Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating adventure; however, it only takes seconds for tragedy to strike. Motorcycle accidents happen fast, and their effects can be devastating. Even with a helmet and full protective gear, motorcyclists face the risk of unaware and aggressive drivers in much larger vehicles. It’s important to recognize that what may be a minor accident for a car or truck can be a life-altering wreck for a motorcyclist.
The most recent national motorcycle data comes from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). They define a motorcycle as a two or three-wheeled motorcycle, off-road motorcycle, moped, scooter, mini bike, or pocket bike. In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents and an estimate 88,000 motorcyclists were injured. Of those 4,976 individuals, 163 resided in Ohio, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
If you or a loved one has been injured or worse in a motorcycle accident in Ohio, our Cincinnati motorcycle accident lawyers can help you hold the negligent party responsible for your accident, so you can focus on what matters most – recovery.
If you are considering seeking legal representation, the information below will provide you will some of the basics on motorcycle accidents. First, let’s take a look at why these wrecks happen.
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
In order to avoid a motorcycle accident, it’s important to understand why they happen. The majority of motorcycle wrecks are avoidable. It often boils down to a motorcycle rider understanding his vehicle and how it operates, as well as other motorists respectfully sharing the road. Below you’ll find a list of common causes of motorcycle accidents, so you can decrease your chance of getting into an accident.
Left Turns. The most common motorcycle accidents happen when a car makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist. The car usually hits the motorcycle when the motorcycle is driving through an intersection or passing the car. While it is likely the car’s driver will be okay, the motorcyclist will fair much worse because of their exposure to the elements.
Unsafe Lane Switching. Drivers risk colliding with motorcyclists in the event they fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes. Motorcyclists are easily obstructed in cars’ blind spots.
Head-On Collisions. Head-on collisions between a car and motorcycle are typically fatal for the motorcyclist. These accidents usually occur at high speeds. In an attempt to reduce the number of head-on collisions, the National Safety Council recommends motorcyclists do the following: read the road ahead, drive to the right, reduce your speed, and ride off the road.
Dangerous Road Conditions. Dangerous road conditions include inclement weather, potholes, crumbling pavements, road debris, and the lack of proper road signage.
Lane Splitting. Lane splitting is illegal. A motorcyclist splits lanes when choosing to drive between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic. This is a common cause of motorcycle accidents because of the close proximity of the cars to the motorcycle, the reduced space the motorcycle has to move, and the lack of anticipation a driver will have expecting someone will pass them.
Impaired Driving. Alcohol plays a large role in motorcycle wrecks. Judgment, reaction time, and overall control are severely decreased when alcohol is consumed.
Speeding. While some people buy a motorcycle because it can go fast, that doesn’t mean it always should. The consequences of speeding on a motorcycle can be deadly.
Dangerous Motorcycle Accident Injuries
In more than half of all nonfatal motorcycle accidents, victims suffer injuries to their lower extremities – including their legs and feet. Broken bones and road rash are incredibly common. Severely broken bones may require surgery. Road rash occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with the road at high speeds. The severity can vary – ranging from mild scrapes to completely flayed body parts. In severe cases, skin graphs may be necessary.
The most feared and often deadly motorcycle injuries revolve around head or neck trauma. Without the use of a helmet, a motorcyclist can sustain severe traumatic brain injuries or die in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmet use reduces the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of injury by 60 percent.
Determining Fault After a Motorcycle Accident
Who is at fault for a motorcycle accident is not always immediately apparent. A thorough investigation can take weeks, months, or years; however, in a majority of cases, the motorist in the car or truck is found to be at fault for the accident, not the motorcyclist.
Ohio follows a comparative negligence system when it comes to financial responsibility, vehicle damages, and other losses. This means that the person who is deemed liable for the accident is responsible for compensating anyone who suffered as a result of the crash; however, if both parties are found to be at fault they will be eligible for compensation based on percentages. If you’re 10 percent liable for the accident, you’re eligible for 90 percent of the compensation.
If you’ve suffered any injury or damage in a motorcycle accident, you can seek compensation by proceeding with one of the following actions:
- File a claim with your own insurance company
- File a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- File a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court
Regardless of what you choose, you may benefit from seeking legal advice.
Maximizing My Settlement with a Cincinnati Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Our Cincinnati motorcycle accident attorneys can help you figure out why your accident happened, investigate the crash scene, and help you seek the justice you deserve through monetary compensation. Your financial award may include payments for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of family relationships. In the event of a death, you may receive compensation for funeral expenses and loss of future income.
Contact us today with any question you may have. Your initial consultation is free.