Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
There are serious safety risks involved in riding a motorcycle. One of the most serious risks is the threat of other drivers being negligent or unobservant of motorcyclists. According to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, in 2017 there were a total of 782 roadway fatalities, with 78 of them involving motorcycles.
Nationwide, there are over 100,000 people injured in motorcycle accidents every year. A collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle is not the same as an accident involving two vehicles. Motorcycle accidents often cause catastrophic injuries that may result in permanent disabilities, severe physical, emotional and financial damages or death.
Traffic Fatalities in Kentucky by Year and by Category
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Highway Safety Goals
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety sets goals each year in an effort to decrease motorcyclist fatalities. The department aims to lower fatalities by changing driver behavior, fixing problematic roads and bridges, and protecting vulnerable drivers like motorcycles. The department is working to change driver behavior through a mix of education and increased enforcement.
People on motorcycles face a higher risk of being in a fatal accident than other motorists. Motorcyclists are nearly 27 times more likely to be killed in a crash. In 2014, motorcycle accidents accounted for 1.3 percent of all Kentucky vehicle accidents, but 12.1 percent of all fatal accidents. Drivers are particularly vulnerable; 94 percent of those killed in motorcycle crashes were drivers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Ninety-four percent of those killed in motorcycle crashes were bike drivers
Six percent of those killed in motorcycle accidents were riders/passengers
Fifty-four percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved at least one other vehicle
In 41 percent of fatal accidents involving another vehicle, the vehicle was turning left in front of the biker
Motorcyclists are nearly 27 times more likely to perish in an accident than occupants of a car
Approximately 43 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involve alcohol
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
As with any type of motor vehicle accident, causes can be varied. However, riding a motorcycle is unique, and there is one cause of motorcycle accidents that is less common with other types of vehicles, and that is not being seen.
Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
⇝ Faults with the motorcycle including improper customization or defective components and parts
⇝ Dangerous or faulty road conditions
⇝ Drivers not seeing the motorcycle, making sudden stops, opening a car door, changing lanes or turning in front of a bike
⇝ Distracted driving
⇝ Speeding and unsafe lane changes
Motorcycle Safety and Helmet Use
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 62 percent of motorcycle collision happen on major roads not classified as Interstates, and roughly 12 percent of fatalities happen on freeways and interstates. The remaining portion of accidents happen on smaller local roads.
Kentucky mandates that all motorcycle riders under 21 must wear a helmet, as must passengers, those borrowing a motorcycle, and those with an out-of-state license. According to the NHTSA, helmets save 1,772 biker’s lives annually. The NHTSA also indicates that 740 more lives may have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn proper helmets.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The most common injuries in a non-fatal motorcycle accident include soft tissue injuries, chest injuries, broken bones, road rash, amputations, traumatic brain injury, abdominal injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
The at-fault driver in a motorcycle accident can be held responsible for current and future medical expenses. In addition, you may be able to seek compensation for lost income and losses due to diminished earning ability, as well as pain and suffering caused by the accident.
In an accident claim, the victim/plaintiff must prove the other motorist was unreasonably careless or broke the rules of the road, and the at-fault motorist’s actions were the direct cause of the accident resulting in your injuries. A motorcycle helmet is not relevant to how and why the accident occurred. It is the accident that caused your injuries.
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Non Use of a Helmet Can Affect Your Case
When a motorcycle rider chooses to not wear a helmet, this can be seen to increase their liability when an injury crash occurs. It can also limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded to the injured rider.
For compensation to be denied, the non-wearing of the helmet has to be pertinent to the injury or injuries being claimed. For example, if the rider suffered a broken leg and is filing a lawsuit based upon that injury, the fact that they were not wearing a helmet has very little to do with the injury. However, if the motorcycle rider suffered a brain injury which could have been prevented or lessened in severity, then the fact that a helmet was not worn could reflect negatively on the motorcycle rider.
Kentucky helmet laws
On July 15, 2000, Kentucky legislators passed HB 619, which no longer required those 21-years-old or older to wear a helmet.
Additionally, the legislature did away with a law that required motorcyclists to prove they were covered by health insurance. Bikers under 21 years of age, whether they are operators or passengers on a motorcycle, are required to wear helmets. The same holds true for those who are operating a motorcycle on a permit, or who have had their motorcycle license for less than one year.
HB 0Bikers under 21 years of age are required to wear helmets
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The Importance of Hiring a Louisville Motorcycle Crash Lawyer
Been injured in a motorcycle accident? You may have a right to recover funds for your medical expenses and other losses. Hessig & Pohl can help you navigate the complicated legal process to obtain the fair and equitable compensation that you deserve after your motorcycle accident.
Call Hessig & Pohl for your free consultation at 502.777.1111