Aggressive Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Washington, DC
Motorcyclists have no choice but to rely, in part, on other drivers for their own safety. By their very nature, motorcycles offer no structural protection to the rider in time of a crash, leading to riders being at much higher risk of harm in a crash than car and truck drivers. In a collision between a bike and a car or truck, the rider’s body is likely to take the brunt of the impact. The results can be devastating, including serious and permanent injuries, and even death.
Sometimes, no one is at fault for an accident involving a motorcyclist. It just happens. But sometimes, motorcycle accidents happen as a direct result of the carelessness of car and truck drivers, or of those responsible for maintaining roads, or other factors out of the riders’ control. When that occurs, the biker or their families may have a legal claim for damages against those responsible, and may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses, among others.
At The Abelson Law Firm, we represent riders and their families who have been the victim of others’ negligence. We fight to make sure you receive compensation for your injuries, and that those responsible for them are held accountable.
Motorcycle Accident Facts
According to data released in 2018 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists died on U.S. roadways, a 5.1 percent increase over a year earlier. 94 percent of those motorcyclists were riders, and the remaining 6 percent were motorcycle passengers. In addition, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that in 2015, there were approximately 88,000 injuries from motorcycle accidents on U.S. roads. Across both categories, older riders appear to sustain more serious injuries than younger riders.
The data also suggests some trends and patterns in motorcycle accidents. In 55 percent of the fatal crashes, for instance, the motorcycle collided with a moving car or truck. Nearly as many fatalities, and about three quarters as many injuries, happened on the two weekend days combined than the five weekdays combined, suggesting that weekends are the most dangerous times for motorcycle crashes.
Motorcyclist behavior can contribute significantly to deaths and injuries in accidents. According to the NHTSA, approximately one in four motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2016 were intoxicated at the time of the accident. Speeding by motorcyclists also contributed regularly to crashes resulting in injury or death. Finally, the III reports that riders of supersport motorcycles have a fatality rate four times higher than riders of other style bikes.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
In 1981, University of Southern California researchers published what remains (for now) one of the most authoritative studies of the causes of motorcycle crashes in the United States. Its principal finding was:
The most common motorcycle accident involves another vehicle causing the collision by violating the right-of-way of the motorcycle at an intersection, usually by turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle because the car driver did not see the motorcycle. The motorcycle rider involved in the accident is usually inconspicuous in traffic, inexperienced, untrained, unlicensed, unprotected and does a poor job of avoiding the collision.
A November 2017 study by the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) confirmed that right-of-way collisions where a car turns into a motorcyclist’s path without seeing the motorcycle remain a common cause of motorcycle accidents. The RoSPA study also found that other common causes include loss of control on bends in the road, collisions while the motorcycle is passing a car or truck, simple loss of control by the rider, speeding, and alcohol.
In addition, a long-term Federal Highway Administration study about motorcycle crash causes is due out later this year.
Who May Be Liable in a Motorcycle Crash?
As the research and data suggest, many motorcycle accidents are either no one’s fault, or the fault of motorcycle riders who are intoxicated or speeding. However, when a motorcyclist is injured or dies in a crash that is not primarily his fault, then courts may find other actors liable. This could include car and truck drivers who didn’t take the time to check for the motorcyclist before making a turn. Or a road engineer who designs a curve or road surface that is unreasonably dangerous for motorcycle traffic. Or a private landowner who fails to clear debris from a privately-maintained road that is open to the motorcycling public.
How Can Motorcyclists Avoid Being Found at Fault?
Motorcyclists have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, and others, to ride responsibly. When they do, there is a much higher chance that they may be able to recover damages for their injuries after an accident. In many states, riders must wear a helmet (which has been shown to reduce the risk of death and serious injury in a crash dramatically). Motorcyclists should also maintain their bikes with proper running lights, follow traffic laws, and avoid speeding and drinking alcohol. It can also be helpful for motorcyclists to wear clothing that makes them visible on the road.
Washington, D.C., Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At The Abelson Law Firm, we represent motorcyclists who have been injured in accidents and their families. We understand the stress and difficulty that a motorcycle accident can cause, and aim to take some of the pressure off of you, so that you can focus on recovering while we investigate your accident, speak to witnesses, and evaluate whether you have a claim for insurance proceeds or damages from a responsible party.
Motorcyclists have the same rights to use the roads as anyone else. They should not be put at risk by careless drivers or negligently-maintained roads. When those accidents happen, you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and opposing lawyers, to get you the justice you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a motorcyclist in an accident, contact us or call (202) 331-0600 today for a free case evaluation.