What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycles offer the speed and ability to travel long distances, as well as the freedom of traveling down the road in the open air. Most people who ride motorcycles are passionate about this activity, but also recognize the increased risk of serious injury if in a motorcycle accident, and take the proper precautions to reduce the potential for a crash to the extent possible. While both motorcycle riders and car drivers have legal duties and rules to follow when on the road, each can fail to do so, and if a person is injured as a result, the responsible party may be liable for compensation.

Of course, the motorcycle rider is almost always the one injured, and usually severely in these collisions because there is not the barrier of a car body to protect them. Thus, they are the ones that generally end up hospitalized, or even dead, because someone made a bad decision. Each accident is unique, but certain miscalculations and careless driving make up the bulk of most motorcycle accidents. If both motorcycle riders and car drivers understand what some of these main causes are, it may help to both avoid accidents and help injured victims learn they have rights to compensation. A review of circumstances that frequently lead to accidents, and how fault plays into recovering damages, will follow below.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycles have two significant differences, when compared with a regular passenger car, which often contributes to the occurrence of an accident, particularly at night. First, they are smaller, and thus, harder to see until the last moment.  Motorcycles also move through traffic in a somewhat different manner, which can make anticipating the projected path more difficult for drivers. That being said, drivers still are obligated to exercise reasonable care and take precautions when necessary. Unfortunately, this attention is not always applied, and the most common scenarios that lead to motorcycle accidents are:

  • Head-on collisions due to distracted and aggressive driving that do not give cars enough time to recognize the presence of a motorcycle;
  • Left-hand turns when the motorcycle is going through an intersection, passing a car, or trying to overtake a car because of its smaller size;
  • Lane splitting (driving between lanes in traffic), which is illegal, and creates a risk to the rider due to close proximity to the car, a smaller space to maneuver, and drivers who do not anticipate a motorcycle being in this area.

The Role of Fault in Determining Liability

Proving fault is the main thrust of any personal injury claim because, without this aspect, the defendant will never be required to pay compensation for the harm caused. While motorcycle riders are usually the ones who bear the brunt of an accident, this fact does not mean the rider did not play a part in what happened.

However, under Massachusetts law, a personal injury claimant can bear some responsibility for an accident and still be entitled to damages if he/she can show that the portion of fault the rider has is 50 percent or less of the fault for the entire accident. The amount of compensation received will be reduced in proportion to the rider’s contribution to the accident, but recovery is still possible.

Seek Legal Advice from a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Auto accidents can be devastating, and motorcycle riders are at an even greater risk of catastrophic injury. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation and should take immediate action to assess the merits of your case. Goldberg & Weigand, LLP has the experience needed to build and present an effective case for negligence, and are available to discuss the facts of your case. Contact the Cape Cod personal injury law firm today at (508) 203-6600 for a free consultation.

Largest increase in fatal traffic accidents on U.S. roads in decades

Recently, the government released data that indicates that there is a serious issue with safety on the roads and highways of the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 35,000 people died last year in traffic accidents. Based on this figure, the number of people who died from traffic accidents increased 7.2 percent from 2014 to 2015. The last time the percentage of traffic deaths increased so much in a single year was in 1966, when Lyndon B. Johnson served as president.

After the data was released, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx issued a call to action asking the public to study the fatality data, make changes, and develop strategies to prevent any further increase in fatality risk. He made a separate statement to issue a call-to-action to safety experts, researchers, and data scientists to take action.

Risk remains despite safety improvements

Officials state that the number of people who died from traffic accidents was about 25 percent higher just 10 years ago. In 2005, about 43,000 died due to traffic accidents. However, stricter DUI laws, vehicle improvements like electronic stability control and airbags, and an increase in the use of seatbelts have caused the number of deaths to decline steadily for the past few years.

These officials state that the increase in the percentage of traffic deaths last year can be attributed to there being more drivers on the road. Due to lower gas prices and increased job growth, motorists are also covering more ground annually.

According to the NHTSA, the number of vehicles miles traveled in 2015 increased 3.5 percent from the number of vehicle miles traveled in 2014. This rise represents the biggest increase in almost 25 years.

Since there are more people on the roads, it makes sense that there will be more fatalities among motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Motorcycle deaths accounted for about 8 percent of all traffic fatalities last year.

According to officials, the main three causes of the rise in traffic deaths are:

  • Distracted driving, which played a role in about 10 percent of all traffic deaths
  • Failure to wear seatbelts, which accounts for about 50 percent of all traffic deaths
  • Drunk driving, which accounts for about one-third of all fatalities on the road

The public needs to work together to effect change when it comes to these high traffic fatality figures. People who have been seriously injured in a car accident, or who have had a loved one tragically pass away in an accident, may be able to obtain legal and financial help through a lawsuit.

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