Colorado Springs Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Clawson & Clawson, LLP – Helping Accident Victims Recover Compensation
Few types of accidents are as potentially dangerous as motorcycle crashes. Whereas vehicle occupants have seat belts, air bags, and thousands of pounds of steel chassis to protect against the impact, even the most safety-conscious motorcyclist has little or no protection to shield against the violence of an accident. The rider may be hit directly by the other vehicle, may be thrown from the bike, run over, or even dragged along the road. He or she may suffer broken bones, severe skin abrasions known as road rash, traumatic brain injury, paralyzing spinal cord injury, or can even be killed.
Get in touch with a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney from Clawson & Clawson, LLP. We help injured riders in Parker, Pueblo, throughout El Paso County and beyond!
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The largest portion of traffic accidents can be attributed to driver negligence. There is a great size disparity between motorcycles and regular passenger vehicles or trucks. Drivers must be special attention to watch out for motorcyclists. Inattention can result in serious accidents.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Blind Spots: The larger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. The size of motorcycles can allow them to slip into a driver's blind spot. Before changing lanes, drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles should check all mirrors and over their shoulder before changing lanes or turning.
- Lane Splitting: According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT), lane splitting, passing and overtaking are against the law. These practices describe when motorcycles and other types of vehicles share the same spot in a single lane. Only two motorcycles can share a lane.
- Failure to Yield: When drivers fail to yield the right of way to motorcyclists at intersections and when lanes are merging, serious accidents can result. Failure to yield accidents are usually side-impact collisions.
Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating and cause serious and lifelong injuries. Injuries to the legs are very common, but head and chest injuries also occur frequently. Other common injuries in motorcycle accidents include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Scrapes/Road rash
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken ribs
- Back and spinal injuries
Colorado Motorcycle Laws
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation's Motorcycle Operator Safety Training program, from 2012 to 2018, motorcycle fatalities in the state increased by 30%. Motorcycle fatalities made up nearly 16% of all traffic deaths in Colorado in 2018 despite the fact that motorcyclists represent only 3% of the vehicles on the state's roadways. Below are various Colorado motorcycle laws that are enforced to prevent these types of accidents.
Helmet & Protective Gear Law
Many injuries can also be caused or made worse because the motorcyclist was riding without a helmet. In the state of Colorado, riders 18 and over are not required to wear helmets. More than 60 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing helmets at the time of their crash. While helmets are proven to save lives and prevent serious injuries, not wearing a helmet cannot be used against you when determining liability in a motorcycle accident. Some form of eye protection is required by law.
Motorcycle Operator Licensing Requirements
All motorcycle riders must have a special motorcycle "M" endorsement on their driver's license to legally operate this type of vehicle on a public street or highway. Motorcyclists who are riding without a valid M endorsement at the time of their accident may not be able to recover full compensation as they could be seen as partially at-fault for their injuries.
Sometimes, motorcyclists ride in groups. The DOT suggests keeping these groups small and it may also be a good idea to have a designated "leader" who can give signals to the other riders. Less experienced riders should stay closer to the front of the pack.
Keeping Your Distance
Motorcyclists must keep a safe distance around their vehicle at all times. Sometimes, this is the best way to prevent an accident. More "buffer room" allows a rider to get out of harm's way should another vehicle suddenly swerve or change lanes. The DOT suggests that motorcyclists use the "2 second rule" for following behind vehicles. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by tailgating, so when a motorcyclist feels they are being followed too closely from behind, they should move over and let the vehicle pass. Read our blog to learn more about this safety practice.
To learn more about Colorado motorcycle laws, visit the Colorado DOT handbook. Following these regulations and safety suggestions are not only a good way to reduce your risk of getting in an accident, but they can also improve your chances of getting a full recovery in the event of an accident.
How to Recover Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Insurance could cover property damage (damage to your motorcycle) as well as bodily injury, which includes accident-related medical expenses. You may also have grounds to file a personal injury claim in addition to collecting compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance.
In fact, the Hurt Report, a landmark study of the causes of motorcycle accidents, found that car drivers cause as many as two-thirds of all crashes with motorcycles due to failing to yield the right of way to the motorcycle rider. If it can be proven that the driver is responsible for causing your accident, then you may be entitled to receive full compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Call a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney from Clawson & Clawson, LLP at (719) 602-5888 to discuss your case.
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