Distracted Drivers Pose a Serious Risk to MotorcyclistsBy Stewart J. Guss on January 12th, 2018
According to a recent study, distracted drivers cause about 16 percent of highway deaths—to say nothing of catastrophic injuries, which can leave victims paralyzed or fighting for their lives. If you like to ride a motorcycle, then you are particularly vulnerable to injuries from a distracted driver, so always practice smart defensive driving.
How Distracted Drivers Cause Traffic Accidents
In driver safety courses, new drivers learn to always pay close attention to their surroundings. Unfortunately, even experienced drivers may become careless when they get behind the wheel of a car. Drivers can become easily distracted and crash into other vehicles as a result. The following constitute serious driver distractions:
- Sending text messages while driving
- Calling on cell phones
- Speaking on phones using hands-free calling options
- Adjusting the environmental controls in the car (such as air conditioning)
- Reaching for objects in the car
- Talking to another occupant in the car
Phone use while driving deserves special mention due to the particular dangers it poses. According to a 2015 National Safety Council study, about 27 percent of all crashes in the United States result from drivers texting or talking on cell phones or hands-free devices.
Why Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable
When distracted drivers crash their cars, safety features such as seat belts and airbags keep them relatively protected within their vehicles. Seat belts will hold them in place and airbags should prevent them from slamming their faces into steering wheels or windshields. Although car accidents seriously injure thousands of persons, thousands also walk away from their accidents and are soon enjoying themselves at Astros games with their children. Conversely, a motorcyclist has no such protections in an accident. For this reason, motorcyclists and their passengers typically suffer much more serious collision injuries.
Protecting Yourself on a Motorcycle
You cannot prevent other people from driving distracted, but you can take precautions that will reduce your likelihood of dying or sustaining severe injuries in a motorcycle crash. Smart motorcyclists will follow these safety tips:
- Wear a helmet. Studies show that helmets reduce fatalities by about 40 percent in motorcycle accidents and are even more effective at reducing serious injuries.
- Take an advanced motorcycle safety course. Even experienced riders can benefit from courses that improve high-speed maneuvering, avoidance techniques, counter-steering, and emergency braking.
- Never drink and drive. Just one drink can slow down your reflexes, making it harder for you to avoid a distracted driver on the road. Even if you don’t hit the legal intoxication level, you might still cause yourself a serious injury. Avoid alcohol if you plan to get on your bike.
- Slow down at intersections. Many accidents take place at intersections. Parked cars, shrubbery, and overhanging branches can reduce visibility, and distracted drivers can easily run red lights and plow into you. Remember to double check for oncoming traffic before pulling out.
Holding a Distracted Driver Accountable
If a motorcycle accident injured you, you may receive compensation as a result of the driver’s negligence. In Texas, every driver has a duty to operate a vehicle with reasonable care. A driver who fails to meet that standard may face legal responsibility for your injuries. As the victim, that may entitle you to receive financial compensation for:
- Mounting medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Severe accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, which can cost millions in present and future medical care. Even a run-of-the mill crash might cause tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
- Lost wages and future wages. A serious injury may prevent you from working, and a really bad injury can keep you from working for the rest of your life. You can receive money to replace this lost income.
- Pain and suffering. Many accident victims suffer constant pain, even after taking painkillers. You can receive monetary compensation for this pain.
- Disfigurement. If the accident disfigured a part of your body, such as your face, you can receive monetary compensation.
- Lost enjoyment of life. When your injury prevents you from enjoying any previous hobbies, such as running or reading, you can receive compensation.
- Loss of companionship. If an accident has changed your relationship with your spouse or children, then you and your loved ones can sue the responsible party for the loss of love and affection.
Every situation is different, and few accident victims qualify for every type of compensation available. Contact an experienced traffic accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will assess your situation for possible negligence and damages, and in some instances may provide an estimate of any monetary damages to which Texas law may entitle you.
Proving the Other Driver Was Distracted
To win your lawsuit, you’ll need evidence that the other driver who collided with your motorcycle was distracted. That’s difficult to prove. Fortunately, experienced traffic accident attorneys, like those at Stewart J. Guss, know how to obtain the evidence required to make a compelling case to a jury.
For example, if you suspect the other driver was texting or talking on a phone, your attorney can subpoena their phone records. If records show the driver made a call or texted just before the collision, the evidence will prove they drove while distracted.
Your lawyer can also ask the other driver questions under oath in a deposition. Some drivers may still lie, but repeated questioning from your lawyer can expose those lies. No evidence is more compelling than a driver who admits to distractions while behind the wheel.
Call a Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Today
Motorcycle accident victims deserve compensation when distracted drivers injure them, and at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, we help accident victims hold at-fault drivers accountable. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our lawyers at 800-898-4877, or fill out an online contact form. We offer no-risk consultations, and you don’t need to pay us anything if we agree to take your case. In fact, you won’t have to pay us anything unless we win you and your family the compensation you deserve.