Even when taking all the necessary safety precautions, motorcyclists are at a much greater risk on the road than other motorists. Even at low speed colliding with a vehicle can result in devastating injuries for a motorcyclist, and severe injuries often come with catastrophic financial repercussions. Most motorcycle accidents are the result of driver error and could be avoided. If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident caused by the other party, you should not suffer the financial damage as well. You have the right to seek compensation for your losses.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
The top causes of accidents involving motorcyclists involve poor driver judgment:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol slows the driver’s reaction time, making them a danger to themselves and others on the road. After only one drink, alcohol begins to affect reasoning capabilities, social behavior, memory, emotions, balance, coordination, and learning abilities.
- Speeding is a top cause of all types of auto accidents. However, this can be the most deadly cause for motorcyclists with little surrounding protection. In addition, higher speed equals a more significant impact in a collision, inevitably leading to more severe injuries for riders.
- Inattentive driving can happen in many ways. When the motorcyclist or the other driver is mentally or physically distracted, they lose the ability to manage the vehicle properly.
- Reckless driving includes any manner of aggressive driving that leads to an accident. The most common form is tailgating, occurring when a driver rides too closely to other drivers.
Most accidents do not occur because of one single cause. For example, someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also carelessly speed or weave in and out of traffic. More contributing driver errors increase the risk of an accident.
Common Causes of Crashes Involving Other Roadway Users
Some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in which more than one driver plays a role include:
- Failure to see motorcyclists on the road is the top cause of motorcyclist accidents. Drivers often claim an inability to see someone on a motorcycle when making a left turn. Possible reasons may include issues with driver inattentiveness or problems with vehicle blind spots.
- Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two vehicles in parallel lanes. This practice is hazardous and is illegal in most states.
- Tailgating other drivers often leads to rear-end collisions. Combined with speeding or inattentive driving, this can be deadly for a motorcyclist.
Head-on collisions often result in death or severe injuries for motorcyclists. More often than not, drivers are speeding when they collide head-on with a cyclist, and the motorcycle driver could end up crushed by the impact or thrown high in the air and far from the site.
Common Causes of Accidents Involving Environmental Factors
Weather poses a significant risk to motorcyclists and motorists, but motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to changes in climate. Most motorcycle riders avoid the road during the winter months, but summer and spring present potential dangers as well. For example, the hot months of summer can cause tire traction issues on parts of the road with paint or tar. In early spring, salt debris left on the road from winter could cause poor driving conditions. When the rain comes, it washes away debris but may leave standing or flowing water.
Another environmental factor that may contribute to or cause an accident is terrible roadway conditions such as:
- Missing dividers or medians
- Lack of guardrails
- Poor or damaged lighting at intersections
- Grooved, broken, or uneven pavement
- Unmarked lanes
- Lack of sufficient room on the shoulder of the road
- Large, exposed bridge joints
- Hidden intersecting streets or driveways
- Branches or vegetation hanging too low and obstructing the driver’s view
The local government is responsible for removing debris and other road obstructions. If any of the aforementioned environmental factors contributed to your motorcycle accident, you may want to speak with an attorney about a potential who could be liable.
What Is the Value of a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The value of a motorcycle accident claim comes from the damages you suffer due to the accident. Damages specifically refer to the losses incurred. These may come in many forms and vary in value based on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries and the responsible party’s actions. Generally, damages are divided into either compensatory damages or punitive damages.
Possible Damages You May Recover
Compensatory damages are further divided into two categories:
- Economic damages: medical expenses incurred in the past and the future, past lost wages and projected lost wages, costs of repairing or replacing your motorcycle, and any other out-of-pocket expenses associated with catering to your injuries or property damage
- Non-economic damages: pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, an inability to enjoy life as you did before, and disfigurement
Damages vary in type and value on a case-by-case basis. For example, suppose your accident caused permanent disability. In that case, you can ask for recovery of lost wages and compensation for lost earning capacity if your injuries made it impossible for you to do the job you did before the accident.
Compensatory damages serve a specific purpose: to pay back the injured party for the losses caused by the other driver’s negligent action. On the other hand, punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the responsible person acted in a way that showed no care or concern about the lives of others. For example, suppose the other driver intentionally hit you. In that case, the judge may force them to pay punitive damages as a repercussion for their actions hoping that this punishment deters them from similar behavior in the future.
What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Motorcycle Injury Attorney?
If you sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you should have time to recover without the added stress of managing the legal process. A motorcycle injury attorney represents you and your best interests while you focus on healing. Some of the advantages that attorneys possess include:
- A thorough understanding of the complex legal process
- Negotiation skills needed to reach a fair settlement
- Experience dealing with insurance adjusters that attempt to avoid payment for valid claims
- Access to experts to help investigate your accident for all the pertinent evidence to support your claim
- A professional presence with an objective point of view during heated negotiations
- The ability to prepare your case for trial
- The experience needed to understand the value of your claim
Additionally, most motorcycle injury attorneys work on contingency because they understand the nature of a personal injury lawsuit. This means that they only receive compensation if they secure a settlement or award for you. As a result, you can rest easy knowing that your attorney has a personal motivation to get the best possible outcome for your case.
As you navigate the fallout of a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you deserve the help of a law firm with years of experience and a desire to get you the compensation that you deserve. The team at Cellino Law can provide the legal advice you need and help you approach a lawsuit with confidence. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. We are ready and prepared to start helping you right away.