According to recent U.S. statistics from 2014, about 92,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries that year. You may notice that attorneys typically put motorcycles into a different category of motor vehicle accidents. Several factors set motorcycles apart from regular passenger vehicles, including their slim profiles. From the type of person who rides a motorcycle to the state laws, here are some of the ways that motorcycles accident cases differ from other types of auto accident cases:
- The construction of a motorcycle sets it apart. Motorcycles are two wheeled, open-air vehicles that give their riders little to no protection on the roadways. In a motorcycle accident, motorcycle drivers and passengers are more likely to suffer a serious or fatal injury because they don’t have a metal enclosure to protect them from impacts.
- The slim profile of motorcycles make them difficult to see. Many accidents involving motorcycles happen around intersections and in high traffic areas. If a driver fails to pay close attention to the roadway, he or she may hit the motorcycle and cause a serious accident.
- Lane splitting and lane sharing laws in the U.S. Lane splitting is a potentially dangerous practice for motorcycle riders, and it’s outlawed in every state in America except California. Even though it is considered illegal in most areas, people still do it. Under certain circumstances, such as high speeds and around distracted drivers, these practices can contribute to a dangerous traffic incident. Accidents resulting from carelessly changing lanes or riding on a lane divider can result in serious injuries or death.
- The types of injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents differ. Passenger vehicle drivers involved in motorcycle accidents may walk away from the scene with few or no injuries, while motorcyclists often face life-threatening injuries. Head injuries, road rash, lacerations, and spinal injuries are just a few types of wounds that can forever change a motorcyclist’s quality of life. Also, according to Rideapart.com, 30 percent of all non-fatal motorcycle injuries were recorded on the lower extremities. During an accident, the force of impact may throw a motorcyclist away from the scene, pin the rider between the motorcycle and the vehicle, or completely sever a body part.
- Motorcyclists are more likely to encounter problems with roadway hazards. In inclement weather and on hazardous surfaces, motorcyclists don’t have the same level of stability as passenger vehicles. Some of the worst motorcycle accidents don’t involve other vehicles, but rather hazards on the road, like loose gravel, potholes, ice and more.
- Liability varies in motorcycle cases more than you think. Many people hold a stereotypical view of motorcyclists. They believe that people who ride motorcycles are daredevils or inherently unsafe drivers. In reality, most motorcyclists are experienced drivers who are comfortable with handling their bikes, can evade obstacles better, and are even more attentive on the road than car drivers. Motor vehicle drivers are more likely to cause accidents with motorcycles.
- Motorcycle accidents often result in extreme property damage. The size and weight of motorcycles versus passenger vehicles changes accident outcomes. An incident might total a motorcycle while barely causing damage to a passenger vehicle.
- Safety equipment plays a role in a motorcycle case. Motorcyclists in the state of Maryland must wear helmets that meet certain safety requirements. If a motorcyclist wears a safety helmet that doesn’t meet state requirements, it may affect his or her ability to obtain compensation in an accident case. Plus, the act of wearing a helmet when out riding demonstrates that the rider was taking the necessary precautions on the road, and this potentially helps lean the court’s decision more in the motorcycle rider’s favor.
In addition to these differences, pursuing a lawsuit requires developing a strong case against the motor vehicle involved. After a motorcycle accident, an injured motorcyclist will need the support of an attorney who understands local motorcycle laws and the history of similar cases.
Those injured and the family members of those killed in motorcycle accidents have the right to pursue fair compensation from the person who caused the incident. Certain factors may make motorcycle accidents more serious than other types of accidents, but they don’t affect an injured plaintiff’s right to justice and closure. Pursuing a personal injury case can help an injured motorcyclist cover costs including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
This article has been provided courtesy of the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. They are personal injury & accident lawyers in Baltimore, Maryland that offer the practice areas of motorcycle accidents, car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and more.