The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports motorcycle accidents are a growing public health concern in the United States. With thousands of people killed each year and crash-related expenses exceeding $12 billion annually, there is definitely room for concern. A proper understanding of motorcycle rights, the main causes of motorcycle accidents, common injuries, fault, insurance, statistics, and lawsuits can shed light on this growing public health concern.
Nassau County lawyer, Michael Gluck, is one of our founding partners, and has been riding sportbikes, cruisers, and standards for over 35 years. He has a clear understanding of motorcycle handling, the causes of motorcycle accidents and the degree of injury bike riders experience. We understand no two accidents are the same, yet we are confident enough to handle any situation. We regularly see accidents involving lane crowding, turning in front of oncoming traffic, failure to signal, rear-end collisions, driving under the influence, falling asleep at the wheel, and more.
Common motorcycle-related injuries include contusions, fractures, strains, concussions, and cuts. These are often the result of impact with the road surface and can cause severe, and even permanent, damage. For an insurance company to pay medical expenses and bills, they require accurate estimates and calculations. Our team of lawyers has experience dealing with insurance companies, crash experts, life care planners, and economists and can make sure you receive the settlement you are entitled to.
In motorcycle accidents, the blame is often shifted to motorcyclists for no reason. We understand motorcycle rights and will work with you to make sure you receive fair representation every step of the way. To better understand motorcycle accidents, it is best to educate yourself about motorcycle rights in your state. For more information on rights in New York, visit the American Motorcyclist Association.
Motorcycle accidents are a serious issue. While drivers are usually able to safely walk away from a typical car accident, motorcyclists are not always so lucky. The absence of seat belts, airbags, and an enclosed metal structure puts riders at risk every time they hit the road. If you need representation, our attorneys are here to help.
For more information regarding motorcycle accidents, contact Rosenberg & Gluck today. We will schedule a free consultation to discuss the specific details of your case. Because accidents don’t just happen during business hours, we are here 24/7. Reach us at (631) 451-7900.
The Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycle accidents are no more common than automobile accidents, they are much more likely to result in serious injury or death. Because of the increased safety risk, it is important for everyone to understand the common causes of motorcycle accidents. If you are a biker, a better understanding can help prevent accidents in the future. If you are an automobile driver, these insights can help you become more aware of your surroundings on the road.
Because motorcycles are much smaller than cars, it is easier to slip into a blind spot and go unnoticed. Most motorcycle accidents are the result of drivers not seeing a small bike, especially at night or in poor weather. These “blind spot” accidents can be prevented with extra care. Drivers can take an extra moment to check their blind spot, and bikers can make a conscious effort to stay out of hard-to-see areas.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Typically, a driver looking for cars only notices the absence of cars, not the presence of another object. It is this inability to notice motorcycles that leads cars to make left turns in front of motorcycles. Drivers should make an effort to be more aware of motorcycles while operating an automobile, and motorcyclists should look for signs that a car is getting ready to turn.
While not legal in most states, lane splitting still occurs. This often causes an accident because of the close proximity, reduced space to maneuver, and the fact that cars are not anticipating lane splitting. Motorcyclists should pay careful attention to state laws and understand that even when permitted, lane splitting is dangerous and can lead to an accident.
This may seem obvious, but speeding is a major cause of motorcycle accidents. While speeding is dangerous for any vehicle, it is especially hazardous to motorcycle drivers and riders. The presence of only two wheels, as opposed to four, means there is less stability and an increased risk of sliding. Sharp turns and rough surfaces increase the dangers of excess speed.
In busy cities, open-door accidents are quite common. Motorcyclists should be aware of parked cars and leave space between vehicles. Operators in parked cars are usually looking for oncoming cars when opening their door, not motorcycles.
While these are five main causes of motorcycle accidents, dozens more exist. Whether it is a failure to signal, an unnecessary distraction, or alcohol use, motorcycle accidents are dangerous to everyone involved. Make sure you practice proper safety and avoid situations that could be dangerous or life-threatening.
Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
While accidents involving motorcycles are not any more common than those involving automobiles, the resulting injuries are usually more severe. Cars have the luxury of multiple airbags, seat belts, and a metal cage, while motorcycles are open and exposed. The list of possible injuries is long, but some are much more common than others. A recent study in the United States revealed the top five diagnoses of motorcycle related emergency room visits to be:
1. Fractures (27%)
Because riders are often thrown off bikes in a collision, fractures are quite common. Fractures usually occur from the body’s impact on the pavement and can lead to clean breaks if enough force is applied. Leg, arm, and rib fractures are frequently seen in emergency rooms following a crash. If the bone does break, it can cause additional damage to tendons, skin, ligaments, and nerves.
2. Contusions (16.3%)
Contusions, commonly known as bruises, are the second most frequently seen injury. Bruising can occur on any part of the body and is most dangerous when it involves the head. Traumatic head injury is the leading cause of death and disability in motorcycle accidents. In New York, motorcyclists are required to wear helmets to protect against head trauma.
3. Sprains and Strains (13.7%)
Sprains and strains are the third most common motorcycle crash-related injuries. Because riders are often thrown off a bike, they tend to land awkwardly and can damage joints. Sprains often occur in the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and neck. Strains happen when the body is contorted in an unnatural position and the muscles stretch beyond their normal limitations.
4. Open Wounds (12.1%)
Open wounds and road rash are seen in more than 10% of all cases. These wounds usually occur from hitting the ground at high speeds, and friction often rubs off portions of the skin. This can result in infection and permanent scarring if not properly treated.
5. Superficial Injuries (10.7%)
Superficial injuries are considered minor lacerations, cuts, and marks. While less serious than other injuries, these still require attention and should be dealt with in the proper way. Superficial injuries are most commonly found in the lower extremities and hands.
While motorcycling is fun and exciting, it can come with its fair share of injuries. Fractures, contusions, sprains and strains, open wounds, and superficial wounds are the most common, but they certainly do not make up an exhaustive list. Motorcyclists should be fully aware of the risks involved and understand the types of injuries that could result from an accident on the road.
Who Is at Fault?
In any accident, there always seems to be one key underlying question: whose fault is it? Motorists often claim they are not to blame, but that is not always the case. That’s where a highly trained attorney can help. Our motorcycle accident lawyers understand the issues of liability and responsibility. We work to make sure every witness has a chance to explain his or her understanding of the facts in an accident, and we will not rest until your case is resolved. While no two situations are ever the same, there are some common factors that can help answer the question “who is at fault?”
Motorist negligence refers to carelessness or reckless behavior. This includes cases where a driver does not see the motorcyclist, fails to yield to the right of way, is driving under the influence, or is traveling at an excessive speed for traffic conditions. Any one of these, or a combination of them, can prove a party’s fault. Typically, we seek to prove another party’s negligence by demonstrating that the party was responsible for safely operating their vehicle, but they did not perform that duty. As a result, they caused your injury, and you suffered because of it.
It is entirely possible your motorcycle accident was the result of a manufacturer error. This could involve a malfunctioning part, improper setup, or any number of other causes.
Unsafe Road Conditions
The state owes drivers the right to operate their vehicles under safe road conditions. If there is excessive wear or other dangerous road conditions that could be prevented, liability could be assigned to the state. Unsafe road conditions include potholes, obstructed traffic signs, unsigned curves, unevenly paved roads, construction refuse, overgrown trees, and more. If you notice unsafe conditions on roads you regularly travel, contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
At Rosenberg & Gluck, we use our many years of experience to make sure your case receives the attention it deserves. Whether you feel as though your motorcycle accident was the result of motorist negligence, manufacturing errors, unsafe road conditions, or any number of other causes, we will work to get you the outcome you deserve. If you are involved in an accident, make sure you take notes, document the scene, and record conversations whenever possible.
Answering the question “who is at fault?” is often tricky. But, we do our best to make sure it is answered in a fair and honest manner.
Dealing with Insurance after an Accident
A serious motorcycle accident can mean thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you are not at fault, you should not be responsible for the cost. But, how are you to deal with insurance companies after an accident? The answer is to let us deal with it for you. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and can help you accurately quantify the costs you face by calculating past bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys work with experienced medical professionals, economists, and life care planners to provide an accurate medical prognosis of your condition and the future costs you can expect to face. Here is a look at the types of compensation you may receive:
Medical treatment can be extremely costly, depending on the severity of injuries. Cases involving head trauma and spinal cord injuries can last for the duration of a person’s life. Our legal team can deal with the insurance company after an accident to make sure you receive the proper compensation for all your medical bills, including present and future bills.
Loss of Wages
Serious injuries can leave a person unable to work for an extended period. This can result in a loss of current and future income. Our attorneys will deal with all the necessary parties to determine compensation for the loss of wages.
Pain and Suffering
Because of the stress and pain surrounding a motorcycle accident, those involved can often suffer emotional and physical suffering. To alleviate some of that pain, our attorneys can help you seek damages.
In addition to physical injuries, your motorcycle will likely have major damage following an accident. Our team of experienced lawyers will work with insurance companies to figure exact details on repair costs, vehicle rental fees, and any other expenses you might incur.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t fight your battles alone. Let our attorneys deal with the insurance companies after an accident on your behalf. We are prepared and willing to fight on your behalf and will make sure you don’t miss out on any settlements and reimbursements you deserve.
Whether you feel as though you have been mistreated by insurance companies or don’t know where to start, we will help you navigate the process. Don’t let complicated policies and laws hold you back. We know how insurance companies work and are fully capable of representing your interests.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle accidents and fatalities are on the rise across the country, while other traffic fatalities have actually fallen by 23%. The number of motorcycle fatalities seems to increase each year, with no cap in sight. It is important for drivers to understand the causes of accidents and work together to reduce the number of accidents on the road.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produces regular reports on motorcycle safety and crash statistics. A recent report found this data particularly important:
- In the United States alone, motorcycle crashes killed 4,502 people in 2010.
- Deaths caused by motorcycle accidents have increased by 55% since 2000.
- Motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths cost the country $12 billion in medical costs and productivity losses in 2010.
In a slightly older study, the CDC discovered more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed between 2001 and 2008, representing a 55% increase in the death rate. Additionally, more than 1.22 million people were treated for non-fatal injuries related to motorcycle accidents during that time.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 706 of the motorcycle fatalities from 2010 were avoidable if the individual were wearing a helmet. In 29% of the cases, alcohol was the leading factor. In 35% of the cases, the rider was speeding. Other interesting findings include:
- Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die from an accident than drivers of passenger cars.
- More than 10% of all roadway accidents in the United States involve motorcycles.
- Head trauma is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.
- Helmets are believed to reduce the likelihood of crash fatality by 37%.
Costs of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the NHTSA, the medical expenses associated with a motorcycle accident are highly dependent on several factors. If a rider was wearing a helmet and suffered fatal wounds, the average hospital bill was $14,000. If a rider was not wearing a helmet and suffered fatal wounds, the average increased to $16,000.
Medical bills reportedly account for only 6% of social costs related to motorcycle accidents, while the loss of wages account for 29% and suffering for 63%.
Let these statistics be a reminder to practice safety and responsibility. In the unfortunate event you are involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experienced lawyers. We are ready to assist you in any way we can. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and understand the complicated processes of determining liability and fault.
Much like automobile drivers, motorcyclists have a number of rights. While those rights may vary from state to state, the idea remains the same: motorcyclists have a right to safety and protection while on the road. Because rules and regulations change so often, it is important for bikers to stay up to date.
State of New York Rights
In New York, there are clear-cut laws for both on-road and off-road biking. A proper understanding of these laws and rights is important to each motorcyclist. Here are just a few key laws to be aware of:
- Eye protection is required for all bikers
- Headlights are required at all times
- Handle bars or grips must be equal to or lower than the operator’s shoulders
- Helmet speakers may only contain a single earphone
- Lane splitting is not allowed
- Motorcycles may operate two abreast in the same lane
- No straight pipes are allowed, and mufflers are required
- If carrying a passenger, a footrest is required
- Safety helmets are required
- Turn signals are required for motorcycles manufactured in or after 1985.
- Eye protection is not required
- Headlights are required after sunset
- No sound limits
- Operators between 10 and 16 years of age must have rider education certification
Motorcycle Rights Groups
In New York, motorcycle rights are constantly challenged. Multiple organizations work to defend these rights and help fellow bikers understand the law. The New York Freedom Riders are a political activist group dedicated to protecting rights and restoring freedoms. They seek to elect lawmakers who will ensure the support of biker issues.
ABATE of New York works to educate American bikers about rights and safety. Their main goal is to promote favorable motorcycle legislation for issues regarding insurance, licensing, modifications, bans, restrictions, emissions, and noise levels. Additionally, they seek to alert the Department of Transportation of dangerous roadway conditions, prevent accidents through education, and promote positive community relations.
From a national standpoint, the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) works to promote rights and safety across the country. To date, the AMA has contributed more than $100,000 to study the causes of motorcycle crashes.
As a motorcyclist, your rights are constantly being challenged. By making yourself aware of the rules, laws, and legislation surrounding the issues, you can be better prepared to fight for your freedoms. Check out these sources and begin educating yourself on the issues that truly matter.
Choosing the Right Motorcycle Lawyer
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you are likely looking for an experienced lawyer to help you receive the settlement you deserve. This can seem like an intimidating process, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. By asking the right questions, you can better make an educated decision. We are happy to discuss any questions you may have. When searching for a lawyer, it’s important to find an attorney with years of experience and a solid reputation, and one who will clearly discuss contractual and financial issues.
In the legal system, nothing beats experience. You want a lawyer that won’t be surprised by the details of your case. At Rosenberg & Gluck, our seven attorneys have more than 100 years of combined personal injury experience. We have seen every type of case imaginable, yet we understand no two are the same. Let us put our experience to work for you.
As it is in any field, reputation is vitally important in the legal system. Our attorneys are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Super Lawyers (top 2% in the legal profession), and have achieved the highest possible rating for ability and ethics as judged by other members of the legal profession (AV Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated). We let our accolades and referrals do the talking for us.
At our office, we understand motorcycle accident victims face a number of challenges. With that realization in mind, we work alongside you to collect facts in an honest and forthright manner. Those facts are used to confront all parties involved and determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim. By letting our experienced lawyers represent you, you can relieve your financial concerns and focus on healing.
The legal system can be confusing and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Contact Rosenberg & Gluck today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle accident case. We are available 24/7 and will discuss your options – no strings attached. If you are unable to travel as a result of injuries, we can come to you. Call us today at (631) 451-7900.