Motorcycle Accidents - An Overview

Motorcycle riders face numerous risks. Although motorcycles account for only two percent of all vehicles on the road, they are nevertheless involved in at least 10 percent of all crashes. In 2007, more motorcyclists were killed in crashes than in any other year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began collecting data on accident fatality in 1975. Motorcyclists who are involved in accidents account for three times more injuries than drivers or riders in passenger cars, and 18 times more likely to be killed in an accident.

The high rate of accidents among motorcyclists can be attributed to a number of reasons. One of the main causes of motorcycle accidents is their lack of visibility. Since motorcycles are smaller than cars, they are more likely to be go unnoticed or overlooked by drivers of larger vehicles. Sometimes a large truck or van can obscure the motorcycle from view, and even adverse weather conditions like heavy rain can make it difficult for other motorists to see those who are riding motorcycles. Accidents that are attributed to low or poor visibility often take place at intersections.

Another major cause for motorcycle accidents are road hazards. These are usually minor annoyances for four-wheel conveyances, but can be considered major hazards for motorcycles. Examples of these hazardous road conditions may include such things as oil slicks, potholes, debris, puddles, uneven pavement, ruts, road humps, and even railroad tracks. Sometimes these conditions can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their bike, sending them spinning into the path of oncoming traffic or causing them to impact something stationary, such as a building, tree or telephone pole.
Helmet use – or the lack thereof – can also affect the severity of an accident. Although helmet use laws vary from state to state, and only 20 states currently require all riders to wear a helmet, research does suggest that wearing a helmet decreases the chances of fatality during an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmet use reduces the chance of dying in a motorcycle accident by over one-third – 37 percent.

Other accidents are due to the rider's lack of skill, expertise or coordination, or even a faulty motorcycle. Whatever the cause or causes, these accidents almost always leave the rider injured in one way or another.

Since motorcycle accidents usually happen because one of the people involved in the accident was careless or even negligent, the law follows one basic rule: if one of the people involved in the accident was found to be more negligent than the other, then the more-negligent party has to pay for a part of the damages that are being suffered by the other party.

If the negligent party that caused the accident was working for someone when it occurred, it is also possible that the employer be held legally responsible for what happened. This may apply when a vehicle such as a delivery truck hits a motorcycle.

These cases are often the grounds that motorcycle accident lawyers look for to successfully try a personal injury case involving motorcycles. These occurrences often cite that another party is at fault and is to be held liable for the accident that happened. With the anguish that accompanies such accidents, it is then no wonder that many lawyers specialize in handling such cases, and aim to help motorcyclists regain a normal life through financial compensation.

In the event that you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident and sustained injuries as a result, one of the most logical steps to take on your road to financial recovery will be to locate and consult with a reputable motorcycle accident attorney. During the initial consultation with the attorney, which will usually be free of charge, you and your attorney will discuss the details of your motorcycle accident and its consequences. The events and issues that will affect your claim will include your respect and regard for traffic laws, as well as regulations regarding motor vehicle usage. Your medical treatments and other liability considerations will need the expertise of a well-established motorcycle accident lawyer who knows all about accident liability cases related to motor vehicles.

Your attorney will usually take your case on contingency, which means that you don't have to pay his or her fees out-of-pocket, but can wait until you have won the case or a settlement, at which time the attorney's fees will be deducted from the total award.

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