Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle is not unlike the spiritual high that surfers, mountain climbers, parachutists, or others who engage in certain hazardous activities experience. Riders often express feelings of freedom and a natural connection to the world as they become attuned to the odors, sounds, and sights around them in an open environment. Besides riding for recreation, motorcyclists also use their bikes to commute or to enjoy the ease of maneuvering in traffic and for finding parking, not to mention the savings in gas consumption.

However, riding a motorcycle does come at a price, since motorcycles are often regarded as presenting an inherent risk to your health and safety. There is nothing between you and an unforgiving road and nothing that shields your body from directly colliding with another vehicle or some other object in the road, making you highly susceptible to life-altering injuries or death.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycles do present a dilemma to other motorists. They are smaller than passenger vehicles and can appear suddenly in an adjoining traffic lane when a motorist is changing into that lane. Uncontrolled intersections are the site of many accidents, since motorists often misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle, if they even observe it, and will turn directly into its path.

Accident statistics on motorcycle accidents are sobering. Consider these facts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the risks of motorcycle riding:

  • 1 in 7 of all traffic fatalities are motorcycle riders and passengers
  • You are 35 times more likely to be killed in a motorcycle crash than if you were an occupant in a passenger vehicle
  • At least 80% of motorcycle accidents result in an injury to the rider or passenger
  • Motorcycle passengers face an even greater risk of sustaining a fatal injury than the rider
  • 60% of motorcycle accidents occur at night
  • Arkansas has around 65 to 89 motorcycle fatalities each year

Wearing a helmet is only mandatory in Arkansas if you are under the age of 21, though all riders are required to wear eyewear. However, wearing a helmet only reduces your risk of suffering a fatal injury by 37% and of sustaining a head injury by 69%. In any collision, you are virtually guaranteed to be ejected from your seat where you will either contact the road at a high speed;collide with another vehicle, median, tree, or other object; or suffer a crush injury if you do manage to stay with your bike.

Factors in Motorcycle Accidents

Numerous motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. Factors that can cause an accident are:

  • Intoxicated and/or drug-impaired motorists
  • Distracted motorists
  • Slippery road conditions
  • Excessive speed
  • Failure to see a motorcycle in blind spots resulting in unsafe lane change
  • Failure to stop by motorists at stop signs or red lights with a motorcycle in front of them
  • Failure to see a motorcycle when making a left turn
  • Defective road maintenance or design
  • Equipment failure

In many accidents, your attorney from Green & Gillispie will retain an expert in accident reconstruction to support liability if there are conflicting versions of how the accident occurred.

Keeping Safe While Riding a Motorcycle

Riders can minimize their risk of being in an accident by following some commonsense practices:

  • Take a rider safety course even if you are an experienced rider
  • Always wear a full-faced helmet, gloves, boots, and pants
  • Assume other motorists do not see you
  • Check your tires, brakes and cables before riding
  • Avoid riding at night or in poor weather
  • Do not speed, especially when negotiating curves or while on unfamiliar roads
  • Ride a motorcycle that fits your size, weight and experience
  • Avoid drinking or taking drugs before riding
  • If riding with others, pick a leader and determine how to ride in formation

What to Do Following an Accident

A motorcycle accident can result in substantial damages. You can preserve your injury claim by following these measures:

  • Do not talk to the other party about the accident or make any comments about it
  • If able to do so, take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles, other parties, road, visible injuries, and the other party’s driver’s license, registration, and insurance
  • Do not refuse medical attention even if you feel only slightly injured and do not minimize any injury
  • Do not give any oral or written statements to anyone without your attorney present, except to police at the scene
  • Promptly get medical attention from your own doctor
  • Immediately contact an attorney from Green & Gillispie who will handle your claim and obtain all relevant documents, including police report, medical bills, and statements

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Wearing a helmet and protective clothing are certainly essential in preventing serious injuries. Still, many motorcycle riders suffer serious injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Disfigurement
  • Facial fractures
  • Rib, pelvic, and limb fractures
  • Severe lacerations
  • Skin burns
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Neurological injuries affecting cognitive functions
  • Injuries to internal organs
  • Emotional distress such as PTSD

Because so many motorcycle injuries are serious or catastrophic, having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from Green & Gillispie who can carefully and thoroughly demonstrate the nature, extent, and severity of your injuries will give you the best opportunity to get the most compensation for your injuries.

Damages in a Motorcycle Accident

Personal Injury Claims

If another party is found liable for the accident, then you can seek compensation for your damages. Damages in a motorcycle accident can be substantial. They typically include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future loss of income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Permanent disability
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Wrongful Death Claims

If there was a fatal injury, Arkansas law divides a wrongful death claim into to two categories. One claim can be brought by the administrator for the decedent’s estate to seek compensation for damages the decedent sustained that include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred before death
  • Loss of income the decedent would have earned over his/her working life
  • Pain and suffering if the decedent survived and endured pain before succumbing to injuries

Any recoverable damages go to the estate to pay off debts and to be distributed according to any will left by the decedent or by the laws of intestacy if the decedent had no will.

A second claim can be brought directly by the surviving, immediate family members. The damages that the family can claim are:

  • Loss of the financial support of the decedent
  • Loss of the value of household services rendered by the decedent
  • Loss of the decedent’s love, affection, comfort, and guidance

You can plead and recover punitive damages in an Arkansas personal injury or wrongful death claim if the defendant’s conduct was particularly malicious or exhibited a reckless and willful disregard for the consequences. This is often a high burden to demonstrate and any award would have to come from the defendant’s personal assets since insurance will typically not cover punitive damages.

Arkansas has a three-year statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury lawsuit but only one year from the date of the accident in a wrongful death claim. The statute can be extended in some circumstances.  

Results from Green & Gillispie

Everyone wants an attorney with a proven record of results. The personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyers from Green & Gillispie have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for their injured clients and their families over the years. Just recently, our attorneys recovered $500,000 in damages for a motorcyclist who sustained a leg injury in an accident.

Why You Need a Motorcycle Lawyer from Green & Gillispie

In many motorcycle accidents, the issues are different than those found in typical car accidents. Your motorcycle accident lawyer from Green & Gillispie may have to deal with biased and skeptical traffic officers and insurance adjusters. It is not unusual for your attorney to retain an expert in motorcycle accident reconstruction to prove liability and to possibly find that other parties may have contributed to the accident.

You will also need a seasoned and experienced lawyer who can document and support the serious nature and extent of your injuries, the reasonableness of your medical expenses and care, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Damages in wrongful death claims can require even more documentation, testimony from forensic economists, and other evidence so as to sufficiently show the extent of your losses. Call our office today for a free consultation about your motorcycle accident injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

The driver who caused my accident and injuries was uninsured. What do I do?

If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage with your auto policy, then you can use that to seek compensation for your damages. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are optional in Arkansas, but your agent must have offered it to you. With an uninsured claim, your own insurer becomes your adversary and your car accident lawyer still has to prove that the uninsured driver negligently caused the accident and that you suffered injuries and other damages.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

You pay nothing out-of-pocket. Personal injury cases are taken by lawyers on a contingency basis, or a percentage of the gross settlement or award that is spelled out in our written contingency agreement with you. If we recover nothing, then you pay nothing. In complex injury cases, attorneys will usually ask for a higher percentage because the case will require much more expense, resources, work and skills. Also, in some cases the percentage is determined by statute or state law.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How much is my injury claim worth?

It depends on the degree of liability of the other party, your own conduct, how serious your injuries are, how they affect your life, your ability to work and earn an income, the reasonableness of your medical care and costs, and if your injury will be permanent, among many other factors that are considered in evaluating a claim. Of course, what insurance is available is also a consideration. No two cases are exactly alike, and no attorney can or should guarantee that you will receive a certain amount.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

What damages can I collect for my injury claim?

You are entitled to economic or special damages that include your medical expenses, property damage, and income loss. You can also collect general or non-economic damages for your pain and suffering against the responsible party, and for how your injuries have diminished your enjoyment of life. Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, embarrassment over scarring or disfigurement, insomnia, development of an addiction to pain medication, and other trauma are also part of your damages. If the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, malicious, or grossly negligent, you could be awarded punitive damages as well.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer if my case is so clear-cut?

Few injury claims are clear-cut as to who is at fault, and there may be other parties who were responsible. But even if another party admits liability, you can harm your case by talking to adjusters and investigators and unknowingly making comments that could place some fault on yourself or that minimizes your injuries. There are also issues about the extent or seriousness of your injuries and proof of your damages that insurance companies will question and challenge. There are many factors that insurance companies consider when handling and evaluating claims. Your Green & Gillispie injury lawyer is trained and experienced in these issues and in how to deal with and negotiate with insurance companies.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How do I know if I have an injury claim?

Talk to a personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of your case and the applicable laws. Usually, if someone or a company acted carelessly or even intentionally in causing your injuries, you can bring a claim against that person or business personally or depending on the nature of the accident, against that party’s auto policy, homeowner’s policy, commercial liability insurance, or the person’s employer if they were on the job at the time. There may be other insurance policies that apply as well.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How long do I have to bring an injury claim?

In Arkansas, you generally have 3-years from the date of injury or when you discovered or should have discovered your injury. Persons under 18 when injured generally have 3-years after they turn 18 to file a claim. In some complex cases, you may not realize what caused your injuries until years later but may still bring a claim under some circumstances. Keep in mind that some causes of action, such as intentional torts like assault and battery, only provide a 1-year statute of limitations. 

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

I had a pre-existing condition that the accident made worse. Can I still collect compensation?

Yes, you are entitled to be compensated based on the degree to which your injury was aggravated by the accident. If it was aggravated by a substantial degree that necessitated surgery, for example, your claim could be significant, though your settlement or award might still be dependent on other factors.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

If I was partially at fault, can I still collect compensation for my injuries?

You can still collect compensation so long as your own degree of fault is less than 50%. If you are equally or 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot collect anything. Your damages are also reduced by your percentage of fault, so if you have $100,000 in damages but were 40% at fault, you would collect $60,000.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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