Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Opelika
Motorcycle accidents are among the deadliest types of accidents that occur on the roadways. Each year, thousands of individuals are killed and tens of thousands are injured in motorcycle crashes. Because bikers have less protection on the road, they are far more likely to sustain serious injuries or fatalities from the crash. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are at the mercy of other drivers on the road because they have a smaller profile and other motorists often fail to pay proper attention to them.
If you or someone close to you was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Pursuing an injury claim can be challenging, however, especially in Alabama where the laws are more favorable to defendants. To ensure that you are able to recover the compensation you need and deserve, it is important to have an experienced personal injury in your corner advocating aggressively for your rights and interests.
At Alsobrook Law Group, we understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll motorcycle accidents can take on injury victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we have extensive experience with even the most complex cases. We work closely with our clients from start to finish, and we explore every potential legal avenue toward obtaining full and fair compensation.
Steps to Take Immediately after a Motorcycle Accident
The steps that you take immediately after a motorcycle accident may vary in order depending upon the severity of your injuries. If you are seriously injured, you should call 911 immediately and prioritize getting medical care. Other things to do immediately after a motorcycle accident include:
- Move yourself to a safe location. If you are physically able to do so, you should make sure that you move yourself to a safe location immediately following the crash. Remaining in the road with the potential of oncoming traffic, near a drop off, by spilled gasoline that could potentially be flammable, or by any structures that could fall on you or collapse is incredibly dangerous. Prioritize moving yourself, not your bike. While pulling your bike to a safe location may be possible, moving yourself first is the most important thing.
- Check for injuries. In some cases, a motorcycle accident may result in such serious injuries that the affected rider is unable to move themselves from the wreckage, and may even be unconscious. If you are conscious and physically able, check yourself for any injuries. If you are okay, check for any injuries sustained by your passengers, the other driver, or the other driver’s passengers.
- Call 911. You should always report an accident to the police, and are legally obligated to report the accident if anyone suffers any injuries. If anyone is injured, calling 911 should be the first thing that you do.
- Stay at the scene of the accident. You need to stay at the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives. If you are not seriously injured, you should use this time to take photos of the accident scene and exchange information with the other driver involved. Make sure to write down as much as you can about the accident, and take photos of any important evidence.
- Know your rights when filing a claim. Alabama is a tort car insurance state, which means that when another driver causes an accident, they are responsible for paying for damages. When you file a claim, then, you will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Unfortunately, getting the compensation that you deserve may not be as straightforward as simply filing a claim and reporting your injuries and property damage; instead, you will need to prove the negligence of the responsible driver, as well as disprove any claims of negligence that are made against you.
- File your claim in the required time frame. In addition to proving fault in a motorcycle accident, you must also take notice of the state’s statute of limitations. If you wait longer than two years to file your claim, you risk forfeiting your right to damages altogether.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the things that motorcyclists can do to stay safe and minimize injuries include taking a motorcycle safety course and wearing protective gear such as a helmet and heavy clothing. Here are several of the most common types of motorcycle accidents and the ways that you can avoid becoming a statistic.
The most common type of motorcycle crash occurs when a car makes a left-hand turn in front of a moving motorcycle. These situations account for about 42% of accidents involving motorcycles and cars.
The best way to avoid one of these crashes is to use extreme caution at or near intersections. Learn defensive driving techniques and try to anticipate the actions of other drivers on the road since they may not see you or follow the rules.
Not all drivers turn to look in their blind spot before changing lanes. When they fail to do this, there is an increased risk of a lane changing accident, particularly involving a motorcycle that has lower visibility.
Again, you will need to drive defensively. Try to avoid staying in another car’s blind spot as you are riding. Look for indications that a car is about to change lanes and react accordingly.
More than two-thirds (78%) of motorcycle accident fatalities result from head-on collisions with passenger vehicles. These accidents are so deadly because the rider is often ejected from their vehicle, landing on a car or other hard surface.
The National Safety Council addresses avoiding head-on collision crashes. It recommends that riders pay attention to the “Four Rs” to avoid one of these accidents. Specifically, you should: Reduce your speed, Drive to the Right, Read the road ahead, and Ride off the road. The last recommendation refers to getting off the road if necessary to avoid a crash.
Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Accidents
Lane splitting refers to motorcycles driving between the lanes of stopped or slow moving cars. This is a common cause of accidents, and it is illegal in Alabama. Other motorists don’t expect this behavior, so it is inherently dangerous. The best way to avoid these accidents, as well as a ticket, is not to lane split.
Nearly one-third of all motorcycle crashes involve intoxicated drivers. In many crashes, however, it’s the driver of the other vehicle who is under the influence and not paying attention that causes a dangerous situation.
You can best avoid these crashes by never drinking and riding. If you are going to be out at night or on the weekend, use more caution to stay safe from other drivers who may have had too much to drink.
Sadly, one-third (33%) of motorcycle crash fatalities cite excessive speed as a factor. Some motorcycles can travel at speeds in excess of 160 mph, and the highest accident death rate in Alabama is among riders ages 20-24.
Damages in Alabama Motorcycle Accident Cases
Motorcycle injury victims can incur losses totaling tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Damages in personal injury cases can be broken down into three general categories:
Motorcycle accident claims can be difficult to pursue in Alabama because of the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at-fault for the accident. This is a high bar to clear, and there is no doubt that the other side and their insurer will do everything possible to pin at least part of the blame on you; because if they are successful, they can avoid paying the claim. Because of this, it is absolutely essential to work with a seasoned accident injury attorney who knows how to put together a rock-solid case that will effectively persuade the court that you are entitled to damages.
Speak with a Skilled and Compassionate Opelika Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Being injured in a motorcycle crash can be a life-altering experience, and victims often do not know where to turn for the help they need. At Alsobrook Law Group, we provide moral support and strong legal guidance during this difficult time. From day one, we thoroughly prepare the case with the expectation to go to trial. Many times, this prompts the other side to seek a fair settlement. If they are not willing to negotiate in good faith, however, we are ready and able to successfully pursue full damages through litigation.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 334-737-3718 or send us a message through our online contact form. You may also stop by our office is Opelika at your convenience.