Was the At Fault Driver in Your Motorcycle Accident Distracted?Motorcycle riders who are struck by distracted drivers are at risk of suffering serious personal injury or death. Motorcycles lack the structural protection a car provides and motorcyclists are more vulnerable in any collision. If fact, the majority of collisions involving motorcycles result in some injury or death, according to Alabama Traffic Crash Facts. Distracted drivers have become more prevalent because of the popularity of cell phones and other wireless communication devices. Accidents involving distracted driving accidents have increased, even as many types of accidents have been on a downward trend. Unfortunately, distracted driving has increased the risk that motorcyclists face in Birmingham and across Alabama (see our motorcycle accident statistics). If a distracted driver has caused an accident leaving you or a loved one with serious injuries, you should let an attorney at Belt & Bruner review the specifics and explain your legal rights. We have experience investigating a wide variety of motorcycle crash cases. Let us provide you with a free consultation.
Distracted Driving Causes Motorcycle CrashesAccording to Alabama Traffic Crash Facts, there were 1,912 accidents involving motorcycles in the state in 2012. These crashes led to 92 fatalities and 1,477 personal injuries. The report says the number of motorcycle accidents injuries increased from 2011 to 2012. How do you think distracted driving might contribute to a collision between a car and motorcycle? Text messaging, one of the most prevalent kinds of distracted driving, takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. In a vehicle going 55 mph, this is equivalent of driving the length of Legion Field with your eyes closed. Now, consider two of the most often cited reasons for collisions involving a car and motorcycle:
- The car driver failed to look for the motorcycle by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic or at an intersection; and
- The car driver failed to allow proper following distance – three or four seconds worth – while behind a motorcycle so that the motorcyclist had enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
What Factors Determine if a Distracted Driver is at FaultThe most important determining factor of fault in a case possibly involving a distracted driver is the police crash report. After an accident, police officers investigate the site of the crash, and among other clues, they look for signs of distraction in any of the involved drivers. In Alabama, it is illegal to text and drive. Drivers are unlikely to admit that they were texting or talking on a phone at the time of an accident. If police find any sign that a driver was texting at the time of the accident, this is a strong indication of fault. In some cases, we obtain cell phone records to demonstrate that a driver was distracted by a conversation at the time of the accident. Of course, texting is just one kind of distraction.
Forms of DistractionA distracted driver is any driver who does not have his or her full attention on the road. There are three main forms of distraction:
Visual: These are tasks that cause a driver to look away from the road. This might include turning around to look at backseat passengers, looking down to read an incoming text, or map reading. If a driver’s eyes aren’t on the road, he or she can’t see other cars, motorcycles, or traffic signals. By the time those things finally come into the driver’s view, it may be too late.
Manual: these types of distractions involve the driver’s hands being anywhere but the wheel or controls. A manually distracted driver may be trying to get something out of a purse, reaching for food, or adjusting a radio or other electronic vehicle systems.
Cognitive: Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mental focus away from the road. This type is frequently combined with the other two. Notably, texting represents a serious cognitive distraction that is also manual and visual. A driver who is sending text messages is focusing on the content of the message, using fingers to type, and glancing at the screen.
Injured Motorcyclists Deserve CompensationA legal claim based on the fact that a distracted driver caused a motorcyclist’s injuries or death requires research of every aspect of the accident. Experts in motorcycle accident reconstruction, mechanical design and engineering can help develop evidence that supports the accident victim’s case. Medical professionals and life-care planners estimate the full extent of the accident victim’s injuries and the likely costs of recovery. Distracted driving motorcycle accidents require aggressive advocacy in negotiations with insurance companies and at trial when that is the only recourse for obtaining appropriate relief.
Contact Our Lawyers to InvestigateIf you or a family member has been harmed in a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist, contact the Birmingham distracted driving accident attorneys of Belt & Bruner. We are justifiably proud of our record of securing high-value settlements and verdicts for victims of traffic accidents caused by other motorists.
Strong Legal Advocacy to Help Clients Receive Just CompensationUnder Alabama law, there is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, it must be filed within two years of when the injury or death occurred. Motorcycle accident cases take time to investigate, so it’s important to act as soon as possible. Our lawyers will make sure your case is investigated thoroughly and filed in a timely manner. Call our Birmingham distracted driving motorcycle accident lawyers today at our toll-free number or use our online form. We can evaluate your case without charge and help you get started on the path to legal relief. Sources:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Driver Distraction Program
- WSFA: Alabama’s Texting While Driving Law Now in Effect