Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Deadly
Motorcyclists possess the same rights on the road as drivers of passenger vehicles, but unfortunately, some drivers fail to acknowledge and respect those rights. Careless and aggressive drivers, not to mention hazardous road conditions, can result in serious accidents that cause significant injuries or even fatalities for motorcyclists.
Motorcycle accidents can be incredibly dangerous, resulting in serious injuries and even death. Given their smaller size and lower visibility, motorcycles are often at greater risk of accidents than larger vehicles. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020, there were 4,985 motorcycle crash fatalities in the United States. Simply put, motorcycle accidents can be deadly, which is why it’s so important to know what you need to do to stay safe on your bike.
How Drivers Cause Motorcycle Wrecks: How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove Your Case
Left-turn accidents are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. These accidents occur when a driver turns left while a motorcyclist is proceeding straight through an intersection. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 42 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was “going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles” (NHTSA, n.d.).
As motorcycle accident lawyers representing injured riders, we have encountered various causes of motorcycle crashes. These include defective bikes and parts, as well as instances where the car driver:
– Tries to share a lane with the motorcycle
– Fails to check mirrors and blind spots, leading to a failure to see the motorcycle
– Doesn’t signal a turn or lane change while driving ahead of the motorcycle
– Tries to pass the motorcycle without leaving enough room
– Pulls out from a driveway in front of a motorcyclist
– Follows the motorcycle too closely
To ensure success in your lawsuit against the negligent driver, you will need to present evidence of their fault. This can include police reports, eyewitness statements, accident reconstruction, photographs, and more. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you in obtaining the compensation and justice you deserve.
Michael Bell discusses all the ramifications of motorcycle accidents.
Driver Inattention: A Leading Cause of Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities
Distracted drivers are not just a danger to motorcyclists but to everyone around them, including pedestrians and emergency responders.
Motorcycle accidents can have severe consequences due to driver inattention. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on the road, lacking the protection afforded to other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 70 percent of all motorcycle accidents in 2020 occurred when the motorcycle collided with another vehicle. Of these accidents, nearly a third led to serious injuries, and sadly, 80 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents resulted from riders (and their passengers being thrown from the bike. Distracted driving is a leading cause of these accidents.
A closer look at the figures shows 2,858 recorded motorcycle crashes in 2020 in which distracted driving played a role, resulting in 394 fatalities. In Ohio alone, there were 3,247 motorcycle accidents reported by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio State Patrol in 2020, with 181 of those resulting in death. It is alarming to note that over 55 percent of these fatalities were caused by distracted drivers. This highlights the severity of the consequences of distracted driving.
New Distracted Driving Laws in Ohio Will Benefit Everyone, Including Motorcyclists
Distracted driving has been a major concern for the safety of everyone on the road. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in accidents that have resulted from distracted driving. Many states are now implementing new laws in an attempt to combat this growing problem. The new distracted driving legislation passed in Ohio in 2023 makes it illegal for drivers to use a handheld electronic device while driving. This is excellent news for all road users, including motorcyclists, who are especially vulnerable to distracted driving accidents.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road, and distracted driving can result in severe accidents and injuries. An accident with a motorcyclist can be catastrophic. Road users who drive while using their mobile phones often do not see motorcyclists. Therefore, the new legislation will significantly benefit motorcyclists in Ohio. The enhanced penalties will serve as a deterrent and encourage drivers to keep their focus on the road, making it a safer environment for all.
Some of the new laws, which are more aggressive in nature, enforce stricter penalties on drivers who cause crashes due to distraction or inattentiveness. This approach holds violators directly – and seriously – accountable for their negligence, and the more serious criminal conviction works against them if they must answer for their negligent actions in civil court.
Road Hazards May Endanger Motorcyclists
Riding a motorcycle presents dangers that other vehicle drivers do not encounter. A minor road defect or an object that causes the biker to swerve can cause serious accidents. Their lack of protection places bikers and their passengers at greater risk of serious or fatal injuries. A few threats to motorcyclists include the following road hazards, commonly known to cause motorcycle accidents:
Gravel on pavement: Many times, gravel factors into bike “lay-downs.” Riders can lose traction on gravel when cornering, on winding roads, and when traveling too fast. Inexperience may play a factor in gravel-related motorcycle accidents.
Pavement edge breaks: An edge break is when two traffic lanes are at different heights. This is rarely a problem when driving a car, but it can be risky for unsuspecting motorcyclists, especially when riding at high speeds.
Road expansion and open bridge joints: Joints connect two sections of a road together or a section of a road to a bridge. They allow the road to expand or contract without cracking. Some can be very wide, making it difficult for inexperienced motorcycle riders to navigate them.
Slick surfaces: Many objects and road surfaces can become slippery. This makes them much more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars due to the unstable nature of a two-wheeled bike, coupled with its smaller size and lighter weight. Slick surfaces can become truly perilous and cause motorcycle accidents when the biker encounters these road hazards. These are just some of the road surfaces that can be very slippery, especially when wet:
- Leaf-covered roadways
- Painted road striping and crosswalks
- Light-rail train or trolley tracks
- Oil, antifreeze, hydraulic fluids, and other similar substances that accumulate on road surfaces
- Standing water: Motorcycle tires can hydroplane when driving through a puddle of water, especially at high speeds and if the pool is large.
- Snow and ice are more hazardous for motorcycles than for cars.
Railway tracks and crossings: Motorcycle tires can get caught on railway tracks, which can result in accidents. It is important to note that many railway crossings have metal or wood surfaces between the tracks to even them out. However, it is essential to exercise caution as these surfaces can become extremely slippery when wet.
Debris or objects in the road: Debris or objects in the road can pose significant dangers. These can include anything that falls off a vehicle or onto it, such as parts of tire treads or items that fall from trucks (e.g., furniture, tools, lawnmowers, boxes, and industrial goods from the back of a flatbed commercial truck). Additionally, branches, rocks, and small animal carcasses present more hazards to motorcycles compared to cars.
The Issue Of Helmet Use – Does It Affect a Motorcyclist’s Liability?
In Ohio, the motorcycle helmet requirement applies only to individuals who are 17 years old or younger. If you’re older than 17, you are not legally obligated to wear a helmet. However, keep in mind that not wearing a helmet could have implications for your lawsuit.
Ohio abides by a modified comparative negligence law. This means that if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you cannot seek damages from the other party. Even if you are less than 51 percent at fault, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
In the context of a lawsuit, the opposing party or their insurance company may argue that your failure to wear a helmet demonstrates comparative negligence, especially if you sustained head or neck injuries. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it is advisable to consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney can present medical records and other evidence to demonstrate that the absence of a helmet did not contribute to your injury.
Safety Measures Motorcyclists Can Take
Ohio has taken several steps to improve rider safety to combat the high number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities in the state. One of the most significant measures is the Ohio Motorcycle Safety Education Program (OMSEP), which offers training courses to riders of all skill levels. In addition, the state has implemented a helmet law for riders under the age of 18 and requires all riders to wear eye protection while on the road.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has also proactively promoted safe riding practices and reduced motorcycle accidents. This includes improving road conditions, installing warning signs and rumble strips, and conducting regular safety inspections. In addition, ODOT has partnered with OMSEP to provide motorcycle awareness training to law enforcement officers, helping them better understand how to share the road with riders safely.
Being a safe and educated motorcyclist is important. The motorcyclist’s experience and reaction can often prevent an accident that would not have been their fault.
- Safety Gear is Important
- Choosing the Correct Helmet
- Three Big Motorcycle Dangers Riders Face Every Day
Damages for Your Motorcycle Accident
Because motorcycle riders have minimal protection, injuries can be severe, ranging from broken bones to spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and even fatal head and brain injuries. As a result, victims and their families often face extensive losses and expenses. Filing a lawsuit is crucial to account for both short-term and long-term damages fully.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including:
– Medical expenses
– Disability and disfigurement
– Lost current and future income
– Pain and suffering
– Punitive damages
It is important to provide supporting evidence such as medical records and proof of income to establish that you have suffered these damages and collect a fair settlement or judgment.
The Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Can Help You After a Motorcycle Accident
The Toledo injury attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault are well aware of the disproportionate rates of deaths and injuries in motorcycle accidents compared to auto and truck wrecks. Additionally, with the added factor of random, unforeseen road hazards, it becomes evident that the world is dangerous for two-wheeled riders. Should a negligent party be responsible for your accident, we will diligently work to hold them liable for the damages you have suffered. This includes injuries such as fractures, amputations, and brain or spinal cord trauma. Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to seeking compensation for various losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damages associated with wrongful death.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can’t take away your pain and suffering after a motorcycle accident. However, they will work tirelessly to secure the compensation that you and your family need and deserve. With over 65 years of experience, we have helped countless victims in Toledo and the surrounding area of Northwest Ohio. If you need legal assistance with your motorcycle accident case, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 419-843-6663 or use our online contact form.