When you ride a motorcycle, you know that getting into an accident could cause catastrophic injuries. Sharing the road on two wheels with much larger vehicles is a risk – and of course, you do not have the protection that being inside a passenger vehicle affords. Additionally, many drivers claimed they did not see a motorcyclist after an accident.
According to U.S. Code §3796b, a catastrophic injury is one that does not allow you to gainfully work on a permanent basis. These types of injuries are often traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, though others may be deemed catastrophic if they affect your ability to work.
When another vehicle hits you – or even if you hit another vehicle or a stationary object, the force of the impact can lead to catastrophic results. Additionally, any passenger vehicle weighs much more than a motorcycle. A light tap by a car to a motorcycle could result in devastating catastrophic injuries or even death.
Mitigating Catastrophic Injuries
Safe practices while riding entail more than wearing protective clothing such as leathers and a helmet. Always assume that other drivers do not see you. Even when you ride with the headlight on, people just do not look for motorcycles as they should.
Looking ahead a couple hundred feet helps, too – you can see if someone is going to pull out in front of you and still have time to slow down. Of course, those that pull out in front of you because they do not stop for a light or stop sign when you both approach an intersection at the same time may be unavoidable, but if you make an effort to anticipate these instances, you can avoid many risks going through an intersection.
Before you ride, always check your bike. Check the tire tread, the air pressure in the tires, make sure all the lights are working, and make sure the brakes work. While you can always downshift if your brakes are not in the best condition, that will not help you if you have to avoid an accident.
If you suffer from long-term or permanent injuries, you could be entitled to several types of damages, including past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, loss of consortium and/or companionship, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Motorcycle Fatality and Injury Statistics
In 2017, 5,172 people were killed and about 89,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In that year, 8,715,204 vehicles were registered. Of those, only three percent were motorcycles (261,456 motorcycles). In that year, of the 20,149 million miles traveled, less than one percent were miles traveled by motorcycles.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While you cannot entirely eliminate the chances of a fatal or catastrophic accident because you cannot control what other drivers are doing, you can mitigate the risk. If you do get into an accident or you lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.