Motorcycle Accident Attorney
For many people, there’s nothing better than hitting the open road on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, however, motorcycle accidents are all too common across the country. If you will be riding a motorcycle, it’s crucial to know what to do if an accident happens. Read on below for common questions and answers about motorcycle accidents.
Do I need an attorney for a motorcycle accident?
The vast majority of the time, it’s crucial to retain an experienced motorcycle attorney as quickly as possible after being involved in an accident. With the exception of, say, dinging up your bike on a fixed object – entirely because of your actions and with no other parties involved – hiring a lawyer should be one of the first things you do.
Most of the time, motorcycle accidents occur because of someone else’s negligence. For example, you might crash on a roadway that’s not properly maintained by the local municipality. If other parties are involved, a lawyer can help you navigate your way through the complicated red tape that goes along with insurance claims and the like.
As soon as possible after being involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. With their knowledge of personal injury law and specific experience handling motorcycle claims, a competent attorney can help you protect your rights, ensuring you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled.
Do motorcycle accidents affect car insurance?
In most U.S. states, motorcycles must be registered and insured. Being involved in a motorcycle accident can affect your car insurance rates if you are found responsible. Just like with car insurance, you must notify your carrier if you are involved in an accident. Even if you don’t, they are likely to learn about it when your policy comes up for renewal.
The state of California requires all registered vehicles to be insured. Their definition of vehicles that must be insured extends to two-wheeled vehicles, including motorcycles. If you own and operate a motorcycle in California, you must have liability coverage, which covers property damage and bodily injuries incurred by others.
At the very least, your insurance must provide $15,000 of coverage for injury/death to a single person, $30,000 of coverage for total injury/death to multiple people and $5,000 of coverage for property damage.
After a motorcycle accident is reported to your insurance company, your risk level will increase. Your premium will likely increase as well.
How bad are motorcycle accidents?
The stakes are higher for motorcyclists than for people operating cars, trucks and other motor vehicles. Motorcycles leave riders exposed on all sides, and they are lighter and less stable than larger vehicles. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, NHTSA, 5,172 motorcyclists were killed – and more than 89,000 were injured – in accidents in 2017. Incredibly, 97% of these accidents happened in cloudy or clear weather, so bad weather wasn’t to blame in most cases.
Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be fatally injured in collisions than people who are driving regular cars and trucks. When high speed, alcohol and other risk factors are thrown into the mix, the risks are higher. Many motorcyclists lack sufficient skill and experience, and some bikers engage in reckless maneuvers that put them at increased risk. Factors like road conditions, often beyond the control of motorcyclists, increase the risks even more. Finally, since motorcycles are smaller and less noticeable than other vehicles, they are more likely to be involved in high-speed collisions – typically with grave consequences.
How do most motorcycle accidents occur?
One of the best ways to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident is by familiarizing yourself with the most common motorcycle accident scenarios, including the following:
- Head-On Collisions – Approximately 56% of motorcycle accidents involve cars hitting motorcycles head-on. The vast majority of the time, the car hits the motorcycle from the front rather than the rear.
- Left-Turning Cars – One of the most dangerous scenarios for motorcyclists is approaching a vehicle that’s making a left turn. Cars making left turns account for 42% of motorcycle accidents. Many times, the turning car fails to notice the motorcycle since it’s much smaller. Other times, the motorcyclist tries to pass or otherwise engages in risky behavior.
- Lane Splitting – Although it’s allowed in many states, lane splitting – riding in the space between lanes and vehicles – is a common risk factor for motorcycle accidents.
- Fixed Object Collisions – While 18% of car collisions with fixed objects result in fatalities, 25% of motorcycle collisions with fixed objects result in death.
- Speed and Alcohol Use – Many motorcycle accidents involve excessive speed or impairment from drugs or alcohol on the part of the automobile driver or motorcyclist.
How many motorcycle accidents occur per year?
In 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in car accidents. Although this figure is down 5% from the previous year, motorcyclists are still heavily overrepresented among motor vehicle accident fatalities.
Many motorcycle accidents happen in California. In 2013, 11,780 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in the state, and more than 480 people were killed.
Per mile traveled in 2018, the number of deaths for motorcyclists was 27 times higher than for automobile drivers, and motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in 2019. Motorcycle deaths across the country more than doubled from 1997 to 2019, primarily due to reductions in helmet safety laws in many states. Today, only 18 states plus the District of Columbia require motorcyclists to wear helmets.
How much money can I get from a motorcycle accident?
It’s natural to wonder how much compensation you can expect to receive after being injured in a motorcycle accident. However, there is no set formula for calculating the value of a motorcycle accident claim. The ultimate value depends on many different factors, which is why it’s so important to retain an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
To receive any compensation at all from a motorcycle accident, you must establish that it occurred because of someone else’s negligence. The locale where the incident occurred also affects how much you can receive – another reason why it’s so important to work with an experienced attorney.
The amount that you may receive from a motorcycle accident mostly depends on the types of losses you incur. These may include concrete costs associated with past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and property damage. They may also include general damages, such as less tangible things like pain and suffering.
Ultimately, the amount that you can collect from a motorcycle accident claim depends on the amount and availability of insurance coverage held by the defendant. According to Jury Verdict Research by Thomson Reuters, the median personal injury verdict for motorcycle accident claims from 1996 to 2000 was $73,700.
How can I avoid motorcycle accidents?
Some of the top ways to avoid being involved in motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Wearing a helmet – For every 100 people killed in motorcycle accidents without helmets, 37 would have survived. Regardless of the law, always wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle.
- Getting a motorcycle license – It’s required in most states, and you must pass a safety course to get one.
- Riding sober – Never operate a motorcycle while under the influence.
- Getting professional training – Considering that 90% of people involved in motorcycle accidents are self-taught or taught by friends, getting professional training should keep you much safer on the road.
- Wearing protective clothing – Cover up as much as possible, including gloves, goggles, long pants, and boots.
- Maintaining your motorcycle – Keep up with routine maintenance to avoid mechanical issues on the road.
- Learning common causes of accidents – Familiarize yourself with the most common motorcycle accident scenarios to be more vigilant when you encounter them.
- Avoiding road hazards – Always keep an eye out for potential hazards on the road, including debris and potholes.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
Immediately following a motorcycle accident, determine if you or anyone else has been injured and summon emergency medical help right away if so.
From there, follow these steps after being involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Collect contact information for all involved parties – Write down as much information as you can, including name, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and vehicle make and model.
- Call the police – Call the police to notify them of the accident and to file a report, which you will need later.
- Document the scene – Take notes about the accident scene, including the location, road conditions, weather, speed limit, lighting, and the direction of travel of all involved vehicles. Take photos of everything.
- Talk to witnesses – Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident. Use the audio recorder on your phone to record what they saw in their own words.
- Contact your insurance company – Inform your insurance company of the accident.
- Never admit fault – Regardless of what happened, never admit fault to anyone after a motorcycle accident.
- Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer – Finally, hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as quickly as possible after being involved in a motorcycle accident.