Motorcycles are considered motor vehicles by law, and riders have the same rights and responsibilities as any driver. However, due to their smaller size and the lack of protection they provide riders, motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable motorists on our roads. As such, riders have greater needs to remain vigilant and defensive when sharing public roads and highways with other vehicles.
Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the years representing victims of auto accidents across Philadelphia and the state on Pennsylvania, even the most vigilant riders can suffer harm when others around them are negligent – often with devastating consequences. When preventable injuries occur, including catastrophic injuries, riders have every right to pursue legal action against the at-fault party, hold them accountable for their failures, and recover financial compensation for their damages.
Shrager & Sachs is committed to making the difference for victims of negligence, including victims harmed in motorcycle accidents that could and should have been prevented. These include wrecks caused by negligence, which can take many forms. Some of the most common examples of negligence leading to motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles safely, and driving distracted is an explicit failure to uphold this obligation. Not only can a distracted driver cause wrecks with other vehicles and large trucks, they pose increased risks of wrecks involving motorcyclists who are easily overseen and lost in blind spots. Whether it be using a cell phone, texting, or engaging in any other form of risky multi-tasking, driver distraction puts others in harm’s way.
- Vehicles making left turns – Vehicles making a left turn in front of riders going straight account for one of the most common scenarios in motorcycle accidents, and they are nearly always preventable. When drivers fail to yield to passing traffic or fail to see approaching riders and proceed with left turns, they leave little opportunity for riders to avoid wrecks – either as a T-bone collision or a single-vehicle wreck involving riders who crashed while attempting to avoid impact. When evidence shows drivers failed in some way to obey traffic laws, they can be held accountable.
- Unsafe lane changes – Riders face constant risks when traveling alongside motor vehicles, as drivers can easily fail to see them when changing lanes. This is especially true when drivers change lanes without scanning their surroundings, drive distracted, fail to use turn signals, or otherwise act negligently. Riders can protect themselves by avoiding troublesome spots near automobiles and foregoing lane splitting, but there is simply no predicting when a driver will make a negligent or sudden lane change.
- Rear-end collisions – Rear-end accidents don’t have as great a potential for causing severe injuries when they involve two motor vehicles as they do when they involve a motorcycle being struck from behind. In fact, rear-end accidents that may be simple “fender benders” in normal situations can prove fatal for riders. These wrecks are often caused by distracted drivers who fail to see stop signs or signals, fail to notice motorcycles, or even drive under the influence.
- Impairment – Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that nearly half of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol. While this can and does include impaired riders who make the poor decision to get on their bikes after drinking, it also includes drunk driving accidents caused by intoxicated motorists. Drunk drivers pose innumerable risks, including failures to see nearby riders, reckless turns, serving, and lane changes, and more.
If you or your loved one have been hurt in a motorcycle accident in which a negligent driver is to blame, our award-winning personal injury lawyers at Shrager & Sachs are available to help you through these difficult times. During a free consultation, we can review your case, discuss potential elements of fault and liability, and discuss how we can protect your rights as we pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us to speak with a Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney.