Other drivers do not automatically owe motorcyclists the right of way. Cyclists must follow the same laws and rules of the road as all other drivers. Specifically, they have to obey stop signs, yield the right-of-way at the appropriate times, and follow speed limits. Motorcyclists also have the same legal rights as other drivers on the road. For instance, they can take up an entire lane on a highway, just like a car or truck. Other vehicles must also yield the right-of-way to cyclists at the appropriate times. For more information, reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
However, even when cyclists follow all applicable traffic laws, serious accidents still occur. Motorcycle crashes usually happen when other drivers do not follow the law and operate their vehicles negligently under the circumstances.
Motorcycles offer their riders very little protection. Except for their helmets, there is no outer shell or covering surrounding them. Poorly made helmets can even crack in a forceful impact. Therefore, crash victims have direct exposure to their surrounding environment. If they strike the ground, they can suffer severe and sometimes deadly injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from driver negligence, you are not alone. As soon as possible after your accident, you should seek medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. Speak with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer who can help gather the necessary documentation and file a claim with the insurance company on your behalf.
How do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Even when motorcyclists follow the road rules, accidents can still happen when other drivers are negligent. A negligent driver fails to act reasonably under the circumstances. Drivers are negligent when they fail to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time, violate other traffic laws, engage in distracted driving, or operate their vehicles while intoxicated.
At other times, motorcycle accidents do not result from driver negligence. Instead, they occur because of a defective motorcycle part or road.
Road rule violations – When cars and trucks speed around motorcycles and violate other traffic laws, their chances of causing a severe accident increase exponentially. In a crash between a large vehicle and a motorcycle, the cyclist usually suffers more severe injuries.
Road rule violations that can lead to motorcycle crashes include speeding, tailgating, failing to use turn signals, aggressive driving maneuvers, and failing to yield the right of way.
Distracted driving – Motorcycles are tiny vehicles sometimes outside a driver’s view. When someone engages in distracted driving, the motorcyclist becomes even less noticeable. A distracted driver fails to pay sufficient attention to the road. The driver might be programming a GPS device, fiddling with a cellular phone, roughhousing with other individuals in the vehicle, or listening to loud music.
Any of these activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and other motor vehicles, including motorcycles. When a driver diverts their attention from the road for just a second or two, that may be enough time for them to miss a cyclist in the vicinity, leading to a crash.
Intoxicated driving – There is no disputing that alcohol significantly impairs a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. Alcohol slows down a driver’s reaction time and often prevents them from stopping in time to avoid a cyclist. Drunk drivers may also exhibit physical symptoms, including blurred vision, preventing them from judging distances accurately.
A driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is legally intoxicated. Even if a driver has a BAC of 0.07 percent or lower, they can still experience the adverse effects of alcohol impairment, rendering them incapable of safe driving. Also, Alberta imposes administrative sanctions if you have a BAC of 0.05 percent to 0.08 percent.
Product malfunctions – Motorcycle accidents in Alberta do not always result from driver negligence. Instead, these accidents sometimes happen when motorcycle parts break down on the road, usually because of a pre-existing defect. Motorcycle part manufacturers must inspect their products, test them, and ensure that they are ready for sale and distribution.
When a motorcycle steering mechanism, braking component, or other part malfunctions on the road due to a defect, the accident victim can file a claim with the defective product’s manufacturer or distributor.
Road defects – Municipalities, including cities and provinces, have a duty to ensure that their roads remain in good condition. When severe roadway defects exist, they must repair the defects within a reasonable time. Like cracks and potholes, road defects can dislodge a motorcycle rider from their vehicle, causing them to suffer a severe injury. If the accident happens due to a roadway defect, the accident victim can bring a claim against the responsible municipality.
When drivers engage in one or more types of negligence, they can cause a motorcycle crash that leads to injuries—and some can be fatal. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can investigate the circumstances of your collision and, if necessary, retain an expert investigator to piece together exactly what happened.
Your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation. The accident victim will file their claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in most instances. Your lawyer can then work to negotiate favourable monetary damages for you.
Types of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle crashes occur in many different ways. In some crashes, the front of a motor vehicle collides with the rear of the motorcycle, causing the cyclist to fall to the ground and suffer serious injuries. These rear-end accidents can happen when drivers are distracted and not paying attention to the road.
T-bone—or broadside—collisions typically happen at traffic intersections. Just as a cyclist must yield the right-of-way to a car or truck operator at the appropriate time, the same goes for car/truck drivers and motorcycles. Drivers must not run red lights, stop signs, or yield signs. If they do, they can strike a cyclist in the middle of an intersection resulting in severe injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Finally, some motorcycle accidents are head-on collisions. These accidents happen when the front of a car or truck strikes the front of a motorcycle. These accidents are the most likely to lead to fatal injuries, especially when both vehicles are traveling at high speeds.
If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that another driver caused, your lawyer can explore your legal options and file a claim for monetary compensation with the appropriate insurance company.
Injuries that Motorcycle Accident Victims Suffer
Victims of motorcycle crashes can suffer severe injuries, especially if they are not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. When a cyclist strikes the ground in a motorcycle crash, they can suffer cuts, abrasions, and broken bones. If a cyclist strikes their head on the ground in a collision, they can suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, such as a concussion.
In more severe accidents, the accident victim might fall into a coma or even die due to a severe head injury. Even if the cyclist does not fall off their bike in a crash, they can suffer a soft tissue injury, such as whiplash or a muscular contusion.
In any case, following a motorcycle crash, the accident victim should seek same-day treatment at a hospital emergency room. In the emergency room, the attending doctor can take the necessary x-rays, MRIs, and brain scans, to determine the severity of the accident victim’s injuries. The accident victim should continue treating their injuries and follow through with any recommended treatment.
For example, their injuries may require surgery or other medical procedure—or they might need to attend physical therapy sessions to make a full recovery. While the accident victim continues treating their injuries, their motorcycle accident lawyer can assemble a settlement demand package. Once the accident victim completes most of their treatment, the personal injury lawyer can then submit the claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and pursue favourable settlement compensation.
Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Party
Victims of motorcycle crashes have a limited time to bring a claim. Specifically, crash victims must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within two years of their accident date. This statute of limitations is extremely unforgiving, and if the accident files even one day after the statute runs, they are ineligible for damages. Therefore, it is usually best to retain a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to represent you in your case.
Your lawyer can file a lawsuit to protect the statute from running and ensure that you remain eligible to recover money damages. Even after filing a lawsuit on your behalf, your lawyer can still negotiate a settlement in the case if the insurance company makes a reasonable offer. Otherwise, your lawyer will litigate the personal injury case to a conclusion.
Recovering Damages for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Generally speaking, the more serious a motorcycle accident victim’s injuries, the higher the damages they can recover in their motorcycle accident case. Since every motorcycle accident is different, one accident victim’s damages may not be the same as another’s. Moreover, if the cyclist suffered a permanent injury in their crash, they might recover more damages than if they sustained a non-permanent injury, such as a muscle strain or soft tissue injury.
Many accident victims have to miss time from work after their accident to make a full recovery. The accident victim can file a claim for lost earnings when that happens. To prove their lost wage claim, they will need to submit supporting documentation from their employer. In addition, if the accident victim had to switch to a lower-paying job due to their injuries, they can file a claim for loss of earning capacity. Accident victims can assert these claims if their post-accident job pays less than their pre-accident job.
Motorcycle accident victims typically sustain painful injuries, and they can seek compensation for all of the inconvenience, suffering, and pain they endured due to their injuries. If their quality of life went downhill after the accident due to their injuries, they can bring a claim for loss of life enjoyment. Moreover, if they suffered a spinal cord injury, paralysis injury, or some other permanent impairment, they can bring a claim for loss of use of a body part. Finally, depending upon their injuries, they can bring a claim for loss of spousal companionship, family support, and consortium.
If you or a person you love has suffered injuries in a recent motorcycle collision, your lawyer can help you pursue the highest amount of damages possible. If your loved one died in a motorcycle crash that resulted from negligence, your lawyer can assist you with filing a wrongful death claim. As part of a wrongful death claim, you can seek monetary compensation for your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses, future lost wages, pain and suffering until death, and loss of care and companionship.
Talk With a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
Even when cyclists follow all applicable road rules and regulations, serious crashes can happen when other drivers are negligent and reckless. It is never a good idea to represent yourself in your accident claim. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from negligence, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can handle your case from beginning to end. Your lawyer can investigate the accident, file a claim on your behalf, and aggressively negotiate a settlement in your case.
If the insurance company adjuster refuses to offer you fair damages, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and work to get you the compensation you need. Having the right legal representation sends a strong message to the insurance companies that you refuse to accept less than you deserve. This often results in a fair settlement offer that allows you to avoid going to court. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.