It’s a chilling reality, but serious motorcycle crashes occur frequently around the DC Metro Area. If motorcycles are so dangerous, you might ask, why do people keep riding them? The truth is, a motorcycle can be just as safe a mode of transportation as any other vehicle — that is until an accident occurs. Because motorcycle riders are not protect by the steel of a car that other motorists are protect by, motorcyclists are at an increased risk of injury in a crash.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle accidents are typically caused by the same factors that contribute to car crashes: weather, road conditions, systems failures and negligent drivers. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Driver inattention. So many drivers are busy texting and driving, talking on the phone, eating, or participating in another form of distracted driving that they don’t see small motorcycles or look for them on the road. While motorcyclists have a notorious reputation among car drivers, the reality is car drivers are usually at fault in motorcycle accidents and driver inattention is often to blame.
- Speed and reckless driving. Although motorcycle accidents where no other vehicle is involved is often caused due to bikers going too fast and losing control of their bikes, drivers of cars have run red lights and stop signs and have caused their share of motorcycle crashes due to speeding and reckless driving.
- Impaired driving. When drivers get behind the wheel drunk or on drugs, their judgment, vision, and reactions are impaired which can cause them to make driving mistakes that can compromise a motorcyclist’s life.
- Inexperienced drivers and elderly drivers. Many novice drivers don’t realize small motorcycles are sharing the road with them or could be in their blind spots, and many elderly drivers cannot see very well due to failing vision. As a result, inexperienced drivers and senior drivers cause their fair share of motorcycle accidents.
- Bike malfunction. Just like cars, motorcycles are built on assembly lines and defects in workmanship can occur that can lead to crashes. Also, wrecks can occur due to defects in design or defective parts.
Sadly, most motorcycle riders suffer serious injuries due to other drivers’ carelessness and recklessness at the wheel. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents often result in life-altering injuries for the motorcyclist.
Types of Injuries Motorcycle Accident Victims Suffer
- Broken bones. Not only do most motorcycle accident victims suffer broken bones in wrecks but due to the forces involved, bones are often shattered — requiring surgery that involves a bone graft. Also, broken bones can break through the skin and lead to infections that would require additional procedures and antibiotics. In severe cases, an infection would lead to an amputation in order to stop the infection.
- Amputations. Due to the force of the collision, jagged debris, and the lack of protection surrounding motorcyclists, hands, feet, arms or legs could be lost in wrecks. As a result, motorcycle accident victims are forced to live with permanent disabilities that create a world of challenges.
- Brain injuries. Motorcycle riders who wear helmets still suffer trauma to the head and brain. While helmets help reduce open head and penetrating brain injuries, closed head traumatic brain injuries are still very common among motorcyclists — affecting an injured motorcyclist’s speech and higher functions.
- Spinal cord injuries. When a motorcycle crash occurs, a rider can suffer a blow to the spine. Depending upon the location of the injury on the spinal column will determine how severe the injury is. When a motorcyclist suffers a severe spinal cord injury, the result is often paralysis — such as quadriplegia (unable to move the legs and arms) or paraplegia (loss of movement in the lower extremities).
- Wrongful death. Motorcycle accidents can be very severe in nature due to the forces involved and the differences between large vehicles and small motorcycles. Consequently, motorcyclists may suffer fatal injuries as a result of someone’s negligence and recklessness. When this occurs, families of victims should pursue a wrongful death claim to seek justice.
When someone suffers a serious injury following a motorcycle wreck, that injured person and his or her family if often left to suffer the financial consequences of such an injury. This is why injured motorcyclists and their families should learn about their legal rights after a crash.
Understanding Your Legal Rights
If you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle crash, you will want to make the best physical recovery possible. Because getting the medical care you need can be expensive, it is critical that you also receive adequate financial compensation to help you get the treatment you need. If your crash was the result of someone else’s carelessness and negligence, a personal injury lawyer can help make sure you get the best financial recovery possible, which can include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses. A motorcycle injury can require a trip to the emergency room, a hospital stay, surgery, ongoing doctor’s visits, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other treatments such as professional counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder. These are expenses you should be compensated for, as well as any other medical bill related to the crash.
- Loss of income. When an injury from a motorcycle accident leaves you unable to work temporarily or permanently, you need to be compensated accordingly. Sometimes injured victims need to collect lost wages for several months and other times an injured victim may need to be compensated for lost income for life.
- Pain and suffering. An injury from a wreck can cause pain as well as emotional trauma and mental suffering. If you have suffered physical pain in addition to emotional pain after a crash, you should be compensated accordingly.
- Loss of services. When motorcycle accident victims suffer physical injuries, they might not be able to perform household chores or take care of the kids. As a result, they may have to hire in-home services or put their kids in day care. If this is your new reality, you and your family need to be compensated for such losses.
Due to the severity of the injury, motorcycle accident victims may need to collect compensation for future medical expenses, future lost wages, future pain and suffering and future loss of services. Because motorcycle accident injury claims can be complex when it comes to damages, it is best to turn to a trusted accident attorney for help collecting fair compensation — compensation you need and deserve. You can reach our law firm, located in Fairfax, at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.