Harmonizing Helmet Laws In Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents, though not necessarily as common, are devastating due to the high cases of fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 5014 deaths from motorcycle accidents in 2019. The administration states that motorcyclists are three times more likely to perish during an accident as compared to passenger car occupants per vehicle mile traveled. Contributing to the increasing number of motorcycle accidents is the increase in gasoline prices which has led some to switch to gas-saving motorcycles as their regular mode of transport to work and other destinations. Moreover, increased traffic on the roads exemplifies the use of motorcycles during peak hours to and from offices. The increased number of motorcycle users translates to more people being subject to potentially fatal motorcycle accidents and personal injury claims. 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents often occur due to negligent acts where motorists fail to yield and recognize motorcyclists in traffic. Motorists often cut motorcyclists at intersections, fail to yield when appropriate, drive under the influence, swerve in front of cyclists, and pay less attention to motorcyclists when changing or entering lanes. On the other hand, motorcyclists also contribute to accidents in numerous ways including 

  • Changing or entering lanes

Motorcyclists colliding with other motor vehicles when they change lanes unsafely. Oftentimes, the motorist may have the right of way but recklessness when changing the lanes or overtaking may get them into accidents. 

  • Speeding

Speed has often been highlighted as the main cause of auto accidents. High speed reduces the reaction time between motorcyclists and motorists leading to collisions that often result in fatalities. 

  • Unroadworthy motorcycles

Motorcyclists with defective motorcycles increase the incidence of accidents especially when they have defective brakes or unstable steering as they are unable to navigate through traffic. 

Why You Need to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

  • Determining your claim

Motorcycle accident claims are usually governed by the legal principle of negligence. As a motorcycle operator, if you are partly at fault for the accident, you might not recover damages under the principle of contributory negligence. In the event of comparative negligence, the damages may be calculated based on the extent to which each party is at fault. Determining which party is at fault requires the examination of the accident report, witness statements, driver records, security camera footage, and mobile phone histories by qualified and experienced motor vehicle lawyers. 

  • Trial or settlements

A major role played by motorcycle accident attorneys in determining if your case ends up in trial or settlement. Going to trial allows you to receive more money due to considerations of compensatory and punitive damages for the pain and suffering endured. You will also feel satisfied having obtained justice through the legal justice system. However, in most cases, settlements tend to be better options in that they are permanent and tend to take a lesser period in determining the verdict. A trial can be appealed and you may end up losing the damages during the appeal process. Based on the facts identified by your 

  • Insurance negotiations

After an accident, you need to call your attorney to contact the negligent party’s insurance company to negotiate for the settlement costs arising from the accident. Your attorney will use the information collected from the scene of the accident to recover compensation for your losses. If the negotiations are unsuccessful with the insurance company, you can then pursue legal action. 

Motorcycle Accident Claims

When you are involved in a motorcycle, you need to  hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who will help you seek legal remedies and compensation for your injuries. However, determining your claim will require an in-depth examination of the key factors that go into making a fair claim. It is important that any settlement covers all your expenses and you can return to the place you would have been had the accident not occurred. Some of the factors that play a role in the claim include

  • Incurred and future potential medical bills 
  • Lost wages or loss of salary income
  • Medication and medical supplies
  • Property damage
  • Mental anguish.

Re-visiting Helmet Laws in Motorcycle Accidents

Helmet laws have become a major point of focus in motorcycle accidents. Despite the lack of support from motorcyclists, numerous states have enacted statutes that require motorcyclists and their passengers to wear protective equipment when riding motorcycles. The statutes require them to wear face shields and a helmet. While helmets have been seen to positively reduce the cases of head injuries and fatalities during motorcycle accidents, helmet laws have been met with resistance by the motorcycling community. The most vocal opposition has come by challenging the legality of the helmet stature which has consistently been considered unconstitutional. As the most protective equipment for motorcyclists, the law should be clear about helmets, to ensure that the helmet statute is not discriminative. While it is often deemed as a proximate clause, the federal government should reconsider the enactment of uniform helmet laws to protect motorcyclists.  

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