Motorcycle cases can be particularly complex, as there may be multiple liable parties and various state laws that come into play. Police reports and insurance companies often use different terminology when referring to motorcycle accidents. Therefore, it is essential to understand the law surrounding motorcycle accidents to receive the proper compensation if you are involved in one.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be familiar with the nuances of these types of cases and can help ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle accidents. Many different factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include
- Drivers who fail to yield to riders
- Drivers who are distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Poor road conditions
- Defective motorcycle parts
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, speak with a lawyer for a motorcycle accident who can help determine all the factors that contributed to your crash. This can be crucial in ensuring you receive the full and fair compensation you are entitled to.
What are the Different Types of Motorcycle Accidents?
There are many types of motorcycle accidents, depending on the circumstances of the crash. Some of the most common include:
- Head-on collisions typically occur when a driver fails to see a motorcycle and turns into its path, resulting in a head-on collision. These accidents can be severe, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death.
- Left-turn accidents often occur when a driver making a left turn fails to see an oncoming motorcycle and turns into its path.
- Rear-end collisions can occur when a driver following a motorcycle does not leave enough space between their vehicle and the bike, causing them to rear-end the rider.
- Road rash accidents occur when a rider is ejected from their motorcycle during a collision and slides across the pavement, resulting in severe road rash injuries.
Mandatory Helmet Laws
Despite the lack of support from some motorcyclists, 19 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws requiring motorcyclists to wear DOT-approved helmets as of 2019. Wearing goggles or face shields is one way some states’ motorcycle rider and passenger safety laws are enforced.
Motorcycle operators and passengers are required by law to wear helmets in most states, with more than 90% of riders wearing them. Mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle drivers and passengers have, for the most part, shown to be effective in promoting helmet use and reducing head injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents across the country. Helmet regulations, on the other hand, have met with hostility among motorcyclists.
The most outspoken resistance to helmet laws has come from challenges to the legislation’s validity. Although in some cases, the legal language in helmet statutes has been successfully contested on constitutional grounds, the principle of requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear safety helmets has always been upheld as constitutional.
Failure to Wear a Helmet
In a personal injury lawsuit brought by a motorcyclist hurt in an accident, the other motorist may raise a question regarding the motorcyclist’s own carelessness. Consequently, because of their contributory negligence in causing the accident, a motorcyclist’s legal recovery may be halted or reduced.
There’s a crucial distinction to be made between contributing negligence and contributing to the accident. A single event or act that merely extends or adds to the extent of injuries suffered by the motorcyclist will not prevent a legal recovery.
In several states with mandatory helmet laws, the legislation either punishes only criminals or does not specify what impact a violation has on the question of whether a motorcyclist was careless. As a result, in these jurisdictions and those that do not have helmet laws, the influence of a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet on their negligence is unclear.
In situations like these, the failure to wear a helmet may be deemed negligent on the part of a motorcyclist, or it may be necessary in determining injuries and damages if it appears that not wearing a helmet was a significant cause of the motorcyclist’s injuries.
In some states, failing to wear a helmet as required by law is seen as the same level of carelessness on the part of a motorcyclist as speeding or not using turn signals. Therefore, when the lack of helmet use contributes to an accident, it is considered a proximate cause, and their recovery may be barred or limited. However, when the failure has no bearing on the motorcyclist’s injuries, it is not a proximate cause and has no impact on their ability to seek compensation.
If you are ever in a motorcycle accident, it is important to know the laws that apply to these cases. By understanding these laws, you can ensure you are treated fairly by the insurance company and receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you through the legal process.
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