Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycles are fun and exciting, they can also be dangerous on the roadways when other drivers are inattentive and careless. Motorcyclists experience many challenges on the road when they get on their bikes, and being in an accident is one of them. Motorcyclists can suffer significant harm when an accident occurs because they lack the size and protection that cars and trucks have. Severe and fatal injuries are common in motorcycle accidents.
There are several ways that motorcycle accidents occur, and while you should be a cautious rider, it is not to say that drivers offer you the same respect. The following are some common causes of motorcycle crashes, many of which involve the conduct of other drivers. Read on to learn more about our motorcycle accident lawyer.
Driving under the influence
Drivers should never get behind the wheel when intoxicated because it is dangerous to everyone on the road. Substance use impairs drivers’ ability to maneuver in traffic and leads to severe accidents. A substance can be drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both. The state can also hold drivers criminally liable for impaired driving, but motorcyclists can also file civil actions against them.
Most motor vehicle accidents have one thing in common: speed. The higher the driver’s speed, the more forceful the impact is on the motorcycle and the more severe the injuries might be. When drivers are speeding, they might not stop with sufficient time to avoid other vehicles or road hazards, leading to a life-changing accident.
Unsafe lane changes
Drivers must check their blind spots before switching lanes to avoid collisions. Some drivers depend on their car’s technology and do not check blind spots with their own eyes. When a motorcycle is in a driver’s blind spot, it can easily be run over and thrown into traffic. Some drivers check their blind spots but do not use turning signals, which is another form of an unsafe lane change.
All drivers and riders must move with the flow of traffic and when there is a hazard ahead, begin to stop with enough time to avoid it. Slamming on brakes causes everyone behind the vehicle to do the same, and some cars do not have enough time, causing a domino effect of collisions. A motorcyclist can die when the vehicle in front of them suddenly stops out of nowhere.
Car doors opening into traffic
Cars that use roadside parking spaces must always check for oncoming traffic before opening the door. A door can hit a passing motorcyclist, causing them to fly over the door and hit the pavement. These dooring accidents can be far more serious than many people might think.
New drivers can get overly confident or might be unsure of the traffic laws in a particular area, which can lead to accidents with other vehicles, including motorcycles. They might think they can switch lanes and do not realize that motorcycles are in the next lane. During their driving training and test, they may not have encountered a motorcycle, and while they theoretically know what to do around smaller vehicles, they may not take the proper action when the time comes.
Drivers must be vigilant for motorcycles, especially during the summer when motorcyclists are particularly prevalent. While motorcyclists know that their life depends on their ability to stay focused, other drivers do not take their responsibilities seriously. Food, music, phones, kids, and pets are all distractions that drivers put on themselves. These are all optional, and a driver should not focus on distractions; instead, they should eliminate them and focus on the road ahead. When distracted drivers cannot react in time, severe consequences result for motorcyclists.
Emotional and psychological impairment
Many factors can impair a person’s judgment, and emotional struggles like a death or job loss can slow reaction times. Drivers should not get on the road when they are full of emotions they cannot control, especially anger. Drivers who are not in the right mind should pull over or take time to process their feelings before hitting the road. Emotions can also cause road rage accidents.
Sleep deprivation is another common psychological impairment for drivers because it impairs their judgment just as much as driving under the influence in many situations.
Left turns can be dangerous when drivers do not respect the right of way. Some drivers intentionally speed up when they see a motorcyclist making a left turn. These accidents are hazardous and result in death, while most drivers suffer only minor injuries.
Motorcyclists are not the only ones making left turns; other drivers are also. Many times drivers will make a left when there is a motorcycle coming. Drivers turning left must yield to motorists going straight, no matter the kind of vehicle. Drivers often attribute distraction, low visibility, and speeding to left turn accidents.
You maintain your bike and ensure it has all the necessary pieces to work and function. However, sometimes, a part manufacturer designs the part poorly, or the mechanic installs the part incorrectly. Defective parts lead to serious bodily injury to riders and bystanders. Additionally, it can be a faulty part that causes the bike to lose control or force you to drive erratically.
Dangerous road conditions
Crumbling pavement, debris on the road, potholes, and a lack of road signals are all dangerous road conditions that can lead to motorcyclist injuries. A motorcyclist can be doing everything right when suddenly they are thrown from their bike. You can be left dazed and confused without any idea how or why you are on the ground.
The same dangerous conditions will often not impact a car as much as a motorcycle. Some examples are poorly lit roads, hidden driveways, unmarked lanes, standing water, low-hanging branches, and pavement defects. Insufficient shoulders and dangerous railroad tracks are also factors to consider.
Types of collisions
While there are many causes of collisions, there are also several collision types. Motorcyclists in a crash nearly always get the worst of it because they do not have the same protections as a motor vehicle occupant. They might wear protective gear, but depending on the type of motorcycle accident, that is not enough to shield them from severe injury or death.
Almost half of all motorcycle collisions are head-on with another vehicle. The car is usually the one to strike the motorcyclist. The force of a motorcycle is no match for the force of a car, as they have very different weights and sizes. Cars weigh, on average, four times more than motorcycles, and a head-on impact can result in a huge force against the motorcycle.
Any debris, damage, or other dangerous road conditions can cause a motorcyclist to crash into a fixed object or another vehicle. Motorists do not intentionally run into inanimate objects; they usually get thrown toward them. Suppose a road defect causes a motorcyclist to swerve off the pavement and into a fence; that is not the motorcyclist’s negligence but the parties who maintain the road.
These accidents are common during lane changes as cars swipe a motorcycle’s side, sending the rider flying into adjacent lanes.
T-bone accidents often occur at intersections when a driver turns left, and a motorcycle goes straight, or vice versa. T-bones are common when a driver fails to yield the right of way, and they can also happen when drivers run red lights or ignore stop signs. Drivers tend to misjudge a motorcyclist’s speed and will take a chance that often results in disaster.
Serious injuries from motorcycle accidents
As a motorcyclist, you might wonder just how badly you will suffer in a crash. Each crash is different, as are the resulting injuries. Some injuries are more common in motorcycle accidents than others, but they are all serious and might require lengthy hospital stays and ongoing treatment.
Traumatic brain injury
A highly common injury is a TBI because even while you’re wearing a helmet, the brain is still at risk of being injured during a collision. It can also significantly impact your daily life because you might notice a downward spiral of what you can accomplish. Seizures are also common TBI symptoms. You might be unable to work, and it can take a lot of therapy and rehabilitative service to get you to complete tasks that used to be simple.
Spinal cord trauma
All the nerves in your spine dictate how your brain sends messages to your body. You can suffer muscle weakness, nerve damage, and paralysis from spinal cord trauma. Paralysis can be in one area of the body, but it can also be widespread and permanent.
Neck and back injury
The neck and back are highly susceptible to motorcycle accidents because your body can contort differently when you get thrown from your bike. You might need to undergo physical therapy, have surgery, or suffer chronic pain.
Motorcyclists are often thrown off their bikes and will hit the pavement, and if the skin is unprotected, it can scrape across the pavement, causing road rash. You might need a skin graft to repair the skin and can even suffer a severe infection.
Broken bones can impact your life for some time because you will likely need to wear a cast or brace. You might need some therapy to get the motion back when the cast comes off, and severe cases require surgery. Work and home activities will suffer because you must find workarounds during your recovery.
Liability for motorcycle accidents
While the media tries to paint motorcyclists as reckless and responsible for accidents, they are usually not at fault. Drivers are usually negligent and cause these accidents, and even when the motorcyclist is the only one involved, there might be a manufacturer or government entity to blame.
Sometimes the car and motorcycle do not collide, but the driver is still responsible for the accident because they run a motorcycle off the road. Mechanics and parts manufacturers can also bear responsibility if they act negligently, causing an accident.
As a motorcycle accident victim, you should not bear responsibility for the negligent actions of another person. You must contact a local motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for your rights. You have legal options to file an insurance claim and recover money for the losses you suffer from these heinous actions.
Compensation for motorcycle accidents
A motorcycle accident comes at a high cost for motorcyclists and their passengers. Drivers might walk away with minor injuries and rarely think of the accident again, whereas motorcyclists do not get that privilege. You might feel pain for some time and must attend many medical appointments. You can lose your job and even become paralyzed, requiring around-the-clock care. You need compensation for these expenses and losses, which is what a motorcycle accident lawyer will look to get for you.
Through an insurance claim, you might obtain compensation for the following:
- Medical costs: Most of your claim will focus on medical expenses like emergency care, the cost of procedures, doctors’ bills, prescription medication, transportation, and future expenses.
- Emotional distress: Accidents are traumatizing, and you might feel anxiety, PTSD, or depression after an accident. You will need treatment and should include these costs in your claim.
- Property damage: Your bike is likely severely damaged or a total loss, and if you can ride again, you will need a new one or need to have repairs covered. If you cannot ride, you still need reimbursement for what your bike was worth.
- Lost income: Any time you must take off work, you are due back in your recovery claim, so it is vital to keep track of your pay and the days you miss.
- Lost earning potential: A permanent injury can restrict you from working in the same capacity you once did. You need monetary recovery to make up for these losses.
- Loss of enjoyment: Life around you continues, but you do not enjoy it the way you once had, and you should receive compensation for that.
You must discuss your compensation options with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to determine what you deserve and work toward recovery.