Why Are Motorcycle Deaths So High?
Motorcycle rider fatalities aren’t just a little higher than vehicle occupant fatalities in accident claims. Motorcycle rider fatalities are thirty times higher. Aside from a crash helmet, motorcycle riders are completely unprotected in these situations. Common injuries include broken bones, internal wounds, and even head injuries. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains slam violently and repeatedly against the insides of their skulls.
Serious injuries mean victims need serious compensation. A Columbia personal injury attorney is able to obtain that compensation, usually without going to court. If an attorney builds a solid claim, as outlined below, the insurance company is highly motivated to make a favorable deal. These resolutions generally benefit victim/plaintiffs. They end cases sooner and give the parties more control over the outcome.
Building a Claim
Compensation is available if a Columbia personal injury attorney proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Generally, motorists have a duty of reasonable care. They must maintain a proper lookout for motorcycles and yield the right-of-way when required. Many drivers don’t do one or both of these things, usually because of aggressive driving, like speeding, or impaired driving, like fatigued driving.
If the breach of duty causes injury, the tortfeasor (negligent driver), or rather the tortfeasor’s insurance company, must pay compensation.
That last point could be an important one. Many victims don’t want to blame drivers for accidents, especially if a health insurance company paid their medical bills. But individuals aren’t financially responsible for damages, at least in most cases.
On a similar note, a third party, like an employer, could be financially responsible for damages. Teh respondeat superior rule applies if the tortfeasor was an employee working in the course and scope of employment at the time of the wreck.
Evidence in a motorcycle wreck claim usually includes the police accident report, witness statements, and medical bills. If necessary, an attorney supplements this evidence, often with electronic evidence, like surveillance camera video or a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder.
Surveillance footage, even if the camera didn’t capture the accident itself, could provide the critical missing puzzle piece. EDRs measure and record vehicle speed, steering angle, and other bits of evidence that, when combined, tell a compelling and accurate story.
Comparative fault and the last clear chance doctrine are the most common insurance company defenses in motorcycle crash claims.
Basically, contributory negligence shifts accident blame from the tortfeasor to the victim. Evidence that highlights the tortfeasor’s fault and minimizes the victim’s fault usually overcomes this defense.
In contrast, legal arguments often blunt the last clear chance defense. This doctrine could apply in left-turn wrecks. If a tortfeasor turned in front of a motorcycle, insurance company lawyers often argue that the rider had the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, perhaps by stopping suddenly, and was therefore legally responsible for it.
But there’s a difference between the last clear chance and any possible chance. Usually, if motorcyclists change speeds or lanes suddenly, they lose control of their bikes. That causes a worse accident than the one prevented.
Work With a Thorough Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.