Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Looking for an Oklahoma City motorcycle accident lawyer? Keep reading.
If you own and operate a motorcycle, chances are you have had your share of close calls on the road. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office recorded almost 1,500 motorcycle crashes in 2016. If you ever do suffer an injury in a motorcycle accident, though, make sure you first seek medical assistance. Afterward, consider contacting a qualified legal professional to explore the possibility of obtaining compensation for your injuries.
If you were involved in such a crash, filing a lawsuit could help you recover the damages you deserve. Even if you are not sure whether you want to file a lawsuit, an Oklahoma City motorcycle accident lawyer could review your potential case and help you understand your options.
Limitations on Filing a Claim for a Motorcycle Accident
Individuals who sustain damages in motorcycle accidents, economic or otherwise, could file a civil lawsuit to receive potential compensation. Damages are generally divided into economic damages and non-economic damages.
It should be noted that Oklahoma has a maximum cap on the amount of possible non-economic damages a person can collect. Specifically, Oklahoma Statutes §23-61.2 limits the number of such damages to $350,000, even if the wreck caused catastrophic injuries. An Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorney could provide valuable advice on whether certain types of damages are applicable or advisable in specific cases.
Those who wish to file a lawsuit based on a motorcycle accident must do so within two years of the incident, according to Oklahoma law. This statute of limitations applies to all suits pursuing compensation for personal injury or property damage, including motorcycle accidents.
Negligence Law in Oklahoma City
Another reason for potential motorcycle accident plaintiffs to consult an attorney could be to decide what claims are appropriate in their lawsuit. Many civil suits for motorcycle accidents often include a claim of negligence. Proving negligence generally requires proving the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- The defendant’s breach directly resulted in quantifiable damage to the plaintiff
Additionally, any potential recovery in Oklahoma may be reduced if the plaintiff had any role in causing their injuries. Under Oklahoma Statutes §24-14, any such reduction would be proportional. For example, if a jury finds that the plaintiff was 30 percent responsible for an accident, then any damage award they collect would be reduced by 30 percent.
However, if the plaintiff was 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, Oklahoma law completely bars them from recovering any damages.
Serious Injuries in Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accidents
Whatever the cause of an accident may be, the end result is often the same: serious injuries which take months or even years to heal from. It is not uncommon for serious injuries in Oklahoma City motorcycle accidents to result in permanent, lifelong disability, leading many accident victims to suffer from long-term emotional trauma and financial strain. Some common injuries caused by motorcycle crashes and collisions include:
- Large skin abrasions, more commonly known as road rash. Road rash debridement is excruciatingly painful, while the injury itself can leave the victim permanently scarred or disfigured. If the scarring is severe and affects a highly visible part of the body, like the hands or face, the victim may suffer from depression and mental anguish and may need costly surgery to help restore their natural appearance before the accident.
- Crush injuries, which occur when a leg, arm, hand, foot, or other parts of the body is trapped beneath heavy debris. If the crushed area is too severely damaged or is deprived of oxygen for too long, the tissue may need to be amputated.
Head injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is especially common among riders who do not wear helmets, or whose helmets are dislodged by the force of impact. TBI often co-occurs with spinal cord injury (SCI), where the spinal cord is damaged or completely severed, losing its ability to relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body. While the effects of TBI and SCI can vary depending on the location and severity of the injury, some common medical complications include:
- Difficulty speaking, reading, and/or writing
- Loss of physical perception, such as perception of pain, temperature, or pressure
- Full or partial paralysis. Paralysis of the lower limbs is called paraplegia, while full-body paralysis is called quadriplegia or tetraplegia. If nerve damage occurs, certain limbs, fingers, or toes may be paralyzed or lose strength
- Chronic pain, such as chronic migraine headaches
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Shortened attention span and difficulty concentrating on tasks or information
Broken bones, particularly wrist fractures caused as ejected riders attempt to break their falls. Broken ribs, broken arms and legs, broken collarbones, and pelvic fractures are all common outcomes with serious injuries in Oklahoma City motorcycle accidents. Facial fractures, like a broken nose or broken jaw, can permanently alter the victim’s appearance without corrective surgery. Depending on the location and severity of a fracture, healing can take months and may require one or more medical procedures. Bone fractures can also have long-term complications if there are any issues during the healing process, such as joint stiffness, contractures, misalignment (malunion), and circulatory problems. Different types of bone fractures include:
- Greenstick Fractures
- Transverse Fractures
- Buckled Fractures
- Comminuted Fractures
- Simple Fractures
- Compound Fractures
- Oral and dental injuries, such as chipped teeth, teeth being knocked out, or teeth being driven through the upper or lower lip. Injuries to the mouth, tongue, or teeth can be disfiguring and extremely costly to treat, especially if an entire row of teeth has been damaged or destroyed. The victim may lose the ability to pronounce words clearly, suffer from chronic pain, or lose sensation in their tongue.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 55 motorcyclists were killed in fatal motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma in 2014: more than pedestrians, bicyclists, or large truck occupants. These 55 tragic fatalities accounted for 8 percent of the motor vehicle crash deaths in Oklahoma that year, a percentage exceeded only by fatalities among occupants of cars, passenger trucks, and SUVs. The previous year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 84 motorcyclist deaths in Oklahoma crashes.
On the national level, the NHTSA reports that 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2013, estimating an additional 88,000 people were non-fatally injured. The vast majority of injury victims — about 94 percent— are motorcycle drivers. Passengers represent only 6 percent of those injured in motorcycle crashes. To learn more about serious injuries in Oklahoma City motorcycle accidents and how a legal professional could help, contact a dedicated lawyer today.
Consult an Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now
Motorcycle accidents can be much more serious than the average car accident. Because of the lack of protection a motorcycle provides, it is not uncommon for motorcyclists to sustain life-threatening injuries. Often, these injuries may result in expensive medical bills and lost wages from having to take time away from work.
An Oklahoma City motorcycle accident lawyer could look at the facts of your accident and make recommendations on the best course of action. They could also guide you through any legal questions or concerns you may have. Call today to seek qualified legal assistance for your case.