Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles promise an experience of freedom and thrill on the road, making them a popular mode of transportation for many. However, their small, fast, and exposed nature makes them particularly vulnerable to accidents. Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences, usually characterized by severe injuries or even fatalities. In fact, in 2021, 5,932 motorcyclists died in traffic crashes — a statistic that underscores the severity of motorcycle accidents.
Consulting a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you avoid the common challenges victims face when navigating motorcycle accident cases. Our experienced and dedicated team at Bretz Injury Law can offer you legal counsel and representation to ensure you get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages and help secure your family’s future.
Common Motorcycle Accidents
Some motorcycle accidents are beyond the control of motorcyclists, such as when other motorists fail to notice bikers in their path, others could be avoided if the motorcyclist had better training and more experience. Here are some common motorcycle accidents:
Consider this scenario: You’re riding your motorcycle down a road when a car moving from the opposite direction suddenly makes a left turn right in front of you. You have no time to stop or swerve. This scenario is unfortunately quite common and is known as a left-turn motorcycle accident.
Left-turn accidents often happen because other motorists misjudge the motorcycle’s speed or don’t see it coming. Motorcycles are smaller and can easily get lost in a driver’s blind spot or blend into the background in a driver’s peripheral vision.
Lane splitting is common with motorcyclists when there is heavy traffic or vehicles are at a standstill. This practice involves a motorcyclist riding between lanes of traffic, a factor that predisposes riders to crashes due to their proximity to other cars.
These accidents happen when a vehicle switches lanes or a motorist opens a door without noticing a motorcyclist. In such cases, motorcyclists have less space to maneuver and may suffer severe injuries. Lane splitting, or filtering as it is called in other states, is illegal in the state of Kansas.
Head-on collisions occur when a vehicle crosses the centerline or when a motorist drives the wrong way on the road, colliding with an oncoming motorcycle. They can also happen when a car pulls out from a side street or driveway without seeing an oncoming motorcycle.
Unlike drivers in cars or trucks, motorcyclists don’t have a protective shell around them. Even with a helmet and other protective gear, they are exposed to direct impact in a collision, which amplifies the severity of injuries and the probability of a fatality.
Speeding motorcyclists need more time to react to obstacles or situations on the road. That makes it difficult to avoid a collision, especially if they need to swerve or stop suddenly. Speeding accidents are characterized by greater impact, which increases the likelihood of fatalities or severe injuries.
Motorcyclists lack the protection car occupants have, making them more vulnerable to injuries in an accident. Even with a helmet and protective clothing, a high-speed crash can be fatal or cause severe injuries.
Intoxicated motorists often experience reduced motor control, slower reaction times, and impaired judgment. As a result, they may turn too fast, fail to notice a motorcycle in their path, or weave dangerously through traffic — all of which may result in accidents.
Remember that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Kansas with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Damages
Victims of different types of motorcycle accidents can claim various damages based on their losses and injuries. Different states have different rules when deciding what types of damages and how much to award in motorcycle accident cases.
Most states, including Kansas, use the comparative negligence rule to determine the award of damages. This rule provides that the plaintiff’s comparative negligence does not bar them from recovering damages, provided their negligence is not greater than that of the defendant.
This rule is unlike the contributory negligence rule, which bars a party from claiming damages if it is determined they were partially at fault for the motorcycle accident. Generally, victims of motorcycle accidents may be entitled to the following types of damages:
These damages can easily be assigned a monetary figure, and the plaintiff claims these to compensate for lost property or losses incurred due to their injuries. Economic damages in motorcycle accidents include:
- Medical expenses, including costs for immediate and future treatment, hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, or doctor’s appointments
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
For accident victims to claim these damages, it’s advisable to keep detailed records of all costs incurred due to the accident. These include medical bills, repair estimates, pay stubs to show lost wages, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. A Kansas personal injury attorney can help gather this evidence and calculate the total economic damages.
These are damages awarded to compensate for the non-monetary consequences of a motorcycle accident. They are subjective and do not have a fixed value, making them more difficult to calculate than economic damages. Some common non-economic damages include:
- Physical disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Calculating non-economic damages after a motorcycle crash can be difficult, but various methods may be used to establish a suitable amount. Courts may use the multiplier method, involving the multiplication of the total economic damages by a certain number — usually between 1.5 and 5 — determined based on the severity of injuries, the impact on the victim’s life, and the prognosis for recovery.
The courts determine non-economic damages on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, different jurisdictions may have caps on the amount that can be awarded. Consulting a motorcycle injury lawyer can guide you on the potential value of non-economic damages in your case.
While these aren’t standard in motorcycle accident cases, they may be awarded if the judge considers the defendant’s actions extremely reckless or if there was a complete disregard for the safety of other motorists. These damages are meant to deter the plaintiff and others from repeating such actions.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle occupants have little protection compared to four-wheel vehicle occupants in the event of an accident, which makes it crucial to seek immediate medical attention to alleviate the consequences of motorcycle accident injuries. Some of the most typical injuries in these accidents include:
- Head injuries. These may be concussions or traumatic brain injuries in more severe accidents.
- Road rash. Mild to severe skin abrasions occur when a motorcyclist falls and slides on the road.
- Nerve damage. May occur when the bike lands on the motorcyclist’s extremities during a crash.
- Broken bones. The most common injuries include ribs, wrists, and collarbone.
- Brachial plexus injuries. Occur when nerves are compressed, stressed, or ripped apart.
- Spinal cord injuries. These injuries risk causing damage to the spinal cord or paralysis from the waist down.
Talk to an Experienced Kansas Lawyer About Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Motorcycle accidents can have life-altering consequences, making it crucial for riders to understand their legal rights and options. At Bretz Injury Law, we are 100% dedicated to our legal practice of fighting to obtain justice for those injured in motorcycle accidents or families who have lost their loved ones due to another party’s negligence.
We understand that going against insurers alone in a motorcycle accident case can be an uphill battle, which is why our legal team is always ready to offer you quality counsel and representation and take your case to trial if necessary. Contact us today by calling 620.RESULTS to discuss the details of your case with our lawyers and explore your legal options if you have been injured in a motorcycle crash.
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