It’s common knowledge that motorcycling is more dangerous than driving a car. In fact, a study from the NHTSA from 2007 found that “Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and 8 times more likely to be injured.”
However, when you look closer at what caused these accidents, we find that the majority of accidents involving another vehicle were caused by the driver of the other vehicle. In other words, the most dangerous thing about motorcycling is the other drivers on the road.
Here, we want to take a look at some of the common causes behind these accidents along with what you should if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
If you have been injured, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can evaluate your case. At Colombo Law, we have helped many victims of motorcycle accidents receive the compensation they need and deserve to get back on their feet after an accident, and we’d be happy to help you get through this difficult time.
- Failure to Check Blind Spots: Although a good percentage of cars on the road these days have technology that is designed to help drivers know if someone is in their blind spots, this is still a significant cause of motorcycle accidents. Oftentimes, drivers simply fail to adequately check if there are vehicles beside them before they change lanes. Of course, the smaller profile of motorcycles doesn’t help, but the burden of responsibility is still on the driver.
- Distracted Driving: We’re all aware of how rampant distracted driving has become; unfortunately, the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. Drivers are often texting, talking on their phones, browsing social media, talking to other car passengers, eating, and doing a myriad of other activities that take their vision and attention away from the road.
- Driving too Fast: If a driver is speeding, two big problems arise: 1) they are not able to react as quickly as they would if they were driving the speed limit, and 2) the damage to others – including motorcyclists – is likely to be more severe. While speeding tickets don’t tend to be very serious, if speeding is the cause of an accident it could mean the driver is liable for the injuries that occurred as a result of the accident.
- Driving under the Influence: While it’s extremely important not to drink and ride a motorcycle – 25% of motorcyclists who were killed in accidents in 2016 were under the influence – there are also plenty of instances where drunk drivers of other vehicles crash into motorcyclists. Since motorcycles are already harder to see and account for, impaired driving significantly increases the risk of an accident involving a motorcycle.
- Road Hazards: Being that a motorcycle only has two wheels to work with, it’s not nearly as stable or easy to control as a four-wheeled vehicle. Because of this, road hazards of all types – including gravel, edge lines, rough roadways, debris, and more – can pose a serious danger for motorcyclists. If a road hazard is the cause of your motorcycle accident, you might be able to pursue compensation against those responsible for maintaining the safety of the road, whether it be a public agency, individual, or business.
Ultimately, if an accident is caused by these factors – or any type of negligence of another – victims of motorcycle accidents may be able to pursue compensation for the damages that have occurred due to the accident.
What to Do If You’re Injured In a Motorcycle Accident
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. You may have medical bills mounting up that you can’t pay, you may be unable to return to work, and you may be facing difficult changes to your life for the foreseeable future. For most, it’s a traumatic event.
That said, there are a few things you should try to do after being injured in an accident:
- See a Doctor: If you haven’t yet, you should make sure your injuries are attended to in full as soon as possible. Sometimes we try to “shake off” after an accident or “rub some dirt in it,” but your injuries could be worse than you’re aware of and you shouldn’t try to ignore them. Symptoms don’t always show up right away, especially after the intensity of an accident, but it’s extremely important that you see a doctor to check you over and provide you with the treatment needed.
- Notify Insurance Companies: Get in touch with both your insurance company and the other driver’s to let them know you will be filing a claim. However, be careful what you say. The other driver’s insurance company will be trying their best to pay you as little as possible, so don’t jump at their first offer and don’t give them a recorded statement. This can be used against you later and even small errors in consistency can jeopardize your case.
- Get in Touch with a Lawyer: In a perfect world, insurance companies would be more than willing to pay out as much compensation as is needed to those injured in accidents. Alas, insurance is a big business and you can be sure the other driver’s insurance company will do whatever they can to avoid paying you as much as you need. They also have teams of experienced attorneys at their backs who know how to win accident cases. That’s why it’s so important that you hire your own attorney to help navigate the complexities of the law and to fight for your rights.
Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
As motorcycle accident lawyers, we understand that our profession doesn’t always have the best reputation. To be sure, much of this is warranted; after all, there are plenty of attorneys who are more interested in getting quick settlements and padding their own pockets than they are in fighting for their clients’ rights for maximum compensation.
So how do you find an attorney that you can trust? A few tips:
- Experience: If a law firm has been around for many years and has a track record of success, it’s a good indication they know what they’re doing. On the other hand, if you can’t find much information about past cases, or the attorney is hesitant to talk about their experience with motorcycle accidents, it might mean they aren’t qualified to handle your case.
- Reviews: It can be difficult for any of us to know how legitimate online reviews are, but it is a good rule of thumb to at least check a law firm’s Google reviews to see if there are any red flags. If they have a lot of negative reviews and the comments seem legitimate, it could be a sign the firm is not good to work with.
- Contingency Fee Arrangements: One of the principal concerns of motorcycle accident victims is finances. You might already be drowning in medical bills, so how exactly are you supposed to pay for an attorney to help you receive the money you need to pay those medical bills? Generally, injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. So if a firm isn’t willing to provide a contingency arrangement, find one that does.
Starting a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
If the other driver’s insurance company is unwilling to pay you the damages you deserve for your injuries, it might be time to start a lawsuit with your attorney.
This will involve reviewing the details of your case, collecting evidence, and calculating how much you should receive in compensation.
Once this is completed, the appropriate documents will be filed and the insurance company will be made aware of the suit against them. If they decide to fight the complaint, court proceedings will begin.
Of course, if the insurance company is willing to settle for a reasonable amount, which allows everyone to avoid the time and costs wrapped up in a trial, then it might make sense to agree. However, it is our firm belief that you should be willing to go to trial if necessary to receive an amount that is fair.
Typical Compensation Recovered
When calculating the amount of compensation you deserve, we look at all of the costs associated with your accident. That can include immediate costs like medical bills and lost wages due to time away from work, as well as future costs, such as loss of earning capacity and costs of ongoing physical therapy.
However, you might also be eligible to receive compensation for the trauma you have faced as a result of the accident. After all, the physical injuries are only one part of the equation.
You are likely also dealing with emotional anguish, pain, suffering, and maybe even the loss of enjoyment of life because of what happened to you.
The good news it the law does allow you to pursue compensation for these damages, as well, so it’s important to discuss these factors with your attorney when deciding how much to demand in compensation.
Don’t Wait to Get Started
Making the decision to pursue a motorcycle accident lawsuit can be a big one. Nevertheless, it’s important not to put it off.
While the statute of limitations for filing an accident claim in Ohio is two years, waiting that long can mean the loss of evidence or mistakes when receiving and documenting injuries and treatments.
Working with an attorney as soon as possible helps ensure you avoid these mistakes, setting you up for the best chance possible to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
To get started with a free, confidential case evaluation, get in touch today.