The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
What on Earth is a SMIDSY Crash?
April 18, 2019
In some parts of the world, this acronym stands for Sorry, Mate, I Didn’t See You. Another commonly-used abbreviation, TBFTL for “Turned But Failed To Look,” does not have the same je ne sais quoi.
Additionally, SMIDSY captures both the cause of the motorcycle crash and the cavalier attitude that many tortfeasors (negligent drivers) have in the wake of these crashes. Most bikers who have gone down probably heard the tortfeasor say something like “You came out of nowhere” or “I never saw you.” These excuses imply that the rider was operating recklessly. But in most cases, the tortfeasor simply was not paying attention.
In these cases, a Brainerd motorcycle crash lawyer can obtain both compensation and justice. Since these collisions often cause catastrophic injuries, like wrongful death, victims need money to put their lives back together. These victims also need justice. A car crash settlement is basically a legal declaration that the other driver was at fault.
Your Claim for Damages
Here in the United States, SMIDSY crashes may be more common than they are overseas. According to the landmark Hurt Report, illegal left turns cause about a third of the motorcycle crashes in Minnesota.
Typically, when a driver makes a left turn against traffic, the driver suddenly accelerates through a slight traffic gap. Unfortunately, most drivers do not look for motorcycles. As a result, they often suddenly accelerate directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
Motorcycle riders often use a few tricks to increase their visibility, such as weaving inside their lane or honking their horns. But there is very little evidence that these tricks work. Moreover, they may further anger other motorists who do not like motorcycle riders very much in the first place. More on that below.
When a 4,000-plus pound vehicle slams into a 400-pound motorcycle at a very high speed, the rider is almost always very seriously injured. Some of these wounds include:
Head Injuries: Motorcycle helmets prevent some, but not all, trauma-related head injuries. Additionally, helmets offer no protection against motion-related head injuries. The force of the impact usually throws riders off their bikes. When that happens, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls.
Road Burns: These deep and wide abrasions are not life-threatening. However, they are extremely painful and they greatly restrict mobility. Moreover, there is little any doctor can do to treat these injuries. Time is pretty much the only cure.
Biker’s Arm: When bikers fall off their motorcycles, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. When their arms hit the ground, the impact often causes permanent nerve damage to the brachial plexus area.
These wounds, and others like them, often trigger tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. A Brainerd motorcycle accident lawyer can make sure these bills get paid on time. Additional compensation is available for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium (companionship), emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Brainerd Motorcycle Crash Lawyers and Defenses in Civil Claims
When a car cust in front of a motorcycle, insurance company lawyers often raise the last clear chance defense. If the victim had a reasonable chance to avoid the crash but did not do so, the victim, and not the tortfeasor, is legally responsible for the wreck. That’s true even if the tortfeasor received a ticket or was faulted for the accident.
Typically, however, these incidents happen so fast that the motorcycle rider could not avoid the wreck. As mentioned, the tortfeasor often suddenly accelerates in the moments before the crash. Additionally, it’s very difficult to perform evasive maneuvers on a motorcycle. If they attempt them, most people will lose control of their bikes and cause an even worse crash.
If the victim was not wearing a helmet, or not wearing it the right way, insurance company lawyers usually raise the motorcycle helmet defense as well. This doctrine states that bikers who do not wear helmets are responsible for their own injuries.
In Minnesota, the motorcycle helmet defense is extremely complex. State law prohibits the so-called seat belt defense. Insurance company lawyers cannot use seat belt non-use to reduce compensation in car crash cases. But there’s no similar law regarding motorcycle helmets. And, Minnesota has a mandatory helmet law.
Victims have no duty to mitigate (voluntarily reduce) their damages before a crash. So, motorcycle helmet use is arguably irrelevant. However, a Brainerd motorcycle crash lawyer must be prepared to argue this point in court.