Motorcycle riders face a threat of injury and death when they collide with motor vehicles. Motorcycle fatality rates have risen steadily since 2018. In 2020, 2,404 Illinois riders sustained motorcycle accident injuries, and 152 motorcyclists died in collisions with other vehicles.
Motorcycle accident victims often sustain severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time off work to allow them to recover. Significant physical pain and emotional distress accompany these injuries.
If you suffer injuries due to another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation from the liable party for your medical expenses and lost wages. You may also seek compensation for lost earning capacity if you cannot return to work at the same salary you had before the accident.
The motorcycle accident attorneys with Nessler & Associates understand motorcycle crash victims’ unique challenges. Our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal steps in seeking a fair settlement for your injuries so that you can focus on recovery after your accident.
What Makes Motorcycle Collisions Different From Regular Auto Accidents?
The smaller size of motorcycles significantly increases the risk of catastrophic injuries for the motorcyclist. The average weight of a passenger vehicle is 4,156 pounds, while the average motorcycle weighs around 700 pounds.
The larger mass of the other vehicle can easily crush a motorcycle and its rider, causing serious damage. Passenger vehicles also take longer to stop due to increased weight, making it more difficult to stop in time if they see a motorcycle rider too late.
Lack of External Protection
Motorcycles do not offer the protection of an external frame. Nothing cushions the impact from another vehicle or the ground in an accident. Illinois does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, which also increases the risk of catastrophic injuries.
Fatal head injuries are 40% more likely for riders who don’t wear helmets. Despite these statistics, insurance companies cannot use the decision not to wear a helmet as evidence of fault against you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Prejudice from Police, Insurance Adjusters, and Juries
Police officers, insurance adjusters, and juries often believe motorcycle riders are inherently reckless and cause accidents with other vehicles. Insurance company employees will often blame a motorcycle operator for an accident caused by another at-fault driver.
Illinois’ contributory negligence law reduces the amount of an award you can receive by the amount of fault you share for the accident. For example, if you win $10,000 in damages but contribute 5% of the responsibility for your injuries, you will receive $9,500. If you contributed more than 50%, you lose eligibility to claim any reward.
Insurance adjusters account for this when determining settlement amounts. A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights to fair compensation by discovering who caused the accident and sharing evidence of negligence or misconduct on the other driver’s part. This can include proof that the other driver was speeding, driving under the influence, or texting and driving.
Common Causes of Accidents Involving Motorcycles
Severe injuries can result when a negligent driver causes a motorcycle collision more often than with other types of traffic accidents. Causes of accidents with motorcycles include:
Drivers Not Seeing Motorcycles
Drivers often do not see motorcycles due to their slight silhouette. This oversight frequently happens when cars turn left into the motorcycle or in stop-and-go traffic when they hit them from behind.
Driving faster than the speed limit or faster than road conditions allow decreases a driver’s ability to react to changing situations and increases the distance they need to stop. 29% of all traffic deaths are speeding-related, with 11,258 deaths in 2020.
Following too closely reduces a driver’s ability to avoid a rear-end collision with a motorcycle if the bike needs to stop or slow down suddenly. 7% of motorcycle deaths in 2019 were caused by rear-end accidents. Drivers should always leave at least three car lengths between themselves and the vehicles in front of them.
Improper Lane Changes
When drivers change lanes without checking blind spots or cross multiple lanes of traffic with limited visibility, they can miss a motorcycle and hit it or force it off the road.
Distracted drivers eat, put on makeup, talk on the phone, text, and read. These activities reduce drivers’ attention on the road, increasing the risk of a collision. Distracted driving took 3,142 lives in 2020, making it dangerous for motorcycle riders and auto drivers alike.
Impaired or Fatigued Driving
Drunk driving and fatigued driving impair the driver’s ability to see, concentrate, and react swiftly to changing conditions. Drunk driving can result in fines, a suspended license, and jail time.
Aggressive drivers weave in and out of traffic and cut other vehicles off. They also pass on the right or in no-passing zones, frequently speed, and run stop signs and red lights. These activities qualify as reckless driving and entitle motorcycle accident victims to compensation.
Damaged Road Surface
Poor road design or defective materials can lead to a damaged road surface. Other things that can cause harm include car crashes, farm implements, and flooding. People who mow their yard or ditch and discharge grass clippings onto the road can cause motorcycle crashes.
Other driver errors and conditions can cause motorcycle crashes, but these are the most common. Ensure you are well-rested, sober, and attentive when driving to reduce your risk of being hit by another vehicle.
Motorcycle accident victims suffer more severe physical injuries than victims of other types of motor vehicle collisions. The increased severity can be attributed to motorcycles’ lack of external protection and the size difference between bikes and cars.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to paralysis and impair your cognitive or speech ability. The effects can last weeks or the rest of your life, but they all require extensive medical treatment.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can impair your ability to move, eat, and speak independently. You might require attendant or skilled nursing care for the remainder of your life.
Severe burns require skin grafts to repair, take months to heal, and cause intense pain. In motorcycle crashes, burns usually come from the bike’s engine, muffler, or parts of the other car that generate heat during operation.
Broken bones frequently occur due to the lack of external protection. These injuries vary in severity, some requiring tape or a splint, while others might need multiple surgeries.
The blunt force of the vehicle striking your body or your body hitting the ground can cause internal injuries, such as lacerations and bruises to your organs. These damages can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Lacerations can cause heavy bleeding, which can be life-threatening. Debris from the bike, the other car, or road signs and guardrails often cause massive cuts.
You can lose limbs due to crush injuries or from the forces of the accident. Crush injuries can lead doctors to amputate when your bones suffer too much damage to repair.
You suffer road rash when your skin scrapes along the ground. It can lead to severe friction burns, lacerations, and infection.
The motorcycle accident injury lawyers at Nessler & Associates understand the difficulties caused by the injuries you face. We can calculate a fair settlement value.
Motorcycle accident injury victims require professional help to obtain maximum financial recovery. Our law firm works with expert witnesses to increase your chances of receiving the needed amount.
Economic damages cover your financial losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Property damage
- Necessary medical equipment
- Prosthetic limbs
- Loss of income
- Out-of-pocket expenses such as medication and modifications to your home
Non-economic damages cover intangible losses, which include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Emotional pain for the loss of a loved one
- Decreased cognitive function
- Loss of enjoyment of life or the inability to participate in your usual activities
- Psychological injuries, such as acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord damage
- Permanent nerve damage
The personal injury attorneys with Nessler & Associates have extensive experience calculating personal injury claims. We know how the insurance companies work and help you get a fair settlement offer.
Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can help you get maximum compensation from the negligent party by proving each element of a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Your lawyer must prove:
- The other driver had a legal duty
- The driver breached that duty
- That breach led to the accident
- The accident caused you injuries
Your case will only succeed if your lawyer can prove each element of the case. The personal injury team at Nessler & Associates has years of experience handling motorcycle claim settlements and trials. We work with a network of expert witnesses to help prove your negligence claim.
Help is Available
The motorcycle accident injury attorneys with Nessler & Associates understand the complexities of motorcycle accident claims. We will protect your rights to fair compensation by fighting the insurance company’s tactics to lower your settlement amount.
Motorcycle riders face the risk of more severe injuries than the occupants of motor vehicles and discrimination from the people who will decide how much money they deserve. You need the legal services of a personal injury law firm with experience handling motorcycle accident cases.
Our law firm has protected the rights of injured motorcycle drivers and their families for over three decades. We have won millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
We pride ourselves on excellent communication and answer phone calls and emails promptly. We will help you hold the negligent driver accountable for your injuries.
Call Nessler & Associates at (800) 727-8010 for your free, no-obligation consultation. We can review your case and explain your options.