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Our Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyer knows from experience that motorcycle riders involved in collisions with cars have very little protection between them and the two vehicles’ iron and steel or the road’s asphalt. The University of Alabama’s latest Alabama Traffic Crash Facts says that 81 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death.
The motorcycling community has invested considerable time and effort to improve its safety record through initiatives such as increased rider training and licensing campaigns. However, many motorcycle accidents are caused by negligent and/or reckless drivers in cars who do not take the “share the road” philosophy to heart.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a motorcycle accident, you need answers about what to do. At Belt & Bruner we have gathered together some of the most common questions and answers to assist you.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re Committed to Our Clients
At Belt & Bruner, P.C., our Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyers and legal staff are committed to holding careless drivers accountable for the harm they cause. We understand the unique risks that motorcyclists face. We want to help them obtain the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and carry on with their lives. Uninsured motorists coverage can help you get compensation when you are in an accident with a driver who does not carry liability insurance.
We can put our skills, experience and resources to work for you if you or a loved one has been harmed in a motorcycle accident in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama or the Southeast. Call us today or use our online form to receive a free consultation about your legal rights and options.
Negligence Is a Main Cause of Accidents
Motorcycle riders have the same rights and privileges on our highways as drivers of other motor vehicles. But if a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the rider and his or her passenger are likely to suffer serious head injuries, neck or back injuries, or other traumatic injuries. Motorcyclists can be paralyzed or otherwise permanently disabled in collisions with other motor vehicles.
The University of Alabama’s latest Alabama Traffic Crash Facts says there were 1,729 crashes involving motorcycles in Alabama in 2010. These wrecks led to 1,319 injuries and 86 fatalities. These numbers represent an increase in motorcycle accidents, motorcycle accident injuries and motorcycle accident deaths from the previous year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says motorcycle accidents account for 13 percent of all highway fatalities in the U.S. each year. Based on miles traveled, motorcyclists are about 25 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be killed in a traffic accident.
Collisions between cars and motorcycles often occur when car drivers:
- Fail to allow a motorcyclist the full lane width. Car drivers should never try to share a lane with a motorcycle.
- Fail to look for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic or at an intersection.
- Fail to signal their intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic in front of a motorcycle.
- Fail to allow proper following distance – three or four seconds’ worth – when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles stop more quickly than cars.
There are, of course, precautions that motorcyclists can take to increase their safety. These include:
- Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.
- Wearing brightly colored protective gear, including a DOT-compliant helmet.
- Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
- Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves.
- Using reflective tape and stickers to increase their bike’s visibility.
- Positioning themselves in traffic lanes so that they will be most visible to other drivers.
In addition, the negligence and recklessness that contributes to so many motor vehicle crashes – speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving, disregarding stop signs and stop lights, etc. – can cause motorcycle wrecks when committed by either party to the wreck. Motorcycle accidents can also be caused by negligent road construction, whether it is improper maintenance and repair of roads, or poorly designated road construction areas.
Many times, though, motorcyclists and their passengers are injured because other motorists do not see the motorcycle. Too often, motorists simply do not look out for motorcycles.
By the Numbers: Statistics on Alabama Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities
Motorcycle accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries or death. In Alabama, the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration reports that 65 motorcycle accident fatalities occurred in 2012. In 2011, 2,019 motorcycle accidents took place in Alabama (including 97 fatalities), which was about one percent of all vehicle accidents in the state, according to a report issued by the state Alabama Department of Transportation. Of all vehicle accidents in the state, 78.5 percent are reported to have occurred on dry streets, roads or highways, while 15.7 percent were attributed to wet roads, and only 1.1 percent attributed to icy or slushy roads.
Motorcyclists are put at risk when another driver fails to observe that he or she is sharing the road with a motorcycle, either at a stop sign or stop light or when changing lanes or other act of driver negligence. In 2011, an “unseen object, person or vehicle” was responsible for 9,624 total vehicle crashes, 25 of which were fatal, with “improper lane change or use” leading to a total of 5,313 crashes and 11 fatalities, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation report.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a motorcycle accident, you need answers about what to do. At Belt & Bruner, P.C. we have gathered together some of the most common questions and answers to assist you. Call us with your individual questions or use our convenient online form for a no-cost case evaluation.
We Help Alabama Motorcycle Accident Victims
If another motorist’s negligence or recklessness contributed to your injuries in a motorcycle crash in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama, we can assist you.
Once the Belt & Bruner, P.C.’s motorcycle accident lawyers take your case, we will thoroughly research and review every aspect of your motorcycle accident. We will work with experts in wreck reconstruction, mechanical design and engineering to develop evidence that supports your legal claim. We also will consult medical professionals and life-care planners who can help us determine the full extent of your injuries and the likely costs of your recovery.
Our Alabama motorcycle accident attorneys are aggressive advocates. We know how to negotiate with insurance companies. We also know how to prepare cases for trial.
Keith T. Belt, Jr., the firm’s founder, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the American Trial Lawyers Association. He also is listed as an Alabama Super Lawyer. Combined, our attorneys have more than 65 years of trial experience in state and federal courts.
We’ll work hard to make sure you secure the compensation you and your family deserve.
Contact Our Lawyers Today
If you or a family member has suffered property loss, physical pain or emotional suffering in a motorcycle accident because of someone else’s carelessness, contact the Birmingham motorcycle accident attorneys of Belt & Bruner. We have a strong record of securing maximum settlements and verdicts for accident victims.
Under Alabama law, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit generally must be filed within two years after the injury or death occurred. Accident cases can take time to develop, so it’s important to act right away.
Call a Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyer today or use our online form. We can provide you with a free case evaluation and get you started on the path to legal relief.
Last updated: January 20, 2015