The freedom of the open road and adventure are just two reasons that many motorcyclists cite for their love of riding. The exhilaration of riding a motorcycle can also help reduce stress and improve mental clarity. However, when other drivers fail to share the road with motorcycles, the results are often catastrophic and sometimes even fatal. A carefree day of riding can easily turn into a lifetime of physical, financial, and emotional stress. If you’ve been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer without delay.
Car versus Motorcycle
The reason why riders enjoy motorcycles is the same reason that riders are more prone to injuries—the openness of the bike itself. Motorcycles do enjoy such benefits as agility, maneuverability, and the ability to stop and to swerve quickly. However, when compared to cars or commercial vehicles, motorcycles lack the weight and protection provided to other drivers and passengers by more traditional vehicles. For example, motorcycles can’t compete with the following features of passenger and commercial vehicles:
- Heavier weight
- Stability of four wheels
Protective gear, such as helmets, gloves, and special clothing, are all that motorcyclists have to protect themselves in an accident. This protection, while important, does little to save a rider from serious injury when ejected from his or her motorcycle. Ejection is a common pathway to serious injury for riders, as they forcibly strike objects in their paths and land on the ground in the event of an ejection.
Especially tragic, and often fatal, is when a car or commercial vehicle causes a rider to land in the path of another vehicle. There is no amount of protective gear that can save a rider from this double dose of trauma—first the initial impact with the asphalt and second the resulting impact with the other vehicle.
Motorcycles are no match for commercial vehicles, such as large vans, semi-trucks, and buses. The heavy weight of these vehicles has devastating results for motorcyclists during a collision. Riders must also stay alert to taxis and ride-sharing vehicles, like Uber and Lyft. The rush to deliver one rider to quickly pick up another often results in reckless driving behaviors.
Cars and commercial vehicles have a responsibility to share the road in a way that is safe for everyone. Drivers must refrain from reckless behaviors and remain aware of motorcycles at all times. Failure to share the road often has lasting physical, financial, and emotional effects for motorcycle riders and their families.
Most Common Bodily Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted an in-depth study of people treated in emergency rooms for non-life-threatening motorcycle injuries over a seven-year period. The CDC then recorded the injuries by location on the body. The study included data from more than 1.2 million people and resulted in the following data:
- 30 percent of all non-fatal motorcycle injuries reported were in the lower extremities. According to research by the World Health Organization (WHO), riders most commonly injured their tibia and fibula bones, which are in greater danger of severe injury due to the exposed position of the legs while riding a motorcycle.
- 22 percent of non-fatal motorcycle injuries included in the CDC study involved injuries to the head and neck. The next most common type of injuries listed in the report were those to the chest, shoulder, and back. Injuries to the arms and hands followed next, with breaks in the ulna and radius fractures—forearm fractures—constituting the most common arm injuries.
Washington is among 19 states with a universal helmet law, which requires all riders to wear a helmet. The CDC reports that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent.
Because helmets are such an important safety feature for motorcyclists, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, which sets the minimum requirements needed to protect the head and brain during a crash.
Helmets that meet or exceed state requirements have a DOT sticker on the outside, back of the helmet. DOT helmets range in style and price. The quality of your helmet can greatly affect the severity of your injuries. A $500, full-face helmet may produce different results than a $75, half-shell helmet in a crash, even if both meet the DOT standard. While research proves that helmets save lives, it also shows a margin of opportunity for experiencing a possible head injury. Generally, the better your helmet, the better you will fare in an accident.
The Lasting Effects of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A collision with a car or commercial vehicle happens in one second, yet you may face a lifetime of medical issues. Serious injuries often require lengthy hospital stays, multiple surgeries, and expensive medicines. Depending upon the severity of their injuries, some motorcyclists may never ride again following a serious accident. Catastrophic injuries from a motorcycle accident may result in the following medical conditions:
- Broken bones. Breaking core bones in the legs and arms reduces mobility and makes everyday tasks difficult, if not impossible. A motorcycle accident can result in multiple broken bones that require surgeries and extensive rehabilitation to regain the use of limbs.
- Neck, back, and chest injuries. Severe injuries to the neck, back, or torso can result in broken ribs, punctured lungs, and internal bleeding. A compression fracture of the back can take months for recovery and possibly involve surgeries and a back brace.
- Spinal cord injury. Trauma is the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, which are typically described as complete or incomplete. With a complete spinal cord injury, there is a total lack of sensation and motor function below the injury. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the brain is still able to receive some level of messaging from the spinal cord. Injured individuals may also suffer limited sensation and movement below their injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). The CDC defines a TBI as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury, that disrupts normal brain function. A severe TBI impacts cognitive and motor function, sensation, and behavior. Helmets protect the brain, however, even those with FMVSS 218 approval do not guarantee 100 percent that they will prevent TBI during a collision.
Many of these serious injuries require a lifetime of care. A spinal cord injury, for example, may result in millions of dollars of care throughout a victim’s life. Home modifications to accommodate power chairs, an accessible van for transportation, and power chair replacements are examples of expensive future costs.
Insurance companies often offer low initial settlement amounts as an attempt to settle cases quickly. The amount an insurance company offers you may appear like a large sum of money, but it rarely factors in the cost of future care.
Refrain from speaking with insurance representatives until you’ve contacted a Washington personal injury lawyer first. A serious injury requires rest. While you may feel enormous stress due to the medical, financial, and emotional impact of your situation, don’t settle for less than what your injuries have and will cost you.
At Boohoff Law, P.A. we represent motorcyclists whose lives have been forever changed by careless drivers. Our highly skilled legal team knows what tactics insurance companies use to reach unfair settlements. Protect your future and that of your family with a call to our office.
When Your Motorcycle Ride Turns Tragic
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that, per miles traveled, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in passenger cars. Additional data reports that more than 88,000 people sustained serious injuries in motorcycle accidents during 2015, and more than 5,000 people died in 2016.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles account for just 3 percent of road users. However, between 2013 and 2017, motorcyclists represented 15 percent of all fatalities and 19 percent of all serious injuries in vehicle collisions. The commission also reports that about one in five motorcycle collisions results in serious injury or death.
The scenic beauty of Washington makes it a perfect place to enjoy your motorcycle. No matter how defensively you drive, negligent drivers surround you. Some choose to drink and drive, to text while driving, or simply fail to share the road.
When your ride turns tragic, seek medical attention right away. You should also provide a statement to police, and if possible, gather contact information from any eyewitnesses. If you are unable to do so due to your injuries, ask someone to assist you with these important tasks.
When the careless actions of another driver result in serious harm to you, accountability is a must. A Washington driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. Pursuing justice and fair compensation on behalf of motorcycle accident victims is something we at Boohoff Law, P.A. take very seriously.
About Boohoff Law, P.A.
Riding a motorcycle is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Many enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of the open road, and most motorcyclists agree that riding is relaxing and reduces their stress.
There is no doubt that riders’ stress levels increase greatly when their injuries stem from a crash that was no fault of their own. In addition to dealing with intense pain, thoughts of medical bills and missed time from work cloud the minds of injured individuals.
At Boohoff Law, P.A. we believe that all drivers in Washington have a responsibility to share the road. We all take a risk every time we get behind the wheel; however, motorcycles are at greater risk due to their lack of safety protection.
Another driver may turn left in front of a motorcycle, failing to yield the right-of-way. Other drivers may accidentally cut off a motorcycle because they failed to properly use their mirrors or misjudged the distance of an approaching rider. Many factors, such as the force of impact and speed of each vehicle, affect the severity of the resulting injuries, which can include life-changing injuries and even death for the motorcyclist.
Call Your Washington Personal Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash while riding your motorcycle, call Boohoff Law, P.A. at (877) 999-9999, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, a court may award you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement in your case outside of court, we are unafraid to go to trial.
Time is of the essence, so don’t delay in contacting us. The sooner we can review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you. Important pre-litigation steps, such as interviewing witnesses and conducting research, take time.
Our office is conveniently located in Seattle; however, if your injuries prevent travel, we can come to your home or hospital. We treat all of our clients with the respect that they deserve during this difficult time.
The legal team of Boohoff Law, P.A. has years of experience handling cases involving motorcycle injuries. We have successfully represented clients after their rides have turned tragic.
Let us review your case so that you can better concentrate on your rest and recovery. Should we decide to proceed with litigation, we will update you throughout the process. Communication is just one part of our key to success. We know our clients have enough on their mind without wondering about the status of their cases.
Boohoff Law, P.A. stands ready to review your case today. We understand Washington’s personal injury laws. Our highly skilled legal team won’t stop until we secure justice for you. Don’t let aggressive insurance companies pressure you into signing any documents.
No one deserves a lifetime of pain and suffering due to a speeding, drunk, or distracted driver. Riding your motorcycle along Washington highways and city street is your right as a licensed driver. You may share the road safely, but other drivers may not. When your ride turns tragic, it often leads to a frightening and stressful time. At Boohoff Law, P.A. we can take care of the legal details of your case and seek fair compensation on your behalf. Each case is different—get started with your case review by scheduling a free consultation today.