In Alabama in 2019, there were 1,867 crashes involving motorcycles, which included 1,213 injuries and 90 fatalities. While motorcycle safety has generally improved, more people are riding motorcycles than ever before. This means more accidents. Accidents that would result in insignificant damages involving automobiles can result in devastating consequences when motorcycles are involved. So more accidents involving motorcycles means more injuries and unfortunately more deaths.
As the Alabama Department of Transportation notes, “Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as other highway users.” Even if a car or truck driver’s infraction is minor, the injuries to a motorcyclist can be severe. The driver will be responsible for his or her negligent operation. The Department further notes, “While everyone must legally abide by the same traffic laws, there are special situations and conditions of which drivers need to be extra alert, so they can share the road safely to help keep motorcyclists safe.” Not only are drivers not extra alert for motorcyclists, but they are often distracted. Again, a driver’s negligence that results in injury or death for a motorcyclist is actionable, but driving while intoxicated or texting may also result in punitive damages.
The Department reports that 64% of the fatal motorcycle accidents in Alabama in 2019 were caused by the motorcyclist. Of course, that means that 36% were not motorcyclists’ fault.
But even those accidents may have been technically caused by the motorcyclist does not mean that there is no recovery for that motorcyclist or his family for his injury or death. In some cases where the motorcyclist is technically at fault, the motorcycles are defective, which can cause the accident, the injuries, or a death. The manufacturer could have liability for the resulting death or injuries. Likewise, a motorcyclist’s injuries or death may actually be caused by defective safety equipment such as clothing or a helmet, in which case their manufacturers may have liability. The motorcyclist’s injuries or death may also be caused by defective highways, roadways, or signage, again resulting in liability for those responsible even if the accident was technically the motorcyclist’s fault.
As with most catastrophic injury cases, the investigation of the cause of the accident and resulting injuries is critical. Getting an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer engaged as soon as possible after the motorcycle accident can make or break a case.
Evidence must be uncovered and preserved. Witnesses must be identified and interviewed. The potential defendants or their insurance companies will move quickly to try to prevent or limit the severity of the potential claims. They may ask the motorcyclist for a statement or to sign documents related to the accident which affects his ability to recover later. Having a lawyer is important.
Motorcycle cases should not be handled by just any lawyer. Investigating and pursuing personal injury and wrongful death claims of a motorcyclist requires a motorcycle accident attorney experienced in such cases, a motorcycle accident lawyer with a breadth of knowledge of many different facets of the law, and an accident attorney willing and able to take on big business, stubborn insurance companies, and technically complex cases. We are the lawyers for motorcycle accidents and wrongful death claims. Contact us today.