Motorcycle accidents and fatalities have been decreasing for several years but in 2016, state officials are finding that the trend is reversing. There are likely several reasons for this unfortunate circumstance.
Officials are mostly blaming the mild winter for the rise in motorcycle accidents. Traffic observers commented that they rarely if ever saw motorcycle accidents in the winter months in prior years but the warm weather brought out riders as early as February in 2016. There have been 2 fatal motorcycle accidents each month from February to April giving the state a head start toward exceeding its average of 38 to 46 fatalities it experienced in the past 3 years. Warm weather always brings out more vehicles and as a result, and the incidence of accidents are bound to increase.
Motorcycles have been on the roadways nearly as long as motor vehicles. They portray a fun and exciting way to commute or travel but they are far different from how ordinary passenger cars handle and appear to other motorists. The most noticeable difference is size. Motorists are used to seeing other cars or trucks. Motorcycles are obviously smaller and present a different image that may take a motorist a second or more to discern, more than enough time to not see it and to cause an accident.
How Do Motorcycle Accident Occur?
You might think that most accidents occur on the freeways with its high speeds and motorcyclists zooming in and around cars and trucks but most occur on local roads and at intersections. Motorists are often poor judges when it comes to speed and distance and numerous accidents occur when they turn left in front of an approaching motorcyclist, believing there was adequate time to do so if they saw the bike at all.
Drivers are often told to look out for motorcycles in media and public safety campaigns but continue to fail to leave enough space between them and a bike. These campaigns also encourage drivers to be especially cautious and wary of motorcycles when the weather is poor or they are on a roadway that is not level or contains numerous potholes.
Traffic is also more congested in the city and suburbs and roadways are often poorly maintained. A pothole may be an inconvenience for a motorist but can be deadly to a motorcyclist. Local road maintenance is the responsibility of the county or municipality and a road defect that leads to an accident may be its fault. These cases are complex and requires that claims be filed under the state tort claims act that has a shorter deadline for notice and filing than in other types of injury claims.
Further, and unlike motorcycle riders who have to give their full attention to driving, motorists are more distracted than ever with cellphone use. An alarming number of motorists admit to texting, talking or scrolling through emails while driving possibly making this practice more of a threat to public safety than drunk driving.
Finally, law enforcement as well as insurance companies may have a bias against motorcyclists, believing that they are more reckless than motorists and that bikes are inherently dangerous in any case. Having an experienced and skilled motorcycle lawyer handling your accident claim from the outset gives you the best opportunity to obtain needed compensation for your injury.
Damages in Motorcycle Accidents
As you may imagine, motorcycle riders and their passengers are especially vulnerable to injuries from even a minor collision with a motor vehicle or from a roadway defect. Injuries can include severe burns and abrasions from contact with the road, broken limbs, severed limbs, traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures, crushed pelvis, paralysis and death.
Damages in such accidents may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
If a fatality occurred, the administrator of the decedent’s estate may bring a wrongful death action for the benefit of the immediate family members. Damages may be:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses for final treatment if any
- Loss of financial support
- Pain and suffering but only if the decedent was observed to have consciously experienced pain before succumbing
- Loss of the decedent’s support, guidance, love and counseling
- Punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent
Contact Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Neil Burns
Motorcycle accidents can present difficult liability issues as well as proving the nature and extent of injuries. Motorcycle accident lawyer Neil Burns has been dealing with skeptical and often biased insurance adjusters in such claims for decades and obtained millions of dollars in compensation for his clients. Call Neil Burns today for a free assessment of your injury claim and how he can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.