Birmingham Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Motorcycle Accidents in Jefferson County
Due to the size difference between typical passenger vehicles and motorcycles, as well as the general lack of protection offered by motorcycles compared to these other vehicles, motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of being catastrophically injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorcyclists are about 35 times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than passengers in cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles.
If you were injured or if someone you love tragically died in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law, we understand the unique challenges motorcyclists face when it comes to recovering fair compensation after a crash, and we know how to help.
Our Birmingham motorcycle accident attorneys represent clients throughout Jefferson and Shelby Counties and have recovered over $1 billion in compensation for the injured.
Injured in a motorcycle accident? Choose a team that will fight for you! Call Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law today at (205) 973-6915 for a free consultation.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Like most motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents tend to result from negligence. Sometimes, motorcyclists themselves are careless, but more often, it is the negligence of others on the road that puts motorcyclists at risk.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Unsafe Lane Changes: When a motor vehicle changes lanes without properly checking for motorcycles in adjacent lanes, it can lead to collisions. Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, making them easier to overlook.
- Failure to Yield: Drivers of larger vehicles sometimes fail to yield the right of way to motorcycles at intersections, during lane merges, or when making turns, leading to collisions.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on a phone, eating, or using in-car entertainment systems, can divert a driver's attention away from the road, making it more likely for them to overlook motorcycles.
- Speeding: Excessive speed by motor vehicle drivers can reduce their reaction time and ability to stop, increasing the risk of colliding with motorcycles.
- Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drug impairment can impair a driver's judgment, coordination, and reaction times, making them more likely to cause accidents involving motorcycles.
- Dooring Accidents: In urban areas, when a driver or passenger of a parked car opens their door without checking for approaching motorcycles, it can lead to a collision.
- Following Too Closely: Tailgating motorcycles can be dangerous, as it reduces the motorcyclist's ability to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic conditions.
- Left-Turn Accidents: Motorists making left-hand turns at intersections may misjudge the speed of an approaching motorcycle, leading to collisions.
- Inexperienced Riders: Inexperienced or untrained motorcyclists may not have the skills and knowledge to handle various traffic situations, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Reckless Driving: Drivers who engage in reckless behaviors such as excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or even engaging in road rage are more likely to be involved in accidents.
- Vehicle Blind Spots: Motorcycles can easily get lost in the blind spots of larger vehicles. When drivers fail to check their blind spots, they may inadvertently collide with motorcycles.
In some cases, motorcycle accidents are caused not by the negligent conduct of another driver but due to unsafe or defective products or conditions. For example, a poorly maintained roadway with excessive potholes poses a serious risk to motorcyclists, as does a roadway with blind curves that lack proper warning signs for motorists.
In some cases, a motorcycle defect or defective safety equipment can cause or exacerbate the effects of an accident. For example, if a motorcycle helmet is defective, the victim may suffer a severe traumatic brain injury that he or she would otherwise not have sustained had the helmet worked properly.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Are So Devastating
Motorcycle accidents are often considered more catastrophic than car accidents due to several key factors related to the nature of motorcycles and the level of protection they offer to riders:
- Lack of Structural Protection: Motorcycles provide minimal structural protection compared to cars. In a car, occupants are enclosed by a sturdy metal frame, airbags, and safety features designed to absorb and mitigate the force of an impact. In contrast, motorcyclists are exposed and have no protective enclosure. This lack of protection makes them more vulnerable to serious injuries in a collision.
- Limited Contact Points: Motorcycles have only two points of contact with the road (the two wheels), while cars have four or more. This reduced stability makes motorcycles more prone to tipping over or losing control in emergency situations or when encountering obstacles on the road.
- Size and Visibility: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars. They can easily be overlooked by other drivers, especially in blind spots or when changing lanes. This visibility issue increases the risk of collisions caused by motorists not seeing motorcycles until it's too late.
- Higher Risk of Ejection: In a motorcycle accident, the rider is at risk of being thrown off the bike and onto the road or into other objects. This can lead to severe injuries upon impact with the ground or other vehicles.
- Exposure to the Elements: Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements, including wind, rain, and temperature extremes. These factors can affect a rider's ability to concentrate and react, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Greater Vulnerability to Road Hazards: Road hazards such as potholes, gravel, oil slicks, and debris pose a more significant threat to motorcyclists because they can cause loss of control and lead to accidents. Car tires are less susceptible to these hazards.
- High-Speed Impact: Motorcycles often accelerate and maneuver faster than cars. When a collision occurs at high speeds, the kinetic energy involved can lead to more severe injuries for the motorcyclist.
- Single-Vehicle Crashes: Motorcycles are more susceptible to single-vehicle accidents, where the rider loses control due to factors like road conditions, oversteering, or sudden braking. These crashes can result in serious injuries, even in the absence of other vehicles.
- Lack of Seatbelts and Airbags: Cars are equipped with seatbelts and airbags that provide an additional layer of protection during an accident. Motorcycles lack these safety features, leaving riders without any passive restraint systems.
- Rider Vulnerability: Motorcyclists are fully exposed to the environment, and their bodies can absorb the full force of an impact. This can result in a higher risk of injuries to the head, spine, and extremities.
Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Just like in other types of motor vehicle accident claims, it is important to establish fault in your motorcycle accident case. This is because Alabama follows a traditional fault-based (or “tort”) system when it comes to motor vehicle accident claims. Under this system, you must typically collect compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance provider or file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the liable party.
Additionally, in cases involving multiple at-fault parties, Alabama follows a contributory negligence rule. Under this rule, no one may file a personal injury claim or collect compensation for damages if they are found to be partly at fault for the accident.
Even if the court determines that you were just one percent to blame, you cannot recover anything for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses.
It is extremely important that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, like those at Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law, when navigating the aftermath of a serious motorcycle accident. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience handling complex motor vehicle accident claims throughout Alabama and know how to effectively advocate for you.
Reach Out to Our Team Today
If you or someone you love was involved in a motorcycle accident in Birmingham, our personal injury attorneys can help you protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. We have a long, proven track record of success, including many million- and multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts recovered on behalf of our clients.
Our team is prepared to handle every legal detail, from gathering evidence and submitting paperwork to dealing with the insurance company so that you don’t have to, allowing you to focus on healing and getting back on your feet. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we have the resources and skill needed to go to trial.
When you choose Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law, you will receive personal attention from a partner attorney at our firm throughout the legal process. We provide all of our personal injury services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.