Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Between 1997 and 2006, the number of motorcycle registrations jumped by 75 percent—up to more than 6.5 million registered bikes. And the trend has continued upward since 2006, as more and more people begin to enjoy the affordability of a motorcycle and the freedom it offers.
However, the marked increase of motorcycle riders also means increased concerns for safety. Without the protective outer shell of a motor vehicle, motorcycle riders are much more susceptible to serious injuries if involved in a crash. While some motor bikes have leg guards or other limited safety devices, there is nothing to hold the rider on the bike in the event of a crash, and there is nothing to separate the rider from impacting the road or other vehicles.
Motorcycle fatalities increased almost 10 percent in 2012, with more than 5,000 lives lost as a result of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle deaths have increased in 14 of the last 15 years, and annual deaths are reaching an all-time high. About 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, compared to about 20 percent for vehicles.
The state of New Jersey, about 2,500 motorcycles are involved in crashes every year. These crashes contribute to about 70 fatalities and 2,000 injuries per year.
New Jersey law requires motorcycle riders to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding, which can significantly decrease the risk of fatal injuries. A rider without a helmet is almost 50 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury compared to a rider with a helmet. More than 1,800 motorcyclists’ lives were saved by helmets in 2003, and an additional 823 could have been saved if the rider had been wearing a helmet, according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
What Are Common Causes for Motorcycle Accidents?
No two motorcycle accidents are the same, but certain situations carry a higher risk for an accident than others.
The majority of motorcycle accidents involve the motorcycle and a full-size vehicle, and the size advantage of a motor vehicle can be very dangerous for a motorcycle rider. More than half of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, and two-thirds of all crashes occur when the vehicle’s driver does not see the motorcycle.
Cars making left-hand turns at intersections spell serious danger for motorcycles. When the motorcycle tries to go straight through an intersection, tries to pass the car, or tries to overtake the car, the turning car can strike the motorcycle and cause an accident. The motorcycle’s size makes it less noticeable than a regular motor vehicle, and the vehicle driver might not notice the bike until it is too late.
Motorcycle lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of slowed (or entirely stopped) traffic. Lane splitting is particularly dangerous because it brings the cars in much closer proximity to the motorcycle, it reduces the space available for maneuvering, and cars do not expect to look out for a motorcycle between the lanes. Lane splitting is illegal in New Jersey and New York, but there are many circumstances involved that could affect your individual situation, including the actions of the driver prior to the accident and the views of the particular judge on lane splitting.
Speeding or alcohol use contribute to nearly half of all accidents involving a single motorcycle. While speeding and driving under the influence are problems for motor vehicle drivers as well, the lack of protection offered by a motorcycle makes the rider more susceptible to serious or fatal injuries.
Collisions between motorcycles and fixed objects account for approximately one-quarter of motorcycle-related deaths, compared to 18 percent of car crash fatalities. Again, the lack of protection offered by a motorcycle makes it more likely for a rider to be thrown from the bike and sustain serious injuries.
Road hazards are more difficult to manage when riding a motorcycle. Slick pavement, dead animals, potholes, uneven lanes, and other unexpected hazards can wreak havoc on a motorcycle because of its smaller size, decreased stability, and decreased number of wheels.
What Are the Most Common Motorcycle-Related Injuries?
Motorcycle-related injuries vary widely, covering everything from “road rash” to severe neck injuries.
In nonfatal motorcyclist injuries from 2001-2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified five most commonly injured areas:
- Leg/foot: 30 percent
- Head/neck: 22 percent
- Upper trunk: 20 percent
- Arm/hand: 18 percent
- Lower trunk: 8 percent
Other common injuries include:
- Bone fractures: Accidents happen quickly, and since a motorcycle cannot stand up on its own, the bike often falls directly onto the rider, resulting in a broken leg. Broken arms and hands are also common when riders naturally try to break their fall and catch themselves.
- Road rash: A lack of protective clothing can lead to a skin abrasion known as “road rash.” The abrasion can range from mild to severe, and more severe cases require immediate medical attention.
- Head injuries: The leading cause of death and disability in motorcycle accidents is head injury. Wearing a helmet, as required by New Jersey law, can greatly reduce your risk of traumatic brain injury or other head injuries.
- Burns and/or scarring
- Joint, muscle and neck injuries
- Back Injuries
- Wrongful death
- Knee damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Paralysis, including quadriplegia
- Permanent disability
When a case involves serious injuries, it is very important to conduct a thorough investigation. When liability is disputed, experienced personal injury attorneys will be able to review intersection photography and video, as well as video footage from local security cameras. Accident reports, interviews with witnesses, and photographs of the accident scene will help paint an accurate picture of the accident, and Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help you collect the right information.
What Could You Win in a Personal Injury Suit?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or have lost a loved one in a deadly crash, you could be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost income
- Future lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Current and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Special equipment to accommodate disabilities
- Physical and/or mental impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents commonly result in catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, and an ongoing need for medical care. Your life can be turned upside down, and our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you make things right. The experienced attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have experience litigating multi-million dollar motorcycle accident claims, and they will make sure you and your family get the full compensation you deserve. Call (201) 585-9111 or fill out a quick inquiry form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.