The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
Brainerd Accident Lawyers and Motorcycle Crashes
November 5, 2018
Vehicle collisions kill or seriously injure millions of people each year. Yet for the most part, today’s cars are much safer than they were at the turn of the 21st century. In fact, car crashes are no longer far and away the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Many years, that dubious distinction belongs to unintentional poisonings (mostly drug overdoses).
But the technological advances that have made cars safer have not extended to motorcycles. As a result, motorcycle riders are thirty times more likely to die in car crashes. These victims simply have little or no protection from an oncoming car. That exposure usually means serious injury and even wrongful death.
Due to the serious nature of their injuries, motorcycle crash victims, and their families, are usually entitled to substantial compensation.
What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
Illegal turns cause about a third of the motorcycle crashes in Brainerd. When most people make left turns against traffic, they wait for a brief traffic gap and then shoot through that gap. Many times, they simply do not look for motorcycles before turning.
In certain parts of the world, people call these incidents SMIDSY crashes, for “sorry, mate, I didn’t see you.” Another common acronym, TBFTL for turned but failed to look, does not have the same panache. Additionally, it does not capture the cavalier attitude that many tortfeasors (negligent drivers) exhibit in these situations. Many tortfeasors blame riders for these crashes. The other driver often says something like “you came out of nowhere.”
Brainerd accident lawyers also handle a significant number of alcohol impairment motorcycle crashes. Alcohol impairs judgment. So, impaired tortfeasors often miscalculate the amount of space between their vehicles and oncoming motorcycles. This misjudgment often has tragic consequences.
Distracted driving is often an issue as well. Small motorcycles are almost invisible to many motorists. Making matters worse, many people drive large pickup trucks and SUVs. These vehicles are difficult to see around, especially if the tortfeasor was not really maintaining a proper lookout in the first place. When the driver says the motorcycle rider “came out of nowhere,” Brainers accident lawyers know that it’s because the tortfeasor was not really looking.
Excessive speed also causes many motorcycle crashes. Velocity increases the risk of a collision and also the force in a collision. Since motorcycle riders have no steel cages or restraint systems to protect them, a slight increase in force usually has devastating consequences.
The Damages that Brainerd Accident Lawyers can Obtain
Compensation is available if the victim/plaintiff can connect the inattention, impairment, or other negligence to the injuries sustained in the crash. These injuries often include:
Head Injuries: Crash helmets reduce, but do not eliminate, trauma head injuries. Given the massive forces in these crashes, such injuries are still quite likely. Moreover, much like whiplash in an auto accident, the motion alone can cause a serious head or neck injury.
Internal Injuries: These same forces cause internal organs to rub against each other. This friction usually causes significant blood loss. Sometimes, this blood loss continues unabated for quite some time. Emergency responders are understandably more concerned with head injuries and other external trauma injuries.
Exsanguination: Blood loss is the technical cause of death in many Brainerd motorcycle crash cases, largely because of the aforementioned internal injuries. In fact, many motorcycle crash victims lose so much blood that they are already on the edge of hypovolemic shock by the time help arrives.
The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in these cases. So, Brainerd accident lawyers must have evidence of negligence. Sometimes, that evidence involves the police accident report. But in most motorcycle crash cases, such reports only contain one side of the story. The victim is usually unavailable to make a statement due to serious injury or death.
Therefore, Brainerd accident lawyers must look for other evidence as well. Nearby surveillance video is often compelling. The Crow Wing County jury sees the crash unfold. Furthermore, most cars have Event Data Recorders. EDR data usually clearly shows that the tortfeasor made no effort to avoid the crash. These gadgets are also useful in speeding cases. They offer definitive proof of vehicle velocity.
Possible Insurance Company Defenses
If the victim was not wearing a helmet, the insurance company often jumps on this fact. In fact, many victims think helmetless victims are ineligible for compensation. But that’s not true.
Minnesota law specifically outlaws the so-called seat belt defense. Lack of a seat belt is inadmissible in a negligence case. A seat belt has nothing to do with the cause of the crash. Arguably, the same is true of a helmet. Helmetlessness has nothing to do with crash causation.
At worst, lack of a helmet usually only reduces the amount of compensation that the victim/plaintiff receives. Even then, insurance company lawyers have a hard time proving that such a reduction is warranted.
Another common insurance company defense is not rooted in the law. Instead, the motorcycle prejudice is an attitude that many jurors exhibit. During jury selection, it’s usually easy to see which jurors, if any, believe that motorcycle riders are reckless thugs. It’s important for Brainerd accident lawyers to keep these individuals off the jury, if at all possible. These individuals are more likely to embrace other insurance company defenses, like contributory negligence.
The contributory negligence defense basically shifts blame onto the victim. For example, the insurance company might admit that the tortfeasor was speeding, but insist that the victim’s alcohol intoxication really caused the crash.
Contact a Relentless Attorney
Motorcycle crashes usually involve intricate legal and factual issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd accident lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.