How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different Than Other Vehicle Crashes?
Motorcycles by design lack the safety features of other vehicles—there are no seat belts, air bags, or doors to offer protection. Motorcycles are lighter, open to the elements, and less stable on two wheels than the other vehicles on the road. The lack of safety features exposes drivers and passengers to greater dangers when involved in an accident. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be killed in an accident than drivers or passengers of other types of vehicles. Even when an accident is not fatal, more injuries and more serious injuries are reported. Additionally, motorcyclists are much more likely to be involved in accidents with fixed objects, which themselves present unique dangers and serious consequences.
The stakes are simply higher for motorcyclists than for operators and passengers of other vehicles. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you do have legal options in Delaware.
What Are Common Causes of Delaware Motorcycle Crashes?
There are many reasons that motorcycles are involved in accidents on the road. Bad weather, poorly maintained roads, risky or careless behavior by the motorcyclist or other drivers can lead to the injury or death of a motorcyclist. A passenger car or truck driver’s failure to yield is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Time after time, drivers claim they didn’t see the motorcycle approaching before they attempted to turn through an intersection or merge with flowing traffic, and an accident occurs.
Other common causes of motorcycle crashes include instances where drivers are speeding, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, toss objects from the car (such as cigarettes), or stop suddenly. Additionally, motorcyclists are at risk for often overlooked open door accidents, which occur when an occupant of a parked car opens the vehicle door suddenly and hits an oncoming motorcyclist. This amounts to a crash with a fixed object and can result in the motorcyclist being thrown from the bike and suffering serious injuries.
What are Common Injuries Suffered in Delaware Motorcycle Accidents?
Without the protections offered by other types of vehicles, motorcyclists can suffer more, and more severe injuries, including:
- Lacerations and abrasions from the road (commonly called road rash)
Motorcyclists are most at risk for lower-extremity injuries. An NHTSA report states that while these injuries are not often as fatal as upper-extremity injuries, they are more common and result in the need for acute medical care. These lower extremity injuries include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, dislocations, amputations, crush injuries, and more.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for Delaware Motorcycle Accident Victims?
After a motorcycle accident, victims can face growing medical bills and lost wages and benefits. In some cases, the injuries are so severe, the victim may not be able to return to work at all or to return in the same capacity as before the accident. Even if the victim does not work outside the home, they may provide other important household services, such as childcare.
Our experienced Delaware motorcycle accident injury lawyers have helped other motorcycle accident victims obtain compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, lost benefits, future lost wages, property damage repair or replacement, pain and suffering, and more.
It is important to take timely action. Delaware law imposes a two-year statute of limitations for victims to file a personal injury claim. After two years from the date of the accident, victims may be unable to pursue compensation for their injuries.
Can Bias Affect a Motorcycle Lawsuit and Settlement?
Motorcyclists are often perceived to be reckless and irresponsible on the road. This bias can have a negative impact on a case when those incorrect notions influence some of the key players. Police reports and witness statements can be affected if those at an accident scene assume the biker was at fault. When the motorcyclist is the person most severely injured, he may not be available to tell his side of the story immediately, which can result in skewed or even incorrect accounts.
The bias can also result in lower settlement offers. Insurance companies are out to protect their client as much as possible. They want to pay out the smallest amount of money they possibly can and will use any advantage they can find. Adjusters may leverage the uncertainty of a jury and the preconceived notion of the public to get a victim to accept a lower settlement than he deserves. However, skilled and experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can help their clients fight this bias and demand the full, fair amount of compensation. At Morris James, our lawyers understand that this bias is wrong and unfair, and have helped many motorcyclists obtain the compensation to which they are entitled.
How is Fault Determined in Delaware?
Delaware is a modified comparative fault state. This means that in each case, the accident is evaluated and a number representing an amount of fault is assigned to each party. In some cases, the defendant is 100 percent to blame. However, there are circumstances in which it is determined that both parties share some of the responsibility for the accident. For example, if the motorcyclist was speeding 10 mph over the posted speed limit when a car driver failed to yield, the motorcyclist may shoulder some of the blame. In those cases, the settlement award could be reduced to equal the percentage of fault shared by the motorcyclist. If it is decided that the motorcyclist was more than 50 percent at fault, he would not be entitled to any compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help a victim to build a thorough case with evidence, witnesses, and experts, to prove exactly how the defendant was at fault.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Involved in a Delaware Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Delaware, take care to protect your health and your rights immediately. Seek medical attention, and call 911 to alert the police and call an ambulance, if necessary. Hang onto your helmet and any other protective gear you were wearing at the time of the accident. Take as many photos as you can—at the scene of the accident, of your motorcycle, and of your physical injuries. If it’s possible, do not repair the damage to your motorcycle until after the case is resolved. Finally, call the experienced personal injury team at Morris James.
How Do I Find the Right Delaware Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
After you've been injured in a motorcycle accident in Delaware, you want the best possible representation to get the compensation you deserve. How do you determine which attorney is the right fit? First, you should ask about the firm's experience. You want a lawyer who has represented motorcyclists before and understands the bias that can occur against them.
Second, you should inquire about the firm's results. Ask them to cite specific examples of outcomes. If they seem hesitant to answer your questions, consider it a red flag. When a firm has produced favorable outcomes, it will be happy to share those results and give you more information.
Third, you can ask to set up an initial consultation to gauge your connection with the lawyer. A reputable firm will allow you to do so for free so that you can ask about procedures and discuss your case. Consider the way the attorney reacts to you. Do they ask questions? Do they seem engaged? A good attorney will be interested in your point of view and press you for details.
Sometimes you cannot pinpoint what makes a good relationship. You may simply feel comfortable with the right attorney. Follow the above tips and listen to your instincts, and you are sure to find the best fit.
Motorcyclists should be afforded all the protections and the rights shared by the drivers of other vehicles on the roads, and the attorneys at Morris James can help ensure that your rights are protected. To get answers to your questions and get started with your case today, chat live, call our nearest office, or take a moment to fill out our online contact form for a prompt response.