Motorcycle accidents are more deadly than any other kind of traffic accident. The motorcyclist has very little protection against the heavy metal and machinery of a passenger car or truck. As a result, motorcycle accident injuries are almost always severe, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Limb amputation
- Internal bleeding
What causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcyclists are often perceived as reckless drivers, but in fact, many motorcycle accidents are caused by the inattention and negligence of other drivers on the road.
Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but among the most common are:
- Other drivers following motorcycle too closely;
- Other drivers failing to properly check for motorcyclists while making a lane change, pulling out from a side road or when entering an intersection;
- Other drivers making a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist;
- Motorcyclist driving while intoxicated;
- Inexperienced motorcyclist failing to follow safety guidelines.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
An estimated 142,000 motorcyclists have died in traffic crashes since the enactment of the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Per vehicle mile traveled in 2006, motorcyclists were about 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 8 times more likely to be injured.
Other sobering NHTSA statistics:
- Per registered vehicle, the fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2006 was 5.5 times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants. The injury rate for motorcyclists was 1.2 times the injury rate for passenger car occupants.
- In 2007, motorcyclists accounted for 13 percent of total traffic fatalities, 14 percent of all occupant fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupants injured.
- In 2007, 2,641 (50%) of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with another type of motor vehicle in transport. In two-vehicle crashes, 78 percent of the motorcycles involved were struck in the front. Only 5 percent were struck in the rear.
- Motorcycles are more likely to be involved in a fatal collision with a fixed object than are other vehicles. In 2007, 25 percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects, compared to 18 percent for passenger cars, 13 percent for light trucks, and 3 percent for large trucks.
- In 2007, there were 2,332 two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 40 percent (939) of these crashes, the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle. Both vehicles were going straight in 632 crashes (27%).
Motorcycle Accidents and Resulting Personal Injury Claims
If you ride a motorcycle and have recently been involved in an accident with a car, truck or other motor vehicle, resulting in your being injured, you should probably consider contacting a personal injury attorney who has experience in cases and claims of this nature. Motorcycle accident victims typically require specialized care and help since their injuries tend to be more severe than those caused by accidents involving passenger vehicles.
Motorcycle riders are more prone to serious injury, and even death, because they do not have the same protections as those in a car or truck. Motorcycle injuries often involve the legs and feet. These injuries can be extremely expensive to treat and can result in reduced mobility. A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation found the mean cost of hospital treatment for a single motorcycle injury to the leg or foot was $20,745. The cost increased to $38,608 for a motorcyclist with multiple leg or foot injuries. About one-fourth of motorcyclists with foot or leg injuries had other injuries as well and incurred medical charges of more than $109,000.
Motorcycle Accidents and Insurance Companies
If you operate a motorcycle, good insurance coverage is a necessity – but it may not guarantee sufficient compensation if you are seriously injured. If your injuries were caused by another driver who did not have adequate coverage, even the best insurance you can buy may not pay for comprehensive medical care and lost wages if your injury prevents you from working. Insurance companies also take full advantage of the misperception that motorcyclists are to blame for collisions. It’s much easier to deny your claim than pay the considerable medical bills and other costs associated with your injury.
Determining the Value of Your Injuries
Hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your claim and eventual lawsuit helps to level the playing field against the defendant’s insurance company. The following five points should be taken into consideration whenever you and your attorney are trying to arrive at a settlement value for your case:
- Damages to your motorcycle and other personal items associated with the accident, such as your gloves, helmet, etc.
- Payment for all medical expenses, both current and future bills
- Payment for lost wages, including any overtime and future earnings
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
Make sure that you have gathered all the information you can at the time of the accident which is necessary to documenting and filing your claim.