New Canaan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Few things are more thrilling than riding a motorcycle down the open road. Yet this activity can also be dangerous — especially when other drivers operate their vehicles negligently.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, 4,985 US motorcyclists were killed on the road in 2018. This means motorcycles are considerably over-represented among all traffic fatalities.
Let’s take a closer look at why that is — and what you need to do if you’re involved in a motorcycle traffic accident.
Motorcycle Accidents: The Facts
Motorcycle riders must be extra cautious and exhibit strong situational awareness, as they lack the protection offered by cars and truck. The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle passengers are 28 times more likely to die in a fatal accident, relative to car passengers. To remain safe, motorcyclists need protective riding gear (including a helmet that meets federal safety standards), safety training, proper licensing and a motorcycle that meets all federal safety requirements.
Yet even ticking all of these boxes and riding responsibly is no guarantee of safety. Unfortunately, the road is full of hazards — and other drivers often present the worst of those hazards. If you’re ever in a motorcycle collision, it’s imperative that you know the right steps to take.
How to Respond in Case of a Collision
To remain safe and protect your legal rights following a serious motorcycle accident, you need to follow some smart safety protocols. First, ensure that you or any other motorists/passengers are safely out of the road. If immediate first aid is needed, contact first responders at once.
Next, it’s important to document the collision. Take photos and videos of the scene and any contributing factors that may have affected the collision. Collect your thoughts and write them down while the memories are fresh. You’ll also want to speak to any witnesses and ask them for contact information. Neutral third parties can play a critical role in helping to determine the facts of any legal case that develops later. You should also ask for the name and insurance information for other motorists and ask for a police report number.
The next step is documenting any expenses you incur as the result of the collision. This may include medical bills, lost wages, transportation costs, childcare costs — anything related to the collision should be noted. The next step, in the case of a serious collision, should be contacting an experienced Connecticut attorney.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycles represent just 3% of vehicles on the road, they are involved in nearly 15% of traffic fatalities in the United States each year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Cars making left-hand turns (drivers typically strike motorcycles while turning left at intersections – a scenario responsible for half of all fatal accidents).
- Head-on collisions – one of the most dangerous types of accidents for motorcyclists.
- Road hazards.
- Lane splitting (when motorcyclists attempt to glide between stopped cars in traffic).
- Alcohol use or another intoxicant.
- Poor weather.
- Distracted drivers.
Those involved in these crash scenarios may suffer significant injuries, especially given how defenseless motorcyclists often are against large vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.
Most Common Motorcycle Injuries
Motorcyclists have high rates of lower extremity, abdominal and chest injuries. Studies have shown that multiple intra-thoracic and intra-abdominal injuries are common, in addition to rib fractures and damage to internal organs.
Additionally, motorcyclists can suffer from severe head trauma if they fail to wear a helmet and may suffer serious spinal damage if thrown from their motorcycle in a violent crash. Other common injuries include serious bruises and abrasions and damage to the skin (often called “road rash”) that can occur if a motorcycle rider is not well protected with gear.
Connecticut Motorcycle Laws
Motorcyclists in the state of Connecticut do not have to have a special license for operating a vehicle. The standard state driver’s licenses is sufficient, as long as you complete a specific vision and knowledge test for motorcycles, complete a training course and pay a fee. Once this is completed, your standard state driver’s license will be stamped with the letter M.
Those who wish to ride a motorcycle must, however, wear appropriate safety gear as mandated by state law. These laws mandate that you wear some protection over your eyes (such as a closed helmet or goggles). While riders older than 18 are not required to wear a helmet, any rider under that age and their passengers must wear a helmet under state law.
Connecticut repealed its mandatory helmet law in 1976 and is now one of 31 US states where helmets are optional. There have been recent attempts to reinstate a mandatory over 18 helmet law in the state legislature, but those attempts have failed to gain sufficient support.
Why It’s Critical to Seek Counsel
Insurance companies may seek to deter you from seeking the counsel of an attorney after a motorcycle accident. This is for one reason: Insurance companies employ people who are specialists in negotiation and claims processing. Their goal is to get those injured in a collision through the negligence of their customer to settle for the smallest amount possible. Even if they appear to be acting in good faith, they are ultimately motivated by financial concerns.
Hiring a qualified attorney can level the playing field and ensure that you are treated equitably under the law. At Brickley Law, we have deep experience helping Connecticut residents who have been injured in collisions — and we’d be happy to do the same for you. Contact us at your convenience for a free consultation.
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