When Negligence Causes Motorcycle Accidents
Even though motorcycles have a reputation for being dangerous, they still draw a wide range of enthusiasts. They seek the infamous rush of racing down a freeway, the wind whooshing past. Of course, most motorcyclists are still aware of the risks. Ideally, they have gone through training before buying their bikes to understand how to safely navigate the roads and their new ride.
Sometimes, though, the accidents are entirely unavoidable – at least by the motorcyclist. When their own driving error is not the cause of their accident, there’s some other entity or person to hold responsible, and it is important to take steps to do so as quickly as possible. It is not just about “punishing” someone else, but about making sure your own rights are protected and your own family is secure. When your health and safety has been compromised, the last thing you need is to lose anything else.
How other vehicles make riding a motorcycle more dangerous
Unfortunately, defensive driving is a very important part of riding a motorcycle because of how often other drivers are to blame. Even if you do everything right, another driver’s wrong can still uproot and complicate your life – or worse. We have wide open roads here in Missouri, with beautiful scenery for any rider, but it only takes one neglectful driver for a catastrophic collision.
This is not about discouraging anyone from riding a motorcycle; our own founder can tell you just how great it is being on the back of a bike. But riders should be aware of every risk. For example, most motorcycle accidents involve a passenger vehicle. And, though many vehicle drivers may love to deny this, most of those collisions are indeed caused by the other driver. The most prevalent cause of these accidents are vehicle drivers simply not seeing the motorcycle near them until it was too late – or at all (this is why drivers are taught to check their blind spots), but in general, drivers of passenger vehicles have a dangerous habit of ignoring a motorcycle’s right of way. Other examples of driver negligence that can cause harm to motorcycle riders include:
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Ignoring hand signals
- Tailgating riders
- “Dooring” riders (when a passenger or driver opens up a door into traffic and hits a rider)
- Unsafe lane changes
- Sudden stops
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
Serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents in Kansas City
Any accident can be dangerous and deadly, but accidents with motorcycles have an even greater risk of serious injury or death. As one may guess, the lack of airbags, the protection of metal frames, and the overall lack of size contributes to the dangers, as do any insufficient protection worn by the rider (such as foregoing a helmet). When it comes to motorcycle accidents, the following traumatic injuries are the most common:
- Traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can lead to permanent disability and loss of autonomy if the victim survives. Most common amongst those not wearing a helmet.
- Broken bones. Since riders are not strapped to their bikes and have no solid protection around them, it is very easy for them to be thrown or hit directly in collisions, which can shatter bones.
- Spinal cord damage. This usually goes along with a traumatic brain injury of some sort, but not always. Victims may be paralyzed at least partially for life, and in constant pain that needs constant care.
- Road rash. When a motorcyclist skids across the tarmac, gravel, glass, metal, and any other debris gets embedded into the skin. Despite popular belief, this can be a serious injury that needs extensive, expensive treatment.
- Nerve damage. One specific risk to riders is “biker’s arm.” It’s cause by a rider thrusting their arms out to break their fall after a wreck. The damage to the nerves can be permanent if the biker hit with enough force.
- Limb loss and traumatic amputation. These are as terrifying as they sound. Some unfortunate motorcyclists have limbs either completely crushed, needing amputation, or they are ripped off during the course of the accident.
- Wrongful death. Sadly, fatal injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2019.
It is all too easy for something to go terribly wrong while riding home from work. A motorcyclist should know how best to protect themselves before, during, and after a collision, and it may be smartest to operate under the assumption that, at some point, a vehicle will hit them.
New Missouri law increasing brain injury risk for riders
While laws usually exist to make our lives safer, a newer legislation may be having the opposite effect on Missouri roads. It relaxes the law of the roads for motorcyclists, allowing them to opt out of wearing helmets as long as they are over 26 and can provide proof of health insurance. Lo and behold, early statistics show that motorcycle accidents in the state result in death more than ever before. Granted, it is too early to definitively say the newer trend is because of the change, but it certainly follows the correct timeline.
Remember, traumatic brain injuries are amongst the most common injuries for motorcyclists, especially those without a helmet on. This is information we know, and these are trends that have been studied for decades. We cannot stress this enough: you should always, always, always wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. Keep in mind that your own skill does not mean you are immune; it only takes one careless passenger vehicle to neglect their blind spot. In the past 12 months since the law was put in place, 54 motorcyclists who died in collisions were not wearing helmets. Do not let ego risk your life, or the lives of your loved ones.
Regardless of your personal choice to wear a helmet, if you are hit by another driver on your motorcycle and suffered serious injuries, you deserve to fight for compensation. Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys maintains offices in Missouri and Kansas, in Parkville, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph, and Olathe. We serve motorcyclists like you all throughout both states, and we know how to hold the responsible parties accountable. For a free consultation, call us today at 816-471-5111 or use our contact form. You have suffered enough. Let us put a stop to it.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.