Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

motorcycle and rider against sunset backdrop

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. They can result in serious injuries, expensive medical bills, and even death. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger car occupants. With warmer weather approaching, many motorcyclists will be out on the road again. Read more to learn about how to stay safe and when to consult with a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer.

What Causes a Motorcycle Accident?

The causes for motorcycle accidents are typically the same as those that cause any motor vehicle accident. These include:

Road Hazards

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is road hazards. These can include potholes, debris, oil slicks, and uneven pavement. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to these hazards than cars, as they have less stability and fewer wheels to maintain balance.

Distracted Drivers

Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is distracted drivers. With the rise of cell phone use while driving, more and more accidents are being caused by drivers who are not paying attention to the road. This is especially dangerous for motorcyclists, as they are less visible on the road and can easily be missed by a distracted driver.

Speeding

Speeding is a major cause of all types of accidents, including motorcycle crashes. 33 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2021 involved speeding. When a motorcyclist is traveling at high speeds, they have less time to react to hazards or unexpected situations on the road. This can lead to serious accidents and injuries.

Alcohol

Nearly one third of the motorcyclists killed in 2021 were found to have blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to operate any type of vehicle. Considering that motorcyclists are inherently more vulnerable, this impairment can have devastating consequences.

Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Head Injuries

Head injuries are some of the most serious injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. Unlike motor vehicle accidents, motorcyclists are less likely to be rear-ended, so whiplash is not a frequent occurrence. Concussions, on the other hand, are quite common, as are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). 

In particular, helmetless riders are in greater danger of a penetrating TBI. This involves a serious blow to the skull that causes an open wound, damaging the brain tissue beneath. TBI’s after a motorcycle accident can have far reaching effects on quality of life, often requiring extensive medical treatment and therapy. 

Road Rash

Road rash is one of the most common types of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. It occurs when the rider’s skin comes in contact with the road while the vehicle remains sliding. Road rash can range from a minor scrape to serious burns. If there is debris in the road, the rash can be compounded by lacerations or tearing of the skin.

The extent of road rash depends on the circumstances of the accident, including the type of surface, the length of time the rider spent sliding, and whether or not he or she was wearing protective clothing. Road rash can leave large areas of the skin exposed and vulnerable to infection. Serious cases can result in significant scarring.

Broken Bones After a Motorcycle Accident

Broken bones are also a common injury in motorcycle accidents. According to the CDC, most non-fatal injuries are to the rider’s legs and feet. Fractures in these areas are common, as are broken ribs and collarbones. Many of these injuries will heal with casting and physical therapy; others, however, may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

How to Avoid Being in a Motorcycle Accident

Wear Protective Gear

Wearing protective gear is essential for preventing serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Helmets alone are 37 percent effective at preventing death after a crash and 67 percent effective at preventing TBI. Riders can further protect themselves from road rash and other injuries by wearing a properly-fitted motorcycle jacket with padding and inserts, as well as sturdy gloves, pants that completely cover the legs, and motorcycle boots.

Be Visible

Motorcycles are smaller and, therefore, less visible than cars. Riders should be aware of blind spots and drive predictably to avoid an accident. Always use turn signals and make sure your vehicle’s horn and lights are in good working order before you set out.

Follow Traffic Laws

Remember that speeding and driving under the influence are among the top causes of motorcycle accidents. Drivers should never drive when drinking alcohol or other drugs. They should also be well-versed in their local and state traffic laws and abide by them whenever they are riding. Not all states allow lane splitting or have dead red light laws, for example (see below).

Colorado Helmet and Traffic Laws

Though it is strongly recommended, Colorado does not require motorcyclists over the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Minors must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times while operating their motorcycle.

Dead Red Law in Colorado

As of 2019, Colorado enacted a Dead Read law that applies to motorcyclists. This law allows motorcyclists to treat red lights as a Stop Sign: they may drive through a red light after coming to a full stop and checking for traffic.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Colorado?

Some states allow motorcycles to weave through traffic, overtaking vehicles in the same lane. This is known as “lane splitting,” and it is illegal in the state of Colorado.

However, land sharing is permissible when it involves motorcyclists. Colorado law allows for two riders to drive side-by-side in one lane, provided they abide by all other traffic regulations.

When to Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. These types of accidents often involve extensive and serious injuries. Liability may also be murky, with both sides claiming negligence. An experienced motorcycle accident can help build a case on your behalf and help you seek damages, even if you were partially at fault. He or she can also help you file your insurance claim and negotiate for a fair settlement.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Colorado

In Colorado, the skilled attorneys at The Roth Group can assist you following a motorcycle accident. We pride ourselves on our compassion, perseverance, and dedication to each and every one of our clients. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure a fair settlement while you focus on healing. Call or go online today to schedule a free evaluation.