Motorcyclist deaths occur 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other motor vehicles. Everyone must take part in ensuring safety for motorcycles out on the road by driving defensively and staying alert. While it’s the job of motorcyclists to be visible, it’s the job of all motorists to be aware of their surroundings and watch for motorcyclists.
The Department of Transportation’s Share the Road campaign encourages safe riding practices and cooperation from vehicle drivers of all types. With these tips from NHTSA we can reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities.
Sharing the Road with Motorcycles 101
- Always check your blind spots!
- Take extra caution when pulling out before motorcyclists. Motorcycles may be closer than they appear – because of their size, your eyes might trick you. If you see a motorcycle heading down the road at a high speed, wait for them to pass before pulling out.
- Take extra caution when passing.
- Give extra room when driving behind a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists will react more quickly than other vehicles because they are so much smaller. Rear ending a motorcyclist could cost them their life.
- Increase your following distance at night.
- Stay in your lane. Weaving back and forth between traffic increases your chances of striking a motorcyclist.
- Communicate with motorcyclists and other drivers. It’s important to
- Intersections can be deadly. Intersections can leave dangerous blind spots. Always look both ways before entering an intersection.
Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle accident cases can be extremely complex and require the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer. If you or someone you love has suffered from a motorcycle accident, you need an aggressive attorney who has the experience to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact the McMinn Law Firm, LLP, immediately to begin an investigation. Like most motor vehicle accident cases, it is vital that an immediate investigation takes place.
Our attorneys will collect and preserve all of the necessary evidence including witness statements, police reports, and medical records. We will consult with experts to support all of your claims. Our attorneys are highly experienced in collecting and presenting compelling evidence to maximize the recovery for our clients. Motorcycle cases can be complex.
Motorcycle accident claims are difficult because insurance companies and juries can be unsympathetic to victims. Even where serious injuries occur as a result of another’s negligence, riding a motorcycle is often perceived as inherently dangerous. Motorcycle riders are perceived as careless and reckless; speeding and darting in and out of driving lanes. While that is true in some cases and accidents do occur due to the fault of the motorcycle rider, the majority of motorcycle/car accidents are caused by the driver of the car.
Cars Cause the Majority of Motorcycle Accidents
Another problem related to this is the motorcycles ability to change lanes quickly. Even if the driver saw that the lane they want to enter is clear, a motorcycle can very quickly move into that lane. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the lane is safe for them to enter, not matter how quickly the situation changes.
Additionally, people who drive cars are used to objects of a set, predictable size in their mirrors. Motorcycles are so much smaller than any car on the road and if the driver glances in the mirror and sees a tiny object, they might assume it is further away than it really is. They can easily change lanes into the side of a motorcycle.
This is the same problem when drivers of cars are making left-hand turns. They may see an approaching motorcycle, but think it is much further down the street. An accident occurs when the car turns into a motorcycle at an intersection or driveway. Regardless of the reason, more often than not, cars are the proximate cause of motorcycle accidents.
Looking for tips about motorcycle safety? Read McMinn Law Firm’s tips about lane splitting, choosing a helmet,
Defects in Manufacturing Motorcycles
Not many parts fail on a motorcycle, but when they do, the effects can have lethal results. A motorcycle can either be designed wrong, or it could have components that have been manufactured incorrectly. If the motorcycle has a structural or mechanical failure, the manufacturer and dealer could be liable for injuries, or the death of the rider.
The most common defects in motorcycles that cause accidents and failure of safe operations are:
- Break Failure
- Wheel Rims Break
- Fuel Tank Leak or other Gas leak
- Cracks in Handlebar Clamps
- Faulty Accelerator
If you are in an accident while riding your motorcycle, it is imperative that you retain an attorney who is experienced in motorcycle cases. An attorney will bring in experts to examine your motorcycle and determine if it failed in some way.
An experienced attorney will also look for manufacturer recalls and other notices publicized about the make and model of your bike. The dealer you purchased the motorcycle from may have missed the notices or deliberately ignored them in a rush to make sales.
A motorcycle customized in any way could affect the safety of the structure or design. There are many “aftermarket” items available for most motorcycles and all of them must maintain the integrity of the bike when they are installed.
Most Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
According to the Center for Disease Control the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents are head and neck (22%) and leg and foot (30%). Other common injuries are:
- Burns and Scars
- Neck and Spine Injuries
- Wrongful Death
- Knee Injuries
- Permanent Disability
A motorcycle rider is generally more severely injured than a driver in a car of the same accident. There is almost no protection when riding a motorcycle. In Texas, as long as the motorcycle rider is 21 years of age, has taken a motorcycle safety course and has health insurance, in addition to motorcycle insurance, a helmet is not required.
Compensation for Injuries
In serious accidents, the injured victim or their surviving family can be compensated for pain, suffering or wrongful death. There is no way to repair the damage to body and mind, but a settlement or jury award can go a long way in helping pay for time missed from work, medical expenses and future medical expenses or recuperative care. Our attorneys are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies, but if a settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court and pray for relief for your injury.
In addition to the economic losses, an injury can impose on you and your family, you may also have a claim for Loss of Consortium. Due to the nature of injuries commonly afflicted upon motorcycle riders when they are in an accident, it is possible for your spouse to prove they have also been damaged. Loss of Consortium would include lack of intimacy and sexual relations, activities that would be lost in the case of paralysis, but possibly in other injuries to the lower part of the body.
If you or your family member has suffered a serious injury in a bike crash, our attorneys can work to ensure that you recover the compensation your family needs for medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term care needs. Our attorneys will fully assist your immediate and long-term financial needs to ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve.
We do not charge any fees unless we obtain compensation for your injuries. We also offer a free initial consultation. There are no obligations or costs to talk with a lawyer about your case.
Contact the McMinn Law Firm for experienced legal service from our Austin, Texas, personal injury firm. Our lawyers offer professional and effective legal representation to the victims and families of serious injuries. We will come to visit you at your home or in the hospital.