to ensure the proper medical and other experts are part of the legal team.
Finally, by having the knowledge and skills in this area and recognizing the common issues in most motorcycle accidents, a motorcycle accident attorney has the tools necessary to successfully negotiate with skeptical insurance companies or defense attorneys