Motorcycle Unlawful passing Accident Lawyers
The National Transportation Safety Board’s Safety Report notes the significance of actions by other drivers in causing motorcycle accidents. “Human error attributed to either the motorcycle rider or the other vehicle driver was the primary documented contributing factor to crash causation in about 94% of the crashes analyzed,” the report states. One of the most damaging actions that can cause a motorcycle accident is unlawful passing.
Citing one of the most comprehensive reports on the causes of motorcycle crashes ever conducted, the report also notes the significance of violating a rider’s space, such as by engaging in unlawful passing. “The Hurt Report found that the most frequent type of injury-producing motorcycle crash involved a motor vehicle causing a collision by violating a motorcycle’s right-of-way.
The motorcyclist involved in the crash was typically inconspicuous in traffic; untrained and inexperienced at operating a motorcycle; operating without a safety helmet or a motorcycle license; and unskilled at braking, counter steering, and other collision avoidance actions (Hurt and others 1981.)”
What Is Unlawful Passing?
Unlawful passing entails an attempt to pass a motorcycle or other vehicle in a manner that is not permitted, is unsafe to others on the road, or goes against the rules of traffic. It can involve unsafe driver behavior, such as driving while distracted or intoxicated, or driving aggressively. It can also involve not paying sufficient attention to the road, such as by failing to check blind spots or ignoring traffic signals and the rules of the road. However it occurs, unlawful passing can result in an accident involving a motorcycle rider, sometimes with serious injuries and significant damages.
Types of Unlawful Passing
Unlawful passing can take various forms. For example:
- Passing a vehicle on the right where it is not allowed
- Passing unsafely through multiple lanes
- Making a blind pass, such as at the top of a hill or on a blind curve
- Passing that endangers pedestrians
- Passing by leaving the road or getting on the sidewalk
- Unlawfully passing a stopped school bus
- Unsafe lane changes
- Illegally passing within a certain distance, such as at a railroad crossing, bridge, tunnel, or intersection
- Making a pass on a road or area where passing is not permitted
Why Is Unlawful Passing Dangerous for Motorcycles?
Unlawful passing can always be dangerous, but it is particularly so for motorcycles, which are often harder for drivers to see than larger vehicles. When a larger vehicle unlawfully passes a motorcyclist and a collision results, the motorcycle can be crushed as a result of the sheer size of the other vehicle. Sudden unlawful passing can also make it more difficult for the motorcycle to slow or stop in time, causing the rider to make dangerous avoidance maneuvers.
Unlawfully passing a motorcycle can be devastating. When another driver attempts to pass a motorcyclist unlawfully, the rider may suffer serious injuries to their head, back, or neck, along with broken or fractured bones or injury to internal organs.
The rider may suffer burns, road rash, or soft tissue injuries as well. In some severe cases, personal injuries to the rider can mean life-altering changes, and in the most severe cases, unlawful passing of a motorcycle may even result in the rider’s wrongful death.
Fines and Costs Associated with Unlawful Passing
Each state sets its own laws when it comes to unlawful passing, which can make for a complex array of statutes, sometimes perplexing drivers who may not fully understand the implications of improperly passing another vehicle, motorcyclist, or pedestrian. Kansas, for example, has the following laws and fines in place associated with unlawful passing:
- Driving on the right side of the roadway: 8-1514; $75
- Failure to keep right to pass oncoming vehicle 8-1515; $75
- Improper passing; increasing speed when passed: 8-1516; $75
- Improper passing on the right: 8-1517; $75
- Passing on left with insufficient clearance: 8-1518 $75
- Driving on the left side where curve, grade, intersection railroad crossing, or obstructed view: 8-1519; $75
- Driving on the left in a no-passing zone: 8-1520; $75
- Unlawful passing of stopped emergency vehicle: 8-1520a; $75
In addition to the fines that a driver may face when passing unlawfully, there are many other costs that can be associated with unlawful passing, particularly if the driver’s actions end up causing an accident. Unlawful passing may result in an insurance surcharge or an increase in the driver’s policy rates. If the driver ends up causing damages to another party, such as a motorcyclist who is injured by the driver’s actions, they may be held responsible for those damages in court.
An injured motorcyclist can recover out-of-pocket costs, such as medical expenses and doctor’s bills, along with the cost of repairing or replacing their motorcycle and lost wages if they are unable to work due to the accident.
They may also recover non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, the loss of enjoyment of activities they can no longer do, and the general decline in their quality of life. In a lawsuit or claim brought against the driver who is at fault, the injured motorcyclist may recover compensation for their damages.
How Can Bretz Injury Law Help With Your Motorcycle Accident Case?
Put simply: we are here when you need us most. After a motorcycle accident that is the fault of another driver, you need to understand your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for your injuries, and you should not go it alone. At Bretz Injury Law, we are prepared to handle every detail of your case, from gathering the appropriate evidence to building a powerful claim to negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, so that you can simply focus on healing, getting the medical care you need, and rebuilding your life after your accident.
We are aggressive and strategic when it comes to pursuing maximum compensation for our clients, but we are also compassionate and empathetic when it comes to guiding our clients through the process. By limiting our overall caseload, we are able to provide each and every client with the level of attention, service, and care they deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation so that we can focus on getting you the compensation you deserve in order to rebuild your life after a motorcycle accident.
Do motorcyclists in Kansas have to wear helmets?
Motorcyclists under 18 years old in Kansas must wear a helmet. Motorcyclists over 18 years old are not required to wear a helmet in Kansas.
Should I contact my insurance company after my motorcycle accident?
Yes, but stick to the basic facts when talking to your insurance company. Tell them things like who was involved and when/where the crash happened. Do not get into issues of fault. If you say the wrong thing—even to your own insurance company—you may harm your chances of getting a fair settlement.
What should I do if an insurance company offers me money for my accident?
Do not accept an offer without first discussing the details of the proposed agreement with our law firm. We can examine the proposal and help you decide if a financial offer for your motorcycle accident makes the most sense in your specific case.
Should I file a lawsuit if I’m injured in a motorcycle accident?
That depends. Filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit might be the best way to recover compensation for your accident. Most cases, however, can be settled. Many victims prefer a fair settlement over going to court. To learn more about all the legal options available to you, contact Bretz Injury Law to arrange a free consultation. We are available to discuss the details of your situation over the phone, meet at our office, or set up a time to meet at your home, in the hospital, or another location that is convenient for you.
How Long Do You Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Kansas?
You have a limited amount of time to take legal action after your motorcycle accident. In most situations, the statute of limitations for taking legal action in Kansas after a motorcycle accident is two years. There are some exceptions that allow you even less time to act. It is important that you act quickly so that you do not lose your right to seek compensation for your damages. Contact Bretz Injury Law in Hutchinson, Salina, Wichita, Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, or Hays right away to learn how our lawyers can help you protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.