Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
At Crossen Law Firm, our Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney is aggressive, effective, and caring. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another motorist, manufacturer, or government agency, we will work on your behalf to recover damages suffered and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Call (317) 401-8626 now or contact us online to put our decades of experience to work for you.
Our skilled Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer has a multimillion-dollar track record and works on a contingency basis. That means you do not owe us anything unless we win your motorcycle accident case. We can help you ensure that the insurance company does not deny your claim or short-change you. Our team can take care of all the paperwork for your claim so you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
Recovering Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents in Indianapolis
The enjoyment of riding a motorcycle out on the open road can come to a sudden stop when drivers of motor vehicles fail to pay attention as they should. When a car or truck collides with a motorcycle, the bike rider will almost always end up with the worst injuries.
The good news is that motorcyclists can file a claim to recover compensation for the losses they have incurred.
The claim can be based on a variety of damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation
- Physical pain and suffering
- catastrophic injuries
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Future loss of income
- Property damage
The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend upon the circumstances of your crash and the extent of your injuries. Without an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, it is very likely that you could receive much less than you deserve.
Insurance Coverage in Indiana Motorcycle Accidents
Indiana motorcycle insurance coverage minimum requirements for liability insurance are as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury for one person in one accident
- $50,000 bodily injury insurance coverage total in any one accident for more than one person
- $10,000 in property damage liability coverage
This type of insurance for motorcycles is often referred to as a 25/50/10 plan. These levels of motorcycle insurance are the minimum requirements. Riders can and may be encouraged to seek out coverage that exceeds the minimum requirements, such as full coverage motorcycle insurance, to ensure they are well-covered in the event of a collision.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycle accidents can be caused by a wide variety of factors, a large number of collisions are caused by the negligence of other motorists on the roads. Some of the many types of driver errors linked to serious motorcycle accidents in Indiana include:
- Distracted driving: According to the NHTSA, 3,142 lives were lost in 2019 as a result of distracted driving. Distracted driving includes texting, eating, or performing any other activity other than focusing on the road.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: A National Library of Medicine study found that alcohol or illicit drugs were present in 44% of motorcycle accident fatalities. In Indiana, 60% of motorcycle operators in single-vehicle collisions and 34% in multi-vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or more in 2018.
- Failing to check blind spots: Sometimes drivers change lanes without realizing that another vehicle is next to them because the other vehicle is in their blind spot. This is especially dangerous with semi-trucks. Now complicate the matter by driving a two-wheeled vehicle that is much more difficult to spot than a car, and you can see the danger for motorcycles.
- Speeding: In 2018, 10.8% of vehicles in collisions in Indiana were speeding. Speed-related collisions accounted for 20% of all fatal collisions. Among vehicle types, motorcycles remained the most likely to have been speeding at the time of the collision (11%).
- Running red lights: In 2019, 846 people were killed in crashes that involved people running red lights.
- Reckless/aggressive driving: 66% of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, according to the NHTSA. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association reports that 30 murders annually are linked to road rage.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Head injuries: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries are common in motorcycle crashes. Helmets help lessen the chance of TBIs but can’t eradicate the risk entirely. Of the motorcycle riders without helmets who were treated at a hospital, 21% suffered a TBI, compared to 15% of the helmeted motorcyclists. TBI severity varied by helmet use.
- Arm injuries: These are so common that they have a name: Biker’s Arm. Because motorcyclists don’t have seatbelts, they can be thrown from their bikes. When this happens, the instinct is to put their hand down to brace themselves. This can cause nerve, muscle, or bone injuries.
- Lower extremity injuries: 47% of motorcyclists requiring medical care after a crash suffered from injuries to their lower extremities, including, foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip, and pelvis injuries.
- Facial injuries: In both single and multiple-vehicle crashes, helmeted motorcyclists have lower odds of receiving facial injuries compared to unhelmeted motorcyclists. Riders wearing full-face helmets were about three times less likely to have sustained an injury to the face than riders wearing other types of helmets.
- Internal injuries: Without seatbelts, airbags, or the protective metal and plastic shell of a car, a motorcyclist is at risk of being thrown or crushed, both of which can cause internal injuries. One study showed that thoracic (to do with the chest area) and abdominal trauma, as well as pelvic ring fractures associated with long bone injuries, were major contributors to reduced survival after serious motorcycle crashes.
- Road rash: This is a far more serious injury than its name suggests. In extreme cases, a rider’s skin can peel down to the muscle as he or she scrapes across asphalt.
- Emotional trauma: Traffic accidents have become the leading cause of PTSD, and that includes motorcycle accident victims. Symptoms of PTSD can last for months or even years, so they need to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Often Result in Serious Personal Injuries?
- More than 80% of all motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death to the motorcyclist.
- The average car weight is 4,094 pounds, while the average motorcycle weighs 400 pounds.
- The average loaded tractor-trailer weighs 40 tons.
- In any collision with another vehicle, the motorcycle is at a disadvantage.
- Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t have any kind of structural protection. Riders often get thrown from their vehicles or crushed.
- In Indiana, persons under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet and eye protection. Persons operating a motorcycle with a motorcycle learner’s permit are also required to wear a helmet.(IC 9-21-10-9).
- Between 2015-2019 in Indiana, only 35.1% of the males and 31% of the females involved in motorcycle collisions were wearing helmets.
- Laws differ in each state.
- Three states have no helmet laws at all: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire
- Eighteen states (plus the District of Columbia) require all riders to wear helmets: Alabama District of Columbia California Georgia Louisiana Maryland Massachusetts Mississippi Nebraska Nevada New Jersey New York North Carolina Oregon Tennessee Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia
- Missouri requires riders aged 25 and younger to wear helmets.
- Nine states require riders aged 20 and younger to wear helmets: Arkansas Florida Kentucky Michigan Pennsylvania Rhode island South Carolina Texas Utah
- Delaware requires riders aged 18 and younger to wear helmets.
- Like Indiana, 18 states require riders aged 17 and below to wear helmets: Alaska Arizona Colorado Connecticut Hawaii Idaho Indiana Kansas Maine Minnesota Montana New Mexico North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma South Dakota Wisconsin Wyoming
Other Indiana Motorcycle Laws
In addition to the driver, a motorcycle may only carry one other person. This passenger may be carried only on a firmly attached and regular seat designed for passenger use.
A passenger may not be carried on a motorcycle in a position that interferes with the operation or control of the motorcycle or the view of the person who operates the motorcycle.
A person who operates a motorcycle may not carry a package, bundle, or any article that prevents the person from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
A person may not drive, operate, or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle that has only two (2) wheels in contact with the ground or pavement in a position other than astride the seat or saddle provided.
Headlamps shall be illuminated at all times when a motorcycle is in operation.
A motorcycle may not “lane share” with a car or drive between two cars. A motorcycle is entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and a vehicle may not be driven or operated in a manner that deprives another vehicle of the full use of a traffic lane. Motorcycles may, with the consent of both persons who operate the motorcycles, be operated with not more than two (2) abreast in a single traffic lane.
All traffic regulations and all rights and duties inured from the traffic regulations that apply to a person who drives or operates a motor vehicle apply to a person who operates a motorcycle, except the following: (1) Regulations that expressly do not apply to motorcycles. (2) Regulations that by their nature have no application.
A motorcycle: (1) with a design speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour; and (2) that has a seat, but not a saddle; may not be operated on an interstate highway or on a highway outside the limits of a city or town.
If a person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age is operating or riding on a motorcycle on the streets or highways, the person shall wear the following: (1) Protective headgear meeting the minimum standards set by the bureau. (2) Protective glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield.
A person may not rent, lease, or furnish a motorcycle to another person for use on the streets and highways who is not regularly licensed to operate a motor vehicle by the state in which the other person is a resident.
A person to whom a motorcycle is rented, leased, or furnished may not rent, sublease, or otherwise authorize the use of the motorcycle on the streets and highways to a person who is not licensed to operate a vehicle in Indiana.
A person may not rent, lease, or furnish a motorcycle that is not in safe operating condition.
A person who violates this chapter commits a Class C infraction. Note: A Class C infraction is a misdemeanor offense. This could result in a jail sentence of up to 60 days and/or a fine of up to $500.
Indiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 147 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in Indiana in 2017 alone, equating to a 47% increase from 2016 as well as a five-year high for the state. Riders between the ages of 55 and 64 had the highest rate of fatality during this time.
Other notable Indiana motorcycle accident statistics:
- 2,280 motorcycle injuries were reported in Indiana in 2017.
- Fatal and incapacitating collisions involving motorcycles were highest from June to September.
- Most fatal and incapacitating collisions involving motorcycles occurred on weekends.
- 4 pm was the most dangerous hour of the day for motorcyclists in 2017, with 8% of injuries occurring during this hour.
- 63.8% of all motorcycle collisions resulted in injury; 4.6% were fatal.
- Motorcycles are involved in less than 2% of traffic collisions in Indiana yet make up 16% of all traffic fatalities.
- Speeding was attributed to 7.8% of motorcycle collisions involving multiple vehicles.
What You Can and Can’t Control in a Motorcycle Accident
You CAN Control:
Your own driving. In Indiana, the motorcyclist is at fault 40% of the time. Common errors are:
- Improper passing
- Following too closely
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Driving under the influence
You CANNOT Control:
- Other drivers: Fully 58% of the time, other drivers are responsible for causing crashes with motorcyclists. Common errors are:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving
- Road conditions:
- Poorly maintained road surfaces
- Poorly signed construction sites or work zones
- Debris falling off another vehicle
- Defective equipment or parts on your motorcycle such as brakes and brake pads, gears, tires
- Defective design of motorcycle equipment. For example: (1) The front and rear brake caliper pistons of some BMW 2019 models corroded, causing the piston to drag or stick in the caliper bore. (Recalled in 2019) (2) Ivolution Sports found that some of their IV2 HY-901 motorcycle helmets did not adequately protect the wearer in the event of a motorcycle crash. (Recalled in 2019) (3) Other manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson, Piaggio, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, and Indian, all had to recall popular vehicles for unsafe issues with such components as brake lights, failing rivet connections, ignition sources too close to the fuel tank, problems with front brake master cylinders, and many more. These recalls all happened in 2019. No matter how careful the manufacturers are with their products, design and production problems occur which could impact your safety.
Q: What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
A: If you were less than 51% at fault for the accident, you can still file an injury claim. Your compensation may be reduced, depending on your amount of fault. This is because of Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule.
Q: The accident wasn’t my fault, but I can’t afford a lawyer. What can I do?
A: Crossen Law Firm offers free consultations. We also don’t charge you any fees at all unless you win a settlement. This is called a contingency fee.
Q: What happens if the at-fault driver who caused my accident is uninsured?
A: Hopefully, you have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance. Each newly written Indiana auto liability policy must include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless you reject this in writing. Even if you don’t have this type of insurance, your insurance company may pay for some of your expenses. With the help of our experienced motorcycle attorney, you may also be able to sue the other driver directly.
Q: I hit a pothole. Whose fault is that?
A: The state or local government is responsible for maintaining the roads. You may have a case, but we would have to be able to prove that the government knew about the pothole and had not fixed it despite being given a reasonable amount of time. Make sure to take photos and obtain an accident report showing the exact location of the pothole and the date the accident occurred.
Q: What steps should I take if I am involved in an accident?
A: Stay safe, call the police, collect information, take pictures, seek medical attention, consult an attorney. For more specific directions, read our blog about this.
Q: Should I speak to the other driver’s insurance company?
A: No, you should always talk to a lawyer before signing anything or giving a statement to the other driver’s insurer.
Q: What if I was in a single-vehicle accident? Is it automatically my fault?
A: Not necessarily. You may have hit debris that fell off a commercial vehicle. Your motorcycle may have a faulty part. The road may have been damaged.
Q: Do most motorcycle crashes occur at night?
A: You would think so, but no. The peak time for motorcycle accidents was 3:00 pm in 2018. There are more accidents during the summer months than the winter months, but that is because riders are more likely to be on the roads when the weather is pleasant.
Q: Where do most motorcycle accidents in Indiana occur?
A: Collisions occur mainly on straight roads that don’t involve junctions. However, 7% of fatal collisions (as of 2018) occurred on U.S. Routes, 4% occurred at intersections, and 4% occurred on curves.
Q: I have heard that motorcyclists don’t need to stop for red lights. Is this true?
A: Absolutely not! However, the confusion may have arisen from the Indiana law that allows motorcyclists to proceed after stopping for a red light if they abide by stop sign right of way procedures and if they stop for at least 120 seconds (two minutes) before they do this. (Note: a dash cam can help you prove that you waited the appropriate amount of time. It could also be useful to show the errors of any at-fault drivers.)
Q: Why are motorcyclists allowed to drive through a red light after 120 seconds if there is no traffic?
A: Some signals use technologies that change the light from red to green if a vehicle is detected. Since motorcycles weigh approximately 10 times less than cars, they often aren’t detected.
As the Italian professional motorcycle road racer, Valentino Rossie, said, “Riding a bike is like an art, something you do because you feel something inside.”
Don’t let an accident deprive you of that feeling inside. If you have been injured in a motorcycle, we can help you.
Let Our Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Fight for You
If you are suffering from a motorcycle injury, chances are that you are feeling overwhelmed and think this situation is too big to handle on your own. It’s not time to worry; it’s time to take care of yourself. Crossen Law Firm is here for you. Our Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer is equipped with the knowledge and resources to help you with your claim and advocate for your best interests.
To schedule a free consultation with our reliable team, dial (317) 401-8626 today. Or contact us online.