Car Vs Motorcycle Accident Common Causes
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, a collision with a motor vehicle is the most dangerous hazard facing motorcyclists across the United States. A report by the Administration found that several primary factors contributed to wrecks between motorcycles and other vehicles, and it comes as no surprise that the other vehicle caused 47 percent of the crashes. Read on to learn more about motorcycle accidents from the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes With Other Vehicles
Motorcycle accidents are more frequently fatal because unlike drivers, motorcyclists do not have the protection that a passenger vehicle offers. The motorcycle riders’ only protection is his or her wits, a helmet, and proper riding gear.
Despite this, many motorcyclists do not wear protective leather jackets and pants when riding, because of the heat during the summer.
The most common cause of motorcycles and cars colliding are:
30 percent of those in cars exhibit driver perception failure.
17 percent of those in cars exhibit driver decision failure.
On the other hand, in 14 percent of the cases, the motorcycle rider had decision failure; in 12 percent, the motorcycle driver failed to react quick enough or reacted improperly for the situation; and 11 percent failed to perceive the situation, thus causing an accident.
Preventing Motorcycle Crashes
Unfortunately, having to pay more attention to others is part of motorcycle ownership. While it would be nice to take a ride and enjoy the scenery without worrying, that’s not possible unless you know you are the only one on the road.
If you are a motorcycle rider, you can help avoid encounters with distracted or dangerous motorists by:
- Knowing where other vehicles are at all times. You have to assume that they don’t see you, since a common reason—or excuse, depending on the circumstances—is, “I didn’t see the motorcycle.”
- Watching for road hazards, including sand, debris in the road, potholes, uneven lanes in construction areas, bridges—especially drawbridges, and bumps in the road, especially those between a road and a bridge.
- Driving accordingly for weather conditions. If you can, get off the road in torrential rains. Those who have to ride in the winter should be aware of where black ice usually forms, and beware of slush puddles—there could be ice under the slush.
- Always take an extra second or three at stoplights and stop signs and make sure other drivers see that you are moving.
Protecting Yourself After a Wreck
While it is tempting to ride in shorts and sneakers on a 90-degree day, that dress code won’t protect you if someone in a car causes you to wreck. Protect yourself by wearing leathers, boots, gloves, and a DOT-approved helmet.
You can also protect yourself by knowing how to fall. If possible, if you have to dump the bike or if a car causes you to lose control and dump the bike, try to fall on top of the bike. If you have leathers on, you’ll reduce your chance of suffering road rash significantly.
In some cases, the bike slides away from the cause of the accident because of the force of the hit pushing it away from the car. If you can hang onto the bike once it goes down, it will also pull you away from the wreck. Otherwise, if you leave the bike, you could end up on the wrong side of the wreck, which ultimately means injuries that are more severe, or even fatal.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Damages
While you might get lucky and sustain minor injuries such as minor road rash, cuts, bruises, and some soft tissue injuries, you could also suffer catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, or spinal cord injuries following a motorcycle accident.
Regardless of your injuries, you might collect damages for your injuries. You could collect economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages. If the defendant’s actions or inactions that caused the accident were intentional or grossly negligent, you could collect punitive damages. The court only orders punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant in certain cases, thus, you will have to show the court that the defendant’s intention or gross negligence caused the accident.
Economic damages are those that have a set price to them. They include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property, and in the case of a fatal accident, funeral, burial, and / or cremation expenses.
Non-economic damages, like economic damages, are meant to make you whole again. While the money cannot bring back a loved one or erase long-term or permanent disabilities caused by catastrophic injuries, the money can reduce the stress of wondering how you are going to provide for your family when you can no longer work, or if you have to take a significant cut in pay because you can no longer do the work you usually do.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of use of a bodily function;
- Loss of use of a body part;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of companionship; and
While every insurance company has its own definition of long-term or permanent disabilities, the Social Security Administration defines a long-term or permanent disability as one that lasts longer than 12 months or a disability that ultimately results in your death.
Insurance companies are notorious for offering low ball sums in the wake of an accident, even when your medical records show that you have long-term or permanent disabilities because of injuries you suffered in the accident. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, speaking with an experienced auto accident attorney is a valuable way to understand your rights, your options, and to develop a strategy for moving forward following a motorcycle crash.
For more information regarding motorcycle accidents review our previous post about “how much do motorcycle accident costs“