If you’re an avid motorcyclist, you know that riding a motorcycle on Kentucky streets and highways is inherently riskier than driving a car. You’ve may have done everything in your power to wear the right gear, buy a safe motorcycle, and follow the laws of traffic, but sometimes bad things happen to safe riders. If you’ve been injured in a Kentucky motorcycle accident, you need help from a Louisville motorcycle accident lawyer.
Despite taking all the safety precautions we can, even safe motorcyclists are left to the peril of every other car and truck driver on the road. Drivers don’t always look out for motorcyclists like they should. Every day, drivers break traffic laws, fail to give motorcyclists the proper right-of-way, and place the lives of others at risk. Depending on the nature of your motorcycle accident, legal recourse may be an option for you and your family, but first, let’s examine the facts about motorcycle accidents in Kentucky:
Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Facts and Statistics
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than occupants of passenger cars. Simple physics don’t lie. Passenger vehicles are larger, heavier, and are protected by a coat of armor. When a motorcyclist collides with a car traveling at full speed, the results are almost always devastating for the motorcyclist—even if they’re equipped with the right gear.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office of Highway Safety estimates that there were 1,275 motorcycle accident injuries and 76 motorcycle accident fatalities throughout Kentucky in 2014. Of those injured, 668 riders and passengers weren’t wearing a helmet. Of those killed, 56 weren’t wearing a helmet.
The NHTSA estimates that wearing a helmet can reduce motorcycle rider fatalities by up to 37% as well as reduce the chances of suffering from a brain injury by up to 65%. These figures are significant and should not be ignored.
In 1968, Kentucky enacted a motorcycle helmet law that required all riders to wear a helmet. In 1998, this law was amended. Currently, only the following motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear a helmet:
- Motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 21
- Riders who currently possess a motorcycle instruction permit
- Riders who have had an operator’s license for less than one year
By choosing a wear a helmet, any Kentucky motorcyclist can reduce their chances of dying in a crash or suffering from severe brain trauma. Traumatic brain injuries are not usually curable and can lead to lifelong, debilitating consequences. As you can see from the above statistics, choosing to not wear a helmet is simply not worth the risks.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in Kentucky
Motorcycle accidents in Kentucky occur due to a wide variety of reasons, but when the statistics are examined closely, we can find a few common links and resulting causes to the most devastating crashes. Here are those common causes:
Making Left-Hand Turns
When a passenger car makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle, the driver does not always properly check their mirrors or physically turn their head to look for the motorcyclist. They may not even know the motorcyclist was there. This can quickly result in a crash since neither vehicle will be able to stop in time.
Motorcyclists often get into a habit of splitting a lane with other drivers when passing cars or making turns. An accident can be caused when a driver does not see the motorcycle next to them in time. Riders and drivers alike need to be wary of lane splitting. Drivers should watch out for motorcyclists who may be in their blind spots and riders should be cautious about splitting lanes when nearby drivers may not be watching.
An inexperienced motorcyclist is more likely to get into an accident than one who has been riding for many years in traffic. Newer riders are encouraged to enroll in motorcycle safety courses that can help them learn to avoid accidents. Kentucky residents can find out more here.
When a driver or rider is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to make mistakes while driving or misjudge distance. A drunk driver is also far more likely to not see a motorcyclist in front of them or approaching from behind. This can quickly lead to disaster.
Motorists and motorcyclists often get into head-on collisions when the driver of a passenger vehicle fails to give the motorcyclist proper right-of-way or simply does not see them. Motorcyclists, like all drivers, follow the same right-of-way laws as every other driver. All motorists need to remember this and stay cautious.
Most of the common causes for motorcycle crashes in our state can be linked to negligence, reckless actions, or human error. All three situations can absolutely be avoided. When passenger car drivers and motorcyclists learn to share the road and learn how to look out for one another, almost all of the above accidents can be prevented.
Pursuing a Successful Motorcycle Accident Claim in Kentucky
If you’ve been involved in a serious motorcycle accident in Kentucky and feel the accident was caused by negligence or reckless driving behaviors such as those listed above, you might be left without a lot of financial options. Insurance companies often try and place the blame on a motorcyclist even if the accident was not their fault. The insurance company for the other driver may also do everything in their power to reward you with less than you are owed.
If either of these situations sound familiar, you have a legal right in the United States to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident or an insurance company who is treating you unfairly. Lawsuits are civil claims that let individual citizens have a voice against injustices that are committed and companies that are acting unlawfully. By filing a motorcycle accident injury claim, you and your family can rest easier knowing that your medical bills can get paid.
In addition, filing a motorcycle injury lawsuit can help give you closure for an accident that wasn’t your fault. In the case of a driver who was using their cell phone when they caused a crash, for instance, a lawsuit will force that driver to rethink their actions. That driver will likely never get behind the wheel while distracted again. Lawsuits are incredibly powerful thanks to our nation’s legal system.
Not all motorcycle claims are created equal. There are any number of insurance policies that may come into play when your claim is being processed. Underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance, health insurance, personal liability insurance, and countless other policies can create an alphabet soup of competing acronyms on police forms, and the situation grows exponentially more complex when multiple vehicles are involved.
Handling complex motorcycle accident cases demands an intricate understanding of the forces at play including each car’s curb weight, for example, the speed and angle of every vehicle involved, where the motorcycle impacted the vehicle, and which relevant Kentucky traffic laws were active. You’ll also need a motorcycle expert who has a working knowledge of the different types of helmets and other safety equipment that may have affected the injuries you sustained.
To receive the help of a personal injury lawyer who has the necessary expertise and understanding of Kentucky motorcycle laws, you’ll need to hire a skilled Louisville motorcycle accident lawyer you can trust. This gives you your highest chances of seeing your claim succeed as you move towards settlement or trial.
How Can a Louisville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?
Many motorcycle accident victims find that court time proves unnecessary once a legal action is commenced. It is not unusual for other drivers to settle out of court rather than subject themselves to weeks and months of litigation, especially as it is notoriously hard to disprove fault when you are driving a vehicle up to ten times the weight of your victim’s. Good motorcycle accident attorneys prepare for settlement just as they would for trial, however, ensuring you have reenactments, photographs, eyewitness accounts, and medical documentation in your corner before negotiations commence.
A skilled Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyer like the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices can walk you through every step of the claim-filing process and will do what’s right for you and your loved ones. We can help your family move forward from a tragic accident that shouldn’t have happened. Contact our Louisville office to learn more.