Common Types and Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to accidents and the consequent injuries for a number of reasons:
- Motorcycles are much smaller than a car and usually, although inadvertently, hide in a driver’s blind spot or are easily overlooked. This oversight can cause a limited visibility crash. A car making a left turn present the most dangerous situations for motorcyclists.
- Sometimes a crash is due to a misjudgment of the distance between a car and a motorcycle, which causes the car to accidentally hit the motorcycle.
- Inexperienced operators are often to blame for motorcycle accidents. Inexperience can lead to poor lane positioning, excessive speed and problems negotiating turns and maneuvering near fixed objects. Proper training can reduce accidents and can help keep motorcyclists safe.
- Road hazards can present a danger to motorcyclists and can be the cause of an accident. Potholes, dead animals, uneven height between lanes and other unexpected things on the road can pose a serious threat to the safety of a motorcyclist.
- Motorcycle lane splitting, or driving between lanes of cars, puts motorcyclists in danger because it limits room for maneuvering and recovery if a car impedes the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Motorcycle lane splitting is illegal in the state of Alabama.
No matter the type or the cause, there is no debating the cost these accidents, in terms of driver’s lives and economic impact. In 2015, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI) reported in 2015 that in Alabama, there were 67 motorcyclist deaths, which accounted for 8 percent of the total motor vehicle deaths. According to the Government Accountability Office, in 2012, nationwide 82,000 riders had been injured in accidents, and 4,502 were killed. Motorcycle crashes cost $16 billion annually. Each fatal crash costs $1.2 million, and each non-fatal crash can cos anywhere from around $2,500 to $1.4 million. This range in costs is dependent on the severity of injuries of the motorcyclist.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
In order to have the best chance of receiving compensation for your claim, it’s important to know what to do after a car accident. The following list will help you and your case:
- Get to safety first. This depends on how injured you are, but you want to prevent another accident. Move yourself and your bike off the road.
- Seek medical help. Call 911. Get checked out even if you don’t feel like you need it. Injuries can appear later. It also helps that you start documenting your injuries for an insurance claim. Go to your physician later so that you can have a medical report to help bolster your claim, as well as to make sure that you’re OK and that you are being treated for your injuries.
- Take notes of the accident. Take photos of the location, the vehicle that hit you, the impact made by the vehicle, as well as the surrounding area.
- Exchange information. Driver’s license, insurance information, and contact information should be exchanged.
- Call the police. They should come to the scene and document the accident. Go to the police station later to pick up their report.
- Do not apologize. Apologizing can be seen as admitting fault, which could make you liable. Do not admit fault at any time, either at the scene of the accident or any subsequent conversations with the police, the other driver or an insurance company.
- Call your insurance company. Make sure you do what they ask in order to file a claim, but do not sign anything or make any statements to the adjuster without your attorney present. This also goes for talking to the other driver’s insurance company. You may refer them to talk to your attorney or your insurance company.
- Secure a personal injury lawyer. By reaching out to an experienced attorney, you have a better chance of obtaining the compensation you need and to make sure your rights are protected.
Common Types of Motorcycle Injuries
Wearing protective gear, including a helmet, along with the severity of the crash, can impact the severity of the injuries that the motorcyclist sustains. Most commonly, according to the CDC, a rider will sustain broken bones and a head injury. You must wear an approved helmet in order to operate a motorcycle in Alabama.
The NHTSA studied fatal injuries for motorcyclists who were killed between the years of 2000 and 2002. Multiple injuries were more common (51 percent) than solely head injuries (27 percent). But, if the head injury was the only one, most often, it was fatal. Thirty-six percent of non-helmet wearing victims died of head injuries, compared to 19 percent of helmeted riders. Forty-four percent of non-helmeted riders died of multiple injuries, but 57 percent of motorcyclists with helmets died.
The following is a list of specific injuries one can suffer from when involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Bone fractures – These can be broken legs, arms, and wrists, due to the bike falling on the motorcyclist or the rider trying to break his or her fall.
- Road rash/skin abrasions – This sort of injury has varying degrees of severity, from redness to skin being scraped off completely.
- Brain injuries – This mainly depends on whether a rider is wearing a helmet or not. Although helmets do not completely prevent brain injuries, they do lessen the chance of having them. This includes traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions.
- Spinal cord injuries – This injury can include paralysis.
- Limb loss – Amputation may happen at the crash scene or it may happen later due to severe injury.
What You Can Recover After a Motorcycle Accident
Even though every motorcycle accident is different, most cyclists will endure some type of injury, damage to their motorcycle, as well as the costs that come with the crash. Compensation for injury and damages is based on a variety of factors including the extent of damage to the motorcycle, the severity of injuries, and what insurance policies will cover. Damages include the following:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs