Biloxi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Defending the Rights of Clients Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents are potentially more catastrophic than car accidents and have a higher chance of resulting in life-threatening injuries or death. In the year 2020, it is estimated that over 5400 fatal motorcycle accidents happened in the U.S. – the highest percentage of motorcycle-related fatalities ever recorded. For these reasons, motorcyclists in the state of Mississippi are required to follow certain rules and obey traffic laws to keep themselves and others safe. However, accidents may still occur. Here are some key aspects you need to know if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
What Are the Mississippi Motorcycle Laws?
Motorcyclists have the same rights and duties on the road as other vehicles. In order to operate a motorcycle in Mississippi, you must have a Class R endorsement on your driver’s license, which shows you have passed written as well as road tests and can safely operate your motorbike. In addition, all motorcycles must be inspected before you can take them on the road.
Wearing a helmet is mandatory for both motorcyclists and passengers. Not only are helmets an important piece of safety gear that can reduce head injuries and deaths, but their use is required in Mississippi, and riding without a helmet is a misdemeanor. Motorcyclists and/or passengers riding without an approved helmet may be charged with a misdemeanor, which could potentially result in fines and even jail time, with increased penalties for subsequent offenses.
The practice of passing larger vehicles or navigating through traffic by traveling between designated traffic lanes – known as lane splitting – is legal in some states, illegal in others, and in states like Mississippi, it is neither legal nor illegal. If a motorcyclist ends up getting involved in an accident while lane splitting, his or her ability to recover full compensation may be impacted if it is determined that they were operating their motorbike in a dangerous manner. It is best to exercise caution if you choose to engage in lane splitting in Mississippi.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Unfortunately, the top cause of most motorcycle accidents is other drivers. Those driving a passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle and engaging in distracted driving, driving under the influence, or simply driving in an aggressive manner are usually responsible for many motorcycle accidents. In addition, accidents that occur due to unsafe lane changes (when a driver hits a motorcyclist because they failed to check their blind spots before switching lanes), as well as those caused by swinging a car door open in a parking area and blocking the path of a motorcycle, can also result in a dangerous collision.
Speeding is another common cause of accidents. When a motorcyclist or a car driver is speeding, their chances of seeing and reacting to another vehicle is reduced. Faster speeds usually mean greater impacts and serious injuries. Left-turn accidents, inexperienced drivers or motorcyclists, dangerous road conditions, and rear-end accidents due to sudden stops are also frequent causes of motorbike accidents with potentially catastrophic results.
What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Motorcycle accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries, ranging from mild to life-threatening. Road rash is a common injury that occurs when unprotected skin meets the road surface. Because motorcyclists have no barriers between them and the road surface like a car driver does, skin abrasions are a common result of being thrown or dragged across the road surface. Protective gear, including leather gloves, pants, jackets, and other apparel can offer some protection from road rash.
Wearing a helmet can also reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can also happen as a result of a collision and have serious long-term consequences for the victim. A full-face helmet can also prevent other head and face injuries and offer increased protection. Motorcyclists are also subject to neck injuries such as whiplash. In addition, leg and foot injuries such as sprains, lacerations, and fractures are also common and can be prevented or minimized by wearing sturdy, above-the-ankle motorcycle boots.
How Much Is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
When you have been hurt after a motorcycle accident and are unable to work, your main concern might be how much your claim may be worth. While there are plenty of online tools that promise to help you calculate the dollar amount you may receive as a settlement, these tools are often inaccurate and may offer a number that is too optimistic or, sometimes, not high enough, which can be misleading.
Every motorcycle accident is unique, and a motorcycle accident attorney is the right person to talk to in order to obtain a more accurate estimate. Factors that influence the value of your claim usually include the severity of the accident (including the value of property damage and the extent of your injuries) and whether you may have been partially responsible for the accident or not. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries were and the more extensive the damages to your bike were, the higher your settlement amount may be. Your attorney may also take into consideration other aspects such as the pain, suffering, and emotional distress resulting from the accident and may include these factors as part of the total value of your claim.
A motorcycle accident claim usually includes a combination of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible losses resulting from the accident – everything from medical bills and lost wages to the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle. These are easy to quantify and prove as part of your case. On the other hand, as explained above, components such as pain and suffering also play a part in your claim. Because there is no legal action that could make up for the physical and psychological distress a motorcycle accident victim has gone through, the courts can do the next best thing and provide monetary restitution for non-economic damages, i.e., pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the accident, as well as by the process of recovering from your injuries.
What Happens If I Was Partially At Fault for My Motorcycle Accident?
Mississippi is an at-fault state that follows the comparative negligence rule. This means that if it is determined that you may have contributed to the accident in any way, the court or insurance company may attribute a percentage of responsibility to you and deduct that percentage from your total payout amount.
For example, if you crashed into a passenger vehicle because the driver was distracted and drifted off his or her lane while you were lane-splitting and attempting to pass it, it may be determined that you were 30% at fault. If your total claim value is worth $8000.00, you will still receive a settlement check, minus 30%, so your final amount would be $5600.00. You may technically seek compensation from the other party even if you were more at fault for the accident than they were, as the state does not bar recovery based on your percentage of responsibility for the accident. As always, consult an attorney to discuss what may apply to your particular case.
Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney for My Case?
Trying to figure out what to do after being hurt in a motorcycle accident can be an overwhelming task. Most accidents result in a significant amount of paperwork and forms to be filled out and endless insurance phone calls. By working with a motorcycle accident attorney, you can delegate all those tasks to a professional who can take care of every aspect of your case on your behalf. In addition, you can rest assured that you will be receiving the guidance and legal advice you need to navigate your case and increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.
At the Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, our motorcycle accident attorneys are passionate about defending the rights of injured motorcyclists. They have the right combination of legal knowledge and negotiation skills to bring you a positive outcome for your case, get you the compensation you deserve, and help you get back on your feet. There is no reason you should have to pay for your injuries if they were caused by someone else’s recklessness. Contact our Biloxi, MS office by calling 228-338-1515 and scheduling an initial consultation to discuss your case. Our team has handled motorcycle accident cases on behalf of countless clients in the Biloxi, MS area and we look forward to providing you with the same quality services and counsel.