Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Arlington, TX
There are many reasons people ride motorcycles – for their maneuverability, good gas mileage, and often just for the feel of riding in the open air. But some of these reasons can contribute to the decreased safety of motorcycles. Motorcycles, because they are maneuverable, are less stable and less visible than cars. Added to this, is the fact that they are often high performance machines that require care and caution when operating.
Motorcycles offer little protection to the rider and are often simply not seen by car drivers. For this reason, they are considered some of the most vulnerable vehicles on the road. Often, because of their size, a driver of a car may make sudden turns or lane changes without regard for the smaller vehicle, resulting in a collision. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury or death, because of their lack of rider protection. In fact, in 2013 there were 4,668 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Road Conditions and Weather
Many conditions must be considered during the investigation of a motorcycle accident and all factors must be taken into account in order to build a strong case. Investigations can include traffic conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions at the time of the accident. Motorcycles must use extra caution on the road compared to automobiles. Hazardous road conditions, due to construction or weather, are more dangerous for motorcycle riders because of their lack of rider protection and decreased stability compared to a four-wheeled automobile.
Actions of Other Drivers
The location of the accident, whether in a busy commercial area or in a quiet residential area, also contribute to a motorcycle crash case. The actions of other drivers must be considered. For example, was another driver careless or reckless without regard for other vehicles on the road in a busy area? Any driver of any vehicle on the road has an obligation to use reasonable care to avoid injuring other drivers, riders, or pedestrians. If it is determined that another driver did not use proper caution, they may be liable for your injuries.
Another contributing factor to many motorcycle accidents is defective equipment. Unexpected failure of major systems such as an engine, brakes, fuel tanks, and even handlebars can be the result of a manufacturing design defect. In fact, there are many motorcycle recalls every year because of manufacturer issues.
In these cases, motorcycle injury lawsuits usually fall under the laws of liability. These laws hold manufacturers responsible for the products they produce. If a plaintiff can prove the product was defective and therefore caused injury, the producer of the product may be held responsible for any possible compensation.
Limited visibility can be caused by weather, poor lighting, and obstructions, such as buildings or trees or even poorly designed intersections. Motorcycle riders are often killed or injured at traffic intersections.
Inexperienced riders may take unnecessary risks on their motorcycles because they do not understand the power of the machine. They may be testing out their new bike or nervous in traffic. New riders are often involved in single-bike accidents and are generally still learning the limitations of their machine and their own skills.
Helmets Save Lives
With the increase in motorcycle ridership comes the debate surrounding helmet use. Many groups see the required use of helmets as an impingement on their rights; however, several studies have proven that when states require the use of motorcycle helmets, lives are saved. In the United States, there is no helmet law at the federal level.
Some states have taken helmet laws under their own control. Universal helmet laws, those that require all riders regardless of age or experience to wear helmets, are enacted in 19 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, 28 states have partial helmet laws that require helmet use for some riders, usually the young and inexperienced. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire still have no helmet law.
Liability in Motorcycle Accidents
The most common claim in the case of a motorcycle accident is negligence. There are several criteria that must be met for a defendant to be found negligent. First, the court must determine that they did not use reasonable safety and caution while operating their vehicle. Second, this lack of care and safety must be found to be the cause of the accident. Third, the plaintiff must be able to show that their injuries and losses are a result of the accident.
Sometimes both parties are partially at fault for an accident. This type of situation can fall under another category, known as comparative negligence. Some states, including Texas, allow fault, and therefore damages, to be found for both parties. For instance, if a car driver hits a motorcycle driver at night from behind, but the motorcycle’s rear light was not functioning, both parties may be found to be partially at fault for the accident.
Motorcycle accidents can be some of the most traumatic accidents on the road. Exercising care and knowing the law are first steps to being safer on the road.