What are the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries? Victims may sustain many types of injuries in motorcycle accidents, with many of these injuries causing permanent and extensive damage or death. Understanding these injuries and how they affect victims may help determine how much compensation you can recover in an accident case against a negligent driver or another party. For more information, reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Many injuries may result if you or a loved one get into a motorcycle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are four times more likely to sustain injuries than passenger vehicle occupants, and much more likely to suffer fatalities from a motor vehicle crash.
Some specific injuries that victims may sustain in a motorcycle accident include:
- Spinal injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Road rash
Because of the level of exposure that motorcyclists experience on the road, they are more likely to sustain serious or even fatal instances of any of these injuries in an accident.
If a negligent driver or another individual or entity is liable for a motorcycle accident, victims or their families may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against this party. In the process, they may seek compensation for the financial losses and pain and suffering resulting from these injuries.
What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are often serious, and motorcyclists are at greater risk of getting into an accident because of various factors. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents and subsequent injuries could include:
OPEN CAR DOORS
One common cause of motorcycle accidents is the opening of a car door when a motorcyclist does not expect it. When a parked driver or passenger opens a car door without warning, an approaching motorcyclist may not have time to react and get out of the way. As a result, the motorcyclist crashes into the door, potentially causing serious injuries.
While some states allow lane splitting, others, such as Illinois, have outlawed this practice. Lane splitting entails riding between lanes in the road to move past other vehicles. Motorcyclists may choose to split lanes if they are in stopped or slow traffic, but this practice could result in an accident. If a driver decides to open their car door and the motorcyclist is too close to the vehicle, this could result in a car door collision.
Some motorcycle accidents may involve a head-on collision in which a car or another vehicle hits a motorcyclist while both are heading in opposite directions. The high impact and speeds at which these accidents occur make them particularly dangerous and damaging.
When switching lanes, drivers may not see motorcyclists and hit them. Motorcyclists are often at a higher risk of getting into these types of accidents because of their smaller profile. Drivers may not see them as easily when in a blind spot, forcing the driver to look harder before switching lanes.
Drivers may also cause accidents by engaging in reckless driving behavior. For instance, drivers may operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or drivers may speed on the road, putting themselves and others at risk of injury. In any of these instances, the risk of accidents and serious injuries significantly increases.
POOR ROAD CONDITIONS
In some cases, poorly maintained roads could lead to motorcycle accidents. These conditions may include:
- Uneven pavement
- Inadequate lighting
- Debris in the road
- Missing guardrails
- Spilled substances or weather conditions causing slippery roads
Depending on the circumstances, local or state government agencies may be responsible for accidents resulting from poor road conditions. They may not be aware of certain road conditions when they should be, or they may be aware but hold off on addressing these issues in time to prevent an accident. Under these circumstances, government agencies may be liable for injuries or deaths resulting from inadequate road maintenance in their respective jurisdictions.
DEFECTIVE MOTORCYCLE PARTS
Vehicle or parts manufacturers may also be responsible for motorcycle accidents if defective parts were the cause. These might be either design or manufacturing defects that cause mechanical failure and lead to an accident. For example, faulty brakes may prevent a motorcyclist from stopping in time to avoid an accident with a stopped vehicle in front.
Other defective motorcycle parts could include frames, fuel systems, headlights, handlebars, and tires.
Types of Recoverable Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Regardless of the types of injuries sustained and the specific cause of the accident, victims may be able to seek compensation if a negligent party is responsible. Specifically, injury victims or their loved ones may be able to recover different types of economic, non-economic, or punitive damages.
Knowing the differences between the different types of damages can help you determine what you may be able to recover in your motorcycle accident case.
The first type of damage to consider is economic, meaning that these damages apply to the quantifiable financial losses that victims or their families experience.
Your claim may recover:
- Medical expenses to cover treatment and ongoing care
- Lost income resulting from recovery and temporary or permanent disability
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Modifications made to homes or vehicles to help adapt to a disability
- Loss of services resulting from a loved one’s wrongful death
In addition to economic damages, you may be able to recover certain types of non-economic or general damages. These damages pertain to the personal experience a victim or a loved one has after an accident, including pain and suffering. While it is not as easy to calculate these damages compared to economic damages, it is possible to quantify them using certain methods.
The following are some examples of non-economic damages:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
You may prove these damages by writing about your personal experience in a journal. This journal would document how you are feeling daily and the progress of your recovery after an accident.
Some cases may also involve punitive damages to punish an unusually negligent or malicious party. For instance, a driver’s reckless behavior may show a blatant disregard for the safety of others and cause serious damages; as a result, potentially warranting punitive damages.
If you are not sure what kinds of damages apply to your case, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you identify and calculate the economic, non-economic, and punitive damages you can pursue.
Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Like other types of negligence claims, you must prove negligence following a motorcycle accident if you believe a liable party is responsible. In an insurance claim, this process would involve filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. At this point, the insurer would begin an investigation into the claim. In the process, you will need to provide plenty of supporting evidence that proves negligence as the insurer looks for a reason to reduce or deny your claim.
Evidence to help build a motorcycle accident claim could consist of:
- Photos and video footage of injuries and the accident scene
- Physical property damage
- Medical records and bills
- Bills for vehicle repairs and other costs
On the other hand, if you decide to file a lawsuit against a negligent motorist or another party, the process will involve more specific steps. A lawsuit would require you to prove four main items that support your claim, including:
A DUTY OF CARE
The first item to prove is that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care when the accident occurred. An example of this would be for drivers to practice safe driving habits concerning the safety of themselves and others.
A BREACH OF DUTY
In addition to a duty of care, you must show that the at-fault party breached this duty through negligent or malicious behavior. This would involve proving that the party engaged in behavior such as driving while impaired, speeding, or driving aggressively.
If you are in an accident, you must show that there are certain damages you sustained that the at-fault party would need to cover. These could include all injuries and other economic or non-economic damages involved.
THE BREACH OF DUTY CAUSED THE ACCIDENT
You must also prove that the breach of duty was the cause of the motorcycle accident and subsequent damages.
Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident case is often difficult, so you may want to work with an accident attorney with experience handling these cases.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
You may benefit from consulting with a lawyer if you want to file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent party after a motorcycle accident.
NEGOTIATING WITH INSURERS
In most motorcycle accident cases involving negligence, you would initiate a case against the negligent party. This typically involves filing a claim against the liable party’s insurance company. However, if you are not sure how much your case is actually worth and the damages are more extensive, insurers may work harder to minimize your settlement during negotiations. These risks are why it is in your best interest to consult an attorney for potential help with negotiations.
It is important to keep in mind that insurers and adjusters are not on your side after a motorcycle accident. They want to avoid paying large amounts of compensation and may look for any reason they can find to diminish your claim. If your accident resulted in serious injuries and costly damages, or if the overall nature of the case is complex, you might not know exactly how much compensation you can recover.
Insurers may make an initial offer significantly lower than the actual value of the case. Even if this amount seems appealing, you may be able to recover a larger sum by negotiating further.
CALCULATING ALL DAMAGES AND HANDLING EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CASE
With the help of a motorcycle accident attorney, you can learn the amount your case is worth before beginning negotiations with insurers. An attorney can review the facts of your case, identify and calculate all relevant damages, and begin negotiations with insurers. They may also be able to file a lawsuit and help you navigate the legal process if a case does not resolve during negotiations.
Having a lawyer by your side can help your case progress while giving you more time to recover and spend with loved ones.
AVOIDING ISSUES WITH THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
An attorney can also help you avoid passing the statute of limitations for your case, a risk you face if you wait too long to file a claim. If your case passes the statute of limitations, you may not be able to recover compensation. For instance, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Illinois is two years, which means you cannot pursue compensation after then.
The statute of limitations makes it extremely important to begin the claims or legal process as soon as possible after an accident. While two or more years may seem like ample time, it can quickly run out before you are prepared to file.
Also, the process of pursuing compensation can take over a year to complete, during which time your medical bills and other expenses are likely to mount. The sooner you file a claim or suit against a liable party, the sooner you can be on your way to compensation. An attorney can help ensure this process goes smoothly and efficiently.
Consult With an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In the event of a motorcycle accident and resulting injuries and other damages, you may be able to recover compensation with the help of a lawyer. An attorney may help you build a successful case and determine what options are available to you. Finding the right legal counsel to handle your specific case is key. Contact a personal injury lawyer.
Get in touch with a reputable motorcycle accident attorney to find out what steps you can take after a motorcycle accident.