June 30, 2016
Motorcycle accidents present many unique problems that are not necessarily factors in passenger vehicle accidents. The differences between them can greatly affect the outcome of a personal injury case, especially if the victim is not at fault. If you’ve been injured in motorcycle/auto accident, it may be in your best interest to reach out to a DC personal injury lawyer who understands the differences generally associated with motorcycle accident cases; including:
1. Motorcyclists have less protection than drivers and passengers in cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Many states require motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a protective helmet while on the vehicle. Data suggests that helmet use is at least 67% effective at preventing serious brain injuries and 37% effective at preventing fatal injuries. However, the use of a helmet is not a guarantee that a motorcyclist will be protected during an accident.
While many motorcyclists take every possible precaution to stay safe, these law-abiding riders are more likely to be more seriously injured or killed in a crash simply because they don’t have the same level of protection. When it comes to handling this kind of case, this could likely affect the way in which an attorney pursues compensation.
2. Motorcycles account for a small portion of vehicular traffic in the U.S., but a significant portion of serious accidents.
Data from the NHTSA shows that passenger vehicles in the U.S. account for 93% of all registered vehicles in the U.S., 90% of all miles traveled in the country, and they accounted for 77% of all fatal traffic accidents.
On the other hand, motorcycles only account for 3% of all registered vehicles and 0.7% of all miles traveled in the U.S. today — but motorcycle riders accounted for 14% of all traffic accident fatalities.
Even though it’s clear that more passenger vehicles are involved in fatal accidents than motorcycles, the risk of being involved in a fatal accident is much higher for motorcyclists. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer to turn to after an accident can be invaluable for injured victims and their families.
3. A significant number of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes do not have motorcycle licenses.
Any experienced motorcyclist will know that it takes a great deal of skill to operate a motorcycle safely; someone who possesses a regular driver’s license, but not a motorcycle license, is less likely to know how to operate a motorcycle safely.
According to data from the NHTSA, 24% of motorcyclists who sustained fatal injuries in 2013 did not have a valid motorcycle license while they were driving. This is twice as high as the rate (12%) of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal car accidents in 2013 who did not have a valid driver’s license. This factor can greatly influence a personal injury claim.
4. High speeds may have a greater effect in motorcycle accidents than it does in passenger vehicle accidents.
High speeds often exacerbate the injuries and property damage of an accident, regardless of what types of vehicles were involved. However, because motorcycles present virtually no barrier between drivers/passengers and the external environment, high speeds may play a bigger role in causing serious injuries and fatalities.
5. Environmental Hazards May Be a Bigger Risk
Hazards caused by weather conditions can be exacerbated when motorcycles are involved. Road hazards, such as potholes and loose gravel, often affect motorcyclists more than drivers in passenger cars as well. This is generally because motorcycles are often less stable and lighter in weight.
While these hazards seem more minor, an experienced attorney will likely still understand that they can still affect a personal injury claim, and a motorcycle accident victim may still have a right to compensation.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help. Motorcycle accidents can be extremely traumatic for injured victims and their families, and each case deserves the utmost care and attention to detail. Take the first step; consider contacting a personal injury lawyer today.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into motor vehicle related personal injury claims