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How Does Distracted Driving Cause Motorcycle Accidents?

Distracted driving is a serious problem on the nation’s highways. While distractions have long been an issue, mobile phones have complicated the concerns in unimaginable ways. Texting while driving is a major contributor to more recent accident claims. The End Distracted Driving Organization reports that 84% of drivers are fully aware it’s a problem and that this dangerous practice is unacceptable. A distracted driver operating a moving vehicle can cause a deadly or debilitating outcome for motorcycle riders.

If you are harmed by someone not paying attention to the road, you may have cause for a personal injury claim. A driver has a responsibility for the safety of others when they get behind the wheel. At Fielding Law, we handle motorcycle accident personal injury cases. We understand what you are going through and know what to do when a driver’s negligent actions injure you.

What Is Distracted Driving?

When a driver is preoccupied with activities inside or outside a vehicle and does not pay attention to the responsibilities of operating a vehicle, this is distracted driving. It may seem harmless enough when a person reaches for a drink, changes a music selection, or turns to talk with a passenger. Yet, a split second of unfocused attention can have devastating consequences. Studies show the length of time people are distracted is greater than realized. Moreover, a moving vehicle covers a lot of distance, even at the speed limit, which means the potential of an accident is high when drivers look away from the road. Distracted driving falls into three main categories:

  1. Cognitive: Drivers are not mentally focused on operating a vehicle.
  2. Manual: Drivers do not keep their hands on the wheel.
  3. Visual: Drivers take their eyes off the road.

One of these issues is serious enough but a combination, which frequently happens, means a passing motorcycle is in danger.

How Do Drivers Become Distracted and Hurt Motorcyclists?

Drivers have a lot of things competing for their attention. Unfortunately, multiple distractions can occur at the same time. When this happens, a driver may be completely engaged with other matters and not see a motorcycle that’s near. This is why attentive driving is critical. These are common causes of distracted driving that endanger motorcyclists:

  • Texting on a mobile device
  • Looking at a mobile device
  • Adjusting navigation or climate control systems
  • Eating food or drinking beverages
  • Daydreaming
  • Observing activities outside the vehicle
  • Talking with passengers
  • Listening to music or programs
  • Grooming in a rearview or visor mirror

It is the responsibility of a driver to follow traffic safety laws at all times and be aware of drivers around them. If a driver fails to do what is reasonably expected of every other driver in the same situation, you likely have cause for a personal injury case. Furthermore, texting while driving is prohibited in 48 states. Montana has no restrictions, and Missouri prevents persons under 21 years old from texting and driving.

Why Does Distracted Driving Result in Serious Motorcycle Crashes?

A driver that loses control of a vehicle while engaging in other activities has little time to correct when they realize what is happening. At this point, most crashes are imminent; it’s just the seriousness of the collision that is unknown. These are ways that distracted driving contributes directly to motorcycle accidents:

  • Making a turn without checking carefully
  • Sideswiping a biker when making a lane change
  • Veering into a biker’s lane
  • Failing to notice a biker in a blind spot (usually, a driver does not take adequate time to check the perimeter around a vehicle)
  • Hitting a biker from the rear

Distracted drivers may cause a motorcycle to spin out, flip over, or run off the road resulting in serious injuries. A driver may also cause a head-on or rear-end collision that ejects a biker from a motorcycle. This is a hazardous situation when a biker slams against the front of a vehicle or the ground with tremendous force. In any situation where a driver is not handling a vehicle as required by law, whether neglectfully or intentionally, you need an attorney to protect your rights and hold the responsible party accountable.

What Types of Injuries Result From Distracted Drivers?

Injuries that occur from motorcycle accidents vary in severity, but the sad fact is that many are debilitating. It doesn’t take much speed on impact to acutely injure a mostly unprotected biker. Some injuries that heal with time in other accident scenarios become chronic problems for bikers because of the crushing force in a collision. For instance, many accident victims suffer broken bones, but breaks from a motorcycle accident can require numerous surgeries to reconstruct crushed limbs that are never the same after an accident. These are types of injuries that may affect your quality of life:

  • Road rash (scarring and disfiguring)
  • Fractures (compound and crushing)
  • Spinal trauma (bone, spinal cord, and soft tissue damage)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limbs (or loss of use)

While a helmet is critical for biker protection, it does not guard well against cervical spine damage. The sheer whipping motion of the head can permanently damage vertebrae. Also, suppose a biker is thrown from a motorcycle. In that case, a helmet does not prevent a head-on impact with another vehicle or the ground that can sever the spinal cord or permanently restrict movement in the cervical spine region. It may lead to other neurological conditions radiating throughout the body. An attorney will consult with you about your accident and seek a damage award that fits the circumstances of your case.

How Long Do You Have To File a Case?

The statute of limitations varies according to individual state laws. The average time in most states is three years from the date of an accident. In some states, the time is shorter or longer. If you speak with an attorney immediately, filing time is not an issue. However, if you wait too long and the time to file your case expires, you lose your chance to recover damages.

Most courts will not hear a case if you fail to meet the deadline because an attorney for a defendant will immediately ask for a dismissal. It’s also unlikely an attorney would take the case unless there are extenuating circumstances that meet the exception requirements under the state statute of limitations law.

Let’s Get Started on Your Case

Fielding Law is the firm you need to fight for you after a motorcycle accident with a distracted driver. Motorcycle accidents involving personal injury are complicated enough regarding fault determinations. Being hit by a distracted driver adds another layer of complexity that requires a knowledgeable attorney to determine how local and state laws apply to your situation. We want you to have peace of mind about the legal process because we know how much this matters to you. As our client, you are the top priority.

We handle personal injury cases in Texas, Utah and Idaho. We provide direct access to our attorneys, so you can ask questions about what is happening with your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay fees unless we win. There is no reason to wait if you are hurt in a motorcycle accident because of someone else’s careless actions. There is a way forward, and we’re here to help. Contact us and tell us about your injury.