Motorcycle Accident Causes
Motorcycling can be an enjoyable and effective way to travel, but it can also be risky. There is little to protect riders from serious injuries if a motorcycle accident occurs — and these crashes are getting deadlier in British Columbia.
News reports show that B.C. motorcycle accident deaths reached record highs over the past decade. Statistics show that there was a 50 percent increase in motorcycle accident fatalities in a recent year, and thousands of injuries are reported annually to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
Have you been in a motorcycle accident? Have you lost a family member in a crash? Many of these collisions happen because of someone else’s carelessness. In those cases, compensation may be possible for the accident victim or surviving family members. The Vancouver motorcycle accident attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP can fight for the money you need to restore your health and financial wellbeing.
It’s easy and free to learn your legal options. Call or contact us today to arrange a free consultation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by some form of negligence, either on the part of another driver, the rider, or both parties. Negligence comes in many forms, including:
- Unsafe lane changes: When motorists want to change lanes, they must check to ensure that it is safe. Motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, which makes the need for drivers to check their blind spots even more essential. If they fail to do so and strike a motorcyclist, they could be held liable for their carelessness.
- Dooring: Sometimes, drivers open their car doors into the path of oncoming motorcyclists without checking to see if it’s safe first. As a result, the rider ends up crashing into the door and may sustain serious injuries. This practice, known as dooring, indicates the that driver was negligent since he or she failed to ensure the path was clear before opening the door.
- Speeding: Speeding is a leading cause of all accidents, including motorcycle crashes. When drivers speed, they do not have the necessary time to slow down and stop. Speeding not only causes accidents, but it also increases the severity of them.
- Impaired driving: There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated. Impaired drivers who cause motorcycle accidents can be held accountable for their actions in both criminal and civil courts.
- Left turn accidents: This is one of the most common types of motorcycle crashes. They occur when a driver is making a left turn at an intersection and a motorcyclist is traveling straight through. If the driver fails to see the rider and hits them, the consequences can be devastating.
- Sudden stops: If the driver of a car slams on the brakes, a motorcyclist may not have time to stop safely. The resulting rear-end accident can send riders flying, leaving them seriously injured.
- Inexperience: Motorcyclists must be properly licensed in British Columbia. But even after licensure, it can take time to master the skills to maneuver and safely handle a motorcycle. Just like young drivers, riders between the ages of 16 and 25 are the frequent victims of British Columbia motorcycle accidents.
- Dangerous road defects: Although most motorcycle accidents are caused by other motorists, there are times when municipal and provincial governments may be at fault for a crash. The government is responsible for ensuring that roads are safe for motorists to travel. When repairs aren’t made to crumbling pavement, potholes, or damaged signage, it is possible to file a claim against the at-fault government entity.
- Defective motorcycles and motorcycle parts: Motorcycle manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure their bikes and all of the equipment on the bike is safe. When manufacturers fail to meet this responsibility, they can be held liable.
- Weather: British Columbia experiences its fair share of extreme weather, which can make the roads dangerous even for the most experienced motorcyclists. Motorcycle accidents peak in the spring and summer months in B.C., when more motorcyclists hit the roads.
Due to their vulnerability on the roads, riders often sustain catastrophic injuries after a collision. If you were hit, it’s very important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Warnett Hallen LLP as soon as possible. You could be eligible for compensation to help with medical bills, lost income, property damage, and other losses.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists have very little protection on the roads. A helmet and other riding gear are no match for other vehicles or the impact of hitting the road. That’s why injuries that result from a motorcycle accident are some of the most severe.
Examples of common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Muscle damage: Muscle strains and sprains are common after an accident. In severe crashes, the muscles are sometimes torn completely.
- Biker’s arm: When riders are knocked off their motorcycle, they instinctively place their arms and hands out to break their fall. This is the cause of biker’s arm, a term that refers to the cuts, bruises, and broken bones that can occur during a crash.
- Lower extremity injuries: A motorcyclist’s feet and legs are closest to the ground. After the initial impact of an accident, the feet are also usually the first part of the body to hit the pavement. This can result in multiple injuries including broken bones, sprains and strains, deep lacerations, burns, and even total separation of the limb from the body.
- Head injuries: Although all motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet in British Columbia, they only provide a measure of protection in a high-impact crash. Wearing a helmet can lessen the severity of head injuries, but they are still a very serious type of motorcycle accident injury which can result in permanent disabilities.
- Facial injuries: Wearing a helmet with a full-face shield can help prevent facial injuries. However, during a serious accident, a helmet cannot prevent disfiguring facial injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spine are more likely when a motorcycle makes contact with a fixed or larger object, such as a guardrail, tree, or passenger vehicle. Examples of spinal injuries may include a bruised spine, a slipped or ruptured disc, or permanent paralysis.
- Emotional trauma: Being involved in a motorcycle accident is a traumatic experience, even when only minor injuries are sustained. Motorcyclists may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions in the aftermath of a collision.
Injuries that result from a motorcycle accident are painful and sometimes life-changing. They are also costly to treat. You should not have to pay those expenses out of pocket when someone else is responsible for causing them.
At Warnett Hallen LLP, we understand how a motorcycle accident can change your life in an instant. Our trusted Vancouver injury lawyers can assist you through the ICBC claims process and with filing a lawsuit against the negligent party (if needed) to reclaim the full and fair compensation that you are entitled to.
How to Prove Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
You don’t always have to prove fault in order to receive compensation for a motorcycle accident. There are several types of claims that an accident victim can make through ICBC.
No Fault (Part 7) Benefits
Part 7 benefits are available to insured accident victims, regardless of who is at fault for the crash. These benefits are included in your Basic Autoplan coverage, which is mandatory for every motorist in the province.
Part 7 benefits can pay for a variety of medical and other losses, up to the policy’s limits. These limits include up to $300,000 in medical expenses, $740 per week in lost wages, and $280 per week in household support services. For serious motorcycle accident injuries, the costs of medical care, time off work, and other losses can well exceed these no-fault limits. At Warnett Hallen LLP, our lawyers will explore alternative sources of compensation for you.
Be aware that ICBC has strict deadlines that must be met in order to obtain Part 7 benefits. Because of these time limits, it’s smart to contact a Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to initiate the claims process.
Tort claims are legal claims that may be brought when the other party bears some fault for the wreck. Even if you share the blame for the crash, it’s still possible to file a tort claim for compensation.
Compensation in tort claims can help make up the difference for whatever losses were not covered under your Part 7 benefits. Ideally, these claims can be resolved in a settlement. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you deserve.
The success of a tort claim depends on the claimant’s ability to prove that the other driver or responsible party acted carelessly and that those negligent actions were directly responsible for his/her injuries and losses. It’s critical to speak with an attorney before navigating tort claims on your own, as ICBC and other insurers will do their best to limit their own liability by pushing the fault on to you. Our lawyers can protect you from being unfairly blamed for the accident, which will put you in the best position to collect maximum compensation.
Like no-fault benefits claims, there are deadlines that must be met with tort claims or you could lose your right to compensation forever. Typically, the time limit is two years. However, the deadline is much shorter if you are filing a claim against a government entity, so it’s essential to contact a Vancouver motorcycle accident attorney at Warnett Hallen LLP promptly after a crash.
When to Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Most motorcycle crashes will require the help of a lawyer to secure the compensation accident victims need. Seek out a lawyer if:
- The accident resulted in serious injuries that required immediate medical care or a hospital stay.
- The injuries resulted in lasting damage, such as the permanent inability to work or perform the same job you did before the accident.
In addition, you should speak to a lawyer any time you feel as though your rights are being violated after a motorcycle accident. An attorney will help ensure you do not make any incriminating statements and that you do not sign any documents that will relinquish your rights to maximum compensation.
How Can Warnett Hallen LLP Help Me?
After a motorcycle crash, it is important to take swift action to protect your legal rights. You must report a claim to ICBC in a timely manner in order to initiate the claims process. You will also need evidence to substantiate your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
Because motorcycle accident injuries are often severe, victims face costly medical expenses, time off work, and no promises of a full recovery. Warnett Hallen LLP is staffed by dedicated Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyers who will assist you with every aspect of the ICBC claims process. You’ll never feel alone when you’ve got us working on your behalf.
Ready to learn about your rights to compensation? Call or contact us now to schedule your free consultation.