Riding motorcycles may be a favorite pastime that many Americans enjoy. As warm, sunny weather rolls around and the flowers bloom, the motorcycle riders start riding. However, a delightful afternoon can quickly turn disastrous if an accident occurs. The results of a motorcycle accident can range from catastrophic injuries to even death.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to accidents due to the lack of protective structures like other cars or vehicles. Thus, motorcycle drivers are more likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries after an accident.
Motorcycle accidents can happen for many different reasons, and they are seldom minor accidents. Some accidents are due to unforeseeable circumstances like inclement weather. But a large majority of motorcycle accidents are preventable.
One of the top causes of motorcycle accidents is negligence or error by a vehicle operator. Here are a few of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents.
The Leading Cause of Motorcycle Accidents
The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to detect and recognize motorcycles on the road. In addition, intersections are dangerous for motorcyclists, with many accidents occurring there.
Drivers usually have limited visibility of motorcyclists since they are smaller than cars. As a result, even the most attentive and defensive drivers can fail to see a motorcyclist coming.
A number of factors can make it hard for a driver to see a motorcyclist coming. Perhaps there is a glare or some obstruction of view that the driver is experiencing in their rearview mirrors. It may even be possible that a driver is just flat-out not paying attention. Whatever the case, distracted driving is entirely preventable, but causes motorcycle accidents at an alarming rate.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Drivers making left-hand turns can be one of the most dangerous scenarios for motorcyclists. Left turns make up 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle. This usually happens due to the turning car hitting the motorcycle while going through an intersection.
While these accidents are also common between vehicles, the smaller size and lower visibility of motorcycles make the accident outcomes more common and more fatal. Usually, the car making the left-hand turn is liable for the accident. However, there are situations where the motorcycle could be found partially negligent if they were speeding or in the wrong lane.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Motorcycles are more vulnerable to dangerous road conditions than other motor vehicles. While a car could quickly recover from certain accident circumstances, the same conditions could be fatal for a motorcyclist.
For example, if a car comes upon slippery surfaces, loose gravel, or uneven pavement, it can quickly overcome whatever obstruction or hazards are on the road. But for a motorcyclist, any debris in the roadway can cause a significant accident. In addition, since motorcyclists are smaller than passenger vehicles, they have less stability and are more susceptible to accidents with dangerous road conditions.
About 56% of motorcycle fatalities involve a motorcycle crashing with another vehicle. Of those, 78% are head-on collisions, most of which have fatal outcomes.
Depending on the unique circumstances of the accident, the driver can be thrown in the air or crushed. In addition, head-on collisions usually occur at high speeds, increasing the odds of severe injury or death.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Lane-splitting is when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of cars. They often do this during heavy traffic. Lane splitting causes accidents because the motorcyclists get close to the other vehicles and leave little room to maneuver around them. Most drivers are not expecting a motorcyclist to weave between them, especially amid a traffic jam.
While it may seem like this type of accident would always be the motorcyclist’s fault, it depends on the state laws. Or, the way a police officer or judge interprets the circumstances of the accident can affect the outcome.
Speeding and Alcohol Use
Reckless driving and intoxicated driving are a culprit in all accidents. But they are also common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Drivers who operate machinery while intoxicated or at reckless speeds are more likely to cause accidents. In addition, drunk drivers have impaired judgment and delayed reaction time. They are also more easily distracted, posing a danger while driving.
Corner Turning Motorcycle Accidents
Corner turns are dangerous for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles are designed to have control around corners, but sometimes a sharp turn marks it challenging to control. In addition, with the slightest bit of road debris, a wipeout is likely, especially if the motorcyclist is going at high speed.
Sometimes motorcyclists can also miscalculate how big or small a turn is. Even drivers make this misjudgment sometimes. If a motorcyclist makes a sharp turn too fast, they may have difficulty correcting themselves and wiping out. Motorcycle wipeouts have a high risk of fatal injury due to motorcyclists lacking protective barriers.
Settling a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim
Several factors need to be considered when determining the length of time to settle a motorcycle accident injury claim. Some cases may only need a few months to settle, while others take years. Here are some of the factors that can influence the time it takes to resolve your motorcycle accident injury claim:
- How severe the accident was
- How substantial were your injuries
- What type of medical treatment have you received or will you need to receive in the future as a result of the accident
- Which insurance adjuster is appointed to your case
- Whether or not you have a lawyer advocating on your behalf
The insurance adjuster will need to spend time investigating your claim to formulate a settlement offer. If this takes too long and you are worried about your statute of limitations expiring, you can file a lawsuit. You can continue negotiating with the insurance company while simultaneously filing a personal injury lawsuit. If they offer you a fair settlement and accept, you can withdraw the lawsuit.
Get Legal Help for Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, Colorado has laws to protect you.
Working with a competent, qualified lawyer can ultimately spell the difference between the success or failure of your case. You’ll most likely find yourself up against insurance adjusters who are trained to minimize your claim. Furthermore, with the stress of injuries and financial hardships, an inadequate or inexperienced lawyer will only add to your frustration.
That’s why anyone who has suffered injuries from a vehicle collision while riding their motorcycle should consult with a Denver motorcycle accident attorney right away. A good attorney will have your best interests in mind every step of the way and fully understand the legal issues involved. Do not make the false assumption that all personal injury lawyers are of equal caliber. Instead, do your research and ask the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision and find the best attorney for your case.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will happily discuss your legal rights and fight to win you the total compensation you deserve.