Motorcycle Accident Law Explained
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed by all of the aspects of filing an insurance claim for injury compensation. The same is true if you are a family member who has lost a loved one in one of these accidents, as you prepare to file a wrongful death claim. Motorcycle accident law is not like car accident law. There are distinct differences that pertain to motorcycle accident victims’ cases that car accident victims never have to consider or face. This is why you need the help and guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer as you prepare your case for settlement or a court trial.
Motorcycle accident laws are enacted and enforced by the state and federal government. These laws differ from state-to-state, such as in the case of licensing, helmet use and even compensation after a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists still must follow the same rules of the road as other drivers. But they are subjected to additional requirements under the law that can affect their motorcycle accident case.
Most states, like Arizona, require motorcycle riders to go through special licensing procedures toward a separate endorsement on their driver’s license. This endorsement enables them to legally operate a motorcycle. Many riders are either unaware of this requirement or ignore it altogether before getting on their bike and hitting the road. It is an unfortunate truth that a large percentage of motorcycle accident fatalities and accidents in general involve unlicensed and inexperienced riders. So these legal requirements do serve a distinct purpose of helping riders to be safe on the roads.
When motorcycle riders without proper licensing are in an accident, they are cited as having fault in their own injuries and other damages, whether or not they caused the accident. This is because they are guilty of operating their motorcycle illegally.
Motorcycle Safety Equipment
Almost every jurisdiction in the country requires some form of motorcycle safety equipment, even if a safety helmet is not required. Many states do require riders to wear DOT-approved safety helmets. But those that do not still may require eye protection or other coverage. Some states require wear of reflective vests, enclosed footwear, armored clothing or other gear. These laws also specify the state’s requirements for motorcycle lights and when those lights must be used. These lights include blinkers, brake lights and headlights in most jurisdictions.
Not complying with your state or jurisdiction’s motorcycle safety laws make you more vulnerable to an accident. This non-compliance also contributes to the difficulty you may have in pursuing compensation for your injuries and other damages from an accident.
Added Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
Many states are enacting laws that help protect motorcycle riders from accidents with other vehicles. It has long been true that many motorcycle accidents are the fault of drivers who fail to look for or recognize motorcyclists on the road with them. When these drivers do not share the road and have an accident with a motorcycle, there are some jurisdictions that have enhanced penalties against at-fault drivers for having an accident with these vulnerable riders. But these laws are somewhat unusual and many people question whether they are truly effective in preventing accidents. After all, statistics of motorcycle accidents indicate that the riders themselves are more often to blame for their accidents, than other drivers.
A minority of states have enacted laws to restrict the amount of compensation an injured motorcyclist may recover after a motorcycle accident. This has been done to support the view of motorcycle riders accepting their own inherent risks and vulnerabilities when they choose to ride a motorcycle. The laws are also meant to show that enclosed passenger vehicles are a safer choice for sharing the road. In these regions, motorcycle riders are less able to hold other accountable for the terrible injuries they may suffer in an accident.
Help for Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Each state in the United States has its own motorcycle accident laws. That is why it is important for you to know the laws of your state before choosing to ride a motorcycle. When an accident occurs, you also need the help and guidance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer best able to safeguard your rights and stand up against difficult insurance companies. This type of lawyer can help you gain the fullest amount of compensation possible for your injuries and other damages suffered in a motorcycle accident.