Little Rock Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The freedom and exhilaration that comes from riding a motorcycle on the open road is hard to match. Countless riders enjoy the thrill and many other benefits that come with owning and riding a motorcycle in Arkansas each and every day. Unfortunately, motorcycle riding also has a dark side — the threat of a serious motorcycle accident. Riders have virtually no protection, aside from a set of leathers and a helmet, to safeguard them from the injuries they may incur after being struck by another vehicle. The risks that larger automobiles pose to motorcycle riders is significant and should not be taken lightly.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident as the result of another driver’s negligence, let the Law Office of Thomas G. Buchanan help. Together, our experienced Little Rock motorcycle accident attorneys will work with you and your family towards the maximum recovery that you need after your accident.
Potential Injuries and Data
Victims of motorcycle accidents experience some of the most catastrophic injuries possible. In many cases, the unsuspecting rider is struck by a fast moving automobile and thrown from their motorcycle. The smallest of automobiles can easily outweigh a motorcycle, most weigh in over 3 times heavier than the motorcycle. Riders thrown from their bikes are subject to a number of injuries as they collide with buildings, the road, or other moving vehicles. Our top law firm has successfully represented motorcycle accidents where the rider suffered some of the following injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Extensive cuts, bruises, and scrapes (often called “Road Rash”)
- Broken and fractured limbs
- Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Wrongful death
In 2009, the Arkansas state police reported 1,585 motorcycle related accidents. Of these accidents, 1,333 caused a non-fatal injury with 70 of them ending in death for the rider. These numbers amount to 4 motorcycle accidents on the streets and highways of Arkansas every day. Speak with our professional Little Rock motorcycle accident attorneys today if you or a loved one have suffered serious injury in a motorcycle accident.
Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Laws and Stats
Motorcycling comes with an increased risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries in collisions. Most motorcyclists are aware of this risk before taking to the open roads of Arkansas. Their bodies are more vulnerable to the gravitational forces exuded in a crash, as they lack the protection of the metal shell or airbags of a passenger vehicle. While motorcyclists have a responsibility to ride with care, so do Arkansas’s vehicle motorists.
Arkansas Motorcycle Crash Statistics
The number of motorcyclists injured or killed in accidents dropped significantly in the 1990s, thanks to safety initiatives and increased awareness concerning motorcycles. In 2013, there were 1,411 motorcycle crashes in Arkansas – 72 were fatal. That same year, 4,669 motorcycles died in motor vehicle crashes across the nation.
Motorcycle crashes often result in traumatic injuries, including head injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, abrasions, and broken bones. Leg and foot injuries are the most common, followed by head and neck injuries. A helmet drastically lowers the chance of suffering a fatal head injury or TBI, but it is not a guaranteed safeguard.
Whether or not you wear a helmet, you must practice safe driving techniques, including defensive driving. Motorcyclists must be alert for distracted or negligent drivers, or drivers who simply don’t see the motorcycle. As a motorcyclist sharing the road with much larger motor vehicles, you must learn your rights and responsibilities to avoid becoming a statistic.
Motorcyclist Rights and Responsibilities
Federal law states that motorcycles have the same rights as passenger vehicles on the roadway. This gives motorcyclists freedom on Arkansas’s roadways within the same limitations as motor vehicles. However, motorcyclists must adhere to all federal and state roadway laws as well as motorcycle-specific laws.
Unfortunately, not all passenger vehicles respect cyclists on roadways as they should. Because of this, motorcyclists must ride with extra caution and assume cars will have difficulty seeing them or navigating around them.
Like any vehicle on the road, motorcyclists have the responsibility to pay extra attention to their surroundings. Road conditions affect a two-wheeled vehicle differently than a four-wheeled one. Motorcyclists should understand how different surface conditions change the control and balance of their vehicles and know how to compensate with safe driving techniques. Motorcyclists must learn how to effectively handle bikes both for personal safety and the safety of others on the roadway.
Riders must pass a special written exam and road test to obtain a motorcycle license (Class M). In Arkansas, motorcyclists and their passengers must wear eye protection. Motorcyclists under the age of 21 need helmets. Though the law doesn’t require helmets when riding over 21, it’s a good idea, especially if you ride on busy highways and interstates. The headlight and taillight must be on during all hours of operation, regardless of time of day. Motorcyclists must use hand signals to indicate a turn if bikes are not equipped with turn signals.
To reduce your risk of a tragic motorcycle accident, follow Arkansas’s rules of the road and safety practices. Although wearing a helmet is not necessary after the age of 21, it can drastically lower your chances of fatal injury in an accident. However, since our state does not require helmet use, a defendant cannot use your lack of wearing one against you.
If you’re involved in a motorcycle crash in Arkansas, contact a local attorney to discuss your options for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The roadway is a shared space, but drivers who are distracted, negligent, or driving aggressively can make it dangerous for everyone. If a negligent driver was responsible for your injuries, you may be eligible to receive compensation.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Surviving a motorcycle accident is a tumultuous, confusing, and difficult time to live through. Even a minor motorcycle accident can result in substantial injuries, such as road rash and broken bones. A significant accident is likely to end with life-threatening injuries, from a broken spinal cord to permanent brain damage. A motorcycle accident victim needs to know what to do immediately post-collision, who to contact for help, and what resources are available to move on with his or her life.
Call the Authorities
If you are able to call the police, do so immediately after a motorcycle accident. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Don’t move anyone who has sustained an injury unless doing so is necessary for his or her survival. If the accident only involved yourself, try to limit your motion until a doctor can assess your injuries. Even if you don’t feel injured at first, you may be numb from shock or have sustained an injury that will appear later.
Always report a motorcycle accident to the police, whether it is minor or major. The police are your allies in this situation, and they can help determine who was responsible for the accident and who to call for the appropriate help. The police will send an ambulance if anyone sustained an injury and collect data regarding the accident. Obtaining an official police report will help you in the long run, especially if you go to court for a personal injury lawsuit.
If you sustained a serious injury, medics will likely take you directly to the hospital. If your injuries are minor or you did not sustain an injury in the crash, remain on the scene to gather information from everyone else involved. This includes people who witnessed the accident. Write down the name, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information of the other party involved in the accident. Take photos of the damage to your motorcycle, the other party’s motor vehicle, and any other property damage if possible.
Seek Medical Attention
Always see a healthcare professional after a motorcycle crash, even if you don’t think you’re injured. If you later discover that you did sustain an injury, but waited a month to see a doctor, it may hurt your chances of obtaining compensation from the other driver. He or she could use this information against you during a jury trial by asserting that your injuries must not have been that bad since you waited so long to seek medical attention.
A healthcare professional will either clear you to go home or provide a treatment plan for your recovery. Collect copies of all medical records from your visit, including the recommendations for treatment. Follow your doctor’s orders exactly, as any variation may work against you in court. If you state that the crash caused you chronic back pain, for example, but records indicate that you failed to do the recommended physical therapy at the time of the accident, the defense attorney can claim that your own negligence worsened your injuries.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Many motorcycle accidents result from negligence, such as other drivers making left-hand turns into motorcycles or failing to see them on the roadway. In other accident cases, part malfunction or poor roadway maintenance may be the cause. The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be confusing, but an attorney can make the process much easier. An attorney can tell assess whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, and can handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf. A lawsuit may be your only opportunity to collect compensation for your injuries and property damage.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are costly, both in the number of lives lost and the financial impact on Arkansas’s economy. Almost all motorcycle accidents are completely preventable. Yet since 2000, the number of motorcycle accident-related deaths has increased by 55%. Motorcyclists can significantly decrease their chances of collision and injury by learning the warning signs leading up to a crash, knowing the most common causes of accidents, and wearing the best protective gear.
Practice Defensive Driving
While we always hope other drivers on the roadway are paying attention, we cannot assume this is the case. Motorcyclists must be especially careful, as drivers can easily overlook their smaller vehicles. The only way to protect yourself against negligent, distracted, and careless drivers is to always expect the unexpected. Prepare for vehicles to pull out in front of you, try to switch lanes on top of you, and rear-end you in traffic. In other words, assume you are invisible.
The sad truth is that most motorists simply don’t look for motorcyclists. While “Share the Road” and “Look Twice, Save a Life” campaigns across the nation have marginally helped increase awareness of this problem, there are still too many avoidable motorcyclist deaths. Defensive driving includes not riding in blind spots, being ready to hit your brakes when you see someone trying to pull out, and positioning your motorcycle between lanes at stops to avoid a rear-end collision.
Other defensive driving tips include doing everything in your power to make other drivers see you. Wear brightly colored clothing, check to make sure your lights work, tap your brake light while stopped to make it “flash,” and ride with your high-beam headlight on during the day. Nowadays, there are some pretty cool options for brightly colored motorcyclist gear. While protective gear won’t necessarily protect against an accident, it significantly reduces your chance of injury in a crash.
Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
No motorcyclist is too experienced to take a training course. A motorcycle safety course can teach you excellent tips for avoiding an accident, such as being extra careful around curves in case of loose gravel. Training courses give you the opportunity for hands-on safety practices and advice from motorcycle safety experts. Courses are relatively inexpensive and may even give you a discount on your vehicle insurance.
Check Your Rig
Many motorcycle accidents result from lack of proper motorcycle maintenance. Always check your rig before hitting the road, including checking your fluids, brakes, tires, mirrors, and lights. Something as simple as a broken taillight can lead to a vehicle slamming into you. A motorcycle requires more frequent maintenance than a car, and even minor technical failures can result in a crash.
It may seem obvious, but the number one way to avoid a motorcycle accident is to practice safe motorcycling. In 2013, 22% of motorcyclists in fatal accidents involved a fixed object, versus 18% with passenger cars. This points to a problem with motorcyclist safety, not just other driver awareness. Also in 2013, 34% of motorcyclists in fatal accidents were driving too fast for conditions and 28% were alcohol-impaired. When motorcyclists drive recklessly or dangerously, they endanger everyone they encounter on the roadway. Improving motorcycle safety starts with you.
Always put a safe driving distance between you and the vehicle in front of you in case they have to hit their brakes suddenly. Communicate your intentions to other drivers, using hand signals, brake lights, and lane positioning to clearly express where you’re going. Never speed, drink and ride, or fall into the habit of any other behavior that could get you killed. Remember, it’s not just your own life on the line – it’s the lives of your passengers, pedestrians, and everyone else around you.
Courageous Litigation for Maximized Recoveries
Over the past decade our top law firm has helped victims and families seek full recoveries in motorcycle accident cases. We regularly accept tough, challenging, and high-stakes cases that others simply turn down or shy away from. In our time serving the greater Arkansas area, the experienced Little Rock motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Office of Thomas G. Buchanan have consistently averaged a recovery figure of over half a million dollars. This fact alone helps illustrate the tenacity and integrity that our personal injury attorneys carry with them into the courtroom — for every client, every day.
Serious motorcycle accidents demand serious litigation. The pain and suffering after one of these injuries can last a lifetime; victims will need a total compensation figure that will continue to provide for them, long after their accident took place. Contact the experienced Little Rock motorcycle accident attorneys at our law firm today. With our unparalleled legal expertise we can help you towards a maximum recovery for your injury or loss. Our law office can be reached at 501.296.9820. Alternatively, you can contact us via e-mail and we will respond to you in a timely manner.
Don’t let this injury dictate how you live your life; our courageous, caring, and committed attorneys are here for you in this hard time. Please call or contact us today.