Motorcyclists are exposed to an entirely different set of rules and dangers than automobile or commercial truck drivers. The extra degree of freedom granted to motorcycles is met with a much higher degree of danger. In 2019, there were over 5,000 motorcyclist deaths on U.S. roadways.

With these high accident statistics, it is important that motorcyclists understand their legal rights while operating their motorcycles. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you may qualify for a motorcycle accident lawsuit.

Contact TorHoerman Law to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer and learn whether you qualify.

TorHoerman Law offers free, no-obligation case consultations to all potential clients. So, you can talk to an attorney from TorHoerman Law about your legal options for free now.

You can also get an instant online case evaluation for free from our chatbot below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Hiring a personal injury lawyer after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident is definitely worth considering. What seems like a minor injury today may develop into a more critical condition tomorrow. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will help you gather evidence and fight for compensation.

In most accidents involving motorcycles, drivers of cars are at fault for the collision. Automobile drivers are often held responsible for motorcycle collisions, but the actions of both drivers will be considered during the court’s decision. As motorcycles are often lost in blind spots, drivers in cars may struggle to see them on the road. This creates a hazardous environment for all drivers.

Legal expenses can add up if you are not careful in picking a law firm. Legal fees differ depending on the firm’s billing methods. At TorHoerman Law, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients do not owe any type of payment until they have been compensated.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

With limited protection offered from other motorists, motorcycles are among the most dangerous vehicles to be operating during an accident. Even a relatively minor accident at low speeds can put motorcyclists at risk of serious or fatal injuries. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 5,000 motorcyclists died from accidents in 2019. 

Fatal motorcycle crashes have grown in number at a consistent rate for the past 20+ years according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In 2016, a motorcyclist was 28 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers of traditional auto accidents. Of the motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2017, 29% were riding without valid motorcycle licenses. Motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic-related fatalities while representing only 3% of the entire registered motor vehicle fleet.

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet to Drive a Motorcycle?

Federally, there is no mandatory helmet law, although federal intervention was prevalent for a number of years. In 1967, the federal government required each state to enact motorcycle helmet laws in order to qualify for certain federal safety and highway construction funds. But, in 1976, Congress revoked the ability to “assess penalties for noncompliance.” Many states took the initiative to either completely reverse a required helmet law or lessen the requirements.

It is proven that helmet laws drastically reduce the number of serious injuries or death. It is also each state’s responsibility to determine the use of a helmet while driving, or riding, a motorcycle.

  • Three states have no helmet law at all – Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire. There is no law requiring a helmet to be worn in these states. It still highly recommend you wear one for your own safety.
  • 28 states have laws mandating helmets for riders younger than specific age, usually 18.
  • 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. Regardless of age or experience, every driver and rider is required to wear a helmet.

Regardless of your state’s law, it is important to wear a helmet at all times – it could prevent a serious head injury or save your life. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,870 motorcyclists in 2017. 750 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Operating a motorcycle takes much more skill than any other type of vehicle. Just like any other vehicle, operating skills are developed over time with practice. Unlike other motor vehicles, the consequences of making a mistake are much more drastic for a new rider. Many motorcycle accidents occur due to a new rider’s lack of skills.

Motorcycles are much smaller than other motor vehicles. They also move with more agility and ease, giving motorcyclists the ability to shift in and out of lanes quickly. Another vehicle may not notice a motorcycle because it is too small and moves too quickly, making it dangerous for motorcycles to enter other vehicle’s blind spots. This is especially prevalent in intersections where nearly 70% of all motorcycle automobile accidents occur.

Any hazard on the roadway, such as a pothole, blown tire, debris, etc., is usually of minimal threat to an automobile. For motorcycles, these hazards are often the cause of major accidents. Common accidents from hazards are either due to a motorcyclist running into the object, trying to avoid the object only to hit another vehicle or slide off the road.

Along with the lack of visibility from other drivers, high speeds can cause an array of dangers to motorcyclists. Motorcycles traveling at high speeds can experience “speed wobbles”, resulting from misalignment of the front tire and causing the vehicle to wobble unsteadily. Speed wobbles can actually be an issue with the manufacturing of the motorcycle itself. In certain situations, the manufacturer can be held accountable for product liability.

Read our blog regarding the five most common types of vehicle accidents, for more information on the causes of accidents.

What is my Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?

You, a friend, or a family member have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and are deciding whether to file a lawsuit to recover damages. You may be wondering the amount of compensation you could really receive. Frankly, it is a difficult question to answer because each case is dependent on individual circumstances. Here is what to consider:

Like other vehicle accidents, the negligent party is held responsible in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Consider negligence liability when deciding who should be responsible for accident damages. If both parties are partially at fault, comparative negligence could be applied. Your attorney will need to decide to what degree each is liable for damages.

Unlike other motor vehicle accidents, product liability is more common among motorcycle accidents. There are often serious consequences for motorcycle technical malfunctions on the road. If your motorcycle wreck was due to a malfunction in your bike, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer.

As mentioned above, if you were partially at fault for the accident, your ability to recover compensation may be reduced. For example, when determining liability, it is decided that you were 10% at fault for the accident because of your failure to reduce speed on a curve. However, the other vehicle crossed the dividing line and hit your motorcycle, meaning they were 90% at fault. When compensation is awarded, your gross amount will be reduced by 10% per the comparative negligence rule. If you were awarded $100,000, you will only receive $90,000 because of your partial involvement in the accident.

Physical, financial, and emotional damages all qualify for compensation. In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, damages are generally categorized into two categories:

Compensatory damages – These can all be calculated to an exact amount. The injuries you suffered and subsequent medical treatment and expenses you accumulated to recover can be determined down to the cent. The same applies to lost wages during your recovery because of an inability to work. If there was property damage to your motorcycle, this can also be determined monetarily.
Punitive damages – Damages that cannot be measured exactly are called punitive damages. Pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress are all examples.

Both liability and damage calculation plays a vital role in your motorcycle accident lawsuit. The legal industry can be confusing. It is important to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to navigate the intricacies of your case.

Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle road laws and insurance laws differ in every state, it can be difficult understanding what to do after an accident. It is helpful to seek consultation with motorcycle accident attorneys who are familiar with the road laws regulations that apply to your case. Additionally, their experience will make them skilled in negotiating motorcycle accident cases with an insurance company and other defendants.

The steps necessary to compile a product liability case are extremely complex. Do you believe that you were an accident victim due to a malfunction in your motorcycle? Contact an attorney to help make a motorcycle accident claim against a manufacturer.

At TorHoerman Law, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you with your motorcycle accident lawsuit.

 

 

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