Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. This fact is part of the appeal and why ridership continues to increase. Unfortunately, an increase in motorcycle ridership results in an increase in accidents involving motorcycles. Thousands of people suffer serious personal injuries in motorcycle crashes every year. While another motorist can be held liable for accidents involving motorcycles, in most cases, it is invariably the motorcyclist who is most severely injured.
Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks it is sharing the road with and can easily be lost in other vehicles’ blind spots or fall out of view behind trucks or buses on the road. Drivers who are changing lanes or making turns can cause accidents with severe injuries if they fail to notice a motorcycle before it is too late. Someone driving a car may cause a crash after pulling out unexpectedly in front of a motorcyclist if they did not have enough time to properly react to the situation.
Motorcyclists injured due to the negligent or reckless actions of other motorists can take legal action to seek compensation for damages related to the accident. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident or a member of your family was killed in a crash, call the personal injury attorneys of Cooney & Conway toll free at 800-322-5573 to schedule a free consultation about your case and to have your questions answered.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Because motorcycles have no protective structure surrounding their vehicles, severe or fatal injuries are more likely when involved in a collision. While motorcycle accidents happen less frequently than other motor vehicle accidents, they are more likely to result in death or serious injury than other crashes. The exact causes of crashes involving motorcycles vary depending on the circumstances, but the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving: All it takes is a second of diversion for a driver to lose sight of a traffic situation and cause an accident. Motorcycles are much easier to miss if a distracted driver is more attentive to his or her cell phone than to others on the road.
- Impaired driver: Drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to cause an accident. A motorcyclist involved in a crash with a drunk driver is likely to be seriously injured and can file criminal and civil claims to recover damages.
- Lane changes: Unsafe and sudden lane changes are hazardous to everyone on the road and can lead to a catastrophic collision if a motorcycle is involved.
- Open car doors: There are not many actions as thoughtless or dangerous as opening a car door into traffic.
- Speeding: The faster vehicles travel, the more serious the injuries will be if an accident occurs. With no vehicle frame for protection, motorcycle drivers are especially vulnerable.
- Sudden stops: A driver who stops suddenly and is involved in a traffic accident is typically held liable for the crash and resulting injuries. If a motorcycle is involved, the injuries can be serious.
- Head-on collisions: Accidents that happen when a car strikes a motorcycle head on are unsurprisingly often fatal for the bike rider. As these kinds of accidents typically occur when both vehicles are traveling at high speeds, the motorcyclist’s chances of surviving or coming away without serious injury are slim.
- Left turn accidents: When a vehicle turns across traffic and the driver is not aware of oncoming traffic or doesn’t make the turn fast enough, a collision with a motorcycle can cause serious damage and injury.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Most motorcycle accidents result from the negligent or reckless actions of other drivers, but serious injuries most often occur to the rider. The most common types of injuries suffered by motorcycle riders involved in traffic accidents include:
- Head injuries: Motorcyclist helmets go a long way to help protect riders’ heads and brains in the event of an accident. They have saved countless lives and not wearing one has needlessly cost many lives, too. But wearing a helmet can only do so much when a motorcyclist’s head hits the pavement after a collision. A skull fracture or any kind of traumatic brain damage can be a life-changing or life-threatening injury.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries that occur to the back and neck are not uncommon in motorcycle accidents. Spinal cord injuries and spinal stenosis can cause a wide range of impairments, including:
- Motor function impairment
- Permanent paralysis
- Broken bones: Fractures from motorcycle accidents can range from minor breaks to serious skull injuries. The most common types bone injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Hairline: Also referred to as a stress fracture, small cracks in the bones often go unnoticed at the time of the accident
- Stable: Bones are slightly out of place, yet still line up with others
- Compound: Open wounds when the skin is punctured by either broken bones or the impact to a nearby area
- Traverse: Bones that broken in a horizontal fracture line
- Oblique: The bone is broken at an angled pattern
- Comminuted: Broken bones that are shattered into pieces
- Rider’s arm: When riders are thrown from a motorcycle in an accident, the natural instinct is to use their arms in an attempt to reduce the impact of the fall. Impact injuries and nerve damage can result in painful and lifelong consequences.
- Chest injuries: The impact from motorcycle accidents can result in lung damage, broken ribs, ruptured aorta, or other serious injuries.
- Road rash: When a motorcycle accident victim slides across pavement without proper protection, he or she can suffer serious long-term damage including infections, loss of skin, nerve damage, and more.
- Facial and dental injuries: Injuries suffered when a motorcycle accident victim’s face hits the ground, or another object can result in broken bones and open wounds that may result in serious scarring or disfigurement.
Motorcycle Accident Damages
Motorcycles do not have the protective frame that cars and other motor vehicles have to protect passengers when accidents occur. Therefore, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death. The amount of compensatory damages victims and/or their families receive varies from case to case. An experienced personal injury attorney at Cooney & Conway will assess and investigate your case to determine the best course of action.
Among the damages motorcycle accident victims and their families can seek from the responsible party or parties include:
- Pain and suffering: A motorcyclist injured in an accident caused by the actions of others can recover damages for pain related to the injuries from the crash and residual suffering from the injuries and related surgeries.
- Medical expenses: Compensation for medical care incurred as a result of injuries related to an accident may include:
- Ambulance ride
- Assistive medical devices
- Doctor bills
- Emergency room visit
- Hospital expenses
- Nursing care
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Related medication
- Surgery bills
- Lost income: Lost wages can be recovered if accident victims are permanently or temporarily unable to work at the job held at the time of their accident.
- Disability: Most accidents involving motorcycles result in serious injuries and many cause permanent disability. There are three main types of disability with their own potential value for compensation:
- Temporary disability: Minor injuries like broken bones and whiplash that generally take a relatively short time to heal.
- Partial disability: Injuries that hinder the ability to work and perform other activities but do not prevent living an otherwise normal life.
- Permanent disability: Severe and lifelong traumatic injuries that prevent victims from working and earning income.
- Wrongful death: The families of motorcycle accident wrongful death victims deserve justice and closure.
Determining Factors for Motorcycle Accident Compensation
An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine whether a motorcycle accident victim has a case for compensation. Among the factors that will be considered include:
- Available evidence, including witnesses
- Extent and severity of the injuries
- Future medical expenses
- Hospital stay
- Permanent damage, such as scarring or loss of limbs
- Surgical needs
Victims of motorcycle accidents have a limited time to file a claim under the statute of limitations. Any delay in the process can make it more difficult to investigate, build, and present a comprehensive case. A team of successful and knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys at Cooney & Conway will send out qualified investigators, consult with experts in a wide range of fields, and handle all communications, and ensure that victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact Cooney & Conway Today
Contact the personal injury law firm of Cooney & Conway today and schedule a free consultation about your motorcycle accident case. Call toll free at 800-322-5573 to speak to a knowledgeable legal professional or simply fill out the free case evaluation contact information form located on this page and an associate will respond to your inquiry.