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Every day across the United States, hundreds of lives are impacted by the tragedy of a motorcycle accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 5,200 people died in motorcycle accidents in a single recent year, and another 89,000 people were injured.
Motorcycle accidents often cause much more severe injuries than car accidents, leaving victims with major medical debt and painful injuries that can last a lifetime.
The attorneys at the law firm of Derek L. Hall, PC, have extensive experience with motorcycle accident cases of all kinds. We know the physical and financial toll that a motorcycle accident can take, and we want to help you seek the compensation you deserve. We’ll help you gather the evidence you need to show the other party in your accident was at fault and that you deserve financial damages.
To learn more, call our office today or visit our contact page for your free initial consultation.
What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
While the particulars of every motorcycle accident are different, there are certain patterns in terms of how these accidents occur.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents that we see in our practice include:
- Other drivers not sharing the road – Many car drivers do not take adequate care to watch out for motorcycles while they’re on the road. Motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars, so drivers should give them more space to maneuver, but many drivers do not take this step. Drivers also need to be wary of motorcyclists in their blind spot when they change lanes or merge, though many drivers do not do so. Some drivers are also more aggressive toward motorcyclists because they have unfair negative stereotypes about how motorcyclists act on the road. The net result of these behaviors is more accidents because car drivers are not sharing the road like they are supposed to.
- Speeding – Speeding may seem harmless enough when everyone does it, but it’s extremely dangerous driving behavior, especially for motorcyclists. A speeding car driver has less time and space to react to a sudden or unexpected road hazard, such as a motorcycle that they didn’t notice in their blind spot. Speeding drivers can also rear-end a motorcycle if they aren’t careful about their following distance, and the motorcycle has to stop suddenly. If a driver is going fast enough, they may not even see that a motorcycle’s in their path until a collision has already happened.
- Failure to yield right of way to bikers – This is especially common in accidents that occur at traffic intersections. A driver may underestimate how far a motorcycle is from the intersection and begin to turn, only for the motorcyclist to have to slam on the brakes. Alternatively, a motorcyclist may be making a left turn and have an accident occur because the driver didn’t see the motorcyclist or underestimated how long it would take for them to make the turn.
- Motorcycles in head-on collisions – Head-on collisions can occur for many reasons. A driver who’s driving while fatigued or while under the influence of alcohol may swerve into the motorcyclist’s lane, causing an accident. Head-on collisions can also occur at intersections when a driver does not yield the right of way to a motorcyclist. Head-on collisions are especially dangerous for motorcyclists because there’s a greater likelihood of injury to the head, neck and spine, including the possibility of paralysis or a traumatic brain injury.
- Unsafe lane changes – Many drivers make careless lane changes and don’t take enough care to make sure there isn’t a motorcyclist in their path. When this happens, the driver often ends up sideswiping the motorcyclist, striking the rider in a uniquely vulnerable position. A motorcyclist may have little or no warning before being hit by a careless driver, which can cause them to be ejected from their vehicle and suffer even more extreme injuries.
- Driving under the influence – Drivers who use drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel put themselves and anyone else on the road at great risk, including motorcyclists. These substances lower a driver’s reaction times, cloud their judgment, cause them to make poor decisions, and they may even cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel. A drunk driver may not notice a motorcycle in the lane next to them and make an unsafe lane change, or they might run a red light and collide with a motorcyclist who’s crossing from another direction.
- Motorcycle lane-splitting – Lane-splitting is when a motorcycle moves between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic that are traveling in the same direction. It’s illegal in every state except for California, and even there, motorcyclists have to follow very specific rules if they don’t want to get a ticket. Regardless, lane-splitting puts motorcyclists at greater risk of an accident. Careless or startled drivers may move into the motorcyclist’s path, or they may open a door or other obstacle that causes a crash.
- Change in weather conditions – Weather plays a significant role in many motorcycle accidents. A sudden storm can make it difficult for motorcyclists and other vehicles to maintain control while moving. Rain or snow also increases the time it takes for motorcycles and other vehicles to stop, which can lead to an accident if everyone on the road isn’t careful.
- Road defects – Because motorcycles use two tires instead of four, they’re less stable on the road compared to cars. This means that a pothole or other road defect is much more likely to throw a motorcyclist for a loop than it would someone in a passenger car. In some cases, motorcyclists get into crashes because they have to make a sudden turn to avoid a road hazard, even if they didn’t actually hit the pothole or other defect.
Evidence Used to Determine Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
In order to claim compensation after a motorcycle accident, you will have to show that the other party in your claim was to blame for the crash. The more evidence you have, the better your chances of recovering compensation.
Here are some potential pieces of evidence that could be used in a motorcycle accident claim:
- The police accident report – Police are usually required to investigate accidents in which at least one person suffered injuries. They’ll likely be the first ones at the scene, and they’ll compile their findings into a report. If their investigation indicates that one driver is primarily to blame for the accident, that driver may be given a ticket. Keep in mind that the police don’t have the final say on civil liability.
- Photos from the scene – Take lots of pictures of the crash scene, assuming you’re in good enough shape to do so. If not, try to find someone else to take pictures for you. Be sure to include pictures of your motorcycle, the other driver’s car, and the surrounding area, as these pictures will help illustrate what happened in the crash.
- Witness testimony – Other drivers, pedestrians, and other witnesses can help back up your story and show how the other driver was at fault for your injuries. If you see anyone who may have witnessed the accident, be sure to get their name, mailing address, and contact information.
- Surveillance images – There may be a traffic camera that recorded what happened in the accident, especially if the accident occurred at an intersection. Other times, a nearby surveillance camera attached to a store or other building can provide a more objective record of what happened. Some motorists use dash cams or Go Pro cameras to record their travels.
- Medical records – Your medical records will show the extent of your injuries. This can provide valuable information when it comes to showing how severely you were injured and how much pain and suffering you endured.
Potential Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
You can claim multiple categories of compensation. These may include:
- Past and future medical bills, including prescription drugs, doctor’s visits, the cost of transportation to your medical appointments, physical therapy costs, and more
- Any lost wages due to missing work
- Compensation for any property damaged in the accident, including your motorcycle
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of financial and emotional support from a family member, if someone from your family was also injured in the crash
Contact Our Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
The process for obtaining compensation after a motorcycle accident in Mississippi can be taxing, and you only have three years from the date of your accident to file a claim.
Don’t fight this battle on your own. The Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys at the Derek L. Hall, PC, law firm are here to fight for your rights and help you pursue the compensation you need.
For your free initial consultation, call us or visit our contact page.