Motorcycle accidents are extremely dangerous – and are sometimes fatal. Motorcycles move at the same speed as vehicles, only the riders have much less protection in case of an accident. But what causes most motorcycle accidents? And what does a motorcycle accident lawsuit look like?
Motorcycles only make up 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. However, motorcyclists account for roughly 14% of all traffic fatalities. A motorcycle accident can happen in the blink of an eye for many different reasons. Negligence of other drivers is the most common cause of accidents involving motorcycles.
But how can motorcyclists and their families seek justice if they were injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault? It’s important to understand that you have options. You and your family are probably looking at large medical bills, lost wages, future treatments, and much, much more.
In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about motorcycle accidents – and what your next moves should be. Let’s discuss.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents with Cars?
Driver negligence is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. According to the CDC, other motorists are at fault in more than half of all motorcycle accidents involving multiple vehicles.
If another driver fails to follow the rules of the road or does something that harms a motorcyclist, they may be liable in a personal injury case. Here are some of the most common forms of driver negligence that lead to motorcycle accidents.
Distracted driving is more prevalent than ever. Phone usage is a primary culprit, even with states making new laws about using phones while driving. Texting, emailing, or choosing a song while driving poses a serious risk to other drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and especially motorcyclists.
Distractions while driving can take several different forms, including:
- Cognitive – this can involve anything that takes your mind off of driving, like daydreaming, road rage, being under the influence of drugs/alcohol, and so on.
- Visual – visual distractions involve anything that takes your eyes off the road, including texting, reading, talking to passengers, etc.
- Manual – this involves anything that takes your hands off the wheel, including phone usage, tuning the radio, eating, reaching for something in the back seat, and more.
Any of these behaviors can make it difficult to see a motorcyclist, and it might be too late to react.
Some drivers may have issues gauging the distance between their own vehicle and a motorcyclist. All too often, this results in a driver pulling out in front of a motorcyclist – without understanding the motorcycle’s speed.
In a car accident with a motorcycle, the motorcyclist will likely need to use emergency braking, which can easily throw them over the handlebars and into traffic. Or, the motorcyclist may lose control and cause the bike to slide underneath them. Regardless of the scenario, the motorcyclist is at a high risk of serious injury or death in an accident.
Blinds spots are one of the most common causes of car accidents with motorcycles. Rearview mirrors and cameras have come a long way in recent years, but there is still room for error. Since motorcycles are significantly smaller than vehicles, they are much easier to miss in blind spots when merging or making sudden lane changes.
Fatigued driving – or tired driving – is a big problem in the United States. This usually happens if a driver has been behind the wheel for an excessive amount of time, didn’t get enough sleep, took a medication that causes drowsiness, and so on.
Studies have found that fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, in that it causes:
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased attentiveness
- Impairs judgment
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is another common cause of motorcycle accidents. Even with all the public safety campaigns and harsh punishments, people drive impaired every day. The legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent. When a driver is above this limit, they will experience the following impairments:
- Slowed reaction times
- Blurred vision
- Decreased color distinction
Driving under the influence is one of the biggest forms of driver negligence. If you’ve been injured by an impaired driver, you are likely entitled to significant compensation in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
In a car accident, the driver is protected by the interior of the vehicle – which includes seatbelts and airbags. Motorcyclists do not have these luxuries. Ejection from the bike is practically a given during a collision. Even with a helmet, gloves, and protective clothing, the risk of serious injury is extremely high. Here are some of the most common injuries from motorcycle accidents.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries – or TBIs – are very common in motorcycle accidents. These are caused by a jolt, bump, blow, or penetration to the head. Helmets certainly provide a high level of protection (and help to prevent death), but the force of a collision may still cause a brain injury, even at slower speeds.
If you’ve suffered a TBI in a motorcycle accident, do not remove your helmet until the medical staff arrives.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries typically happen upon impact or when a rider is ejected from their seat during a motorcycle accident with a car. These are some of the most catastrophic injuries a human can experience – and may cause permanent disabilities. The medical costs of a spinal cord injury can quickly escalate into the millions over the long term. This should all be accounted for in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Broken bones and fractures can happen very easily in a motorcycle accident, regardless of the speed. Depending on the severity, the medical bills and recovery times can be extensive – not to mention making daily tasks difficult. If you have broken bones from a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve to recoup damages for monetary losses as well as pain and suffering.
Nearly every motorcycle accident victim ends up with lacerations and/or road rash – even with protective clothing. Lacerations and road rash can take a long time to heal and make everyday activities difficult. Regardless of the severity, you deserve compensation for your suffering in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Manage Your Claim?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident with a car, your number one priority should be your health and recovery. Trying to balance the recovery process and earning fair compensation is a near-impossible feat for victims of motorcycle accidents.
The toughest aspect of fighting for compensation in a motorcycle accident lawsuit is negotiating with insurance companies. Keep in mind that insurance companies have all sorts of tactics to avoid paying for damages. A motorcycle accident attorney is trained to handle these tactics and pressure insurance companies for fair compensation.
Many victims falsely believe they are alone in personal injury cases – mostly because they think they cannot afford a skilled attorney.
What they may not realize is that a trustworthy motorcycle accident lawyer works on a contingency fee agreement. This means they make a percentage of the total settlement paid out AFTER they win the case. They won’t charge victims a penny out of pocket to manage the claim. In other words, anyone can afford a skilled motorcycle accident attorney if they’ve been injured.
What Damages Can You Collect After a Motorcycle Accident?
Victims of motorcycle accidents may be faced with many damages. Generally, damages are split into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are recoupable damages with clear price tags attached, including:
- Medical/hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical treatment (estimates)
- Lost earning potential
- Property damages
Non-economic damages are more arbitrary, but are extremely important to account for in a settlement. These damages usually include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
Calculating non-economic damages can be challenging. Moreover, negotiating these damages in the settlement takes an expert approach. This is where an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will be essential.
How to Start Your Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Starting the process of filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit isn’t as complex as many people believe. The first thing you need to do is get in touch with a personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents.
General rule: if they don’t advertise motorcycle accident services on their website, don’t reach out to them.
Once you make contact with an attorney, they will schedule a consultation. You’ll discuss the details of the case, what your recovery looks like, the compensation you’ll be seeking, and more. Helping your attorney gather evidence to strengthen your motorcycle accident lawsuit is the best thing you can do. This should include (but is not limited to):
- The police report
- Pictures from the accident
- Witness statements
- Insurance documentation
- Medical records
- Expert witnesses
- Proof of damages
- Medical bills
- Estimates for future care
- Pay stubs (for lost wages)
Once you have all the proper documentation, your attorney will file the claim and begin the motorcycle accident lawsuit. They will do all the heavy lifting of negotiating with insurance companies and fighting for fair compensation. Your main objective now is your recovery.
Get in Touch with an Expert
Motorcycle accidents are extremely devastating. If you’ve been injured due to another driver’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your damages. The path to earning a rightful settlement comes down to the legal assistance you hire.
At Midwest Injury Lawyers, we specialize in helping victims of motorcycle accidents in Illinois. We offer free consultations to those seeking a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Even if you just have questions, we’re happy to answer them and guide you in the right direction. Call (312) 786-5881 or send us a message online to get started.