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. Around 90 to 100 of our citizens lose their lives on motorcycles each year. One out of every 7 to 8 traffic fatalities in the Sooner State involves a motorcycle. 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 4rfinds 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.
What is the Leading Cause of Motorcycle Accidents in Oklahoma?
Motorcycles are a beloved American icon, representing the rebellious spirit of the open road. Unfortunately, the same qualities which motorcycles are prized for – the speed and freedom they offer riders – also contribute to serious injuries and wrongful deaths when bikers get into accidents with other vehicles. In this article, our motorcycle accident lawyers will go over some Oklahoma crash statistics, common biker injuries, and the leading causes of accidents statewide.
Common Motorcycle injuries: Feet, Legs, and Hips
While motorcycle accidents may be less common than car accidents in Oklahoma, they frequently result in death or serious injury – as the numbers cited above make all too plain. Because motorcycles lack key protective features like air bags and seat belts, riders and passengers are frequently ejected, often skidding for dozens of feet before finally coming to a stop.
While certainly not useless, leather gear isn’t always sufficient to protect riders from sustaining severe “road rash” (skin abrasion). Scrubbing and disinfecting road rash wounds is an extremely painful process for the victim, and can leave permanent scarring behind. In a 2008 report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also notes that passengers and operators frequently suffer from lower-extremity injuries, including:
- Ankle Injuries – Ankle dislocation, tibia and fibula fractures
- Foot Injuries – Metatarsal and tarsal fractures, calcaneus and talus fractures
- Hip Injuries – Hip dislocation, intertrochanteric femoral fractures
- Knee Injuries – Patella fractures, torn ligaments, meniscus tears
- Leg Injuries – Tibia and fibula fractures, leg amputations, “massive leg crush”
- Pelvic Injuries – Sacrollium fractures, symphysis pubis separation
- Thigh Injuries – Femur fractures, soft tissue injuries to veins/arteries/nerves
We know all too well that motorcycle wrecks tend to be fatal or cause severe injuries. But what sorts of factors and problems are causing them in the first place?
Motorcycle Crashes in Oklahoma City: Causes and Contributing Factors
In addition to analyzing other factors, like county, operator gender, and time of day, the 2014 OHSO report also ranked the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma. While small numbers of accidents were attributed to various types of driver error, the report also found that many crashes did not involve human error on the part of the operator. Accident causes and contributing factors are ranked as follows, by number of operators involved:
- No Improper Action – 544
- Unsafe Speed – 262
- Other Improper Act/Movement – 113
- Tailgating – 71
- Inattention – 68
- DUI/DWI (Alcohol) – 62
- Unknown/No Improper Action – 47
- Failing to Yield – 33
- Unsafe Vehicle – 25
- Failing to Stop – 21
- Left of Center – 16
- Improper Overtaking – 14
- Improper Turn – 15
- DUI (Drugs) – 13
- Improper Parking – 3
- Improper Start – 1
- Wrong Way – 0
- Stopped in Traffic – 0
Why is this data important for crash injury victims in Oklahoma? Because these numbers only support a well-known truth: numerous accidents are not the fault of the motorcyclist. On the contrary, the drivers of passenger vehicles are frequently the parties at fault, causing accidents by driving negligently, recklessly, or aggressively – in some cases, even driving while intoxicated.
All drivers, and particularly common carriers (carriers of “persons, property or messages” for the public), have a duty to follow traffic safety laws. That includes refraining from doing anything that creates foreseeable hazards for other motorists (or pedestrians). When drivers decide to ignore the rules of the road, they can potentially be held liable for any deaths, injuries, or property damage resulting from their careless and irresponsible actions behind the wheel.
Some common examples of careless or aggressive driving could include:
- The unnecessary or even retaliatory use of high beams.
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
- Speeding up to rush through a yellow light.
- Running a red light.
- Ignoring right-of-way.
- Speeding, or going too fast for safety in bad weather conditions.
- Weaving in and out of lanes.
- Failing to check side-view and/or rear-view mirrors for motorcycles.
- Tailgating behind a motorcycle.
- Making an improper left turn.
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.