Protecting Your Life in the Event of a Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle crash can result in serious injuries that can impact your life in multiple ways. Learning how to best navigate the open road may prevent serious harm and even save your life. Whether you ride for fun or as your primary mode of transportation, you deserve to arrive at your destination safely. The following tips and strategies may help you avoid certain harm along a roadway.
Wear Protective Motorcycle Riding Gear
The freedom of the open road is what places you at risk in the event of a collision. Striking the hard pavement can leave you with road rash, broken bones, and other serious injuries. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that the apparel you choose to wear is vital to surviving a crash. The following are just a few examples of the types of protective gear encouraged by the foundation:
Motorcycle Helmets and Eyewear
Helmet laws vary depending on the state in which you’re riding. Florida law allows motorcyclists age 21 and older to ride without a helmet, so long as they have a medical insurance policy of $10,000 or more. Riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet is a personal choice and one protected by law—provided that you meet the requirements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by 69 percent and the risk of death 37 percent. With or without a helmet, a tragic accident that causes you to lose control of your bike can still result in some type of brain injury. Wearing a helmet can reduce that risk significantly. Florida law also requires protective eyewear for motorcyclists. Eyewear protects operators from objects, such as insects or debris, from entering their eyes and obstructing their vision.
What you choose to wear for your bike ride can make a difference in the event of a crash. A rider who chooses shorts on a hot summer day risks suffering serious road rash abrasions to their legs. Protective outerwear, such as leather, can reduce the amount of trauma your skin suffers upon hitting the road. Researchers continue to study and to develop products designed to protect motorcyclists. The European Union now has testing standards in place for elbow, knee, shoulder, and spinal column armor. Until this type of product is on the market, however, riders must rely on the toughness of full-body leather for their motorcycle adventures. These are just a few of the core types of equipment that can make your ride safer. From short trips through town to long road trips with friends, an accident can occur in a second, changing your life forever. With the right protective gear, your injuries may save you from serious injuries and possible death.
Learn to Drive Defensively on a Motorcycle
Motorcyclists and other motorists must share the road. Learning to drive defensively—and responsibly—is essential for the safety of everyone. A sudden move by a motorist may leave motorcyclists with no time to react. By implementing the following safety measures for riding your motorcycle, you stand a better chance of avoiding an accident:
- Stay in your lane. Never attempt to pass another vehicle in the same lane.
- Practice patience. Your motorcycle may fit between two lanes of stopped traffic however, riding between the two lanes is dangerous and against the law.
- Stay two abreast. Motorcyclists must ride no more than two abreast in a single lane.
- Maintain control of your motorcycle. The law prohibits drag racing or any speeding contests, including stunt maneuvers, such as wheelies.
- Use caution when passing on the right. Under certain conditions, the law may allow motorists to pass on the right, such as if a driver is turning left. Always use your best judgment and take the greatest of care when turning near other motorists.
Drivers actions that can help prevent a serious motorcycle crash include:
- Adjusting their mirrors. Nearly 40 percent of the space surrounding a vehicle contains blind spots, making it difficult to see motorcycles.
- Practicing patience. Motorists must also practice patience and do a second look for motorcycles before pulling out onto a roadway.
- Yielding the right-of-way. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to motorcycles at intersections. Failure to do so is not only a traffic violation but can result in serious harm for the motorcycle operator and passenger.
By working together, drivers and motorists can share the road and reach their destinations safely.
Report Dangerous Driving Behavior
Erratic driver behavior is a signal that something is wrong. Reporting dangerous behavior is essential to protecting you and other drivers from potential harm. Other than a possible medical condition, the following behaviors may explain another driver’s actions:
- Drunk driving: The driver has a blood alcohol contact (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.
- Distracted driving: The driver is texting, eating, or engaging in other activity that takes his or her eyes from the road.
- Aggressive driving: The driver is purposely tailgating other vehicles or running red lights.
- Drowsy driving: The driver is sleepy due to a long work shift or undiagnosed sleeping disorder.
If you spot a driver who is weaving in and out of traffic, you should report the driver when you can safely do so. You may save not only your life, but the lives of other motorists as well, including the motorist in question.
Types of Serious Motorcycle Accident Injuries
No matter how many safety measures you put into place, experiencing a serious motorcycle accident is possible. The dangerous actions of just one preoccupied, drunk, or aggressive driver can affect your life forever. The following are just a few of the types of serious injuries that can occur in a motorcycle accident:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
This type of injury impacts normal brain function. It can change your loved one from someone you used to laugh with who is now prone to angry outbursts. Caring for a loved one with a severe traumatic brain injury is emotionally difficult and expensive. Placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility may serve as your only option and cost you as much as $8,000 per month.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury affects movement and sensation. Spinal cord injury patients often require a wheelchair or power chair for mobility and expensive home modifications to accommodate the chair. Along with accessible transportation, you must replace these items over time. The overall costs of such an injury can result in millions of dollars throughout a patient’s lifetime.
Breaking your leg, arm, or any other bones can require a long recovery. Some broken bone injuries require surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. Broken limbs may cause you to depend upon the assistance of others for daily tasks, such as bathing.
Internal injuries are especially dangerous because most do not exhibit any signs or symptoms. Internal bleeding, for example, can impact organs and result in possible death if left untreated. Internal injuries are why it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately following your motorcycle accident. Seeking treatment may just save your life, and it can also produce medical records important for a possible civil case.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Civil cases differ from criminal cases in that criminal cases pursue some form of punishment. In a civil case, a motorcycle accident lawyer seeks financial compensation for damages that resulted from the plaintiff’s negligence. In both a personal injury and a wrongful death case, the process typically starts with the insurance company for the defendant. A motorcycle accident lawyer can negotiate for a settlement on your behalf. While many civil cases settle out of court, some proceed to trial. With either a claim or a lawsuit, there is no guarantee of compensation. Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer familiar with motorcycle accident cases can allow you to focus on your recovery. Insurance companies are often quite aggressive with accident victims, and one may try to pressure you into accepting less than you deserve. Their assertiveness has no place in your life during this most difficult time. This is especially true when you are mourning the death of a close loved one. Your time of grief is no time to make such an important decision alone. Motorcycle accident lawyers also represent wrongful death clients who lost a loved one due to a negligent driver. Consider securing the services of a lawyer today to protect your best interests moving forward.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Motorcycle accident lawyers practice this form of law because they want to help accident victims. Many motorcycle accident lawyers ride motorcycles themselves, and they understand how dangerous drivers require extra caution. A motorcycle accident can prevent you from returning to your career and possibly, from ever riding again. Protective gear—while helpful—can only do so much to protect you from serious harm. Seeking legal representation can ease your mind when assertive insurance companies start to call. Referring them to your attorney gets them off your back and into the hands of someone on your side. You can help a motorcycle accident lawyer by providing him or her with evidence connected to your accident. This may include police reports, accident scene photos and possible video, and the contact information for witnesses. By providing your lawyer with this information, he or she can begin to build your case for compensation. Never try to negotiate with an insurance company on your own. Insurance companies know how to manipulate accident victims into accepting less than their claims are worth. A motorcycle accident lawyer understands how insurance companies operate.
Arrive Alive by Implementing Important Motorcycle Safety Measures
Motorcycles are both dangerous and exhilarating. Operating a motorcycle requires not only a motorcycle endorsement but also the skills and training necessary to control the bike. Failure to implement safety measures and to remain alert to the actions of other drivers can cause you serious harm. If you experienced serious injuries due to a careless driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and other damages. Your monthly bills will not stop because of your injuries. If you cannot work, this can create financial stress for your family. Do not let the fear that you cannot afford legal representation prevent you from reaching out to a lawyer. Most motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they require no down payment. They collect their fees only if and when they win their cases. Contacting one for a free case evaluation leaves you nothing to lose. However, to pursue compensation for your damages, you must file your lawsuit within the required statute of limitations. In Florida, this is typically four years from the date of your accident. Florida’s time limits are longer than most other states. The sooner you file your case, the fresher the evidence. Witness memories can fade, and evidence can become lost. Taking action as soon as possible will help your lawyer prepare the best case possible for you.
Seek an Experienced Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While there is no guarantee of compensation, the right motorcycle accident lawyer will work hard on your behalf. The protective gear you wear can only provide so much protection in an accident. When your injuries—or the loss of a loved one—are the result of the unsafe driving of another motorist, consider taking legal action. You have a right to ride your motorcycle on roadways alongside other motorists. When someone fails to share the road, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you fight for justice. He or she can provide you with timely updates about your case and aggressively negotiate with insurance companies. The knowledge that someone has your back during this challenging time in your life can ease your mind. If you ride a motorcycle, take the most preventive steps possible to avoid an accident. However, if one occurs due to no fault of your own, you should contact a lawyer near you now. The right attorney will investigate your situation and determine the best path forward for your case. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/motorcycle-accident-attorneys/