Injury from a motorcycle accident
What you need to know about motorcycle accident cases in Connecticut
Each year, more than 80,000 injuries occur from motorcycle accidents. Moreover, motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to become injured as a result of an accident compared to a car or truck accident. And, unfortunately, the injuries sustained after a motorcycle accident tend to be severe. As a motorcyclist, you are inherently more vulnerable to road hazards, such as dangerous drivers and harsh weather, than drivers in a motor vehicle and therefore more likely to be injured in the event of a crash.
In addition, the Insurance Information Institute states that older motorcycle riders may sustain more serious injuries from an accident than younger motorcycle riders. This can be due to many variables, such as a decline in vision and slower reaction time for older motorcycle riders.
A motorcycle accident has the ability to cause major property damage, critical injury and loss in productivity or ability to work. As with most areas of the law, the best thing for you and your family to do is be informed and knowledgeable about the steps to take in the unfortunate event that you’re in an accident.
If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to partner with a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney.
Specialized, experienced legal services in Connecticut
Receiving the expertise of a skilled personal injury lawyer is critical in a motorcycle accident case. Brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries and broken bones are common. As you can imagine, this leaves the families of motorcyclists with exorbitant medical bills. As such, many health insurance companies will not readily cover all of the medical costs resulting from a motorcycle accident so working with a personal injury lawyer who can best represent you is key. Also, your health insurance will not compensate you for your property damage, which can also leave you with substantial bills.
This is where the experience of a skilled personal injury lawyer comes in. At Cavanaugh Law, we take care of the stress and difficulties of dealing with insurance companies and creditors. Although we work for individuals rather than insurance companies, we have comprehensive experience working on the insurance side of personal injury claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to skillfully counter the tactics that insurance companies typically use to undermine your case.
We work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we have been successful in making a recovery for you.
The history of motorcycle helmet laws in CT
Until 1976, the state of Connecticut required that anyone who was riding a motorcycle, including passengers, wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. In 1989, Connecticut’s General Assembly enacted a “partial” helmet law that states that anyone 18 years or younger were required to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle (General Statutes of Connecticut section 14-289g). Recently, a new legislative order that went into effect as of October 1, 2020, that states all Connecticut residents, regardless of age, are required to wear a helmet.
Wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle is one of your best protective safety measures. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that helmets have helped save the lives of 1,870 people in 2017 and that 750 more lives in every state could have been saved if all motorcyclists wore a helmet.
To ensure your safety, always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Wearing protective gear, such as protective eyewear (required by Connecticut law), long pants, jacket and gloves, can greatly decrease your risk of sustaining significant injury.
The top causes of motorcycle accidents
It’s important to be aware of the top causes resulting in motorcycle accidents so you can be proactive in avoiding them.
- Vehicles making a left-hand turn: Did you know that this type of collision accounts for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle? While this collision is also common between cars, it is exceptionally common for motorcyclists due to their decreased visibility on the road. If you’re on a motorcycle, always be aware of the vehicles around you and do not assume they see you.
- Motorcycle lane splitting: This happens when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes “splitting” between slow or stopped traffic. Lane splitting is not only dangerous for the motorcycle operator but the other vehicles as well. Motorcycle lane splitting can result in many types of collisions, but most commonly result in a side-swipe between vehicles. Not only is this practice of lane splitting dangerous, but it is also illegal in Connecticut.
- Speeding: Many motorcyclists enjoy their vehicle’s ability to travel fast. However, high-speed motorcycle accidents are common and can result in catastrophic injury. Operate your motorcycle at a safe speed and follow the speed limit.
- Alcohol-use: It’s an alarming fact that approximately 26% of all fatally injured motorcycle drivers had a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08% in 2018. Alcohol negatively affects your judgment and coordination and can easily hinder your ability to balance, maintain control and shift gears. In addition, being under the influence also decreases the likelihood for motorcyclists to use a helmet.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
What you do after a motorcycle accident is critical. There are several important steps you should take immediately following a motorcycle accident (if you are safely able to do so) to protect your rights.
- Step 1: Check yourself and everyone involved in the motorcycle accident for injuries. Do not attempt to move anyone that appears to be injured as this can do more harm than good.
- Step 2: Call the police and exchange information with everyone involved at the scene of the accident. Gather the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses, and exchange insurance information with the other motor vehicle operator. Be sure not to discuss who was at fault for the collision. Take pictures of any injuries and the damages of all motor vehicles involved in the accident.
- Step 3: Seek immediate medical treatment and do not refuse treatment from an emergency responder or paramedic. If you do not go to the hospital immediately following the accident, see a physician as soon as possible.
- Step 4: If it is safe to do safe, move your bike off the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. This will help reduce the risk of injury from others on the road.
- Step 5: Support your claim by gathering evidence including photos of all the motor vehicles involved, debris on the road as a result of the accident (such as roadway skid marks), weather conditions and traffic.
- Step 6: Inform your auto insurance carrier as soon as possible. And remember, withholding information from your insurance carrier may give them a basis for denying coverage that otherwise would be available to you.
- Step 7: Keep a record of all documents that can help prove your losses.
- Step 8: Talk to a personal injury attorney before filing or signing any checks or insurance documents, giving recorded statements to any insurance company, including your own, or meeting with an insurance company representative.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call 203-259-5400 or contact us online.