Tag Archive for: motorcycle accident

Does Distracted Driving Cause More Motorcycle Accidents?

Statistics indicate that the answer to this question is “yes”. For the past couple decades, fatalities from motorcycle accidents have been on the rise. During the 1990s, the average motorcycle accident fatality rate was under 3,000 per year. During the first decade of the new millennium, this number began to increase steadily, and in 2007, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities exceeded 5,000 for the first time. 

Coincidentally (or maybe not such a coincidence), 2007 was the year Apple introduced the iPhone. And since that time, the use of smartphones has become widespread not only in the U.S., but throughout the world. The vast majority of motorists now have them, and today, motorcycle accident fatality rates are consistently at or near the 5,000 mark.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can be anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road. Motorists have always had distractions to contend with, and this has always been something that could lead to accidents. Some examples of common driver distractions that have been around for a while include eating, drinking, tuning the car radio, staring too long at billboards and other road signs, grooming, talking with passengers, and talking on the phone.

These distractions can fall into one or more of four general categories:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Cognitive

The distractions mentioned above usually fall into only one or two of these categories. And they can still be very hazardous under the wrong set of circumstances. But smartphone activity while behind the wheel brings distracted driving to a whole new level. 

Texting while driving, looking through emails and social media apps, watching YouTube videos, and even reading a GPS navigation map are activities that can simultaneously distract drivers in three or four different ways. This means that the driver’s attention is diverted completely from the road, and the end result is far more instances when motorists put others on the road in danger.

To put into perspective how dangerous electronic activity on a smartphone is, consider that if you look down at your phone for just five seconds to send a text while driving 55 miles per hour, it is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. When drivers regularly engage in this type of activity, it is much easier not to notice important things are happening on the road.

Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents

According to a 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, distracted driving is now a contributing factor in as many as 40% all motorcycle accidents in the United States. Because motorcycles have such a small profile, seeing them has always been a challenge for other motorists. This is why there has been an ongoing public awareness campaign for many decades to help address this concern.

Smartphone activity has apparently made this problem far worse. When a driver is looking down at their phone, it is very easy not to see a motorcycle that enters their blind spot. This can result in more collisions when the driver tries to change lanes or make a turn. This also increases the likelihood that the driver looking at their phone will weave into another lane, resulting in an accident.

Motorcyclists are already at higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities when they collide with another vehicle. Bikers do not have a steel cage to protect them when they are involved in a crash, and there is not much that separates their bodies from hitting the pavement. This is one of the major reasons why motorcycle deaths are 28 times more frequent (per 100,000 miles traveled) than with occupants of other vehicles.

With the increased risk of distracted driving accidents, motorcyclists need to do everything they can to protect themselves from distracted motorists. Here are some ways for bikers to stay safer on the road:

  • Wear bright or reflective clothing;
  • Always keep your lights on even during the day;
  • Always make eye contact with other motorists before you cross in front of them;
  • Look for signs that a motorist may be distracted, such as weaving over the center line, weaving back and forth between lanes, and staying at a stop sign or stoplight for too long;
  • Refrain from distracted driving yourself.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Even if you follow all the best safety practices, you cannot control the driving behavior of others. If you or someone close to you was involved in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. To help ensure you recover full and fair compensation, it is best to work with a seasoned personal injury lawyer.  

If the accident occurred in Alabama, call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

What do I Need to Know after a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents are some of the deadliest incidents that occur on the roadways. Thousands of individuals are killed each year in motorcycle crashes throughout the nation, and tens of thousands more sustain serious and catastrophic injuries. In Alabama alone, dozens of individuals are killed in these types of accidents on an annual basis.

Motorcycle accidents are especially common in the summertime. The weather is warmer, kids are out of school, and there are more motorcycles and other types of vehicles on the road. There are also more inexperienced drivers on the road, as well as an increase in alcohol consumption before driving, all of which are contributing factors to the rise in traffic-related accidents during the summer months.

A motorcycle accident can be a terrifying experience, especially for the motorcyclist. Without the protection of a steel cage, there is not much that separates them from the pavement and other hard objects. This is why motorcyclists are far more likely to be killed or sustain a severe injury when they are involved in a crash.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the steps you take shortly after the crash can have major repercussions regarding your physical well-being and the ability to protect your legal rights. 

Here are six things you should do if you have been in a motorcycle crash:

Call for Immediate Medical Attention

The first priority after a motorcycle accident is to ensure that everyone who was injured receives treatment, including yourself. Even if you do not feel hurt right away, call 911 anyway and bring an ambulance to the scene. The 911 operator may also contact the police for you. If not, call the police to the scene as well. 

Some injuries have delayed symptoms, often because of the adrenaline rush you feel during the heat of the accident and other factors. Make sure to get checked out at the scene and go in for follow-up visits as needed. Finally, follow all of your doctor’s recommendations and thoroughly document all of the medical care you receive.

Take Photos of the Scene

Photos are one of the best forms of evidence in a personal injury case. Take multiple photographs of the accident scene from as many angles as you can. This will help show, in detail, how the collision occurred. If you are physically unable to take photos yourself, have someone else take them for you.

Obtain Statements from Witnesses

The testimony of witnesses is another strong piece of evidence that you will need if you have to file a legal claim. Speak with any individuals who may have witnessed the accident and obtain their contact information. And if they are willing, have them provide a statement. You can either record their statement with the video camera on your cell phone, or if they do not want to be on camera, ask if they will at least give you an audio statement, which you can capture with your phone’s voice recorder.

Compile your Own Report

One of the purposes of calling the police is so that there will be an official report compiled for your accident. However, it is also important for you to have your own report of what happened.  Whenever it is convenient, write down, in as much detail as possible, your recollection of the events while everything is still fresh in your mind. If you do not have anything to write with, you can use the voice recorder on your cell phone to create an audio report that can be transcribed later on.

Do NOT Admit Fault

As you interact with the others involved in the accident, the police, witnesses, and when you report the accident to your insurance company, NEVER apologize or admit any wrongdoing. In Alabama, if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident (even 1%), you may be barred from recovering damages. Be calm, courteous, and polite, but only state the facts of the case as you know them. Refrain from speculating on who was to blame and leave that for the experts to sort out.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

You have a high bar to clear, and there are many potential pitfalls that can cause you to lose out on the compensation you need and deserve for the injuries you suffered. For this and many other reasons, it is absolutely essential to retain strong legal counsel as early as possible after the accident, so your right to recover compensation can be preserved.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we understand that a motorcycle accident injury can exact a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve. We have in-depth knowledge of Alabama personal injury law, and we know what it takes to successfully overcome the challenges victims have when trying to recover damages in our state. 

Call us today at 334-581-9238 or send us a message through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

How to Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. We all know that motorcyclists lack the protection and safety features that occupants of other motor vehicles have, and this makes them inherently more at risk of serious injury when they are involved in an accident. In fact, according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are actually 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists.

As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to highlight one of the factors that plays a primary role in many motorcycle accidents; failure of motorists to see motorcycles that enters their blind spot. Because motorcyclists have a smaller profile, it is very easy for drivers of other vehicles not to notice them in their blind spots, especially if they are not paying proper attention. 

Some of the newer vehicles are coming equipped with blind spot monitors, which should help reduce the number of blind spot motorcycle accidents that occur in the future. That said, most vehicles on the road today do not yet have these monitors, so motorists need to be extra cautious to prevent a blind spot accident.

Here are some steps motorists should take to avoid blind spot motorcycle accidents:

  • Adjust your mirrors properly: Your mirrors should be positioned so that the size of your blind spot is minimized. Make sure your rearview mirror completely frames your back window, so you can see all of it and point your sideview mirrors toward your blind spot.
  • Always signal your intentions: Drivers often make last-minute decisions to change lanes, so they do not miss a turn or for other reasons. Unfortunately, it is easy to get in the habit of making these lane changes without signaling. This could be a deadly mistake if there is a motorcycle or another vehicle in your blind spot. Be sure to always signal when you are changing lanes or making a turn, even if it is at the last minute. This will help warn anyone who may be in your blind spot to honk to get our attention and/or get out of the way.
  • Look over your shoulder before changing lanes: Even if your mirrors are properly adjusted, you might still have missed a motorcycle or vehicle that snuck into your blind spot. To be absolutely certain that you are clear to change lanes or make a turn, get into the habit of manually looking over your shoulder in the direction which you are turning.
  • Stay free of distractions: In today’s electronic age, distracted driving is a growing problem that is contributing to an increasing number of motorcycle accidents. Refrain from texting while driving or any other smartphone activity while behind the wheel. If you have to make a phone call, put the phone in “hands-free” mode. Far too many unnecessary accidents are the result of distracted driving, and it’s just not worth the risk.

There are also some things motorcyclists can do to help prevent blind spot accidents:

  • Give other vehicles adequate space: These days, bikers need to ride defensively and give other vehicles enough space to make turns and complete lane changes. One good rule of thumb is to stay about 20 feet away from other vehicles, so you have enough time to react appropriately when they make last-minute moves.
  • Spend minimal time in other vehicles’ blind spots: There are certainly times when it is unavoidable to enter the blind spot of another vehicle, such as when you are passing them up or they are passing you up. But aside from that, do not stay in their blind spot for any length of time.
  • Stay visible: When you are out riding, make it a point to wear clothing that is brightly-colored, fluorescent, or otherwise easy to see. Also be sure to keep your headlights on, even when you are riding during daylight hours.

Injured in a Blind Spot Motorcycle Accident in Alabama? Speak with a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer

We hope everyone follows these safety practices to avoid blind spot accidents and stay safe this spring and summer. We know, however, that sometimes even when you follow all the rules, you may still end up in an accident. If this occurs, be sure to get in contact with a skilled accident injury lawyer. Insurance companies are known for playing games and using various tactics to diminish the value of an injury claim or even deny the claim altogether. For this reason, it is important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your right to recover compensation can be protected.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience successfully representing motorcycle accident injury victims in Alabama, and we fight hard to help ensure that our clients recover the full and fair compensation they need and deserve. Call us today at 334-581-9238 or send us a message through our online web form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

I was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, do I Need to Retain an Attorney?

With the arrival of spring, more and more motorcyclists will be hitting the roadways. The warmer weather allows bikers to get out and enjoy the scenic rides on the open roads. But riding season also means an increased risk of a motorcycle accident, and motorcyclists who are involved in a crash with another type of motor vehicle are inherently more at risk of a serious injury. 

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you might wonder whether or not it is worthwhile to retain an attorney. Maybe you have already been contacted by the insurance company for the other party with a settlement offer to cover your injuries and property damage, and you don’t see the need to hire a lawyer and give them a percentage of the settlement.

There are some circumstances in which it might be okay to take the settlement offer and move on with your life. For example, if you sustained minor injuries and property damage, the facts of the case are straightforward and not in dispute, and the insurance company has given you an offer that you are satisfied with, then accepting the offer might be the right choice.

Even in a scenario like this, however, it is still a good idea to at least talk to a lawyer to review your case and discuss your legal rights and options. This way, you can make the most informed decision on which way you want to go with the case.

If there are any complicating factors in your case, then you should definitely consider retaining skilled legal counsel. Some examples include:

  • There are disputes regarding who was at fault for the accident;
  • An investigation is required to uncover key facts in the case;
  • The motorcycle accident involved multiple parties;
  • You sustained moderate to severe injuries, the extent of which are not yet fully known;
  • Your injuries are likely to keep you out of work for an extended period of time;
  • There is a possibility that your injuries could be permanent and debilitating.

Dealing with the insurance company on your own is a confusing process that is full of potential pitfalls, and if there are complicating factors such as those mentioned above, you may not end up receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries. In fact, you could end up without any compensation at all.

This is especially true if the motorcycle accident occurred in Alabama. Alabama is one of just a handful of states where an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident. For this reason, if there is any question at all about who was at fault in your case, it is absolutely essential to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your legal right to recover compensation can be preserved.