As the declining temperatures of the fall season quickly approach in Arizona, motorcycle enthusiasts in Phoenix and across Arizona begin planning the leisurely trips through the countryside that they anticipate all year. There is nothing quite like the feeling of freedom that people can experience when they ride on their motorcycles. However, motorcyclists are much likelier to be injured or killed when they crash.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists in 2015 had a 29 times greater risk of dying in collisions than did other types of motorists. Simple things such as a sudden lane change may cause severe injuries. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow encourage motorcyclists to implement safe riding habits to help them to minimize their risks of accident involvement while they are riding. If you have suffered injuries or have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, our dedicated lawyers have the experience and track record to help you to recover compensation to pay for the losses that you have suffered.
Tips to ride safely and enjoy your freedom responsibly
It takes different types of skills to safely operate a motorcycle than it does to drive a car. Despite these differences, motorcyclists are expected to follow the same rules of the road as are other motorists. In addition to adhering to traffic laws while you are riding and keeping a careful watch of other motorists, there are a number of safety tips that you can follow to help to make certain that your motorcycle rides will be safer.
- Wear a helmet
In Arizona, motorcyclists are only required to wear a helmet if they are under the age of 18 under A.R.S. § 28-964. However, wearing a motorcycle helmet while you are operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger on one can greatly reduce your risk of suffering catastrophic head injuries or dying in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorcycle helmet use decreases your risk of dying in a motorcycle collision by 37 percent. Despite the protection afforded by helmets, an effort to pass a bill in the Arizona State Legislature that would have required all motorcyclists to wear helmets failed miserably in 2017, according to a report in AZ Central.
Despite the law, if you are a motorcyclist who is over the age of 18, it is a good idea for you to always ride while you are wearing a helmet. If you are the parent of a child who is under the age of 18, you should insist that your child wears a helmet as well. You can model good safety practices for your child by wearing a helmet every time that you ride. It is also important for you to choose helmets that are certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as meeting the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards § 571.218. If a helmet meets or exceeds this standard, it will have a DOT sticker affixed to it.
- Wear protective clothing, eye protection, and safety gear
Arizona’s helmet law requires all motorcyclists, regardless of age, to wear eye protection while they ride. This can include a face shield that comes with your helmet or safety goggles. FMVSS 218-approved helmets have safety shields that are certified to meet the government’s safety standards. It is also important for you to understand that your motorcycle’s windshield is not a substitute for using a safety shield or goggles while you ride.
In addition to a helmet and eye protection, you should also make certain to wear other protective gear. People who choose to forgo safety clothing and gear may be in for a painful experience if they are in an accident while only wearing jeans and a t-shirt. You should look for gear and clothing that will protect you from flying debris, bugs, and road rash. There are reinforced leather jackets, gloves, pants, and motorcycle boots that are specifically designed to give you protection where you need it the most. While it might seem cumbersome, it is important for you to wear the right safety gear whenever you ride, including in the summer months.
- Be alert for other motorists at all times
It is a common misconception that motorcyclists are often at fault for their own accidents. However, researchers have shown that drivers in other vehicles are much likelier to be at fault in a motorcycle crash. According to a study by the University of Southern Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, the other drivers were responsible for motorcycle accidents in 60 percent of the cases that they looked at over a 10-year period.
It is common for motorcyclists after their accidents to say that the other motorist “did not see me.” A statement that the other motorist “did not see me” is often true.
Part of the reason that motorists cause so many accidents with motorcyclists is because they fail to look for them when they pull out to turn left across traffic or switch lanes. Another part of the reason is that an increasing number of motorists are engaged in distracting activities while they drive. By remaining alert and anticipating the actions that a driver might take such as pulling out in front of you or making a sudden lane change, you may decrease your chances of being struck by another vehicle. You should also never assume that another motorist sees you.
- Never operate your motorcycle after drinking or using other substances
If you operate your motorcycle when you are not sober, you are much likelier to be involved in a collision. You should never ride your motorcycle after you have drank alcohol or used drugs, including prescription medications that can impair your reaction time or cause you to feel sleepy.
- Be on the lookout for poor road conditions
While you ride, make certain to watch for damaged areas of the roads so that you can avoid them. Potholes that would be barely noticeable to the occupants of a car could potentially cause you to have an accident. You should also watch for things such as sand that has been spilled or has blown onto the road, wet surfaces, and pebbles. Since your motorcycle has less surface area that contacts the road, these types of hazards can cause your motorcycle to slide out of control.
Know your rights after a crash
Being injured in an accident while you are riding on your motorcycle can be overwhelming. At the same time that you are dealing with your injuries and working to get better, you might also be facing expenses that are mounting while you are unable to work. When the other driver is at fault, his or her insurance company may try to place the blame on you even when you feel that the driver’s liability is clear. It is important for you to understand your rights after an accident so that you can protect them.
After your motorcycle collision, you should consult with an attorney to better understand your rights, which may include filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses from the company. When the other driver caused your accident and resulting injuries, you have the following rights:
- Right to pain and suffering damages
- Right to recover income losses
- Right to recover medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
- Right to receive ongoing care from a professional if you are unable to care for yourself
- Right to have your motorcycle repaired or replaced
In addition to these recovery rights, you have the right to seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer who regularly accepts motorcycle accident claims. The team at Lamber Goodnow has helped many motorcyclists and their passengers to hold the responsible parties liable so that they can recover compensation for the losses that they have suffered.
Recovering fair compensation after a motorcycle wreck
Recovering fair compensation after another motorist has collided with you while you were riding your motorcycle in Arizona is not a straightforward process. Insurance companies are aware that many people wrongly believe that motorcyclists are to blame for their own accidents because of a perception that motorcyclists are risk-takers. They may try to take advantage of this perceived bias and place the blame on you even when the other motorist was clearly at fault.
In order to overcome the potential bias that a jury might have towards motorcyclists, it is important for you to build the strongest possible case of liability from the start. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow work hard to build very strong cases on behalf of their clients. They work together with investigators, accident reconstructionists, and other experts to paint clear pictures of liability for an eventual jury and for the insurance company. By presenting this type of in-depth evidence during the discovery process, the Lamber Goodnow team is often able to convince insurance companies that it is in their best interests to extend fair offers of settlement instead of risking their chances by going to trial. However, our lawyers are also willing to take cases to trial to fight for our clients’ rights when the insurance companies refuse to extend reasonable offers or dispute the liability of their motorists outright.
After you have notified the insurance company that you have been injured in the accident while you were on your motorcycle because of the actions of the company’s insured driver, an adjuster will contact you soon afterward. The adjuster may ask if you would be willing to give a recorded statement. You may also be sent a number of different forms to review and sign, such as a request for a medical authorization. You should decline any request to give your statement or to sign anything without speaking to an attorney. Insurance adjusters and the companies for whom they work are motivated to minimize the losses that they might have by paying claims. Any information that they can gather from you will be used to try to reduce the amount that the company might otherwise be forced to pay you. When you get the help of an experienced attorney at Lamber Goodnow, your attorney can handle the negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can instead focus on recovering from your injuries.
Contact the experienced motorcycle accident team at Lamber Goodnow
While the year-round temperatures in Arizona allow motorcyclists to ride their bikes year-round, the cooler temperatures of the fall are a welcome relief to the hot summer months. This can draw more motorcyclists outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather and the scenery. By following safety tips when you ride, you can help yourself to enjoy a safer riding experience. If you suffer injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle whose driver was at fault while you were riding on your motorcycle, however, it is important for you to consult with one of the experienced attorneys at Lamber Goodnow as soon after your accident as possible. To learn more about your rights and your potential accident claim, contact the lawyers at Lamber Goodnow to schedule a consultation.