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Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists take on a certain amount of risk when they hit the open roads. They are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in collisions, with nothing except personal gear between their bodies and the asphalt. Yet, it is not a motorcyclist’s duty to assume the risks of distracted, negligent, and dangerous drivers. Nor should a motorcyclist suffer for roadway defects such as potholes. In these accidents, someone else may be liable for the motorcyclist’s damages. Talk to our motorcycle accident attorneys at Fielding Law for legal counsel after a crash.  They can help you understand your rights.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

After a motorcycle crash, stay calm and don’t move if you feel injured. Moving could make minor injuries more severe, especially if they involve your spinal cord. Wait for help to arrive in a safe location. If possible, get yourself and your disabled vehicle out of the roadway to prevent further collisions. Do not admit fault to the other driver if there is one involved in the crash. State law may stipulate you must remain on the scene and report a collision if it causes injuries, deaths, or more than $1,000 worth of property damage. Most motorcycle accidents fulfill these requirements.

Call 911 and report the collision. Do not admit fault to the police. Simply state your version of what happened, in as much detail as possible. The officer should collect information such as the other driver’s name and insurance company, as well as the time and location of the crash. If the police officer does not file a report, document these facts for your personal records. You will need to file your own crash report within 10 days of your accident. Take photos of the scene if you can, including all property damage and injuries.

If you aren’t sure whether you have injuries, tell that to the officer. Saying you do not have injuries can make it more difficult to recover for injuries you discover later. Receive medical care for injuries right away after a collision. Waiting can worsen your prognosis and show a judge or jury that your injuries must not have been very serious. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. Report your crash to your motorcycle insurance company. Do not make a statement or accept a settlement offer until you speak to a lawyer. Once you’re able to think about taking a settlement, call a motorcycle accident attorney for assistance.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents are unique from typical vehicle collisions. They involve one or more individuals who face exposure to hazards such as impacts, flying debris, and contact with the roadway. The forces in most motorcycle accidents eject riders and passengers from the bike, resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones, road rash and traumatic scarring from embedded asphalt. There are dozens of crash risks motorcyclists face on the roadway daily. The most common are as follows:

  • Speed
    • In 2015, 33% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents around the country were speeding. Compare this to just 19% of other motorists, and you can see how big an issue speed is for motorcyclists. Speed is a common factor in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes. Riders may take turns too fast and collide with guardrails or trees.
  • Lack of visibility
    • Collisions with other vehicles often occur because motorists fail to see oncoming motorcycles. Their smaller size makes them easy to miss, especially if motorists aren’t looking carefully. Wearing bright colors and using daytime running lights can help prevent visibility-related collisions.
  • Roadway defects
    • Potholes, debris, fallen trees, crossing animals, and loose gravel all pose greater risks to motorcyclists than other drivers. If a roadway defect caused your motorcycle crash, you may have a case against the city or municipality for negligent roadway maintenance.
  • Motorcyclist incompetence or recklessness
    • Motorcyclists may contribute to their own accidents by speeding, riding under the influence, ignoring roadway rules, or operating vehicles without proper training and licensure. In 2015, 27% of motorcyclists in fatal accidents did not have valid motorcycle licenses, compared to 13% of other motorists.
  • Lane splitting
    • Lane splitting, or riding a motorcycle on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic, is not legal in every state. Although there is much debate about the safety of this practice, lane splitting can startle other drivers and result in accidents. The close proximity of motorcycles to other vehicles and reduced space to maneuver can increase the risks to motorcyclists.
  • Broken roadway rules
    • Like all accidents, motorcycle crashes often stem from someone breaking a roadway rule. All roadway users must obey speed limits, follow traffic signals, yield to the right-of-way, and follow other state and local rules to help prevent collisions. Obeying the law as a motorcyclist can decrease your chances of a crash.

Calculating the risks inherent to motorcycle riding requires looking at the competence of the operator, roadway conditions, speed, and the actions of other drivers. Avoiding the most common factors involved in motorcycle collisions can reduce your risk of becoming a victim. If you’ve already been involved in an injurious motorcycle crash, learn the laws surrounding your accident to discover your potential rights and legal opportunities.

Motorcycle Laws

It is every motorcyclist’s duty to learn and obey applicable laws while riding. Breaking the law and causing an accident could land you with liability for subsequent injuries and property damage. Obeying the law will not only increase your safety but will also reduce your odds of legal responsibility for a crash. Here is a brief overview of some of the most important motorcycle laws:

  • Licensing: Motorcycle operators must possess a valid motorcycle license. This usually includes passing a written test and a road test.
  • Equipment: Motorcycles must have all necessary equipment to be street legal. This includes requirements for tail and stop lamps, a red rear reflector, wheel assembly, exhaust system, horn, mirrors, steering, brakes, and tires.
  • Motorcycle helmets: Motorcycle helmet use is usually mandatory for all operators and passengers.

Motorcyclists have the same rights to the roadways as other vehicles. They also have the same responsibilities. Motorcyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic, and they may not ride next to vehicles in the same lane. They may, however, ride side by side with other motorcyclists. There are no limits to the rural or urban roads the law allows motorcyclists to ride. Mopeds, however, may have such limitations. Speak to an attorney for any questions about local motorcycle laws.

Legal Issues and Settlement Factors in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Every motorcycle accident claim is different. There are, however, common liability issues that arise after these types of accidents. Motorcycle accidents may involve comparative fault, or the fault of the motorcyclist. If the motorcyclist was speeding, lane splitting, or engaged in other unlawful practices at the time, he or she may face comparative fault and partial liability.

Prejudices against motorcyclists at insurance companies and within the judicial system can make it difficult for these injured accident victims to recover just and fair compensation. This also includes family members who are looking at a wrongful death lawsuit. Insurance companies may offer unreasonably low settlements under the assumption that the motorcyclist contributed to the crash. It takes an aggressive attorney to argue with insurance claims adjusters and fight for the compensation the injured party rightly deserves. An investigation of the crash and subsequent injuries, along with eyewitness and expert testimonies, can help prove a case and valuate damages.

Factors that may come into play in your specific motorcycle accident claim include comparative negligence, availability of insurance, and shared fault among multiple parties. A good accident attorney is a wonderful asset to have during settlement negotiations. The right lawyer can help you understand your rights and take action against negligent parties. Fielding Law has the resources and expertise to help with any type of motorcycle accident. We will fight for maximum damage compensation and represent your interests. For a free consultation, contact our personal Injury attorneys online or call  (877) 727-8515.