The Unique Aspects Of Motor Cycle Law

motorcycle accident lawyers

Motorcycle accident lawyer Timothy J Ryan looks at what makes motorcycle accidents law unique

Motorcycle law may seem to be a rather peculiar and narrow section of the law, but there are a significant number of lawyers who specialize in the area and service those who are affected by motorcycle accidents, which are in many ways unique and often quite different from the traditional issues arising from motor vehicle accidents.

What makes the motorcycle lawyer different from others and what aspects of motorcycle law arise in cases that make them unique?

First, consider the risk factor with motorcycles compared to motor vehicles.

They are more exposed to risk by virtue of their size and nature, as well as their power.

One of the most important safety factors any motorcyclist needs are the following:

1. Resist the Urge to Speed

The faster a motor vehicle is traveling, the greater the chances of getting into a serious accident that could leave the rider with some injuries or worse, it can prove fatal. Since motorcycles lack the protection of a car, motorcyclists need to be extra careful about the speed at which they are operating their motorcycles. It’s never a good idea to go over the designated speed limit because the faster you are going, the less time you will have to maneuver from hazardous road conditions and other vehicles. Motorcyclists also need to take extra caution, especially if the road is wet after heavy rain or if there’s a lot of traffic on the road.

Speed – and the propensity for motorcyles to speed, is a major risk factor.

2. Intersections Danger

Intersections provide unique dangers for motorcyclists. Most motorcycle crashes involve vehicles making left-hand turns in front of a motorcyclist even if they don’t have the right-of-way. There are also situations where drivers tend to speed up when they see an incoming yellow light to beat the right light, only to slam into a motorcyclist attempting to make a left-hand turn. Therefore, when approaching intersections, riders need to be ready to proceed carefully and anticipate the movements of incoming vehicles to avoid an accident.

3. Don’t Ride Between Traffic (Lane Splitting)

Many motorcyclists are tempted to get past heavy traffic by “lane splitting,” which is the act of traveling between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Although it may seem convenient for the rider to skip traffic, it is incredibly dangerous and reckless that can attract the attention of police. In addition, lane splitting is a recipe for disaster because other vehicles can suddenly switch lanes with little warning that can catch the motorcyclist off guard, and cause an accident.

Getting to where you need to go is important, but it can’t prioritize itself over your personal safety, especially with the horde of careless drivers on the road these days; it’s recommended to not lane split and keep a good distance from the vehicle in front. 

4. Don’t Ride Under the Influence

It’s against the law to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and can result in your driver’s license being suspended, including receiving jail time. In addition, it’s never safe to ride while taking these substances because they can dramatically impact a person’s concentration and coordination ability. Also, the chances of an accident occurring are significantly increased when a rider is under the influence.

And The Special Factors Required For a Motorcycle Lawyer

One of the key factors making motorcycle accident law unique is that the fact that a motor cycle can move so quickly and is so small means a common defense will be that the motorcycle was not seen.

And for many jurors, should the accident go to trial, the issue is one that will often see jurors putting themselves in the shoes of the defendant.  Many have been in the same position where the motorcycle has not been seen.  That creates a problem when the damages issue arises.

Second, there is a conscious or unconscious bias against motorcyclists to the effect that they are fast and dangerous.  That is another perception that a good motorcycle lawyer needs to avoid.

Third, the nature of motorcycle injuries is such that they can often be catastrophic or particularly serious, particularly with brain injuries.  In the United States, brain injuries from motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents account for around 28 per cent of all injuries.  In the motorcycle situation the need to properly describe what may happen is central to obtaining appropriate damages.

After a brain hits the front of the skull it can then rebound and create both frontal and rear injury, which can affect the victim’s ability to speak, concentrate, remember things and generally move or handle other motor functions.  The trauma can be extreme.

These are just some of the factors requiring a proper consideration of who to choose when picking a lawyer to handle a ‘standard’ motorcycle accident.  They do require specialist knowledge if they are to be expertly handled.

Source:  TImothy J Ryan & Associates, Huntington Beach, Orange County

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