Category: Motorcycle Accidents

What are Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

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Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle riding can be enjoyable, but it can also be dangerous. Motorcycle riding is the riskiest mode of transportation in the United States. Motorcycle riders and passengers are vulnerable to serious and catastrophic injuries or death every time they are on the road. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

When a motorcycle accident involves other vehicles, more than one-half take place at intersections, and more than two-thirds of at-fault drivers say that they did not see the motorcycle, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Motorcycle riders and passengers are at a higher risk for injury than passenger vehicle occupants.

Motorcycle riders can wear safety equipment, such as helmets and leg protection, to help lessen the impact of accidents. However, even with safety measures, a motorcyclist can sustain mild to severe injuries because they are not fully protected.

The following examples are the most common types of motorcycle accident-related injuries.

Head, Neck, and Brain Injuries

Even with a helmet on, motorcycle riders and passenger will often sustain injuries to their head, neck, and spine, resulting in:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Skull fractures
  • Broken facial bones
  • Concussion
  • Facial disfigurement
  • Mouth, jaw, and teeth trauma
  • Broken neck

Spinal Cord Injuries

Motorcyclists who run into a stationary object or are violently thrown from the bike run a significant risk of injuring their spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or other conditions.

Leg and Pelvis Injuries

Broken bones in the legs, knees, ankles, feet, and pelvis are common in a motorcycle accident from the sheer impact of force. These injuries can cause work interruptions or the inability to work.

Arm and Shoulder Injuries

When a motorcyclist falls or is thrown from the bike, their arms and shoulder often bear the brunt of the impact. Broken bones and soft tissue/nerve damage often result in the need for surgery and rehabilitation.

Muscle and Soft Tissue Injuries

A motorcyclist is vulnerable to torn muscles, ligaments, nerve damage, and other injuries because they have no restraining mechanism or bodily protection in an accident.

Internal Injuries

Blunt force trauma in a motorcycle can injure or puncture any number of internal organs, causing bleeding and the need for surgery or removal.

Road Rash

This is the term used to describe the severe disfigurement of skin that has made sustained contact with the road. The result is much more severe than a rash, scrape, or bruise. Sometimes, skin can be peeled back to the muscle, requiring months of recovery.

What are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Sometimes, the motorcyclist is at fault in an accident due to various reasons. However, when another vehicle is involved, the fault in many cases lies with an inattentive or reckless vehicle driver.

The following are common causes of motorcycle accidents:

  • Head-on collisions. A car driver might lose control of their vehicle or veer from their lane, striking a motorcycle head-on.
  • Rear-end collisions. Motorists traveling too fast or who are distracted may not stop in time, running into the back of the motorcycle.
  • Speeding and changing lanes unsafely. Vehicle drivers who do not obey the rules of the road increase the chance of an accident with a nearby motorcyclist.
  • Cars turning at an intersection. A motorcycle may be less visible than a car or truck, but a motorist must still be attentive and careful.
  • When a car sideswipes a motorcycle, a motorcycle rider does not have the protection of a vehicle and can be severely injured.
  • Drunk driver. A motorcyclist who is hit by a drink car driver is susceptible to grave injuries.
  • Vehicle drivers may be talking, texting, eating, or otherwise distracted enough not to see a motorcycle rider.
  • Road conditions. Negligence in maintaining a road or highway can cause injury to a motorcycle driver.

Can I Sue if a Car Driver Caused My Motorcycle Accident?

It is possible to sue after a motorcycle accident, depending on the circumstances. First, consult with a local lawyer, and do not accept an offer from an insurance company without doing so first. Insurers will almost never offer the total compensation a victim is due.

A lawyer will manage the legal process to help an injured motorcyclist recover costs for the following:

  • Medical care bills
  • Costs for motorcycle
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

The motorcycle driver or passenger can be of great help after an accident if they can do any of the following:

  • Take photographs and videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damages, road conditions, and the position of vehicles after the accident.
  • Talk to bystanders who saw what happened. Get their statements, names, and contact information.
  • Make notes as soon as possible after the accident while details are still fresh.
  • Always seek medical attention on the scene and after. Injuries may not always be visible or apparent at first. Many times, the body is in shock at first and may not display all symptoms.
  • Keep records of medical visits, including plans of care and anything else related to the diagnosis and prognosis.

Keep every medical receipt and report, including:

  • Ambulance costs
  • Intensive care stays
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgeries
  • Visits to medical providers and specialists
  • Prescriptions
  • Medical equipment
  • Home care
  • Nursing home stays
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychiatric care

Keep copies of all communications with an employer regarding lost wages, benefits, and related issues.

In New Jersey, an accident victim cannot recover any compensation if the defense can prove they were even one percent at fault in the accident, so an experienced lawyer is often needed.

New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Victims of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents can cause physical, emotional, and financial devastation for victims. Many times, a distracted or reckless driver is at fault. Let the New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr fight on your behalf. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

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Most states have laws that make it mandatory for motorcyclists to wear helmets for their own protection. Much like seat belt laws that are meant to protect occupants of cars and trucks, motorcycle helmet laws are seen as a public safety issue. Implementation of such safety measures may bring up concerns about what happens when an accident does occur. Can a motorcyclist who failed to wear a helmet still file a claim for injuries after a motorcycle accident?

Helmet use is important since riding on a motorcycle is significantly more dangerous than riding in a car. In fact, studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that the likelihood of being injured in a motorcycle accident is about five times higher compared to those in cars. The odds of being killed in an accident are 28 times higher for those riding on motorcycles over those riding in cars.

This discrepancy is due to the lack of protection afforded by motorcycles. Where cars and trucks have seat belts and structures that enclose and protect passengers, motorcycles do not offer any such defense. In a crash, a motorcyclist has no frame or doors to protect them from the impact. Motorcyclists can easily be thrown from the bike as well.

Nearly every state has laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. Insurance claims and personal injury claims are handled differently in each state. Some states do not allow information on the motorcyclist’s use of a helmet to affect the case at all. In these cases, other factors, such as speeding, distracted driving, and intoxication on the part of the at-fault driver, are seen as pertinent to the case because these actions are unlawful and dangerous to others. The lack of a motorcyclist’s helmet can be seen as a personal choice; it does not endanger anyone but the motorcyclist.

In other states, the motorcyclist’s decision to forgo the protection of a helmet may be a permissible argument for the motorcyclist to bear some of the blame for their own injuries. In these cases, the monetary damages available for the injured victim will be reduced in accordance with the amount of fault they bear for the outcome of their choice to not wear a helmet.

What is Comparative Negligence?

In states that apply comparative negligence, the injured victim can recover damages for their injuries as long as they are less than 50 percent liable for their injuries. If they are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, they cannot collect damages from the other party. However, the injured victim may only collect damages that take into account the percentage of fault they bear for their own injuries. For example, if a motorcyclist sustained $100,000 in injuries and was found 20 percent at fault for these injuries, they would only be able to collect $80,000 on their claim.

How Do Motorcycle Helmet Laws Work in New Jersey?

Motorcyclists in New Jersey are required to wear a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation. Officials also suggest protective clothing, such as a thick jacket, sturdy pants, boots, and gloves. Eye protection, such as glasses, goggles, or a face shield, is also recommended.

Besides the physical safety of wearing a helmet for accident protection, the legal system in New Jersey offers another way for a helmet to protect a motorcyclist’s interests. This has to do with how their rights to damages are affected if they are found to bear some blame for their own injuries.

New Jersey law supports the legal theory of comparative negligence in accident cases. This means that the motorcyclist who becomes hurt in an accident while not wearing a helmet could be unable to fully recover the entire financial burden for their injuries if it is determined that the decision to go without a helmet contributed to their injuries.

What if the Injuries Sustained in the Accident Were Not Head Injuries?

If the accident resulted in injuries that would not have been prevented by a helmet, then it may not have impact on a claim. For example, if the accident resulted in a lost limb but no head injuries, it is clear that the choice not to wear a helmet did not contribute to the motorcyclist’s injury.

If someone is injured in a motorcycle accident, they might be able to collect damages, depending on the circumstances of the case. Even if the person was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, they may still be able to collect compensation from the at-fault party. For help with a motorcycle accident case, it is imperative to seek legal advice and representation.

Highland Park Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Motorcyclists Injured by Negligent Drivers

The Highland Park motorcycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help prove your case against the at-fault driver. Motorcycle accidents often cause serious injuries, and it is important to evaluate whether or not you are eligible for compensation after the collision. For more information and a free consultation about your case, call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online today. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Springtime Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcycle Accident Injuries

After a long winter of cold temperatures and icy roads, the approach of spring has motorcycle riders entering the roadways. Unfortunately, spring weather brings risks to those that ride motorcycles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 12,000 motorcycle accidents have occurred on New Jersey roadways from 2012 to 2016. What is even more alarming is the fact that motorcycle riders have a 28 percent higher chance of dying in a motorcycle accident than suffering a nonfatal injury.

The two leading causes of motorcycle accidents are speeding and distracted driving. Distracted drivers are responsible for approximately 33 percent of all motorcycle accidents. In most of these accidents, the drivers claim to have never seen the motorcycle before the crash. Inexperienced motorcycle riders and speeding causes approximately 50 percent of all motorcycle crashes.

Common Causes of Springtime Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable vehicles on the road. When a motorcycle crashes, drivers are unprotected by the strong steel frames that protect those in cars. Motorcyclists often experience serious or catastrophic injuries when an accident occurs.

The most common causes of springtime motorcycle accidents include:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Colliding with open car doors on parked vehicles
  • Speeding
  • Drunk and drugged driving
  • Lane splitting
  • Sudden stops causing rear-end collisions
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Misjudgment when making left turns
  • Inclement weather
  • Poor road conditions
  • Mechanical defects
  • Distracted driving

Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents result in some of the most catastrophic and fatal injuries of all motor vehicle accidents. The most common types of injuries seen are:

  • Head injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Arm and leg injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Road rash
  • Severe cuts and lacerations
  • Burn injuries

Helmets have saved countless lives for those involved in motorcycle accidents, but they do not fully protect riders from sustaining serious brain injuries. The chest and abdomen areas are particularly prone to catastrophic damage when internal injuries happen. Road rash and burns can cause severe scarring or disfigurement and infection.

Make Safety a Priority

A large majority of motorcycle accidents are preventable. The best way to enjoy motorcycle riding is to ride safely; always wear a helmet, wear long sleeves and pants, and pay close attention to the weather forecast before heading on the road.

It is vital to drive defensively and be on the lookout for cars. To drive defensively, you must:

  • Proceed through intersections with caution, particularly when making left hand turns.
  • Avoid lane splitting.
  • Always obey local speed laws.
  • Come to a full, complete stop at all traffic signs and signals. Proceed with caution when driving through cross streets.
  • Avoid passenger distraction or playing loud music in headphones.
  • Never use a cellphone while driving.
  • Wear clothing with reflective tape when riding at night.
  • Regularly inspect your motorcycle and perform routine maintenance to ensure the bike is safe to operate.
  • Wear protective eyewear to prevent debris from getting into the eyes and causing injury or blurred vision.

Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Motorcycle Safety

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact one of our accomplished Highland Park personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr for legal representation. Motorcycles are often severe; our lawyers will evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 to schedule a free consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey office serves clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

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Highland Park personal injury lawyers help motorcyclists injured in an accident.The spring months are here, and it is the perfect time for motorcyclists and motorists alike to enjoy the sunny weather on the open road. It makes sense that May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, considering that this is the time of year you see most motorcycle riders out on the highways.

Safety on the roads is a jointed effort; whether you travel by car or motorcycle, sharing the road cautiously and being aware of each other is key to getting everyone to their destination safely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycles only make up less than one percent of vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. but accounted for 14 percent of motor vehicle deaths in 2017.

Special Considerations for Motorcyclists

Riding a motorcycle is quite different than driving a car. Drivers and riders need to understand the limitations and challenges motorcyclists face on the road. Doing so will reduce incidence of motorcycle accidents and make the road a safer place. The following are some tips for everyone to follow in honor of National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month:

  • Always wear a helmet that meets DOT standards. Helmets are the single best way to prevent motorcycle deaths. Many also have face shields that guard against wind and bugs and eye injuries.
  • Bright or florescent clothing is recommended as well to make you more visible to others. Visibility is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. Drivers often do not see the motorcycle or are not aware of them because their smaller and quicker. Drivers and riders alike should understand blind spots of cars; drivers should always check their blind spots, and riders should avoid them.
  • Never drink when operating a motorcycle, or any vehicle for that matter. According to the NHTSA, one quarter of motorcycle fatalities in 2016 involved drivers who were impaired by alcohol, more than cars or trucks.
  • Know the rules of the road. Most states require further testing for a motorcyclist to get their license, with some states requiring safety classes as well. Always drive defensively, do not speed, and yield to others when traffic is heavy. You can never predict what another person will do.
  • Whether you drive a car or ride a motorcycle, it is always a good idea to check your tires, tire pressures, and fluids before going out on the road, especially if it is a long trip.
  • Riding a motorcycle requires a fair amount of skill and is different than driving a car, but the rules of the road are the same. Motorcycle riders should always stick to their skill level and understand that every bike is different, with some being far more powerful than others.

Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Motorcyclists Injured in an Accident

If you have been injured while riding a motorcycle, you are urged to call the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our experienced Highland Park personal injury lawyers are committed to recovering maximum compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. From our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey, we represent clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.