Motorcycle accidents can be the most dangerous since the driver is not shielded by anything, unlike in cars. The complications also arise due to the prejudice against motorcyclists who are sometimes seen as reckless and gang members. This bias affects even the negotiation for settlement. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney will help you in seeking compensation for the personal injuries you get in motorcycle rear-end accidents. We have the experience needed to fight for all Clay County clients.
Causes of Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
The list of motorcycle rear-end accidents includes both the actions of other motorists and weather conditions. Below are some of the common reasons and situations which cause the motorcycles to be rear-ended by other motorists:
1. Flouting Traffic Rules
Some drivers are reckless while driving. A driver ignoring a stop sign can easily smash into a motorbike that is stopping in response to a red light. The motorist could also be driving at speeds above the legal speed limits. The speed denies them time to stop or slow down in case of a change in the speed of the motorbikes ahead of them.
2. The Driver is Distracted
Most of the distractions occur during a traffic jam when the vehicles are just inching after moments of snarl-up. Other distractions happen when close to home or destination as they drive through familiar environments. The distractions happen as the driver tries to multitask. These distractions can be:
- Manual since they may make the car driver lose control of the steering wheel brakes or the clutch
- Visual if the driver loses sight of the highway
- Cognitive when the mind is taken from the driving business
The activities that create distractions and hence contribute to rear-ending motorcycles include when the driver:
- Uses their mobile phone to either send messages, browse, make calls or record videos
- Does some personal grooming such as applying makeup or doing a retouch to their clad
- Eat snacks or drinks while driving
- Tries to get the direction right by setting the GPS to direct them to their destination
- Engages the passengers in a conversation and thus gets engrossed in the conversation and diverts their attention from the road
- Nursing children and pets by activities that include adjusting their sitting position and feeding them
- Drivers may be drawn to appealing scenes on the roadsides or look for landmarks when lost or unsure of the direction
- Operating devices and other systems to enhance the ambiance of the car. Operating radios and air conditioners distract drivers from driving safely
- The drivers can also zone out such that as they drive in familiar territories. They just daydream cannot make out what is happening on the road
These distractions make the drivers cause rear-end to motorcycles driving in front of them, which could otherwise be avoided. The disturbances caused rear-ends since the driver:
- Is late in braking
- Does not recognize when the traffic stalls due to a stop signal or heavy traffic
- Does not monitor the snail-pace speed during a snarl-up
- Drives or acts with anxiety after recovering from the distraction’s stupor
3. Driving While Impaired
Car drivers sometimes drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs regardless of whether the drugs are prescribed or not. The most common form of intoxication comes from alcohol. Hence when one drives with alcohol content in their bloodstream, it becomes drunk driving. In all the states, the right level of blood alcohol concentration should be below 0.08%. However, some drivers may not get to the 0.08% mark but they may be impaired to drive. They cannot pass the sobriety test.
In some states, the zero-tolerance laws require drivers below the age of 21 to be alcohol-free in their blood. In Florida, only a BAC level of 0.04% is allowed for drivers who operate commercial vehicles. Driving requires timely coordination of all the body organs. Anything that impairs the hands, brain, hands, the eyes, and the ears make the driver vulnerable to causing rear-end collisions. The alcohol impairs the coordination of these organs in the following ways:
- It weakens the ability to react to situations which need prompt action to prevent accidents
- It hinders the cognitive senses tasked with making decisions
- It reduces coordination between the brain and other body parts involved in driving
- It makes the driver inattentive to the driving task. The driver is drowsy due to the effect of intoxication.
- The alcohol tampers with visual perception. Colors and objects do not appear to the drunk driver as when they are sober.
- The alcohol also tampers with the driver’s judgment of the vehicle’s position or regulations, such as lanes demarcation.
If the alcohol-impaired driver is driving behind a motorbike in a close range, a slight change of circumstances that requires them to act cautiously may get them off-guard. The car may, unfortunately, smash the bike from the rear end.
The motorcycles require less time and space to stop at jams and intersections. Drivers are more likely to follow a motorbike than other cars closely. The drivers follow closely to a bike since they may be too impatient, are convinced they can stop at the shortest time possible, and do not want to be overtaken by the motorists on the other lanes. This tail-gating makes the cars have less space to stop when the motorbikes suddenly stop to avoid rear-ending another vehicle. Bikers sometimes feel intimidated or intruded in their space. This traffic rage may make bikers lose concentration and be rear-ended.
Weather contributes to motorcycle rear-ends. The ice, sleet, rains, and fog cause makes the conditions for driving more dangerous. Falling snow and fog may block the vision of drivers such that they do not control their speeds to avoid knocking the cyclists in front of them. The rains and melting ice cause hydroplaning. The car skids or slips since their tires lose grip with the ground as the film of wetness separates the two surfaces. The driver is, therefore, unable to decelerate quickly, steer, or maintain the balance of the car.
This loss of control leads to motorbike rear-ending, especially when a little distance is kept between the vehicle and the cyclist. Tires without grooves or those that are less inflated increase the chances of hydroplaning. High speed increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. Other things which cause hydroplaning are:
- Hard braking
- Driving over stagnant waters
- Making sharp and sudden turns when driving the car on wet roads
- Driving in outer lanes of the highway where the water accumulates
Why the Accidents are Fatal For Rear-Ended Motorbikes
Motorcycle accidents account for a significant portion of road accident fatalities. The following reasons explain why the accidents resulting from motorcycle rear-ending are deadly:
The Cyclists are Exposed
The cyclists are more exposed and prone to severe injuries when rear-ended. The motorcyclist does not have the privilege of safety installations such as airbags, seat belts, and the shield provided by the vehicle body. Flying debris due to the rear-ending can find their way to the cyclist’s body.
The Impact Causes a Fall Off
In a motorbike accident, one is quickly ejected from the motorbike by even a slight impact, unlike in cars. The effect after rear-ending could heave the bike to the air before it returns to the ground. The motorcyclist is yanked from the motorbike and may hit other objects or hit by other cars on the road. The motorcycle may also land on the rider. The rear-ending vehicle, if traveling at high speed, may not have time to stop and thus may run over the cyclists. The impact may also push the motorbike to the vehicles in front, crushing him between two cars. The injuries here are severe depending on the:
- Speed of the rear-ending vehicle
- The presence or absence of the protective gear on the rider’s body
- The presence of other vehicles that may trample over the cyclists
Avoiding Being Rear-Ended In a Motorcycle
Accidents can occur randomly and there is no full-proof measure to avoid them. However, there are precautions you can consider to avoid being rear-ended. Some of the rear-end accidents can be prevented by taking the following precautions:
1. Checking On the Mirrors
The bikers should use their side mirrors regularly. The side mirrors should be well fitted to minimize the chances of blind spots to the bikers. This enables one to make safer maneuvers and avoid being rear-ended.
2. Signal Early
Brake lights save lives. The lights should always be on when decelerating to warn the motorist on the rear about your change of speed lest they smash you from behind. These brake lights should be visible from a distance as far as 500 meters. When changing lanes, turning left or stopping the signals should be given appropriately to alert the other highway users.
3. Minding the Gap
Be always alert on what is happening behind you. If the driver following you does not seem to slow down or maintain a safe distance when driving, the best option is getting out of their way and changing lanes. This would ensure your safety but must be done cautiously to avoid further accidents.
Who is At-Fault When a Motorcycle is Rear-Ended?
After a rear-end accident has occurred, there may arise a dispute on who is at fault. Either the motorcyclist who is rear-ended, the car driver who rear-ends, or both could be partially at–fault. In most cases, the rear-ending driver takes the liability, but the party at-fault needs to be established well. The car driver’s fault may be proven by:
- Determining the speed of the vehicle to show it was too dangerously driven
- Showing that the car driver violated the safety that requires maintaining a distance to allow them to stop if the lead driver stops or slows down
- Relying on the third-party witnesses to attribute the negligence to the rear-ending driver
- Building on the reports of the investigating police to convince the at-fault insurer that their client was at-fault
- Using the services of the accident expert who pieces the available information together to establish who at-fault was
- Using the video and audio details of the accident scene to prove the liability of the rear-ending driver
In some situations, it is the cyclist, the lead driver, who is at fault. The motorcyclist can be at-fault when he/she:
- Suddenly decelerates without an apparent reason
- Changes their speed intermittently along the stretch of the road
- Changes lanes and cuts in front of the car such that there is no time for the vehicle to adjust its speed
- Has faulty brake lights so that when they decelerate the car behind them cannot notice it
- Merges into the highway but do not keep up with the speed of the traffic
- Gets a flat tire but continues driving which causes them to move irregularly and may be rear-ended
Laws of Motorcycling in Florida State
In Florida State, taking motorbike medical insurance coverage is optional, but one must be insured if they must drive without a helmet. Bikers can drive without helmets if they are aged above 21 and possess at least $10,000 health benefits cover. Besides all motorcyclist must have covers like:
- Bodily injury cover with benefits worth at least $20,000
- Property damage cover with benefits worth the foreseen damages
One must also be legally licensed to drive bikes by attending specialized training to drive a bike even if they have the ordinary license for driving other vehicles. The training enables them to be endorsed to operate a motorcycle in Florida. The cyclists are also granted full use of the road lane that all other motorists must recognize. One cannot weave in and out of the traffic and must comply with all traffic signs and rules, such as not driving between two traffic lanes. A motorbike can also share the lane with other cyclists.
Injuries Sustained When a Motorcycle Is Rear-Ended
Accidents cause injuries, as is the case in motorcycle rear-end accidents. The following are the common injuries resulting from a rear-ended motorbike accident:
The cyclists are afforded less protection when riding, unlike the drivers in the cars. The impact of the accident throws them off their seat. They may flip off or rollover and land with a thud to the other cars, the pavement, or on the road.
In some cases, depending on the crash, the bike may fall on the riders and the force of the fall could break their bones. As for any other instance of falls, the hands are usually bracing for the fall. Bones injuries are incurred on the hands, legs, and even the ribs due to the impact of the fall.
Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain can sustain mortal wounds due to the effect of the crush. The severity of the brain injury may depend on whether one had a helmet or not, and the intensity with which the head hit the surface. The skull may break. The helmet may not withstand the shock of the fall, or the rider may hit the ground with the facial front. The eyes, ears, eardrums, lips, and nose may be severely injured. Hearing impairments, neurological problems, and memory loss could accompany a severely injured biker.
Back injuries are also severe and could lead to death, depending on their severity. The rider is violently jolted due to the impact. The back may be convoluted due to the fall. A broken backbone can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis, depending on the injury.
Bruises and lacerations may result from a fall. Huge chunks of skin are sliced out of the body, and severe bleeding follows. The friction due to falling off from a bike in motion, as well as landing on sharp stationary objects, results in a skin rash. Some rashes may run deep enough to require a skin graft to heal.
Why Are the Motorbike Compensation Claims Complicated?
The claims for injuries sustained in a motorbike are tricky to handle without a proper legal representation. Below are some of the things that make the process complicated:
Prejudice against Motorcyclists
There is a stereotype held by police officers, members of the jury, and other motorists that bikers are reckless road users who always risk by aggressively maneuvering the highways. This bias will always resurface when:
- The officers are writing the reports of the accident
- The other motorists are determining who was at the fault
- The jury is deciding the case and giving compensation
The legal team should anticipate this bias and provide proper representation.
Insufficient Insurance Coverage
Sometimes the at-fault driver has only the minimum third–party coverage as required by the state. This insurance coverage may not be enough to compensate the biker who is seriously injured fully. A seasoned attorney will help you look for potential sources of compensation such as the personal assets of the at-fault driver and other third-parties who seemingly share the liability with the at-fault driver.
The Helmet Law
In some states, bikers are not obligated to wear some protective gear, such as helmets. Cyclists not wearing helmets as the law does not require them to do so do not forfeit their right to driving safely. In most cases, the bikers are accused of not having secured themselves for the injuries, even when it is not mandatory to take such protection.
Severity of Injuries
Bikers are less protected from collision impacts. The injuries resulting from the rear-ending can be severe and require more extended hospitalization. The severity of these injuries should be considered when filing for a claim and negotiating for a settlement amount.
Seeking Compensation After a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
Seeking compensation for damages and injuries sustained in a motorcycle rear-end accident requires the filing of a claim which depends on:
- The party at-fault, whether it is the motorcyclist or the car driver
- The severity of damages incurred by the biker in terms of the property and personal injuries
There are two types of claims that a motorcyclist may file following an accident:
1. Personal Injury Claim
This claim is solely filed against the insurance policy of the at-fault driver who caused the rear-end motorcycle accident. Here the motorcyclist has the burden of proving the negligence of the car driver. The motorcyclist seeks indemnification for the bodily, financial, and emotional injuries caused by the car driver’s negligence. If the motorcyclist was at-fault, then these personal injuries, mainly the medical expenses, will be catered for by their medical insurance coverage.
The motorcyclist seeks to be compensated on the following in this claim:
- Health care costs such as the cost of hiring ambulance, hospitalization, physiotherapy bills, referral bills, future medical expenditure as a result of the accident and other expenses like costs of crutches and wheelchair
- Losses due to pain suffering such as emotional distress, loss of ability to live the ordinary life and the turmoil caused to endeared relatives
- Loss of earning power since the accident may partially or permanently disable the motorcyclist to the point of either changing to less paying occupation or stop working. An economic expert forecasts forfeited current and future pay to which the biker is compensated.
2. Property Damage Claims
The motorcyclist claims the damages to the motorbikes and other personal properties such as phones, watches, and luggage lost in the accident. When the other driver was at-fault, this claimed is filed against their insurer. If the motorcyclist was at fault, they file this claim against their insurance company so long as they have taken the appropriate cover. The motorcyclist is paid in full upon claiming the insurer of the at-fault driver. The damages compensated are:
- Any personal property damaged due to the accident
- The damages pertaining the motorbike
The damages due to the loss of motorcycles involve:
- Payment of the repair costs in case it is repairable or
- Refund for the value of the bike,s value before the accident based on the fair price the motorcyclist would have received upon selling it
The amount the motorcyclist receives when filing the claim to their own insurance company if they were not at-fault depends on whether they have the appropriate cover or if the terms of their policy shield them in that rear-end accident situation. Since it is a rear-end collision, the motorcyclist may be entitled to compensation from collision coverage if they have one. The value of coverage purchased with your insurer determines the compensation amount. The insurance also has a deductible, which the cyclists must pay before the insurers pay the subsequent amount. When the deductible is less than the motorbike value or the cost of repairs, then the motorcyclist expects no compensation.
Making a Claim
Once you present the claim to your insurance company, the adjuster will begin negotiating a reasonable amount with you. You need to involve an attorney to make sure that the details in the proof of claim form are right. If you are negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance, more caution is needed since they have no obligation to give a reasonable settlement. They always offer little amount, and a lawyer would help in pushing for an optimal offer.
The motorcyclist should never accept settlements before the doctors confirm that no unforeseen medical care may be required. The insurer has no obligation for injuries, and the motorcyclist loses the right to file a lawsuit. There are several things you ought to have in mind while seeking compensation:
- Consult an attorney before talking to the at-fault insurer’s adjuster since a mistake when putting the facts right can affect the amount
- If filing a claim with your insurance company, you must cooperate with your claim adjuster
- The claims period is affected by the statute of limitations depending on the state law of where the insurance policy was taken, or accident occurred
Find a Clay County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Having looked at the severity of rear-end motorcycle accidents and the unique nature of the legal claims they attract, you need legal representation that will have your compensation at heart. The team at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney has vast experience in handling rear-ended motorcycle personal injury cases and is knowledgeable on the applicable laws so that they support you competently. Call us today to have your case evaluated by a top-notch personal injury attorney by dialing 904-494-8242.