While purchasing and riding a motorcycle is no doubt an exhilarating hobby, there is no denying that this is an activity that has a number of dangers attached to it.
The nature of motorcycles means that the rider is far more vulnerable, and this means that any accidents can result in severe, and sometimes life-changing injuries.
Sadly, motorcycle accidents also appear to be on the rise, with a total of 1421 accidents reported in Louisiana in 2019, 72 of which resulted in fatalities for the rider.
If you are involved in an accident, it is crucial that you have the advice and guidance you need to take the next steps forward.
Life after an accident can be frightening and confusing, so make sure you have a qualified, experienced motorcycle accident attorney on hand to talk you through the process and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur in a number of different ways and have a range of factors as the cause.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted Driver - Riding a motorcycle and driving a vehicle both require intense levels of focus, concentration, and skill.
If a driver is distracted from the road, whether by a SatNav, answering a mobile, talking to a passenger, applying makeup, or eating or drinking, then the situation is ready for an accident to occur.
The smaller size of the motorcycle means that the rider is likely to bear the full brunt of the accident, often through no fault of their own.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another common reason for distraction; these drivers are not in a fit state to take charge of a vehicle and are likely to have impaired reactions, an increased stopping time, and reduced attention span - all of which can be catastrophic for other road users, and in particular, motorcyclists.
- Inexperienced driver - An inexperienced driver is also at a much higher risk level on the road, with evidence showing that they have a 47% chance of being involved in an accident within their first year of driving.
This is due to a number of factors such as a lack of confidence or experience, combined with an increased chance of new drivers taking risks.
They are more likely to speed, ignore rules and regulations of the road, use a mobile phone while driving, or drive while under the influence.
Distraction from other passengers is also far more likely with a newer driver.
- Speeding - Speeding is one of the most common causes of automobile accidents and can be particularly devastating for motorcyclists, who lack the height, protection, and barrier of a car.
Speeding is also more likely to cause an accident in adverse conditions, such as poor weather, which increases braking speed, and may cause reaction times to be dulled. Those precious seconds can be fatal if you pull out in front of a motorcyclist.
- Lack of Protection - As we have mentioned, motorcyclists are more vulnerable and susceptible to injury due to the nature of their bikes.
Motorcycle riders are physically located closer to the road, and, unlike drivers in cars, have no external frame or buffer to protect them.
They are also far smaller than cars, and so at a far higher risk of suffering serious injuries.
- Mechanical Failure - In some cases, the cause of the accident may be a mechanical failure on the vehicle, such as bald tires with reduced grip, or failing brakes.
If it can be proven that the driver was aware of this fault, and failed to rectify it, they may find themselves responsible for the accident, and liable for any injuries suffered by the motorcyclist.
Potential Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash will often be far more severe than many other road traffic accidents.
Many motorcycle accident victims suffer similar types of injuries, and these include:
- Broken Bones - Broken bones are one of the most common injuries reported, and this can range from an easy-to-fix broken bone to more serious injuries that can require multiple surgeries to fix or damage to the spine, which can result in paralysis.
- Head Injuries - Even with helmets, many motorcyclists involved in accidents are at risk of serious head injury - especially if they are thrown from the bike during impact. This can result in serious head trauma, including damage to the skull, brain damage, and internal hemorrhaging. If the victim survives, they may have loss of motor skills, speech, or independent function.
- Hemorrhaging and Loss of Consciousness - In a similar vein, many motorcyclists may suffer from a loss of consciousness during impact - this can have serious long-term consequences such as internal bleeding, damage to organs, and lack of oxygen to the brain, as well as swelling of the brain.
- Soft Tissue Injuries - In some cases, the rider may suffer damage to the soft tissue such as muscles, tendons or ligaments. These injuries are usually less severe but can cause long-term pain or damage.
- Disfigurement - Many motorcyclists may also be left with permanent scarring and disfigurement after an accident, especially if they have been thrown or dragged. Burns, scars, and lacerations may all remain prominent even after treatment, and this can be extremely distressing for the victim's long-term mental health, as well as causing physical discomfort.
How much is a good settlement for a motorcycle accident?
Settlements for motorcycle accident claims vary greatly.
Some factors that determine how much a motorcycle accident case is worth are:
Fault - Was the other driver fully or only partially at fault? Can you prove that the other driver was at fault?
Amount and type of insurance coverage - How much and what kind of insurance policies were held by all parties? What are the limitations of the policies?
Lost wages - How much money did you lose out from missed days of work? This includes days missed due to your injury as well as days missed for follow-up medical appointments when/if you were able to return to work.
Medical expenses - How much were your medical bills?
Long-term medical care or treatment - Will you require long-term medical care or ongoing treatment such as physical therapy?
What Can I Do?
If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, there are steps you can take.
In most situations, you may be in a position to take legal action against the driver, if it can be proven that their actions, or failure to act, directly caused the accident and your subsequent injuries.
If successful, the responsible party and their insurance company will be required to pay damages and compensation which can be invaluable in covering medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and compensation for trauma.
An experienced, qualified motorcycle accident lawyer is an essential tool in helping you determine just what you are entitled to and collecting the evidence to build a case in your favor.
Unfortunately, some jurors are less likely to award damages to a motorcycle rider versus a similarly injured victim of a car accident. The perception by some is that the motorcycle rider was more likely to be taking risks that caused the accident. Or that by riding a motorcycle, they were accepting of the risk of injury.
The insurance companies know this and will try to use this bias against you.
It is important to have a law firm behind you that knows how to fight back against the insurance company.
Don’t suffer in silence; get in touch, and let us help you fight for justice.
The LJB Legal team has experience fighting for fair settlements for their clients.
Give us a call at 985-441-3448 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident.