October 1 , 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
Thanks to numerous safety and engineering changes, today’s four-wheel vehicles are much safer than the ones that were on the roads 100 years ago. However, other than their heavier weight and faster speed, today’s motorcycles have not changed much over the last century. As a result, in collisions, the motorcyclist fatality rate is 28 times higher than the vehicle occupant fatality rate.
Furthermore, motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin are almost inevitable, no matter how much caution riders use. An old saying among motorcyclists is that there are only two types of riders — those who have gone down and those who will go down. That is a pretty accurate aphorism.
In crash claims, even if they involve fatal injuries, insurance companies are quick to blame the rider for the wreck. Jurors, many of whom believe that motorcycle riders are reckless, are usually willing to agree with that stance. So, victims and survivors need an assertive Oak Creek motorcycle accident lawyer to stand up for them in court and around the negotiating table. Otherwise, they will end up settling for less.
Cause of Motorcycle Accidents in Wisconsin
Clothing usually has little or nothing to do with the cause of a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin. Driver error causes over 98% of vehicle collisions and motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin.
Speeding or another form of aggressive driving, and driver inattention cause many of these wrecks. Excessive speed increases the risk of a collision as well as the resulting injuries. Speed reduces reaction time. The faster a vehicle moves, the harder it is for the driver to adjust to quickly changing circumstances. Additionally, according to Sir Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion, speed multiplies the force in a collision. Speed transforms a non-injury fender bender into a serious injury or fatal collision.
As mentioned, most riders are also motorcycle accident survivors. After their motorcycle accidents, most victims heard the tortfeasor (negligent driver) say something like, “I never even saw you,” or, “You came out of nowhere.” Such statements are admissions that the tortfeasor was not keeping a proper lookout.
This failure is understandable. Small, slow motorcycles are often difficult to spot in a sea of large, fast motor vehicles. However, this failure also breaches the duty of reasonable care. When we make mistakes, we should pay for them. In this context, this responsibility means paying compensation for damages.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Sometimes, the chain of events leading to a motorcycle wreck starts before the tortfeasor gets behind the wheel. Common causes of driver impairment include:
- Illegal Substances: It is usually legal to drink alcohol. Most drugs, especially prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, and even marijuana in some cases, are legal to take as well. But it is always illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of these substances.
- Medical Condition: Cases of flu, colds, and other moderate illnesses reduce driving ability by as much as 50%. The symptoms are so severe that tortfeasors are focused on their runny noses instead of what is ahead of them on the road. Serious medical conditions, like heart disease or epilepsy, could cause a sudden loss of consciousness behind the wheel.
- Fatigue: Most drivers admit that they have been behind the wheel when they are dangerously fatigued. Many even admit to falling asleep at the wheel. Scientifically, extreme fatigue is like the influence of an illegal substance. Driving after 18 consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level.
An Oak Creek motorcycle accident lawyer can often obtain additional compensation in driver impairment wrecks. Arguably, these individuals knew driving was dangerous, yet they got behind the wheel anyway.
Motorcycle Wreck Injuries
The high fatality rate is not the only concerning thing about motorcycle accidents. Even if a rider survives a motorcycle accident, they usually sustain serious injuries, such as:
- Spine Injuries: When riders fall off their bikes, their hard landings usually knock their spines out of alignment. Additionally, the impact often cracks bones in the spine. Both these injuries are extremely painful, are difficult to treat, and often cause paralysis.
- Broken Bones: Before they fall off their bikes, riders usually hit their legs against a motor vehicle or a fixed object, like a pole. This impact shatters leg bones. So, doctors must use extremely invasive measures, like metal parts, to surgically reconstruct these bones. The additional treatment on the front end means longer, more painful, and more expensive physical therapy on the back end.
- Internal Injuries: The force of a collision causes internal organs to smash and grind against each other. These organs have no protective skin layers. Therefore, the slightest abrasion could cause severe bleeding.
Because these injuries are so serious, motorcycle riders will do almost anything to prevent them. Protective clothing seems like an obvious choice. But attire might or might not affect crash-related injuries.
Leather jackets, heavy pants, bright-colored clothing, and motorcycle helmets are the most common protective clothing.
Leather is light enough not to impair riding skills yet heavy enough to provide some protection in collisions, especially against the dreaded and feared road rash injuries.
A road rash is a severe abrasion that is almost impossible to treat. Until the rash goes away on its own, these rashes are extremely painful and almost completely debilitating. Additionally, road rashes have high infection rates.
Bright clothing seems to address the aforementioned limited visibility issues. Unfortunately, most leather jackets have dark colors. So, many riders must choose one form of protection or the other. Additionally, there is very little solid scientific evidence that bright colors improve rider visibility.
On a related visibility note, many riders honk their horns every few blocks or modify their mufflers to make them louder. It seems like these precautions would increase rider visibility. However, there is almost no evidence on the subject. Additionally, these things might antagonize drivers who, as mentioned above, do not much like motorcycle riders in the first place.
Finally, we get to motorcycle helmets, which are optional for most Wisconsin motorcycle riders and passengers over 18. Statistically, helmets reduce the risk of head injuries. Furthermore, helmets are usually available in bright colors or patterns.
However, helmets do nothing to address motion-related head injuries. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains slam violently against the insides of their skulls. Like many other motorcycle injuries, these wounds are difficult to diagnose and treat.
Although helmets may not make much of a difference in terms of injuries, our Oak Creek motorcycle accident lawyers always recommend that riders wear them. Motorcycle wreck injuries are so severe that riders need all the protection they can get.
Count on a Thorough Milwaukee County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Accident victims may be entitled to substantial compensation, but they should not go it alone. For a free consultation with an experienced Oak Creek motorcycle accident lawyer, contact Martin Law Office, S.C. by calling 414-856-4010.