Bay Point Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Riding on a motorcycle can be an enjoyable hobby as well as an economical alternative to a passenger car or other large motor vehicle. Unfortunately, motorcyclists have far less protection against serious injury than automobile drivers do -- a helmet, gloves, and a jacket just don't provide the same degree of safety as two tons of car, seatbelts, and airbags do. So, when a motorcyclist is involved in a traffic accident, the degree of injury is likely to be proportionately much worse. When this happens, a Bay Point motorcycle accident attorney, like the experienced personal injury attorneys at our law firm, can help an injured motorcyclist recover appropriate compensation for their injuries from the negligent drivers who may have caused the accident, as well as their insurance companies.Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) -- citing statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) -- fatalities on motorcycles occur at 29 times the rate per mile driven as fatalities in cars. No single number can better exemplify the safety differences between the two types of vehicles. Passenger cars, in particular, have strict design standards for safety, including the mandatory use of safety devices like seatbelt harnesses and airbags, as well as exhaustive crashworthiness studies that frequently are key parts of advertising campaigns. Motorcyclists have nothing much other than a helmet. The IIHS also notes:
- Helmets are a key factor in motorcycle safety -- they eliminate about one-third of motorcyclist fatalities and about two-thirds of motorcyclist brain injuries. (Despite this, fewer than half the states in America require helmets to be used by all riders.)
- In 2020, more than 5,500 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents -- the largest number ever, a significant increase over 2019, and more than double motorcycle fatalities from 1997.
- Motorcyclist death totals currently are even with (or perhaps a bit higher than) numbers from the late 1970s, while passenger car occupant fatalities are down by roughly one-third over the same time period.
- Motorcyclist fatalities are much more likely to result from single-vehicle crashes -- averaging about 40% in recent years.
- Motorcyclist fatalities are more likely to occur in urban rather than rural areas and much more likely to occur on major surface streets rather than on freeways.
- As with all motor vehicle fatalities, alcohol is a significant factor in motorcyclist deaths -- for 2020, fully 41% of all single-vehicle motorcyclist deaths involved a blood alcohol level of 0.08% (the legal limit in California and many states) or higher.
Motorcycle accidents don't have to happen, and when they do, steps can be taken that can reduce the severity of injuries. Among the commonsense things a motorcyclist can do are:
- Always wear a helmet -- one that is "DOT-approved" (Department of Transportation) and preferably full-face.
- Make yourself visible to other drivers -- light-colored clothing, reflective tape or markers on your gear and helmet, and be cautious when lane-splitting or otherwise riding in close proximity to cars and trucks.
- Remain alert, especially at intersections.
- Do not drink and do not speed -- both factors greatly increase the chances of serious injuries or death.
- Know your motorcycle and know the rules of the road. Practice operating a new motorcycle away from other vehicles until you know it thoroughly.
While the statistics for injuries and deaths for motorcyclists are significantly different from the same numbers for other motor vehicle drivers and occupants, the process of resolving personal injury claims is very similar. The same types of bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, and property damage insurance coverage are in effect for motorcycle accidents as for car accidents in general.
Motorcycle accidents are generally investigated and reported by law enforcement agencies using the same type of traffic collision reports as other traffic incidents. In general, nearly all the same traffic laws apply to motorcyclists as to car drivers and in the same ways.
Verifying the accuracy of law enforcement traffic collision reports and following up to conduct additional investigations as needed is a valuable service that a motorcycle accident attorney can provide for clients. One factor that is not uncommon in motorcycle accidents is the fact that a motorcycle has reduced "visibility" to other vehicle drivers as compared to a car -- this is primarily a simple matter of the much larger passenger vehicle or truck being much easier for drivers to observe and react to.
This factor of visibility to others is shared with bicycle and pedestrian accidents -- again, the bicyclist or pedestrian is simply less likely to be noticed by drivers. This can often be overcome by seeking out and interviewing additional witnesses and by searching for video cameras in the vicinity of the accident scene -- both sources can correct or supplement the sometimes brief or inaccurate factual summaries contained in law enforcement traffic accident reports.
Beyond a thorough investigation of the accident itself, a motorcycle injury lawyer can assist clients by collecting the evidence needed to present thorough and complete demand packages seeking resolution of personal injury insurance claims, or, if necessary, employing this same evidence to seek compensation for clients by way of litigation in court or through the arbitration process for uninsured and underinsured motorist claims.
View this video from the State of Washington describing how car drivers and motorcyclists can work together to improve safety:Bay Point Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Hello, my name is Ed Smith, and I am a Bay Point Motorcycle Accident Attorney. Despite the fun of riding a motorcycle and the significant cost savings of operating one compared to most passenger cars, the risk of being involved in an accident and the danger of sustaining much more serious injuries as compared with passenger car occupants cannot be ignored. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person's negligence, please contact us today at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
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