Do motorcycles stop faster than cars? Motorcycles can stop faster than cars, primarily because of their lighter weight. However, motorcyclists face an unusually great risk of injury when they must stop abruptly. For this reason, motorists who force motorcyclists to stop suddenly may increase the risk of significant injuries and property damage. Reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Why Is It so Dangerous for Motorcyclists to Stop Suddenly?
When a car, truck, or SUV stops suddenly, it may strike another vehicle, put great strain on the passengers’ bodies, and pose other risks. However, those risks pale in comparison to what can occur when a motorcyclist stops suddenly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlines several of the dangers that arise when a motorcyclist brakes rapidly, including:
- The motorcycle and rider striking an object in front of them (which is likely the reason they brake in the first place)
- The motorcyclist being thrown from their bike
- The motorcyclist striking the ground after ejection from their bike
- The motorcyclist striking motor vehicles, signs, barricades, or other objects after ejection from the bike
It does not take a crash dynamics expert to see that, in these scenarios, a motorcyclist faces a significant risk of injury and death.
Potential Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident
The severity of the motorcycle accident will affect the injuries a motorcyclist suffers.
Some injuries may not prove fatal, including:
- Broken bones
Yet, even minor injuries require a thorough medical examination. A seemingly minor injury (like a bruise) can end up being life-threatening, especially if left untreated. A bruise can be a sign of potentially fatal internal injuries.
Other injuries from a motorcycle accident are obviously catastrophic. Whether or not such injuries threaten the rider’s life, they may significantly affect the rider’s quality of life going forward.
Such injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Amputation injuries
While there are some measures a rider can take to reduce the risk of serious injury—like wearing a helmet—a high possibility of injury remains whenever a motorcycle accident happens.
Motorcyclists Face Great Risk of Death When Involved in Accidents
The National Safety Council (NSC) explains that motorcyclists account for about three percent of vehicles on the road yet account for about 14 percent of all traffic deaths. Motorcycles lack the physical shell that protects those in cars, SUVs, and trucks, exposing motorcyclists to an increased risk of serious injury when an accident happens.
Motorcycles also lack airbags, seatbelts, and other safety features proven to reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. While motorcyclists typically know the elevated injury risk that they face, they also rely on other motorists to act cautiously to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Scenarios That May Require a Motorcyclist to Stop Suddenly (and Potentially Suffer an Accident)
If a motorcyclist is riding a safely and operating their motorcycle with caution, and other motorists are acting with similar caution, they should not generally have to stop suddenly. A motorist who fails to exercise proper caution may cause a motorcyclist to hit the brakes resulting in an injury accident.
Some scenarios that can lead to a motorcycle accident include:
A Motorist Pulling in Front of an Oncoming Motorcyclist
Motorists do not always see motorcyclists as well as they see larger vehicles. Furthermore, motorcyclists can accelerate faster than most larger vehicles, as their lighter weight and powerful engines allow for rapid acceleration.
Motorists may pull in front of an oncoming motorcyclist because they believe there is adequate space to do so. When there is not adequate clearance, the motorcyclist may have to stop suddenly, swerve, or may strike the vehicle.
A Motorist Failing to Heed Traffic Signals
Stop signs, traffic lights, yield signs, and other signals protect motorists from each other. If a motorist fails to stop, yield the right of way, or otherwise obey traffic signals, motorcyclists may be endangered.
A Motorist Merging Into a Motorcyclist’s Lane
A motorcyclist may have nowhere to go when a motorist merges into their lane. Stopping suddenly may be their only chance of avoiding a collision, but the sudden stopping may cause the motorcyclist to fall from their bike, veer off the road, or suffer another harmful event.
Motorists Pose the Greatest Risk to Motorcyclists
NHTSA cites drivers as the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, which means that motorists are the greatest threat to motorcyclists. Motorists have a duty to motorcyclists—as well as other motorists, pedestrians, and others they might hit—to act with the greatest possible caution.
To minimize the risk of striking a motorcyclist, motorists must always refrain from:
- Drinking and driving
- Driving while impaired by drugs
- Driving while tired
- Distracted driving
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots
- Engaging in any other dangerous driving behavior
Drivers should also check their tires, service their vehicle regularly, and take other reasonable precautions to ensure their vehicle is safe before driving.
When a motorist fails to exercise necessary caution and collides with a motorcyclist, the motorist should be ready to cover the motorcyclist’s accident-related losses.
Are Motorists Always Responsible for Motorcycle Accidents?
No. Even when a motorcyclist is not responsible for the collision, another motorist will not always be the liable party.
Others who you may hold liable for a motorcycle accident include:
- A mechanic: If a mechanic’s work or failure to spot a defect leads to an accident, they may be liable for a resulting accident.
- A vehicle or motorcycle manufacturer: If a vehicle’s design or assembly makes it defective, the manufacturer may be legally liable for any resulting motorcycle accident.
- A municipality: Governments may be liable for dangerous road conditions that result in a motorcycle accident. Such conditions can include defective traffic lights, downed stop signs, unsafe roads, and unsafe positioning of work crews.
- A pedestrian: If a pedestrian caused a collision involving a motorcyclist (perhaps by entering the roadway illegally), the pedestrian might be liable for resulting damages.
No two motorcycle accidents are identical. An attorney can review the details of your accident to determine liability and seek the money you deserve.
What Should Motorcyclists Do After an Accident?
Assuming you have already left your accident scene, there are several steps to take that will protect you and help preserve the ability to obtain the financial recovery you deserve. Your to-do list after an accident should include the following:
Getting All Necessary Medical Care
Even if you have already received medical attention post-accident, keep an active watch over your health.
You may need to return to a medical professional to ensure that:
- No new injuries or symptoms have emerged since your initial medical review
- Your treatment course is having the desired effect
- You have a diagnosis for every accident-related injury
Getting records of your injuries and medical services is critical. This documentation will help your lawyer prove the harmful effects of your accident and keep track of your medical expenses.
Finding a Lawyer to Represent You
An attorney can represent you whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. While you do not have to hire a lawyer, there are many reasons why you should. If you do choose to hire an attorney, find one as quickly as possible.
You should hire a lawyer sooner rather than later because:
- Insurance companies may be actively trying to have you make self-damaging statements or accept a lowball settlement
- Certain evidence may become unavailable over time
- The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you can focus wholeheartedly on your recovery
A lawyer will take the lead on handling issues in your case as soon as you hire them.
Letting Your Lawyer Deal With Insurers
It is generally smarter to say less rather than more to insurance companies. Even your own insurer has interests that differ from yours, and they can use your own words to deny or underpay your claim.
Once you hire a lawyer, they will lead communications with insurers. Your attorney will ensure that you do not make any oral or written statements that can hurt your financial recovery. Your attorney can also help you craft any statements you must give.
How Motorcycle Accident Victims Choose a Lawyer
Choosing an attorney is an important decision, but motorcycle accident victims may not know where to start their search for a lawyer. You can start with the internet, looking for law firms that represent motorcycle accident victims in your area.
When you’re looking at prospective attorneys, you can evaluate:
- Case results: Has the law firm won other motorcycle accident cases? Do these results impress you when you compare them with other firms’ results?
- Client testimonials: Do former clients have largely positive opinions about the law firm? Or are there many negative reviews that give you a reason for concern?
- Practice areas: Does the law firm regularly handle motorcycle accident cases?
- The law firm’s fee structure: Does the firm offer a contingency fee structure requiring you to pay no upfront costs or fees?
Personal injury firms typically offer free consultations. These free phone calls or rmeetings allow motorcycle accident victims to ask questions. You might ask which attorney will handle your case, why that attorney has the qualifications to represent you (among other questions) and what approach the attorney will take with your case.
What Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?
A motorcycle accident lawyer’s job is to secure full and fair recovery for their client. Upon closer examination, you’ll find that the mission is rarely simple. A lawyer must:
Protect Their Client
A lawyer’s efforts are undermined if their client negotiates with the insurance company behind their back. For this reason, your attorney will handle all case-related communications, including those with insurers. By taking the lead on mattress related to your case, your lawyer will ensure you’re using the best strategy to maximize recovery.
Build the Case
Your attorney will build your case by working to prove the liable party’s legal responsibility for your damages and what those damages are.
Your attorney may try to establish the other party’s negligence by:
- Recording witness statements
- Documenting how the accident happened
- Getting the police report from the collision
- Hiring an expert to reconstruct the accident
- Tying together all evidence with a clear narrative of your accident
Your lawyer should establish your damages with medical records, proof of lost income, medical bills, experts’ testimony of your pain and suffering, and any other documentation proving your losses.
Fight for a Settlement
Settling does not mean accepting less than you deserve—quite the contrary. An attorney should only recommend a settlement offer if their client is receiving fair compensation for their damages. Settling is the most common outcome for civil cases but is certainly not the only option.
Going to Trial
Taking a case to trial is the alternative to settling. Your lawyer may advise you to proceed to trial if you do not receive the settlement offer you deserve either before filing a lawsuit or during the course of litigation after a lawsuit has been filed. However, you can still settle your case at any time before a court enters a judgment, even if litigation or trial has begun.
What Damages Should a Motorcycle Accident Victim Seek Compensation For?
Your damages will determine how much money you deserve for your motorcycle accident. Your attorney will identify those damages and their fair value.
Motorcycle accident victims often deserve compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Motorcycle repairs
- Repair or replacement of other personal property
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological treatment
- Temporary transportation
- Lost income
- Lost earning power
Your lawyer will create a detailed list of your accident-related damages.
If your loved one passed away because of a motorcycle accident, you might have additional damages, including:
- Funeral expenses
- Grief counseling
- Permanent loss of the decedent’s income
- Loss of the decedent’s household services
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental guidance
Losing a loved one under tragic circumstances such as a motorcycle accident is devastating, and no amount of money will repair what you have lost. However, a financial recovery is the best the law allows for and can help with certain damages, as well as hold the responsible party accountable.
When you hire a lawyer, you help reduce the uncomfortable and stressful aspects of a claim or lawsuit while still fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Hire a Lawyer Today to Seek Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident
Don’t wait to hire a lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured. There may be a strict deadline for your case, and a lawyer will benefit from having more time to decide when to file your claim or lawsuit. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.