Experienced Minnesota Motorcycle Crash Attorneys
According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists get in less accidents that cars. However, unlike auto accidents, motorcycle accidents are much more dangerous. In fact, motorcycle wrecks are 26 times more likely to cause death. This is why motorcycle safety is such a major part of the legal process involved with accident claims. To avoid injury and negligence, you should always wear a helmet, avoid lane splitting, and obey motorcycle-specific laws.
If you are a motorcyclist, this page will help you navigate the intricacies that are involved with motorcycle accidents. This information will help you to better understand what you should do to prevent motorcycle accidents. And of course if you are injured, to get the right help after being involved in a Minnesota motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle accidents can combine several sections of law, including personal injury, property rights and product liability. The page includes an overview of motorcycle accidents, motorcycle risks, helmet laws, negligence, product recalls and defects, and Minnesota statistics.
Helping those Injured on Motorcycles
Motorcycle riders are in a unique position compared to people in traditional vehicles. Most obviously, they are much more exposed to danger than drivers surrounded by steel. But they also experience a lot of freedom; it’s fun and rewarding. Presumably, that why we do it.
It’s extremely important for all motorcycle riders to know their legal rights if they are involved in a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies are always looking to save money and deny cases. That’s why Sand Law helps Minnesota motorcyclists navigate the laws of the North Star State through experienced representation, free consultation, and these informational pages.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The need for motorcycle riders to protect their recovery rights after an accident are always important, especially when you consider the following statistics:
- Another driver violates a motorcyclist’s right of way, causing an accident, in about two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents that involve other vehicles.
- Motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to be severely injured in an accident, and 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone in a car.
- Since 1999, the fatality rate has more than doubled for motorcycle accidents; while during that same time the fatality rate has steadily fallen for car and truck passengers.
Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle
The reasons why these statistics exist primarily are due to the very dangerous problems that motorcycle riders inherently must have to face out on the road, and some of these problems include the following:
- Visual Recognition: Motorcycles are always smaller visual targets than cars, which make them hard to see out on the road among other cars, especially during certain weather conditions and at night. Intersections can be really dangerous for motorcyclists because people don’t see them well enough, and that’s where about 70 percent of motorcycle-car collisions occur.
- Road Hazards: Whereas a hazard on the road may be rather minor for a car, it can be catastrophic for a motorcycle. Some of these dangerous road hazards for motorcycle riders can include things like debris, puddles, potholes, oil slicks, uneven pavement, ruts, railroad tracks and much more.
- Speed Wobble Accidents: Sometimes a motorcycle can begin to shake or wobble near the front tire when a rider is going at very high speeds, which can cause the motorcycle to become unstable and difficult to control. These kinds of problems can actually be due to a long-term maintenance issue that’s been put off like a misalignment in either of the tires. This could not be the motorcycle owner’s fault but actually the manufacturer’s due to a motorcycle’s product liability theory, so the manufacturer could potentially be at fault for the resulting injuries from this kind of problem.
- Riding Familiarity and Skills: Motorcycles, in general, are much more difficult to drive than a car, and they require a lot of skill and legitimate coordination to become familiar with. A lot of motorcycle crashes are simply due partly or wholly because of a rider’s lack of skill. This problem can also include a rider not appreciating the limitations of their motorcycle and it’s operating capabilities and doing something reckless.
Minnesota Helmet Laws
Some states require motorcyclists to wear a helmet at all times, but there have been some instances where these regulations have been challenged and successfully overturned in certain places. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that wearing a helmet is always the best option while operating a motorcycle, and it’s a fact that people who do not wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in the case of an accident.
Failing to wear a helmet, especially in a jurisdiction where there is a law requiring helmets to be worn by motorcyclists, can potentially prevent the monetary recovery process even when an accident isn’t the motorcyclist’s fault. The reason why this could happen is because the opponent in the accident case can claim that the motorcyclist acted negligently by not wearing a helmet and that negligence is at least part of the contribution to the accident and the damages/injuries created by the accident. These instances can put a motorcyclist in a really bad legal situation, and can cause the damages claim to be reduced or even eliminated altogether.
In Minnesota, it’s the law that all motorcycle riders under 18-years-old must wear a helmet, as well as riders with learner’s permits regardless of age. Minnesota is overall very lenient when it comes to wearing helmets, but that’s not the case with eye protection. All motorcycle operators must wear some kind of eye protection at all times which needs to be compliant with the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety’s standards.
Helmet laws change frequently, so no matter where you are riding, you need to understand these types of laws of the roads you’re riding on.
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents are prone to being tough on motorcyclists in terms of determining fault, and that’s partly because of the stigma that’s largely attached to motorcyclists. But in the courtroom, these types of cliché stigmas have started to subside, and just like any other car accident case, it’s negligence that means the most in determining who caused the crash.
Many times, a motorcyclist is partially at fault for the causation of the accident, and that can be for any reason. At times, we see situations in which the motorcyclist doesn’t receive any damages because of contributory negligence principles. When comparative fault is used then the amount of each party’s fault is calculated and subsequently divided by the percentage of fault applied.
At times, there is little doubt motorcyclists get treated differently than car drivers in accident cases. This is why it’s extremely important that you have the right representation in the courtroom with you so you get the best result possible.
Motorcycle Recalls and Defects
Motor vehicle recalls and defects are terrifying in general, and for motorcycles it’s even scarier because of the higher chances of endangerment.
Many motorcycle accidents could be the result of a design defect, which is the result of a manufacturing company intentionally designing a specific model in a way that could foreseeably result in an accident or malfunction of some sorts. A manufacturing defect is when something wrong happened during the assembly of the motorcycle that was different from its intended design, and this lemon so to speak, had a deviation that ended up being dangerous.
When a recall is made by a manufacturer, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make a public report that entails the details of the defect, the specific make and model that the recall is for, as well as the reasons that lead up to the recall and the recall’s schedule. Motorcycle manufacturers have the responsibility to make sure they notify any owners of recalled models, and they also have the responsibility to fix the defect free of charge.
Sometimes it’s hard to be notified if your motorcycle has been recalled if you purchase it used or in many other fashions. A good way to make sure you stay in the loop just in case of any recall is to inform the manufacturing company who made your motorcycle which model you own and get on their mailing list.
Minnesota Traffic Statistics
Minnesota, just like many other states, suffers a lot of motorcycle accidents and injuries.
In 2015, 411 people died while being on one of the state’s highways, and 61 of those deaths were motorcyclists. Although the number of accidents is decreasing in Minnesota over recent years, the number of fatalities has unfortunately risen.
An average day in Minnesota includes around 205 crashes, 82 injuries and around 1.1 deaths.
Motorcycle injures and deaths has increased dramatically as well in recent years throughout the state. What’s so devastating, is about 78% of those people who were killed in motorcycle crashes were NOT wearing a helmet.
The main factors for motorcycle crashes that involved only one motorcycle were chemical impairment (11%), driver inexperience (11%), distraction (11%) and speeding (19%).
Motorcycle accidents that involve a car are mainly due to on party’s failure to yield (40%) and distracted driving (17%). Alcohol was involved in 47% of all these kinds of accidents.
Contact an Experienced St. Paul Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The personal injury lawyers at Sand Law have office locations in Saint Paul and White Bear Lake. We are conveniently located to meet your motorcycle accident and personal injury needs. To arrange a no-pressure consultation with a top rated motorcycle accident attorney, please send us a message online or call 651-291-SAND (651-291-7263). There is no fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.