Motorcycles are, by the nature of the machine, more susceptible to crashes than ordinary automobiles. When a crash occurs, a motorcyclist is more likely to suffer injury than the occupant of an automobile, and for that injury to be more serious than an automobile occupant would have suffered in a similar crash.
Automobiles these days offer considerable protection—from reinforced vehicle frames to air bags– to occupants during a crash. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, get protection largely from helmets and the clothing they wear.
And Maine sees its share of motorcycle crashes: well over 1,000 of them from 2008 to 2012. While some were minor accidents, many resulted in serious injuries, and a smaller but significant number resulted in death. There were 221 deaths in motorcycle crashes on Maine roads from 2011 through 2012.
Getting compensation from the person who caused the accident is often the only way to ensure that the victim can pay for the necessary medical treatments, rehabilitation, etc., and to replace income lost from inability to work after the accident.
Why Motorcycles are Susceptible to Crashes
Several basic characteristics of motorcycles increase the likelihood of an accident occurring:
- They are small relative to most other vehicles on the road; that makes it hard for other motorists to see them unless they pay very close attention
- Two wheels provide considerably less stability than four, for obvious reasons; less stability increases the likelihood of a skid when the motorcycle’s wheels encounter loose gravel or dirt, wet pavement, debris in the roadway, or a host of similar conditions
- Riders have to lean into turns as they make them, which further lessens stability (especially if the turn occurs at the same time that the wheels encounter gravel, dirt, moisture, etc.)
- Motorcycles make considerable noise, which makes it harder for the rider to hear horns honking or other sounds that would otherwise serve as signs of potential danger
Why Injuries Are More Severe
As mentioned earlier, motorcycles don’t come with air bags for obvious reasons. And riders are not surrounded by protective frames and reinforced compartments. Because of a motorcycle’s lack of stability, riders pretty much always end up toppling over during a significant crash. And once the vehicle falls over, the lack of protective compartments means the rider comes into contact with the road, often at considerable speed.
The result is that motorcyclists in a crash are at significantly increased risk for injuries to their heads, necks, and spines. These are the kinds of injuries most likely to produce severe and long-term damage: brain injuries, spine injuries, injuries to the eyes, nose, and mouth, and so on.
If the rider’s body skids on the road surface, there may be significant and severe skin damage and scarring. Impact forces are high enough for broken bones and dislocated joints to be common.
Single Vehicle Accidents
Accidents in which the motorcycle is the only vehicle involved are fairly common. One national survey reported that single vehicle accidents made up 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents. It’s also fairly common for motorcyclists to be blamed for their own injuries in these kinds of accidents. In some instances, the accident may well be the fault of a rider who was speeding or not paying attention, or who simply lacked experience on a motorcycle. But in many more instances, the accident results from conditions caused by other people:
- Road obstructions
- Defects in the road surface
- Oil or other substances on the road
- Behavior of other motorists who force the motorcyclist to take evasive action causing a spill or crash into a solid structure
- Various defects that may exist in the motorcycle
The Right Lawyer for Your Maine Motorcycle Accident Recovery
Motorcycles are simple machines, but the accidents they are involved in can be very complex. Experienced legal help is essential, especially when the person you think is responsible for the accident is denying it, or even claiming that it was all or mostly your fault. The Jabar Injury Law firm has been successfully handing motorcycle accident cases in Maine for decades. We have successfully recovered many millions of dollars for our clients in these and other serious personal injury cases. We know the law, we know how to find and present the facts, and we have an excellent reputation in the field; many of our cases are referred by other lawyers.
Give us a call and get your motorcycle accident case off on the right foot. There’s no charge for talking to us, and we don’t get a fee unless we recover for you.