What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
Most of the time, when a motorcyclist is in an accident, it is not the biker’s fault. Drivers of cars, trucks, and buses often fail to notice a biker on the road until it is too late. Regardless of who caused the collision, the forces involved mean that a biker is almost always likely to be hurt or killed.
In fact, in 2018 alone, there were 2,266 injuries in Illinois crashes involving motorcycles. Of those, 811 resulted in serious injury and 119 were fatal.
Motorcycles account for a small portion of all accidents and a disproportionately high number of fatalities. So, it is important to recognize the common causes of motorcycle accidents and to take all practical steps to avoid them.
In our experience as Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys, we have found the following to be the most common ways a motorcycle crash occurs:
Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents occurs when a car attempts to turn left in front of an oncoming bike. If the driver of the car does not have enough space to complete a turn, a collision will result.
In Chicago motorcycle left turn accidents, a motorcyclist usually impacts the passenger side of the vehicle or lays down the bike. Injuries are likely to result.
Rear-End Motorcycle Collision
Motorcycles need less time and less distance to stop than heavier vehicles. As a result, drivers should allow extra space between themselves and a motorcycle in front of them.
This increased cushion is necessary in case traffic comes to a stop or a biker must brake for another reason. Despite this, many drivers follow bikers more closely than they would another vehicle.
This can lead to a dangerous situation where drivers cannot stop in time to prevent a rear-end collision. While rear-end crashes between cars can sometimes be minor, they rarely are when it involves a motorcycle.
Head-On Motorcycle Accident
Head on collision accidents no matter what the vehicle is always prove to be one of the most severe accidents someone can be involved in. In the instance of a head-on motorcycle accident it almost always leads to severe injuries or even death.
Staying alert as a motorcyclist and paying attention to other drivers on the road can help prevent the likelihood of a head-on collision. Proper maintenance of your motorcycle can also help you avoid a head on collision by checking your lights and making sure that other drivers on the road can see you in low light circumstances.
Changing Lane Motorcycle Accident
On any road, a motorcyclist is at risk when another vehicle decides to change lanes. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars because of their small size, so it is easier for bikes to hide in a driver’s blind spot.
Also, drivers may fail to look for a motorcycle before changing lanes and cause an accident.
Collisions that begin with a motorcycle being sideswiped usually results in the rider getting thrown to the ground. This is another source of serious injury among the riding community and these accidents can be fatal.
Distracted Driving Motorcycle Accident
Distraction can be from an object inside or outside of a vehicle. Everyday things like a cup of coffee, a conversation with a passenger, or even the radio can cause distraction. More problematic are cell phones and other devices with communication abilities.
Distracted drivers are more likely to cause an accident. Studies show that drivers who text are nearly as deadly as drunk drivers. These motorists cause crashes and it’s the bikers that get hurt.
Dooring Motorcycle Accident
Dooring is the term for when a passenger in a vehicle opens a vehicular door into traffic. Most often, this happens after a car parks on a street and the driver and passengers try to exit.
When motorists fail to look for oncoming traffic, they risk opening the door into the path of a motorcycle.
When a car strikes an open door, the occupants of the car are not at significant risk for serious injuries. This is not true of bikers, who too often get killed in these accidents.
It is the responsibility of a driver to make sure that no door opens into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Failure to do so puts the driver at fault for a crash.
Driving Under the Influence Motorcycle Accidents
If a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatal crashes are a very real possibility. Motorcyclists are very susceptible to injury if they happen to cross paths with a DUI driver. Intoxicated motorists present not only a risk to themselves, but to everyone else on the road. It also goes without saying that motorcycle drunk driving is also extremely dangerous and should never be done.
Right-of-Way Motorcycle Accidents
Right of way motorcycle accidents commonly happen when another driver neglects to adhere to a motorcyclists right-of-way capability usually because they check their surroundings and see the rider.
Sudden Stop Motorcycle Accidents
Vehicles making sudden stops may end up in rear-end accidents. While rear-end collisions are some of the most common traffic crashes in the nation, they usually involve passenger cars and larger vehicles.
These accidents may produce property damage only or they may cause injuries to the drivers and passengers involved. But when a motorcycle is involved in a sudden stop accident, like a rear-end crash, the results are almost always serious. It can cause a rider to lose his or her life.
Sudden stops cause complicated legal cases that may entitle victims to seek relief depending on the facts surrounding the crash.
Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries caused by a motorcycle accident can be extremely serious. Motorcyclists are especially at risk of head injuries because of the lack of protection riders have when compared to enclosed vehicles. Head injuries caused by motorcycle accidents can require extensive treatment, surgeries, hospitalization, and therapy. Head injuries are the leading cause of disability and death for motorcycle riders. This emphasizes the importance of wearing a helmet while riding. When compared mile to mile, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger vehicle drivers to suffer fatal injuries. Additionally, motorcyclists are 4 times more likely to suffer injuries in general.
Spinal Cord Injury
When the spinal cord is impacted in a motorcycle accident, it can result in serious complications and a lifetime of pain. The spine, like the brain, is critical to almost everything we do. An injury to these areas can affect almost every aspect of a rider’s life. A complete spinal injury causes a loss of all ability to function below the injury, while an incomplete injury causes the patient to lose a portion of their movement. No matter how the spinal cord is affected, whether it’s just nerve damage or a full severing of the spinal cord, victims are likely to have costly medical bills, significant time off work, and serious pain and suffering.
Leg injuries are very common with motorcycle accidents since the lower half of the body is so exposed on a bike. If you think about it, the only real protection a motorcyclist has is their helmet. Almost all other body parts are vulnerable. If a rider is struck by a car, their leg could be crushed between the vehicle and their own bike. They could also end up trapped under their bike. These leg injuries can result in broken bones, fractures, and soft tissue damage which may affect walking, hobbies, and other activities.
Internal injuries can be extremely serious. Internal injuries include damage to organs, internal bleeding, or disruption to other bodily systems caused by blunt force trauma or penetrative trauma. For example, if a piece of broken piece of metal were to penetrate into the body or if the rider’s body experiences extreme force, the rider could suffer internal injuries.
Road rash is very common in motorcycle accidents and can range from mild to serious. Road rash occurs when a rider’s skin makes contact with the road. If road rash occurs on bare skin, it can be a lot more serious than if the driver was wearing a leather jacket or other protective gear. Road rash can cause excruciating pain, serious infections, and significant scarring.
Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
After getting into an accident, you may be concerned about the amount of debt you’ve accumulated through medical bills and lost wages. We understand that getting compensation for all the things you lost is a key factor in your decision to file a lawsuit, and we’ll work hard to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.
The most common damages from motorcycle accidents fall into two different categories. Economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to monetary losses that you’ve experienced because of your injury. These losses include medical bills (such as costs for ambulance rides, surgery, therapy, and hospital stays and doctor’s visits), lost wages from missing work while recovering from your injuries, and any other monetary costs that are due to your injuries.
Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement you have experienced. Pain and suffering compensation is calculated by your attorney using his or her experience handling similar claims, looking at past jury verdicts, and by considering the severity of the injuries and the victim’s prognosis. There is no objective way to determine how much something like “pain” or “suffering” is worth in the same way you know how much a $2,000 hospital bill is worth. An experienced attorney can help you with understanding how much you non-economic damages are worth.
What to do After Being Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
After you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, the first thing you should do is ensure that everyone involved is safe. If anyone has any life-threatening injuries, your first priority should be calling 911. If you experience a life-threatening injury and are unable to remain at the scene of the crime because you were taken away in an ambulance, don’t worry. Your health is the most important thing. However, if you’re able to stick around at the scene of the accident, here are a few steps you should take.
Gather as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, your motorcycle, the car that hit you, the location surrounding you, and your injuries. Next, exchange information with the other parties involved in the collision. Further, you should gather witness information from anyone who saw the accident so that your attorney can speak to them later. Encourage independent witnesses to stick around to speak with the police so that they can document what they saw in the police report.
Speaking of a police report, be sure to file one. Not only is this required, but it’s helpful in documenting your accident. Don’t let anyone talk you out of calling the authorities.
Next, you should head to the hospital for medical treatment. Make sure to let your doctor know that you were injured because of a motorcycle accident so they can notate it on your file.
Finally, begin looking into hiring a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney to handle your case. You’ll want to hire someone who has experience with motorcycle accident cases and has a good track record of winning cases and getting high settlements.
After you hire an attorney, that law office can handle the insurance company for you. Hiring an attorney before you do anything involving the insurance companies is crucial, as they are notorious for deceitful tactics and talking accident victims into taking quick lowball settlements.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Abels & Annes
With several motorcycle accidents occurring every day in Illinois, the threat of injury is too great to ignore. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent an accident.
But, recognizing the frequent types of motorcycle accident crashes can help a rider avoid them. Vehicular drivers also need to realize their part in preventing crashes and to watch for motorcycles as they drive. It is always better to be cautious and to avoid an accident then to suffer the penalties for causing a biker to lose his or her life.
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident in the Chicago area, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Let us provide you with a free case consultation.
We never charge a fee unless you make a recovery and we are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (312) 924-7575.You can also contact us online for your convenience. Call us today and let us help you.