The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
A Brainerd, MN INjury Lawyer Talks About SMIDSY Crashes
December 17, 2019
In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, SMIDSY is an acronym for “Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you.” This phrase captures both the essence of a left-turn motorcycle crash and the cavalier attitude that many tortfeasors (negligent driver) have in the wake of these crashes. More on these things below.
In all motorcycle crash claims, a good Brainerd, MN injury lawyer must do more than obtain compensation for the victim’s injuries. An attorney must also bring justice to the situation. That means holding tortfeasors responsible for the wrecks they cause.
Left Turn Motorcycle Crashes in Crow Wing County
SMIDSY crashes account for at least a third of the motorcycle wrecks in Minnesota. Typically, the tortfeasor waits for a break in oncoming traffic, then the tortfeasor tries to shoot through that gap. Most people keep an active lookout for cars, trucks, and other four-wheel vehicles. But they are not as diligent when it comes to motorcycles. Additionally, it’s hard to see around SUVs and other large vehicles. That fact limits driver visibility even more.
The tortfeasor’s sudden burst of speed often makes SMIDSY crash injuries particularly serious. Some of the more common ones include:
Head Injuries: Even if the victim wore a helmet, head injuries are often still an issue. The sudden, violent motion scrambles the brain, just like shaking an egg scrambles the yoke.
Broken Bones: The force of the impact usually throws riders off their bikes. When they land, their bones may be crushed and not merely broken. These kinds of injuries often require extensive surgical correction and months of physical rehabilitation.
Road Burns: These injuries are normally not as serious as head injuries or broken bones. However, severe road burns often limit mobility for many weeks. And, time is basically the only cure.
Brainerd, MN injury lawyers can obtain compensation for the medical bills that these injuries trigger. Compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, is available as well. Almost all of these claims settle out-of-court.
Brainerd, MN Injury Lawyers and Liability Theories
SMIDSY crashes usually involve right-of-way violations. According to Section 169.20 of the Minnesota Statutes, left turn drivers “shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Statutory violations like these often give rise to the negligence per se rule. Tortfeasors might be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
They break safety laws, and
Those violations substantially cause injury.
Unfortunately, in many situations, emergency responder do not issue these citations, even if fault is relatively clear. The “constitute an immediate hazard” language gives officers some leeway. So, many times, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers must look for another way to obtain compensation for victims.
That other way usually involves the ordinary negligence doctrine. Originally, this doctrine was another British import. In 1932’s Donoghue v. Stevenson, the court articulated the neighbor principle. This declaration, which was similar to the Golden Rule that schoolchildren once memorized, stated that people had a legal duty to avoid injuring their neighbors. The neighbor principle eventually became the duty of care.
In court, if tortfeasors violated this duty, and that violation substantially caused injury, the tortfeasor may be liable for damages.
Common Insurance Company Defenses
Formal or informal contributory negligence may be the most common insurance company defenses in SMIDSY crash claims.
If the victim was speeding or made an illegal turn in the moments before the crash, insurance company lawyers almost always raise formal contributory negligence. This doctrine shifts blame for the accident from the tortfeasor to the victim. The court must reduce damages in relation to the victim’s fault.
Minnesota is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, even if the victim was 49 percent responsible for the crash, the tortfeasor must still pay a proportionate share of damages.
Informal contributory negligence takes many forms. In these cases, it usually surfaces as the motorcycle prejudice. Many Crow Wing County jurors are not sympathetic to motorcycle riders. In fact, many people believe these riders are reckless thugs.
To defeat the motorcycle prejudice in court, most Brainerd, MN injury lawyers stress that the victim was an exception to the rule. Most riders may be reckless thugs, but this victim was different. Generally, it is rather easy to hate a group, but rather difficult to hate an individual.
Connect with a Diligent Attorney
SMIDSY motorcycle crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.