Motorcyclists are in a unique position when they are on the road and unfortunately when they are involved in an accident there is a much higher chance that the driver or the passenger will be killed or severely injured. Just last year Midwest City police reported that a 46-year-old man from Oklahoma City was killed in a motorcycle accident. The police noted that the accident happened in the early evening at the intersection of East Reno Ave and Meadow Lane. Even though the police conducted an investigation into what caused this accident the police were unable to make a final determination and determined that this accident was caused because the driver lost control over his motorcycle.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident on May 7th of this year another individual was killed and another was listed in critical condition after a motorcycle crash in Nicoma Park. Motorcyclists pose a particular threat to themselves and to others on the road, and there are many factors that can lead to a motorcycle accident in Midwest City Oklahoma.
What are the Causes of Motorcycle Crashes?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, head-on collisions account for more than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States. These crashes almost always involve passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, these accidents are usually the fault of the driver of the vehicle. In addition in 1981, the Hurt Report was released that provided a comprehensive study as to why motorcycle accidents happen. The top ten reasons for motorcycle accidents according to the report are:
- Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most usually a passenger automobile.
- Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
- Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
- In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide-out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
- Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
- In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
- The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in a collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.
- Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause.
- The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
- Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
This report did make several interesting findings in addition to the findings above. One factor that many people would assume would lead to many motorcycle crashes, weather, was not a factor in 98 percent of motorcycle accidents, that means just 2 percent of all motorcycle accidents could be attributed to weather-related events.
Most auto injury and motorcycle injury claims are brought to the court and decided under the theory of negligence. While how each state determines who may recover if more than one person are negligent, generally the elements of negligence are the same no matter where you are in the country. In regards to drivers, in order not to be negligent a driver must drive in a reasonably careful manner. For a plaintiff to win a personal injury case and recover any amount of damages they will need to prove the following elements:
- Duty – In motorcycle accident cases, the law requires drivers to be careful when they encounter anyone they meet on the road, this is often referred to the duty of reasonable care. Additionally, states can impose other duties on drivers when they are on the road, such as a prohibition on using a cell phone.
- Breach – anytime motorcyclists or other driver does not conform to this duty of reasonable care they can be said to be in breach. In the above example, if a driver decides to use their cell phone even though there may be a statute against using your cell phone, then they can be said to be in breach or that they are violating their duty of care.
- Causation – causation can be broken down into two distinct elements: proximate cause and actual cause. In simple terms, an injured person needs to prove that the defendant’s conduct caused plaintiff’s injuries . You must also show that the defendant’s conduct caused your injuries.
- Damages – damages often manifest themselves in the form of economic injuries such as hospital bills, medical bills, and missed time from work. In order for a party to receive damages they need to prove that the plaintiff suffered losses and/or was injured. Car accident and motorcycle victims are entitled to compensation for all injuries, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damage that they sustained. In addition, they are also entitled to certain non-economic damages. However, any person who has been injured must show evidence of his or her injuries and other monetary losses to be compensated. If you are the plaintiff, it’s important to keep complete and detailed records of all injuries, medical expenses, and property damage.
As noted above, each state has their own individual negligence statutes. Oklahoma is no different. Oklahoma follows something known as the modified comparative negligence rule, which can be found at Oklahoma Code Tit. 23 §13-14. Under the language of this statute:
Contributory negligence cannot be greater than the negligence of defendants. Damages reduced in proportion to such person’s contributory negligence.
How Much Compensation can you Receive?
As noted above Oklahoma follows the modified comparative fault rule which means that, compensation may be recoverable even if the victim was partially at fault for the crash, provided the other driver had a greater degree of fault than the victim. In this scenario, the plaintiff’s compensation would be reduced to reflect his or her degree of fault for the accident. For example, if the victim was found to be 10% at fault, an award of $100,000 would be reduced to $90,000.
Compensation may be available for:
- The victim’s pain and suffering.
- Current and projected income losses.
- Current and projected medical expenses, such as:
- Medical Equipment
- Physical Therapy
Like many states, Oklahoma places limits called “damages caps” on certain types of compensation. While there is no cap on the compensation, which can be recovered for expenses and financial losses, compensation for pain and suffering is limited to $350,000.
Seek Legal Help from an Experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer
The attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook will fight hard in pursuit of the greatest compensation possible for you and your loved ones. To start exploring your legal options in a free and completely private legal consultation, call our law offices right away at (405) 698-3040.