The number of motorcycle accident fatalities has reached an all-time high, and in many cases, drivers are to blame for the fatal accidents.
Motorcyclists are almost 30 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers, and for every biker who loses their life, countless more suffer severe injuries in an accident. Many will never be the same, losing some or most of their capacity.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you may be legally due a significant settlement.
First, you must know what went wrong and who was to blame for the crash. Once you can prove fault, you must negotiate financial compensation with the insurance company.
Your settlement check only comes after a legal process, and you must do many things before you can receive compensation, all of which can be challenging when you suffer an injury and lack legal knowledge.
An experienced Dallas motorcycle accident lawyer can represent you throughout the legal process, handling all the details while championing your cause at every step. Thus, you need to contact a lawyer and hire them to represent you promptly.
Hiring an attorney does not mean that you need to pay them anything out of your pocket. You only need to sign a representation agreement that promises your lawyer will receive payment from the proceeds of your case if and when there are any. You do not need to pay for your lawyer's time if you do not win.
Although there is a perception that most motorcycle accidents occur in rural areas, the opposite is true, where a majority of motorcycle accidents happen in urban areas.
A typical location for a motorcycle accident is at an intersection, where drivers and motorcyclists come together. The most common type of collision involves a driver hitting the front of the motorcycle, which happens more often than running into it from the back.
Any motor vehicle accident can be severe, and motorcycle accidents are, on average, far worse. Statistics show that motorcyclists suffered a serious injury in nearly three out of four crashes.
Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable on the Road
Although motorcyclists are legally entitled to their place on the road, they are still in danger whenever they get on their bikes. Motorcyclists often have little control over their circumstances because much depends on drivers and whether they follow the law. All it takes is one careless or reckless driver to cause an accident that can result in substantial injuries.
Drivers at least have some protection that their car affords them, where the vehicle can absorb some of the force of the crash. The airbags may deploy depending on where the accident occurs, providing additional safety.
Motorcyclists have very little protection when they are on the road. They usually wear helmets and safety gear, but that is all they have to protect them from the impact of a crash.
A vehicle can strike a motorcyclist, causing a forceful fall from their bike to the ground. There is a high likelihood that they will suffer an injury in a crash, and the only question is how severe their damages are.
A motorcyclist's life can change instantly when the driver has one momentary lapse of judgment. Here are some common causes of motorcycle accidents.
It can be challenging to see a motorcyclist. Even when drivers have both eyes and complete focus on the road, they may be unable to see a bike that is not exactly at their eye level. No matter the difficulty, it will not relieve a driver from legal liability when they do not see the bike.
Drivers will struggle to see motorcycles when not paying full attention to the road, and numerous things compete for drivers' attention when they are behind the wheel. The biggest distraction of all is the mobile device. Drivers may be texting or checking social media when they should focus on the road.
Distracted driving can cause the following types of accidents:
- Blindspot crashes
- Rear-end accidents
- Cutting off motorcyclists
Illegal Left Turn Accidents
Motorcyclists can travel in the far left lane and have the same rights as anyone else on the road, yet a driver may not see the motorcyclist in the left lane when they are making a turn.
The driver may turn across the motorcyclist's lane, causing the motorcyclist to slam into the car. This type of accident is one of the most common causes of serious motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities, where 42 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve turns.
The pandemic was responsible for a significant spike in reckless driving throughout the country because when there were not as many people on the road, drivers adopted worse habits. Unfortunately, these reckless and dangerous behaviors continued once the pandemic waned.
There is generally less respect for traffic laws these days, and more drivers have adopted selfish attitudes, thinking that their right to do whatever they want trumps a motorcyclist's safety. The result is that there has been a spike in serious accidents, including motorcycle crashes that leave bikers with lifelong injuries.
Drivers' judgment and reflexes are impaired when they are drunk or intoxicated behind the wheel. It is hard to spot motorcyclists under ideal conditions, and the extra second or two delay in a driver's reflexes can be enough to cause them not to see a motorcyclist.
In addition, the driver is more likely to be in the wrong place, leading to a potential head-on crash. A driver does not even need to be legally drunk to be considered impaired by alcohol, and even one drink can raise the risk of a severe motorcycle accident.
Drivers do not always know how to share the road with motorcyclists or their obligations. The driver may think they always have the right-of-way because their car is much bigger than the motorcycle, yet the law entitles motorcyclists to the same rights as the driver.
Further, inexperienced drivers do not know how to handle different traffic conditions. They may not be looking for a motorcyclist on the road or understand how to act when a biker is nearby.
It takes a certain amount of time behind the wheel for a driver to know how to handle different types of situations that the individual driver who hit you may not have had.
Establishing Fault in Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Drivers
Your core obligation in a motorcycle accident claim is to establish that someone else was to blame for what happened. While nobody is perfect behind the wheel, you must show that someone else was negligent.
In any personal injury case, negligence has a defined meaning.
You must prove that:
- Someone else owed you the duty of care
- They breached the duty of care by doing something unreasonable under the circumstances
- You suffered an injury
- You would not have suffered an injury had it not been for the acts or omissions of the other party
You must meet your burden of proof by showing that the facts you allege are more likely than not to have happened. The insurance company, or a jury, will compare what the driver did to what a sensible driver should have done to determine whether they fell short of a reasonable expectation.
Your attorney will investigate the accident and gather the proof you need to show what happened, realizing you have limited time to assemble a case that can lead to financial compensation.
The Insurance Company May Try to Blame You for the Accident
The amount of blame you have for the accident can reduce your compensation, and you may not receive a settlement check at all, depending on what the other party claims you did.
Insurance companies know that fact and will handle your case accordingly. They are looking for a way to blame you for what happened in any way they can because their goal is to try to save money.
Motorcycle accident claims are a zero-sum game, where whatever money goes into your pocket comes from the insurance company.
Therefore, your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to defend you every bit as much as they try to take the fight to the insurance company. Your lawyer must explain your actions if and when the insurance company questions them, and the amount of your compensation depends on how effectively your lawyer fights back.
Potential Defendants in a Motorcycle Accident Case
The driver involved in the crash with you is the most likely defendant in a motorcycle accident case. They are the ones who cause a majority of the car-biker crashes, and they will need to pay for your damages.
In rarer cases, there may be other people to blame who can owe you money, including:
- The driver of a third car whose actions forced the driver who hit you to do something to avoid a crash with them
- The state or local authority that did not properly maintain the road or have adequate signage to protect you
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle, if the bike itself, or a part, was defective
Sometimes, your accident might have resulted from a defective transmission or brakes. Then, the manufacturer, or anyone who played a part in selling you the bike, can be strictly liable for the damages that you have suffered.
Contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible, and even when dealing with injuries, you cannot afford to delay the legal process. Someone should contact a lawyer on your behalf if you cannot call a lawyer. Time makes a critical difference in whether you qualify for financial compensation and how much you can get.
It is much harder to begin a motorcycle accident claim months after the crash, and you may even struggle to find legal help. The legal process cannot wait for you to heal because the passage of time can compromise your case. An attorney will immediately work on proving your case and getting you the justice you deserve.
Seek Your Free Consultation with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After a motorcycle accident, seeking a free consultation with a specialized motorcycle accident attorney is crucial in protecting your rights and pursuing compensation.
Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries due to the lack of physical protection, and navigating the legal complexities requires experience.
During a free consultation, an experienced attorney can assess the specifics of your case, determine liability, and outline potential legal avenues for recovery. They can guide you through the claims process, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent you in court.
Time is of the essence in gathering evidence and filing claims, making an early consultation essential.
Don't face the aftermath of a motorcycle accident alone – consult with a knowledgeable Dallas personal injury attorney to protect your rights and pursue the correct path to recovery. Case evaluations are free, and hiring an injury attorney near you costs nothing.