According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,668 motorcyclists killed in motorcycle accidents in the United States in 2013 alone. In addition, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2013 and motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Moreover, the NHTSA found that motorcyclists are nearly 35 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers and passengers of other types of vehicles and are nearly 8 times more likely to be injured. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyers at Hankey Marks & Crider are here to help you. Our attorneys have more than seventy-five years of combined experience in representing citizens of Indianapolis who have been injured in accidents. Since our founding, we have been the go-to firm that the Indianapolis community has turned to for our expert knowledge, advice, and reliability.
We understand how devastating a motorcycle accident can be for the rider, passengers, and family members who have lost loved ones if the crash was fatal. We firmly believe that all drivers should exercise caution while driving, especially when motorcycles are present on the road. If a driver’s negligent or reckless actions cause a biker harm, they should absolutely be held accountable for their actions and any injuries that they cause.
If you are looking for personal attention from attorneys who truly care, look no further than the Hankey Marks & Crider. Contact our team of legal professionals today at (317) 634-8565 to find out more about how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Makes Motorcycles So Dangerous?
Motorcycles are dangerous for a number of reasons. First, motorcycles do not have many of the safety mechanisms present on other motor vehicles. For example, there are no seat belts on a motorcycle to prevent the rider from leaving the seat. Motorcycles also do not have airbags that deploy when the vehicle is involved in an accident. In addition, the natural protection offered by the frames of other enclosed motor vehicles does not exist on motorcycles.
A motorcycle is also relatively small in size when compared to other vehicles. This makes them more difficult to spot on the road and requires other drivers to pay closer attention. Oftentimes, motorcyclists are lost in other vehicles’ blind spots and when those vehicles merge or change lanes, they may not see the motorcyclist until it is too late. A smart motorcyclist learns very quickly to be much more aware of their surroundings than an average car or truck driver.
Furthermore, motorcycles are especially susceptible to accidents due to unsafe road conditions. When a motorcyclist hits a pothole or cracks in the road, this can cause the driver to lose traction which can lead to total loss of control of the motorcycle itself. Inclement weather can have the same effect when the motorcycle loses traction on the road.
While some motorcyclists wear protective gear on their person such as leather gloves or protective suits, this clothing may only prevent the rider from getting cuts and scrapes if they are to lay their bike down. One of the only real forms of protection a motorcyclist has is their helmet. However, some riders do not feel that they need to wear one. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), only 60 percent of riders decided to wear their helmet in 2013. This mistake can lead to grave consequences. The NHTSA estimates that, in 2013 alone, motorcycle helmets saved the lives of over 1,500 riders and posits that an additional 715 lives could have been saved had the motorcyclists been wearing their helmet. However, as of 2013, only 19 states have a law requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets.
These staggering statistics show just how many of our friends, neighbors, and family members are affected by accidents each year in our great state. In the event of an accident, injuries to motorcyclists are often far more severe than those sustained by other drivers on the road. This can lead to higher medical bills, a longer recovery period, and a higher chance of permanent disability, disfigurement, or death. Our team of attorneys are acutely aware of the struggles that motorcyclists face and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
Read more: How to Prevent Autumn Motorcycle Accidents
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Have you or your loved ones been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Indianapolis? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you’re not alone. Statistically speaking, motorcycles are over thirty times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident than passengers in an enclosed vehicle – hardly a reassuring fact.
Injured motorcyclists in the Indianapolis area can turn to the motorcycle accident lawyers at Hankey Marks & Crider for legal representation in their accident injury claims. Our team of legal professionals handles all types of motorcycle crashes including:
- Head-on Collisions – One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is the head-on collision. Data from the NHTSA’s 2013 study shows that, when an accident involves a motorcycle and another vehicle, 74 percent of the motorcycles involved in these accidents were hit head-on. Only six percent of motorcycles were hit in the rear. Head on collisions of this nature are often fatal.
- Left Turn Accidents – When other vehicles make left-hand turns in front of motorcyclists, this is an incredibly dangerous situation for them as well. According to the NHTSA, 42 percent of the fatal accidents involving two vehicles occurred when the other vehicle was making a left turn. Oftentimes, when these accidents happen the motorcyclist is either attempting to go straight through an intersection, pass another vehicle, or overtake another vehicle.
- Speeding and Aggressive Driving – Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is excessive speeding by the motorcyclist. The NHTSA found that 34 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were speeding. Speeding plays a large role in many other types of vehicle accidents as well but, as noted above, motorcycles are far less protected than other vehicles. This means that high-speed collisions involving motorcycles are far more likely to lead to serious injury or death.
- Intoxicated Driving – Alcohol also plays a factor in many motorcycle accidents. The NHTSA notes that, of the 4,399 motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2013, 28 percent had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Another 7 percent had alcohol in their system but were within the legal limit. In fact, motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents have a higher percentage of alcohol impairment than that of the drivers of any other type of vehicle.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
The first thing you should do if you are involved in a motorcycle accident is to make sure you are out of the zone of danger. The scene of an accident can be a dangerous place due to gas leaks or spills. All it takes is a stray spark to ignite the fuel and the whole area can go up in flames. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the first thing you should always do is move to a safe location if you can.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident is it important that you seek medical help right away. You may not feel that your injuries are that severe but oftentimes, the adrenaline coursing through your body can lead you to overlook injuries that are not immediately apparent. It is also important to seek medical attention in order to document all injuries for the insurance company and for your attorney. Medical costs related to accidents can add up very quickly and you will want to have all costs in writing.
You should also immediately contact the police in order to report the accident. A report made by a police officer will often document all of the facts necessary to prove who is at fault. The police officer’s report will also identify the individuals involved in the accident, whether or not they have insurance, and will include names, addresses, and phone numbers for any witnesses. All of this information will come in handy when you file your claim.
Another step you should follow is to take pictures and detailed notes after the accident. Make sure you document not only the crash site and the vehicles involved but the individuals involved as well. That way you will have all of the relevant information you may need further on down the road.
Finally, it is important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will know what is required in order to conduct an investigation and to determine the individual or individuals at fault. A proper attorney will be there with you every step of the way, whether you need help filing your claim, battling the insurance company, or going to trial. In addition, a competent motorcycle accident attorney will be aware of any and all statutes of limitations and filing deadlines that may apply.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Motorcycle Accidents
Will my failure to wear a helmet prevent me from recovering damages?
No. Only motorcyclists who are younger than 18 are required to wear helmets in Indiana. Your failure to wear a helmet is not a factor if another driver caused the accident.
The insurance company may use your failure to wear a helmet as an argument to reduce compensation, but a skilled personal injury attorney can advocate for you in all settlement negotiations.
What happens if the insurance company claims that I was at fault for my crash?
It is common for insurers to blame most motorcycle accidents on the motorcyclists. Such tactics, however, are not always based on the facts. Insurance companies will look for reasons to blame you for your accident.
One of the easiest ways to get this evidence is by getting you to unknowingly admit to negligence during a recorded phone conversation. Do not speak with any insurance company until you have retained legal counsel.
How long do I have to file a legal claim?
You have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit and two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Minors will have two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after they turn 18.
What kinds of compensation can be recovered for a motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle accident victims can be entitled to many kinds of compensation. The victim’s injuries weigh heavily in compensation awards, but most cases are resolved with settlements that will cover all the expenses related to the motorcycle crash.
If an insurance company doesn’t offer a satisfactory settlement before the statute of limitations is about to expire, your lawyer will file a lawsuit to take the case to trial.
If overwhelming evidence is presented to support the claim, then you could be awarded compensation that covers economic and noneconomic losses.
A rare number of cases could also result in punitive damage awards (which are typically small), but such awards are used to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct, such as drunk driving.
What happens if my accident was caused by a dangerous road condition?
Many kinds of motorcycle crashes, especially single-vehicle accidents, are caused by defective roadways. It may be possible that a governmental entity could be liable for damages in these cases if the agency was responsible for maintaining the roadway and failed to make a necessary correction. Another possible liable party in single-vehicle accidents could be the manufacturer of a motorcycle part if a crash was caused by a defective vehicle, or a maintenance company if a motorcycle was not properly repaired.
Call Hankey Marks & Crider Today
Not all personal injury firms are equipped with the resources and skills necessary to handle motorcycle accident cases. At Hankey Marks & Crider, we know how challenging these situations can be and our attorneys have the experience you need to get your life and your finances back in order. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you can’t afford to leave your future up to chance. Call (317) 634-8565 to speak with our team of Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyers at Hankey Marks & Crider and learn more about how we can help you.