Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
While people can sustain severe injuries in accidents between two four-wheeled vehicles, injuries are often most severe for motorcyclists who collide with passenger vehicles. When you consider the size difference between them, it’s easy to see why. Head injuries are the most common and serious injury sustained in these crashes. Drivers and passengers of motorcycles may receive a concussion or traumatic brain injury due to how hard their head strikes against the pavement. This is true even when they wear a helmet. Other common injuries the skilled personal injury attorneys at Gardner Law Firm often see include:
- Arm: This injury occurs when the motorcycle driver or passenger braces for impact by placing their arms in front of them. Even though this act is instinctual and often unconscious, it can cause permanent and severe injury to the nerves of the arms.
- Leg, feet, and muscle: Injuries to the feet and knees are common because of how drivers and their passengers sit on the motorcycle. As with arms, people tend to stick their leg in front of them to break the impact of a fall. Many people don’t realize they have muscle damage immediately after the accident, which makes it more difficult to treat later.
- Road rash: This happens when the driver or passengers of a motorcycle gets dragged across pavement. It causes any uncovered skin to become bruised, cut, and scraped. Severe impact can cause road rash even with the legs and arms covered completely.
Most Common Causes of Collisions Between Motorcycles and Vehicles
Although motorcycle drivers don’t get into accidents more often than those who drive cars and trucks, accidents are much more serious when they do occur. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcyclists die from their injuries 35 times more often than the drivers and passengers of other types of vehicles. Traumatic brain injuries and paralysis can cause lifelong complications and require millions of dollars’ worth of care.
It’s a common misconception the crashes between motorcycles and cars or trucks occur due to the cyclists driving aggressively. The leading reason for these crashes is that drivers of private or commercial vehicles simply don’t see the motorcyclist. This can occur when the biker is in the blind spot of the other driver. A motorcycle can also be more difficult to see in poor weather conditions or after sunset. Even so, all drivers must continually check their blind spots and slow down and look both ways when approaching an intersection. Other common causes of these crashes include:
- Rear-end collision: A sudden stop resulting in one vehicle striking the back of another vehicle is often not serious when it happens between cars or trucks of equal size. Unfortunately, a sudden stop collision can be deadly when a vehicle strikes a motorcyclist from behind. It can cause the bike to flip over and throw the driver and his or her passenger to the ground with intense force. Even a light bump from behind can cause serious injuries if it throws off the driver’s footing.
- Left-hand turns: A driver trying to turn left in front of an ongoing motorcycle is a common cause of accidents. If he or she doesn’t allow enough time to finish the turn before the motorcycle reaches the same area, it will result in a crash between the two. Motorcyclists typically sustain serious injuries from striking the passenger side of the vehicle that was attempting a left-hand turn.
- Distracted driving: A driver looking at his or her phone, changing the radio station, or paying more attention to passengers than the road can easily run into someone driving a motorcycle. It leaves them with little time to stop and can result in a forceful impact causing significant injury.
- Lane changing: Bikers are more at risk when a car or truck driver changes lanes because it’s easy for the motorcycle to disappear into the driver’s blind spot. Sometimes drivers fail to look for motorcycles before signaling their lane change. This typically results in a sidesweep accident, which means that the motorcycle driver gets thrown to the ground. These types of injuries can be serious and long-lasting.
- Motorcycle driver striking the door of a parked vehicle: A driver who has just parked his or her car and opens the driver’s side door into traffic can put motorcyclists at risk if he or she doesn’t look out for them.
Sadly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a big concern in Mississippi regardless of the type of vehicle.
How to Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents
One of the greatest risks a motorcyclist faces on the roads is a blind spot accident. Because motorcycles have much smaller profiles than other vehicles, it is easy for them to get lost in the blind spot of a car or truck, often resulting in catastrophic consequences. The risks are heightened further if the drivers of other vehicles are not paying proper attention when they are driving near motorcycles.
We must all do our part to reduce and hopefully eliminate the fatalities and serious injuries that result from blind spot motorcycle accidents. Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Adjust your Mirrors Properly: One of the most basic steps to avoid blind spot accidents is to have your rear and side view mirrors adjusted properly. Make sure your rear window is completely framed within your rearview mirror and have your side view mirrors pointing toward your blind spot. This tutorial from Car and Driver will provide more detailed instructions on how to accomplish this.
- Signal your Intentions: Although we are taught to use our turn signals during driver’s ed, some motorists get into the habit of changing lanes without signaling after they have been driving for a while. This is a bad habit that increases the chances of a vehicle crash. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes, so motorcyclists and other motorists know what you are doing.
- Always Look Over Your Shoulder before Changing Lanes: Even when your mirrors are properly adjusted and you think you have seen everything, there is still a possibility that you might miss a motorcycle or vehicle that sneaks into your blind spot. To be certain that everything is all clear, take one last look over your shoulder toward the side where you are turning before moving over.
- Avoid Distractions: As we touched on earlier, distracted driving is a major contributor to blind spot accidents. Never text or send other electronic messages while driving, and only use your phone while it is in the “hands-free” mode.
- Consider Installing a Blind Spot Monitor: Many new vehicles are coming equipped with monitors that flash a light on their side view mirrors when a vehicle or object is in their blind spot. This is a wonderful product that will help save many lives. If you do not already have a vehicle with a blind spot monitor, you can purchase a monitor to install on an older vehicle for a few hundred dollars or up to five hundred or more for higher-end products.
- Stay Visible: When you are out riding, try to wear clothing that is fluorescent, has bright colors, or is otherwise easily viewable. Wearing visible clothing will help compensate for your smaller profile and make it easier for other motorists to see you.
- Keep your Distance: With so many motorists that drive while distracted, bikers need to drive more defensively than ever before. Keep alert and try to anticipate what other motorists are doing, and always give them plenty of space to make turns and complete lane changes.
- Stay Out of Blind Spots when Possible: In keeping with the previous point, make it a regular practice not to drive alongside other vehicles. Stay behind or in front of them, so they are always able to see you before they change lanes or make turns.
- Pass Vehicles Carefully: Of course, there are times when you need to enter a blind spot to pass a vehicle. Pass only in areas where it is safe to do so and complete the pass without spending too much time in the other vehicle’s blind spot.
The Aftermath of a Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle accident victims often wonder why they should hire an attorney. The most obvious answer is that you likely have medical expenses due to the crash. This is true even if you traveled at a low speed while wearing a protective helmet and clothing.
The reality is that you won’t be able to get the care you need without the money to pay for it. Loss of financial resources is another good reason to work with a motorcycle accident attorney. Missing several days, weeks, or months of work takes a toll on your finances, even if you receive partial pay during your recovery. Some people injured in motorcycle accidents never return to work or can no longer do the same job. This has a negative impact on their earning potential for years.
You Deserve Fair Compensation
Unfortunately, you can’t always count on receiving a fair settlement from the insurance company representing the other driver. It’s common to receive a low-ball offer in hopes you will accept it and not pursue further action. The experienced Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys at Gardner Law Firm will aggressively pursue the full amount you are entitled to, not what the insurance company thinks you should receive.
Feel free to contact our office in Biloxi at 228-436-6555, Hattiesburg at 601-582-4300, or Pascagoula at 228-762-6555 with additional questions or to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will let you know if you have a legitimate case against the other driver and what you can expect moving forward. If you decide to retain our services, you pay no money until you receive a settlement. You owe us nothing if we don’t win your case.