Motorcycle Accidents

This year in Indiana, about 100 motorcyclists will die in fatal accidents and about 2,300 more will be injured. Motorcyclists can’t always avoid catastrophic collisions because other drivers on the road don’t see them or don’t notice they’ve hit them until it’s too late.

A motorcyclist is five times more likely to be injured and 28 times more likely to be killed than someone in a passenger vehicle. In a typical year, more than 5,000 U.S. motorcyclists lose their lives in motorcycle crashes - a number that has been on the rise for many years, despite the introduction of new safety devices and public awareness campaigns.

Motorcyclists are vulnerable in traffic accidents because their bodies are exposed to the forces of impacts. Even in a low-speed crash, a motorcyclist can easily suffer traumatic and life-threatening injuries that require months or years of recovery time.

If you’re in an Indiana motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. In the event of a traumatic injury or permanent disability, the compensation for damages could be substantial. Be aware there’s a limited timeframe to make these claims.

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 for your free consultation with an Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney with Poynter & Bucheri, LLC.

Why Are Motorcycle Accidents Dangerous?

Motorcycle crashes are inherently dangerous because they involve a complex array of factors including high speed, exposed body parts, blunt force impacts and an inability to stop or minimize the damage. About 80% of all motorcycle accidents involve injuries or death for the motorcyclist.

According to the National Hight Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle accidents are more dangerous than other types of accidents because motorcycles lack the demonstrated crashworthiness of other vehicles. Unlike a passenger car, a motorcycle has no door beams, roof, airbags or seat belts, plus it balances more precariously on two wheels instead of four.

Although high-performance sport-style motorcycles account for a small percentage of vehicles on the road, they make up a disproportionate share of motorcycle accidents. The reason is primarily their speed - they are designed to travel up to 160 miles per hour. Other drivers on the road may not expect to see these fast vehicles traveling in traffic.

In general, accidents often happen between motorcyclists and other vehicles due to difficulties sharing the road. Here are some common situations that result in accidents:

Lane splitting - During lane splitting, a motorcyclist shares a lane with another vehicle or drives between vehicles. The legality of lane splitting varies by state. In Indiana, it is allowed between motorcycles but not between a motorcycle and another type of vehicle.

Close riding - In this situation, a motorcyclist or other vehicle gets too close to another driver, failing to leave enough space between the vehicles to prevent or avoid an accident.

Failure to stop/yield - Sometimes one vehicle hits another after failing to stop or yield, which can happen at an intersection, in a traffic jam or in other situations with congested traffic and multiple directions of travel.

Running a light - When a vehicle runs a red light and hits a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist is very likely to be severely injured or killed. They may be caught completely unaware and have trouble remembering what happened.

Hitting fixed objects - This is a single-vehicle crash where a motorcyclist collides with a fixed object on the road. One common cause is construction/road debris, which can knock a motorcyclist from their bike.

Passing/Overtaking - When one vehicle tries to pass another, there is a risk of the two vehicles colliding. This can happen in opposite directions of travel or as both vehicles are traveling the same way, when one tries to overtake the other.

Head-on collisions - These collisions occur when one vehicle hits the other head-on from two lanes of traffic traveling opposing directions. These can be devastating accidents due to the forces involved.

Other common factors that put motorcyclists at risk include driving under the influence (DUI), speeding, avoiding road hazards and traveling in bad weather. A motorcyclist’s relatively small profile makes them more difficult for other drivers to spot in foggy, rainy or snowy weather.

When Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Most motorcycle accidents occur on weekend evenings between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. as people enjoy a night out. Weekday evenings are risky, too, mostly due to the mix of vehicles on the road trying to get home from work during rush hour. Dusk increases the risk of accidents because the low sun creates a glare that makes it more difficult to see things in and near the road.

Drunk driving also makes weekend nights riskier for motorcycle accidents. People hit the road despite being too intoxicated to operate a vehicle safely. About 36% of all drunk driving crashes happen on weekend nights and in total, motorcycles account for about 27% of all drunk driving accidents.

Another common time for motorcycle accidents to occur is during periods of heavy traffic congestion, including traffic jams that happen in construction zones. As you bring your motorcycle to a complete stop in traffic, another driver might fail to see you. Next thing you know, you’ve been rammed from behind and your bike and body are crushed in the impact.

At any time of day, on any day of the week, it could be you. It could be your loved one. In an instant, life could be altered forever. And if it is, you will need excellent legal counsel to help secure compensation and represent your interests. Contact Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery for a free case review with one of our qualified motorcycle accident attorneys.

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000  or visit our contact page to request a free case review. You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get answers to your questions about filing a motorcycle accident claim in Indiana!

The Fallout From Motorcycle Accidents in Indiana

A motorcyclist often suffers devastating and traumatic injuries in a collision when the rider is thrown from the motorcycle, crushed or run over by one or more vehicles. There’s no time to waste after an accident like this and a quick call to 911 could save your life.

Some injuries don’t present symptoms until hours or days after the crash. For instance, people sometimes don’t notice symptoms of a brain injury or internal organ damage for three or more days after a traumatic injury.

Common injuries sustained by motorcyclists and their passengers in collisions include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), closed head injuries, penetrating head injuries, and other brain injuries
  • Fractures and broken bones across the body
  • Lacerations to the face, wrists, ankles, knees, and elbows
  • Spinal cord and back injuries
  • Neck and shoulder injuries
  • Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
  • Paralysis or other permanent impairment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infections and other complications from injuries
  • Severe burns and abrasions, including road rash

After an accident, insurance companies search for ways to deny motorcycle accident claims. A delay in medical treatment can give the insurance provider a reason to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or that they were pre-existing and didn’t happen during the crash. If the insurance company won’t help you with your bills, the debt could be overwhelming.

The current base charge for an ambulance trip in Indianapolis is about $2,000 and is determined by 911’s best guess at whether you need basic or more advanced care. Your ride to the hospital could cost $2,000 to $3,000 for the ambulance alone. If your accident occurs outside of Indianapolis, airlifting you could bring even higher paramedic and transportation costs.

After you arrive at the hospital, you could receive an array of surgeries and treatments from medical specialists. Anesthesia is also common and expensive. When factoring in the possibility of surgeries, anesthesia, physical therapy and follow-up appointments, your medical costs could easily reach as high as $100,000 or more.

Additionally, motorcycle crashes come with a huge mental and emotional toll. You may struggle to cope with the aftermath of your accident and develop psychological damage that is long-lasting. According to one study, motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general public, with 39.2% of all people involved in a motor vehicle accident developing PTSD.

In addition to medical costs and mental struggles, you and your family will have to deal with the cost of your destroyed vehicle and personal items, as well as the possibility of lost wages due to medical recovery time. Just when you need money to pay your bills, you could lose a big chunk of your income or even lose your job.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

After a motorcycle accident, the priority should be getting emergency medical care. Except to get urgent medical treatment, never leave the scene of a motorcycle accident without contacting the authorities and starting the process of getting a police report. You may need this documentation later for legal reasons.

Take pictures and detailed notes to capture the scene of the accident. Note things that could be important later, like the weather and position of the sun. Photograph any debris, potholes, nearby road signs and other features that may be relevant to the accident.

Exchange information with the other driver but don’t make any statements or get into an argument with them. Try to remain calm, despite the fact that a motorcycle accident can be an extremely stressful and traumatic situation.

Contact your insurance company promptly. A delay in contacting your insurer could come back to bite you later because they could claim you waited too long. Give them the basic details but don’t feel pressured to share extensive details and opinions about your accident. You’ll want to discuss things with your lawyer first.

Your next call should be to an Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney. Discuss your options with your attorney and follow their advice about what to do moving forward. You may deserve compensation due to the other driver’s negligence.

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000  or visit our contact page to request a free case review. You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get answers to your questions about filing a motorcycle accident claim in Indiana!

Indiana Motorcycle Safety

In an emergency, call 911.

Indiana State Police: 317-232-8248

Indiana Motorcycle Attorney: 800-265-9881

To stay safe on the road and prevent motorcycle accidents from happening, follow these tips for motorcycle safety:

Wear safety gear. Although helmets aren’t required for the majority of Indiana riders, they offer excellent head protection and show that you’re trying to be a responsible rider. Invest in other motorcycle safety garments like eyewear, a jacket, thick pants, gloves and boots.

Take a safety course. Even an experienced rider can benefit from a safety course, and your insurance company might give you a discount for refreshing your knowledge.

Maintain your motorcycle. Although inspections aren’t required in Indiana, a mechanic’s checkup could prevent an issue that costs you your life. Do routine checks of your turn signals, brakes, mirrors, engine and tires.

Follow the speed limit. Speeding is a major contributor to motorcycle accidents. Stay within the speed limit and slow down around turns and other areas that could create risky situations.

Drive sober and alert. Never ride when you’re under the influence. Keep an eye out for road debris and potholes that could cause you to skid. Awareness helps you stay safe on the road.

Read the Indiana Motorcycle Operator Manual

Investigating a Motorcycle Accident in Indiana

The police may investigate your motorcycle accident and work with the prosecutor to file charges. Regardless of the police investigation, you can also do an investigation with the help of your attorney to determine if you should file a lawsuit over your accident.

Although the details of every accident are unique, generally speaking, your attorney will help you examine the circumstances of the accident, who was involved, what kinds of negligence might be involved and which laws are applicable to your situation. Below is a list of Indiana laws regarding motorcycles.

Familiarize Yourself With These Indiana Motorcycle Laws

Helmets

People under age 18, as well as non-licensed permit holders, are required to wear safety helmets when operating or riding on a motorcycle. Anyone under age 18 is required to wear protective glasses, goggles or transparent face shields as part of their safety headgear. Everyone else is not required to wear a helmet. However, if you are in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, Indiana’s comparative fault rule may place more blame on you for your injuries.

Rider Education

All eligible riders must take an Indiana rider’s education program. A rider can skip the education program if they pass a motorcycle skills test.

Motorcycle Features

Handlebars on a motorcycle must be no higher than 15 inches above the seat. If you are carrying a passenger, your motorcycle must have a passenger seat and footrests. Motorcycles manufactured after January 1, 1956 are required to have rear-view mirrors, turn signals, and a speedometer.

Lights and Sounds       

Headlights are required and should be used during the day to stay visible to other drivers. Unlike many states, Indiana has no muffler requirements or maximum sound levels for motorcycles.

Inspections and Insurance

Indiana is a non-inspection state and does not require motorcycles to be inspected or pass any type of smog or drivability test. However, the law does require Indiana motorcyclists to obtain compulsory liability insurance coverage.

Lane Sharing

Lane sharing between motorcycles and other types of vehicles is not allowed in Indiana. Two motorcycles can drive alongside one another in the same lane by mutually consenting to do so, but a motorcycle and another type of vehicle are never permitted to share a lane.

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000  or visit our contact page to request a free case review. You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get answers to your questions about filing a motorcycle accident claim in Indiana!

Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?

Every accident is unique and has its own set of circumstances. Without looking at your situation, it’s hard to say who is at fault, whether you share the blame, and what will happen next. It helps to understand the idea of “fault” in Indiana.

Indiana is a “fault insurance” state for motor vehicle accident claims, which means in order to recover compensation from another party, you must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. In other words, you must provide evidence that proves the other party was responsible for the cause of the motorcycle accident. In addition, you must prove that the crash caused your injuries and that you suffered damages as a result of the crash.

Motorcyclists have an unfair reputation for being reckless and aggressive motorists. While this stereotype is unfounded and simply not true, an insurance company will use the stereotype to blame the motorcyclist for the accident. If the insurance company can convince a jury or judge that you caused the crash, it is not required to pay your damages under Indiana’s fault laws.

It’s important to understand that the insurance company does not need to prove you were 100% at fault for the motorcycle crash. Under Indiana’s modified comparative fault laws, the company simply needs to prove that you were more than 50% at fault for the crash to avoid paying you any money for your injury claim. This defense strategy plays right into juror bias and negative stereotypes about motorcyclists.

However, another way to use the concept of comparative fault is to convince the jury you were partially at fault for the crash. Any percentage of fault under 50% allows you to recover compensation, but it reduces the amount you may receive by the percentage of fault assigned to you by the jury.

Here’s an example. If the jury determines you were 30% at fault for the crash because the jurors believe you were speeding at the time of the collision, your compensation is reduced by 30% but you still receive significant compensation. Instead of receiving $275,000 for your claim, the maximum compensation you can receive is $175,000, which is the total damages minus 30%.

This is the kind of outcome you can see with the help of a lawyer. Don’t try to navigate a tricky situation like this alone, because the insurance company may try to confuse and mislead you. Do not provide a recorded or written statement or sign any releases, including medical authorizations, until you consult with your Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer.

What Damages Can I Win From a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

You may be entitled to receive substantial compensation for your injury claim. Our Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, pain, permanent impairments, suffering, and future damages.

If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, remember: You don’t have to speak to them, and they’re not your friend. They work for your insurance company, not you. The adjuster wants to help their employer pay as little as possible to settle your claim. You need a trusted legal advocate on your side whose only priority is recovering the maximum allowable compensation you deserve.

How Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery Can Help

At Poynter & Bucheri, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you understand your rights after a motorcycle crash on Indiana roads. We can help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life after the trauma of the accident.

Don’t suffer in silence with physical pain, financial devastation, and psychological damage. We’ll help you find a voice in the legal system through a personal injury lawsuit. We care about motorcyclists and will fight to get you the resources you deserve.

We Specialize in Helping Victims Like You Who Have Been Injured in Motorcycle Accidents!

For a free consultation with an attorney from Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 now.

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