As gas prices continue to rise, the economic benefits of driving a motorcycle versus a car are simply too tempting for many drivers to pass up. While wearing a helmet, receiving proper training, and incorporating safe driving habits can certainly help protect a motorcyclist, this mode of transportation remains one of the most dangerous. Drivers simply fail to see motorcyclists in many cases, or misjudge the distance from their vehicle to the motorcyclist. In the end, when a motorcycle collides with a much larger passenger vehicle, the injuries are likely to be severe or even fatal.
Because motorcycles offer virtually no protection in the event of a collision with an automobile, bikers are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries and death. In fact, the differences between an automobile and a motorcycle within the context of an accident are huge, with very few characteristics in common. While both motorcycles and automobiles are modes of transportation, the operation and safety issues between the two could not be more different. A driver is surrounded by a glass and steel cage and has the benefits of safety belts and airbags while a motorcyclist has none of those. The only safety features a motorcyclist has is a helmet—which many motorcyclists do not wear—and protective gear such as “leathers.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, while there was a 3 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities in 2017, motorcyclists remain significantly overrepresented in traffic fatalities. Motorcycle Accident Information reported the following motorcycle accident statistics:
One of the primary factors in automobile/motorcycle collisions is the inability of the driver to see the motorcyclist. Motorcycles are much smaller visual targets, therefore much more easily overlooked. When a driver cannot see a motorcyclist, they may unintentionally violate the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. This is especially common at intersections. Drivers are also prone to backing out of a parking lot or driveway directly into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist. A straight head-on collision between an auto and a motorcycle almost always results in death to the motorcyclist. Left-hand turns made by automobiles are also the cause of a large number of motorcycle-vehicle accidents. The turning car unwittingly collides with the motorcycle rider as the motorcycle passes the car or proceeds directly through an intersection. When a motorcyclist passes a car that is driving in the same lane, they become even more defenseless because the driver of the car may not be expecting the maneuver.
When a motorcycle drives between two rows of cars that have stopped due to a traffic jam or are driving at a very slow rate of speed, this is known as lane splitting and can be yet another cause of motorcycle accidents. The motorcycle is in very close proximity to the cars, leaving the rider less space to manipulate the bike, and rendering the motorcyclist vulnerable should a car not anticipate their position, changing lanes or turning. The laws vary from state to state as to whether lane splitting is permissible, so if an accident occurs while the lane splitting is taking place, it may be more difficult to determine fault. Lane splitting is not legal in the state of Louisiana.
The fact is, many drivers of automobiles either truly do not understand the unique qualities of motorcycles or just don’t want to. Of primary importance in this issue is the fact that motorcycles are much more difficult to see than cars. This is no excuse for negligence on the part of the auto driver and is often a cause of serious or fatal accidents. As an aside, it is rather interesting that few people find it difficult to spot a police officer on a motorcycle, yet those same drivers fail to notice other motorcycle riders.
Drivers are conditioned to watch for other vehicles and as a result often overlook the motorcycle rider in their rearview mirror or the one making a (legal) turn across their path. Drivers backing out of a parking lot or driveway can also neglect to properly look for motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and even pedestrians as they look for other automobiles. On the flip side, motorcycle riders overall are much more alert and aware of their surroundings and are not as subject to typical automobile distractions such as cell phones, radios and conversations with other passengers. The most dangerous situation for motorcycle riders are cars making left hand turns—such collisions account for a significant number of all motorcycle/car accidents. Cars and trucks typically strike the motorcyclist as he or she travels through an intersection, passing a car or attempting to overtake a car.
In some cases, a driver may simply be annoyed as a result of being forced to share the road with a motorcyclist and, in rare cases, may even deliberately cause an accident based on a perceived image of who a motorcyclist is. In truth, many of those who routinely use motorcycles as their mode of transportation are as far from the tough biker gang-member stereotype as they could be. Often, bikers are professionals such as doctors and lawyers, or students seeking to lessen their impact on the environment and save money on gas. Yet many people still see the motorcyclist as a risk-taker, therefore a jury may view the injured cyclist as irresponsible and reckless no matter who caused the accident.
Whatever the reason for the motorcycle crash, a minor bump-in at twenty miles per hour can cause nothing more than a minor dent to a car but can send a motorcycle rider skidding and tumbling. Even if a motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, he or she can still file a claim against an automobile driver who was not exercising proper caution or attention. Because motorcycle laws can be significantly different from automobile laws, motorcyclists must know the differences and must fully understand their legal rights in order to recover damages following a collision.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle-auto accident it is highly likely you suffered serious injury. You may have medical bills stacked up, and because you have been unable to work you have no way to pay them. It is of the utmost importance that you retain a highly skilled personal injury attorney who has background and experience specifically in motorcycle accidents. You need an advocate in your corner who will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you both need and deserve, so choose your Louisiana motorcycle accident attorney carefully, then allow him or her to handle the legalities while you focus on healing.
You may be entitled to medical expenses, both current and future, as well as lost wages. You could be unable to work for a period of time, or even for the remainder of your life. The loss of your income could place your entire family in jeopardy, leaving you in an extremely vulnerable position. An experienced Louisiana bike crash lawyer from Hoffoss Devall will work hard on your behalf to ensure you receive deserved compensation.
Defendants may try to use the biker stereotypes to their advantage—this means a motorcycle rider who has been injured in an accident must take care to seek the most knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who will consistently look out for his or her best interests. A motorcycle accident attorney from Hoffoss Devall, who has significant experience defending motorcyclists injured by an automobile, understands how to get around the unfortunate stigma and get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Your Hoffoss Devall motorcycle accident attorney’s job will be to accurately assess the liability in your case using every means available to prove responsibility. Do not try to handle a motorcycle accident on your own; there are a variety of complexities you may encounter which most people are simply ill-equipped to handle. An experienced personal injury attorney from Hoffoss Devall, who is highly skilled in motorcycle accidents, stands a much better chance of recovering medical expenses and lost wages on your behalf and may even be able to secure damages for your pain and suffering as well as diminished quality of life. If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another, you need an attorney who will protect your rights and pursue the insurance company for just compensation.
When you have a Lake Charles motorcycle accident lawyer from the law firm of Hoffoss Devall, you have an advocate in your corner who will aggressively fight for full compensation for your pain and suffering. After a motorcycle injury crash, we want your full attention to be focused on healing. Our Hoffoss Devall bike crash attorneys will make sure you have the highest medical care available. We have the financial resources to care for clients with little or no health coverage and will work with insurance adjusters, assisting with property damage claims and medical expenses. Call the Lake Charles office of Hoffoss Devall at (337) 433-2053 or contact our law firm online for a free initial consultation.