Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Let’s face it. When it comes to getting from Point A to Point B, using a motorcycle to make the trip, whether it is a long trip or just around the corner, is far more dangerous than taking any other kind of passenger vehicle, be it a car, truck, or RV. Motorcycle riders view the positives of the ride – a feeling of freedom, easy mobility, and other intangibles – as outweighing the risks, but the risks are undeniable. Collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles rarely end well for the motorcyclist.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that out of 2,260 motorcyclist deaths in 2005 that occurred in accidents involving more than one vehicle – more than half of all motorcycle deaths that year -- 85 percent of those fatalities happened in collisions between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle. Further, 98 percent of all fatalities in collisions between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle were motorcycle riders. Only 2 percent of fatalities in such accidents were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
- The Odds of Being Injured in an Accident on a Motorcycle are Higher Than in Other Vehicles
- If You are in a Motorcycle Accident, There are Questions You Should Ask
- How can I Avoid Accidents on my Motorcycle?
Motorcycles are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic accidents. While motorcycles were only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the nation in 2013 and drove just 0.7 percent of all vehicle miles that year, motorcycle traffic fatalities in 2013 occurred at six times the rate for passenger car occupants. Injury rates were similar, but motorcycle fatalities per vehicle mile traveled happened at 26 times the comparable rate for passenger vehicles. Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities that year.
If you ride a motorcycle long enough, there is a significant chance that you will be involved in some sort of traffic accident. Because motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles, they are less noticeable on the road. People often don't pay enough attention while on the road, and the consequences can be severe for motorcyclists, who are considerably less well-protected than vehicle occupants. Accidents seem almost inevitable. Whether the accident is minor or severe, you are likely to have questions. Among the questions you should consider are:
- What should I do if I am involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t my fault? At the scene, you should obtain insurance information from the other driver, if you are able. After seeking any necessary medical treatment, you should speak to a lawyer. A motorcycle accident lawyer can guide you on any necessary steps to help you protect your rights. You might be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage to your vehicle, as well as other damages.
- What if a loved one has been killed as the result of a motorcycle accident that was not their fault? All too often, motorcycle accidents are fatal. If you have had a family member die in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another driver, you could be entitled to damages under a wrongful death claim. This will always depend upon the circumstances of the accident, which means you should seek legal advice to determine if you might be able to recover compensation.
- How can I protect myself as a motorcyclist? In the vast majority of fatal motorcycle accidents, head injury is the cause of death. Not all head injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are fatal, though, and non-fatal head injuries can result in severe trauma requiring long-term or even life-long care. Nearly half of all fatally injured motorcyclists - and more than half of their fatally injured passengers - were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. The single most important step you can take to protect yourself is to wear a helmet. Protective clothing, including boots and leather jackets, will help protect you against more minor injuries, but the helmet is the one must-have protective item. It can save your life.
This might be the most critical question a motorcyclist can ask. A web publication for motorcyclists offers simple advice to help you avoid common types of motorcycle accidents. This advice includes:
- Watch for turning vehicles, even if they aren’t turning yet: The most common motorcycle accident occurs when a car turns in front of you. Because motorcycles are less visible than cars, you have to be extra vigilant. Look for signs that a car in oncoming traffic is planning to turn – such as waiting at an intersection, driveway, or parking lot where a left turn in front of you is possible – and don’t assume the driver sees you.
- Watch for unexpected lane changes: Once again, drivers planning to change lanes often don’t really look for motorcycles, they look for cars. If they don’t see one, they might change lanes right on top of you. Be aware that motorcycles fit nicely into cars’ blind spots. Be aware of where those blind spots are, and pay attention to traffic conditions that might make a lane change more likely, such as one lane moving more quickly than another. Be alert and ready to take evasive action.
- Don’t drink and ride: The 1981 Hurt Report, a major study on the causes of motorcycle accidents, found that alcohol is a factor in half of all traffic accidents involving motorcycles. The solution is simple – don’t drink and ride.
Your best efforts might fail to keep you out of an accident on your motorcycle. In that event, the second thing you should do – after seeking any necessary medical care – is seek legal advice on what rights you have under the circumstances. You might be entitled to compensation, and there is only one way to find out.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic accident while on a motorcycle and suffered injuries, you should consult with an attorney to see what your options for recovering damages are. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling (404) 255-6677. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta. You also can reach us through our online contact form.