Riding a motorcycle allows you to enjoy the freedom of the open road. But this exhilarating mode of transportation can also be extremely dangerous. Unlike cars and trucks, a motorcycle does not provide a metal framework for protection, making motorcyclists vulnerable to serious injuries. With almost 6.8 million registered motorcycles in the United States, an estimated 5,000 riders die each year. In New York State alone, 5,150 motorcycle accidents occurred during 2009, causing 155 fatalities, according to the most recent statistics.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle crash in New York, the Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys at Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, are committed to helping you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Our motorcycle accident attorneys work with economic and medical experts to help prepare cases. We will also help you decide whether it is more prudent to fight or to settle a case in order to obtain the maximum award.
Call our Syracuse personal injury lawyers today at 800-TALK-LAW (800-825-5529), or fill out our online contact form for a FREE consultation We respond to all calls and inquiries on the same day received, and we don’t charge any attorney’s fees unless we recover money for you.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Syracuse construction accident
Many motorcycle accidents happen because another motorist failed yield the right of way to the motorcyclist. In fact, two-thirds of all motorcycle crashes are due to this scenario. Some other key factors in motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Motorcycles are less visible. Since motorcycles are significantly smaller in size, other motorists often don’t see them in time because they are not paying proper attention and keeping a proper lookout for motorcycles.
- Motorcycles can stop quickly. Most motorcycles are capable of stopping in a shorter distance than heavier cars and trucks. This means a motorcycle can be rear-ended by a car, truck or tractor-trailer that is following too closely.
- Motorcycles are at a higher risk for intersection accidents. A careless driver may pull out in front of a motorcyclist at an intersection and cause a serious collision. Other inattentive drivers will make a left-hand turn immediately in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Defective equipment or mechanical failure puts motorcyclists at risk. In some cases, the motorcycle itself may contain flawed equipment or some kind of mechanical issue that makes the bike unsafe and contributes to a crash.
Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
You may be the most careful motorcycle rider, but you’re still susceptible to injuries if a negligent driver causes an accident. Sadly, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers and passengers in standard automobiles.
Motorcycles lack a steel safety cage to protect riders from the forces of an impact in an accident. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles have no air bags or seat belts to protect riders. Although wearing a helmet can reduce traumatic brain injuries, there are other kinds of injuries that are common in motorcycle accidents. These include:
- Spinal cord injuries – About 10 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in damage to the spinal cord. These types of injuries can be very serious, sometimes resulting in paralysis or even quadriplegia.
- Neck and back injuries – Riders are often thrown off their motorcycles during a collision. When this happens, neck and back injuries are not uncommon.
- Chest trauma – After brain and spinal cord injuries, chest trauma is a leading cause of death due to motorcycle accidents. These injuries can range from rib fractures to a build-up of fluid in the heart or serious lung damage.
- Leg fractures – Since a rider’s body is exposed on a motorcycle, broken leg bones are common during motorcycle collisions. Femur fractures are frequent under these circumstances, and they can be life-threatening if major blood vessels are ruptured. Fractures in the leg bones can cause immense pain and can affect future mobility.
- Arm fractures – An estimated 13 percent of all motorcycle accident victims face fractures in one or both arms. This type of injury can require a lengthy recovery time, and physical therapy is often necessary.
- Skin abrasions -Road rash is an injury that frequently occurs in motorcycle crashes. When a bike tips over, it may drag the rider on the road surface, causing deep abrasions in the skin. This type of injury may also happen after a rider is thrown off of a motorcycle upon impact. Depending on the severity of the injury, skin grafts may be necessary.
- Pelvic fractures – Since the pelvis is key to supporting the spinal column and it also protects certain organs, this kind of injury is usually very serious and painful.
Even if you think your motorcycle injury is minor, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. What may seem like an insignificant ache at first could develop into a severe injury over time. Some serious conditions, such as a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent.
Medical Expenses and Lost Wages
Unlike automobile accidents, there isn’t any no-fault coverage for the injured motorcyclist’s medical bills or lost wages.
In the case where another vehicle is responsible for the collision, the motorcyclist may collect from the other vehicle’s insurance company for their medical expenses and lost income. However, if a private insurance company or the government initially pays the motorcyclist for those expenses, often they are entitled to be reimbursed for same. It is important to have an expert motorcycle accident attorney handle your claim to make certain that all such claims are paid or reimbursed to any insurance company or government entity that initially paid for medical expenses or lost wages.
New York State’s Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law
Motorcycle enthusiasts in New York state are required to wear a helmet whenever they ride. Parades and exhibition events are the only exceptions to New York’s Mandatory Helmet Law. In order to ride without a helmet in these situations, each member of the organization sponsoring these activities must obtain a permit. In addition to protective headgear, every motorcycle rider on New York’s roads must also wear goggles or a face shield approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Statistics support the use of protective headgear. Helmet use reduces the risk of fatalities by 37 percent. Traumatic head injuries are 69 percent less likely to occur as well.
Although it is smart to wear a helmet as required by law, failure to wear the required protective gear usually is not a bar to recovering damages if another driver was at fault for the accident. Some insurance companies might try to shift the blame to the motorcycle rider, making it crucial to get representation from a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer who will stand up for you.
Contact Our Syracuse Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
At Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, our motorcycle accident lawyers work with accident reconstruction and economic experts to help prepare your case. We also provide assistance with other legal problems that arise during the pendency of the case.
Our aim is to provide quality legal services while treating each client with care and respect. If you or one of your family members has suffered a serious injury in a crash caused by someone else, contact our Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers for a FREE evaluation at 800-TALK-LAW (800-825-5529). If you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form. We respond to all calls and inquiries on the same day received.