A motorcycle might be the preferred form of transportation for some people, but as soon as they fire a bike up, they become exposed to severe injuries or even death. Motorcycles don’t have any type of a protective barrier around them, and there aren’t any seat restraint systems or air bags either. They’re far more unstable than a vehicle with four wheels, and there aren’t any crumple zones to help absorb an impact.
Other Vehicles Turning Left
The most recent numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) are from 2016. In that year, there were 5,286 motorcycle crash fatalities in the United States, and 55 percent of those involved other motor vehicles. That comes out to more than 14 fatalities a day and more than 100 per week. Of the 55 percent involving other motor vehicles, 72 percent of the crashes involved the front of the motorcycle. Vehicles failing to yield the right-of-way when turning left in front of a motorcycle when the motorcycle was traveling straight ahead accounted for 41 percent of those crashes.
The Hurt Report
Unfortunately, motorcyclists are often perceived as being irresponsible and careless, but that’s not necessarily true. The University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center was commissioned by the NHTSA for purposes of the identification of cause factors and countermeasures in motorcycle accidents. The study was supervised by professor Harry H. Hurt, Jr. Although the study was published in 1981, the Hurt Report remains almost timeless, and it’s still the most comprehensive and authoritative study on motorcycle accidents in the United States. One of its most important findings was that when a motorcycle crash did involve another vehicle, that the other vehicle failed to yield to the motorcycle 66 percent of the time. The median motorcycle speed before the crash was 29.5 mph. The median motorcycle speed at the time of the collision was 21.8 mph. Motorcyclists had an average of just under two seconds to attempt to avoid a crash. Drivers who caused the crashes consistently reported that they either never saw the motorcycle, or they didn’t see it until it was too late.
Injuries and Deaths
According to the NHTSA, a person on a motorcycle is eight times more likely to be injured and 37 times more likely to die than a person in a car accident involving two cars. The Hurt Report found that motorcyclists were injured in 98 percent of all accidents with other vehicles. Most fatal injuries were to the head and chest. Common injuries that weren’t fatal include the following:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
- Multiple fractures requiring surgery.
- Facial fractures, dental injuries and disfigurement.
- Nerve damage.
- Groin injuries.
- Road rash and infection.
Because the likelihood of severe injuries or death is so much higher for motorcyclists, the nature and extent of the damages caused by an errant driver always come to issue. The following are some of the damages that Montana law recognizes in a personal injury case arising from a motorcycle accident:
- Past medical bills resulting from the crash and medical bills reasonably expected to be incurred in the future.
- Past lost earnings resulting from the crash and earnings reasonably expected to be lost in the future.
- Any permanent disfigurement.
- Any permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death.
Contact a Missoula Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Suffering through the physical, financial and emotional consequences of a motorcycle accident can make life difficult. We want to help. As Missoula motorcycle accident lawyers, we’ve dedicated our careers to helping victims and their families get their lives back on track again. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash anywhere in or around Missoula, contact us right away to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’re going to listen to you carefully about how your accident happened and how it has affected the lives of you and your family. After that, we’ll explain all of your legal options. It won’t cost a penny for you to hire us to represent you either. You need only sign off on a retainer agreement with us. That’s because we take these cases on a contingency fee basis. That means no legal fees are even due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Contact us right away being injured in any motorcycle accident in or around Missoula or anywhere else in Montana.