The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that fatalities as a result of a motorcycle crash have more than doubled in the last ten years. There are more than 7 million registered motorcycles in the United States. Unfortunately, eleven percent of all roadway accidents involve a motorcycle.
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Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The main causes of motorcycle accidents include bad weather conditions, speeding, inexperienced riders or drivers, disregarding traffic rules such as ignoring stop signs or lights, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Lane splitting, where a rider drives his motorcycle between two lanes to avoid traffic back-ups, also causes motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle crashes are also caused by potholes, debris on the road, or another driver not seeing a motorcyclist because of obstructed view or glares.
Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The NHTSA states head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Fatalities from chest injuries also are common. Broken bones and injuries to the back or spine happen as well, including paralysis from spinal injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over half of non-fatal injuries treated in Emergency Rooms were leg, foot, head or neck related. Other common injuries include skin abrasions (“road rash”), deep cuts, and bruises from skidding along the ground during a crash.
Because head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, motorcyclists should always wear a helmet to help reduce the risk of injury and death. If you wear a helmet, your risk of head injury is reduced by 40 percent. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of death from a head injury by 37 percent. A helmet can help reduce the risk of neck injuries as well. In addition to a helmet with a face shield, other proper gear should be worn. This includes closed-toed shoes, preferably over-the-ankle boots, gloves, jackets, and pants in a material that will protect against the abrasion of the road should you crash. A motorcycle safety class is a must for new riders.
Whose fault is it? The motorcycle or other driver?
When a motorcycle crash results in injury or death, determining fault can make the difference for how an insurance claim or lawsuit is filed. Witnesses may play an important part in determining fault. If a motorcyclist is involved in a crash caused by a hit-and-run vehicle, the motorcyclist’s uninsured motorist insurance becomes important. A motorcyclist who is partially at fault for an accident may not receive full monetary compensation of the damage settlement under Indiana’s Law of Comparative Fault.
Anyone involved in a motorcycle accident should hire a lawyer before attempting to negotiate with an insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help see that the crash investigation is done correctly and that everything is properly documented in the police reports. If necessary, a lawyer can hire an expert accident reconstructionist to help determine who was at fault for an accident.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, click here to schedule a free consultation with our team of highly-skilled Indianapolis personal injury lawyers.