If you have any questions regarding motorcycle accidents, our Crossen Law team is here for you. You can view frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle accidents below, which include answers about motorcycle dangers, liability, and compensation after an accident.
Have any additional questions regarding your accident? Call us at 317-401-8626, or click here to contact us online.
Motorcyclists and other passenger vehicle drivers can cause serious motorcycle collisions. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding: A motorcyclist or another driver can drive unsafely over the speed limit, causing a devastating accident.
- Dangerous lane changing: Drivers frequently cause motorcycle accidents by failing to properly yield. They may fail to see a motorcyclist in another lane and merge into them. Additionally, motorcyclists can cause these accidents if they lane split and weave in between vehicles.
- Motorcyclist inexperience: Inexperience is a common reason why motorcyclists wreck. In 2018, 50% of motorcycle crashes involved a motorcyclist who didn’t have a license or motorcycle endorsement.
- Distracted driving: A distracted motorcyclist or passenger vehicle driver can cause a deadly accident by not paying proper attention to the road. Even engaging in a distraction for a second can lead to a fatal wreck.
- Back-up accidents: Standard vehicle drivers often fail to see motorcyclists in their mirrors and back into them.
- Inattentional blindness: When drivers don’t expect to see a motorcyclist, they frequently fail to even notice them on the road. This can cause drivers to wreck into motorcyclists by changing lanes or backing into them.
- Impaired driving: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is highly dangerous. Substances and alcohol can impair your judgment, motor skills, and reaction time, making them highly dangerous when you operate a vehicle.
- Tailgating: Motorcyclists frequently tailgate slower drivers in order to pressure them to go faster. This is highly dangerous, and if the slower driver needs to come to a sudden stop, the following driver can cause a serious rear-end wreck.
- Losing control: If a motorcyclist or another driver operates their vehicle at a dangerous speed or in poor weather conditions, they can lose control of their vehicle and cause a wreck. Additionally, they may lose control if they hit a road hazard, such as a pothole, animal, or grass clippings.
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to take steps to ensure your safety, long-term health, and claim. After an motorcycle accident, make sure you take the following steps:
- Call 911 if necessary: If you or someone else involved in the wreck is injured, contact 911.
- Call the police: Even if no one is injured in the accident, you need to contact the police and wait for them to arrive on the scene.
- Collect evidence: If you’re physically able, you need to collect evidence in case you file a claim or someone files a claim against you. You can take pictures and videos of the accident, and you can collect eyewitness testimonies.
- Collect contact information: You need to exchange the contact and insurance information of every driver involved in the wreck. Additionally, you should collect the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Don’t apologize or admit fault: After an accident, you should never apologize because that can be used as evidence indicating that you were at fault for the wreck. Even if you were partially to blame, you should not admit fault at the scene because there could be different contributing factors that reduce your percentage of liability.
- Report injuries: If you suffer from injuries on the scene, you need to report them to the police officers and emergency medical technicians.
- Seek further medical attention: Even if it appears that you didn’t sustain any injuries from your wreck, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may have sustained injuries with delayed symptoms, and if you fail to receive immediate treatment, you’ll likely have a harder time recovering compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company: You need to report your accident to your insurance company, but it’s a good idea to contact a motorcycle lawyer beforehand to help you handle both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company.
- Get a copy of the crash report: You should obtain a copy of the police crash report to use as evidence for your claim. If the police didn’t create a crash report, you may need to create one yourself. You’re required to file a crash report within 10 days of your accident, and the report should include what happened, the time of the incident, insurance information, proof you gathered at the scene, and any other relevant information.
- Continue receiving medical attention: You need to keep all doctor’s appointments you may have and continue receiving treatment for injuries you sustained from your accident.
- Keep track of your records: You need to keep track of medical bills, vehicle damages, prescriptions, and other expenses related to your accident. You should also keep a record of the conversations you have with doctors and other medical professionals. Finally, you need to keep a journal that tracks your injuries, emotional state, and physical limitations caused by your injuries. You can use your journal as evidence of pain and suffering.
Motorcycle accidents differ from standard car accidents because they’re more likely to cause serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than standard vehicle drivers, and they’re five times more likely to sustain injuries.
In addition to the increased risk of injury and death, motorcyclists also face courtroom biases. If your case goes to court, certain judges and jury members may be biased against you because you drive a motorcycle. Additionally, they may also lack a basic understanding of motorcycles and motorcycle safety, which can impact your ability to prove your claim. If you file a claim, you need a personal injury attorney to help you present your case to increase your likelihood of settling or winning.
After suffering from a wreck caused by a negligent driver, you can seek different forms of compensation from a motorcycle accident. You can seek economic damages — also known as “special damages” — and non-economic damages — also called “general damages.”
Economic damages are intended to reimburse you for your past and future expenses. These include vehicle damages, past and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings.
Non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for your non-monetary troubles. They reimburse you for hardships such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, decreased quality of life, loss of consortium, and physical impairment.
Indiana has certain motorcycle safety laws in place to protect motorcyclists and others on the road. These laws include:
- Motorcyclists under 18 must wear helmets and eye protection.
- Motorcyclists with instructional permits must also wear helmets.
- Motorcycles must have a speedometer, turn signals, and rearview mirror.
- Only a maximum of two motorcycles are allowed per lane, and both motorcyclists must agree to share the lane. Cars and motorcyclists cannot be in the same lane.
- A single motorcyclist is entitled to a full lane.
- If a motorcycle has a passenger, the vehicle must have a proper seat and footrest.
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot be more than 15 inches above the motorcycle seat.
Lane splitting refers to when a motorcyclist drives in between vehicles that are occupying lanes in front of them. This practice is also known as “white-lining” and “filtering forward.” Lane splitting is incredibly dangerous, and it’s illegal in most states, including Indiana.
If your lane splitting causes a traffic accident, you will likely be liable for the wreck, and you may face both civil and criminal repercussions.
The “dead red” law refers to motorcyclists’ and other smaller vehicles’ ability to go through a red light if their vehicle weight doesn’t trip the intersection sensor. Intersections have weight sensors that determine whether a light will change from red to green. Lighter vehicles don’t always trip these sensors, so they may go through the red light under certain conditions. Before going through the red light, they must come to a complete stop for at least two minutes, and once the two minutes have passed, they can only go through the intersection if it’s safe to do so.
Motorcyclists who are over the age of 18 and have a motorcycle endorsed license are not obligated to wear a helmet. Additionally, any motorcycle passengers over 18 aren’t required to wear a helmet. Because it’s entirely legal to drive a motorcycle without a helmet, your decision to wear or not wear a helmet shouldn’t have any impact on your claim.
Insurance companies frequently attempt to blame motorcyclists for any head injuries they sustained in a wreck, but motorcyclists over 18 are under no legal obligation to wear a helmet, so insurance companies are not allowed to hold them liable for not wearing a helmet. If another driver causes your accident and you sustain a head injury, they’re at fault for your head injury. Even if you weren’t wearing a helmet, you are not at fault for your own head injury.
Insurance companies in Indiana frequently attempt to shift blame onto the victims of traffic accidents. Indiana is a comparative negligence state, and this means that if someone bears partial responsibility for a wreck, they won’t be able to recover as much compensation from the primarily at-fault driver or their insurance company. If you share over 50% of the blame in a traffic accident, you won’t be able to recover damages from the other driver.
If you’re filing a personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove that you were not over 50% responsible. You can do this by providing evidence such as photos, videos, police reports, and eyewitness accounts. You can also provide expert witness testimonies, such as an accident reconstruction specialist, corroborating that you weren’t at fault.
Because motorcycle accidents frequently result in serious or fatal injuries, you need to take precautions to protect yourself on the road. Consider taking the following safety measures:
- Wear a helmet and other protective gear: Although Indiana motorcyclists over 18 are not required to wear a helmet, you should consider wearing one regardless. Helmets can protect you from suffering from permanently disabling or even fatal head injuries. You should also consider wearing additional protective gear, such as leather clothing and goggles.
- Assume that other drivers won’t see you: Other motorists frequently fail to notice motorcyclists on the road. You should always assume others on the road won’t notice you in order to avoid merging and back-up accidents.
- Take a motorcycle safety course: Indiana features a Ride Safe Indiana program that can help you improve your safety while on the road. It features an Entry-Level Motorcycle Safety Course, Advanced Skills Motorcycle Training Course, and a Three-Wheel Motorcycle Entry-Level Safety Course.
- Drive cautiously: You should always drive defensively and cautiously when operating a motorcycle. Avoid engaging in dangerous maneuvers, such as lane splitting.
- Remain observant and avoid distractions: Never drive while engaging in a distraction, such as using a cellphone. Taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can cause a serious or fatal accident.
Motorcycle accident lawyers can help you present and prove your case effectively, and this is especially important because certain courts and juries may hold biases against motorcyclists. They’ll also help you deal with insurance companies because they have experience negotiating and settling claims.
Motorcycle lawyers can also help you gather proof by finding expert witnesses, such as medical professionals corroborating that your injuries resulted from the accident or accident reconstruction specialists who can help prove that the other driver was at fault. A lawyer can also subpoena any relevant documents for your case. For example, if the other driver was on the phone at the time of the wreck, a lawyer can subpoena their phone records to prove that the driver drove while distracted. Finally, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you maximize the amount you’ll receive in economic and non-economic damages.
For additional questions and legal support in motorcycle accident cases, contact the attorneys at Crossen Law Firm. We have years of experience assisting motorcycle accident victims to receive the money they deserved for their injuries. Call our office at 317-401-8626, or contact us online here.
Contact Us with Your Additional Questions
Motorcycle accidents and personal injury claims can be complicated and injuries can be severe. You may have additional questions regarding the claims process. Fortunately, we offer 24/7 phone support for motorcycle accidents and personal injury inquiries. Call our office at 317-401-8626, or you can ask your question online here.