Safety For Bikers
Unfortunately, bikers are less physically protected and often suffer harsher injuries in vehicle accidents. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are roughly 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
It's important both for bikers to exercise caution on the road and for other motorists to be aware of bikers and make the proper adjustments to reduce the chance of an accident. According to a landmark study by Professor Harry Hurt, in 2/3 of multiple vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, the other driver violated the biker's right of way.
Additionally, the Hurt Report found that motorist failure to recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents. It's important for all motor vehicle drivers to stay attentive behind the wheel in order to keep our roads as safe as possible. Failure to do so often leads to accidents in which innocent bikers are hurt or worse.
It's also important for bikers to protect themselves. All motorcyclists should follow these safety precautions:
- Wear a helmet and protective gear
- Turn on headlamp, even during the day
- Wear reflective and high-visibility colored clothing
- Keep a moderate speed, especially around turns
If you believe that another motorist's negligence is to blame for your accident, you should consider speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What Is Negligence?
In order to pursue a personal injury claim, you must first establish that another party's negligence caused your injuries and subsequent expenses. In the statistics we mentioned above, those motorists who failed to notice bikers or give proper right of way may be considered negligent. In order to prove negligence for a motor vehicle accident, you must satisfy four criteria:
- Duty of care - Driving is a dangerous activity. Motorists owe each other a duty of care to drive as safely as they can in order to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Breach of duty - A driver breaches this duty by driving unsafely.
- Injuries - A driver breaches this duty and causes an accident which injures someone else.
- Damages - These injuries result in compensable damages, such as medical expenses or pain and suffering.
If these four conditions apply to your accident, you likely have a good personal injury case.
Additionally, PA operates under a statute of comparative negligence. This means that in personal injury cases, the court will evaluate the role both sides played in the accident. Rarely is one person 100% at fault for an unfortunate accident. But even if you were partially at fault, you're still eligible for compensation as long as the court determines you were less than 50% negligent.
Your final compensation will be adjusted based on the percentage you're assigned. So if you were found 10% negligent and were awarded $10,000 originally, this amount would be reduced to $9,000.
Common Forms of Negligence
Every day, countless drivers breach their duty of care and endanger, injure, or kill other motorists in the process. Examples of negligent driving include:
- Drunk Driving - Driving drunk impairs reaction time and the ability to safely operate the vehicle. In 2014, just under 10,000 people were killed by drunk drivers.
- Distracted Driving - Distracted drivers aren't capable of fully paying attention to the road. Drivers who text, eat, groom themselves, or do anything else that takes their eyes off the road are distracted and a danger to other motorists.
- Drowsy Driving - Studies have shown that driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowsy driving contributed to 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013.
- Careless Driving - Many drivers dangerously disregard traffic laws such as speed limits, use of turn signals, stop signs and traffic lights, etc. These negligent behaviors endanger all motorists in the vicinity.
Everything happens very quickly in an accident, and it may not be initially obvious if the other driver was negligent. A well-rounded legal team will analyze the details of the accident scene along with documentation such as police reports and medical records in order to determine who was at fault.
Should I Consider A Lawsuit?
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering about your options for financial compensation. If another driver acted in a negligent manner, you should consider exploring your options in a personal injury consultation.
Details About PA Motor Vehicle Insurance
Your type insurance coverage influences the type of compensation you may receive. PA is a choice no-fault insurance state. If you choose a no-fault plan, you are only permitted to sue a negligent driver for economic damages if you have suffered from severe or life-threatening injuries. Those who opt out of the no-fault clause may sue for both economic and non-economic damages.
If you have no-fault insurance, a successful lawsuit can provide compensation you need for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Permanent impairment of body function
- Permanent disfigurement
- Funeral expenses and loss of consortium (for surviving family of fatal crash victims)
Additionally, those who have opted out of the no-fault clause are eligible to receive non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
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