In 2020, 78 people died in motorcycle accidents in Alabama, which outlines how dangerous the roads are for motorcyclists.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, you might be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. You will need the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer who can support your motorcycle accident case.
Read on and get more information about motorcycle collisions and how a Birmingham motorcycle accident attorney can help you.
Check out our informative blog posts to know more about personal injury matters!
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Alabama
If you want to recover compensation for your injuries, it’s very important to understand what caused the accident. Here are the most well-known causes of motorcycle accidents in the state.
Driving under the influence
In 2020, 26% of the fatalities from motorcycle accidents in Alabama had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or over. Reaching this BAC means the driver was legally impaired and driving under the influence (DUI). Meanwhile, 31% of the fatalities had a BAC of over 0.01.
Drivers under the influence of intoxicating substances, such as alcohol or drugs, cannot make sound decisions when driving. They are dangerous to motorcyclists because of their inability to observe what’s happening around them. They may drive erratically, ignore speed limits, or fall asleep.
Drugged drivers might be volatile because of the side effects of over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal drugs. Motorcycle riders on depressants or narcotics may be too sleepy to pay attention on the road. Those high on hallucinogens or stimulants can be too disoriented or aggressive, which can increase their risk of being involved in an accident.
A texter is 23 times more likely to get into a car accident than a driver who is not texting. This takes the driver’s attention away from the road and increases their risk of getting into an accident.
Distracted driving does not only include texting. Any activity could take a motorcyclist’s attention away from the task of driving. These activities endanger the motorcycle driver and bystanders and include the following activities:
- Reading, including digital or physical maps
- Using a phone
- Using a navigation system
Distracted drivers can also cause motorcycle accidents due to improper attitude, lack of knowledge, or faulty judgment. If your mind is preoccupied, you are not alert enough to safely operate a vehicle.
There is a reason why most roads in the US have speed limits. When motorcyclists go over the limit or drive too fast for the conditions, they put themselves and others at risk.
Motorcycle drivers are already vulnerable to speeding passenger vehicles. Since motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles, other drivers might not be able to see them on the road. Motorcyclists, therefore, increase their chances of being involved in an accident by driving too fast.
When drivers drive past the speed limit, they will have less time to react to traffic scenarios.
Weaving between lanes, taking turns too fast, or getting too close to other vehicles can also be dangerous. These scenarios may cause motorcyclists to lose control and accidentally swerve into other motorcycles.
State law prohibits motorcycles from driving between two lanes of congested traffic to pass slower vehicles.
This practice, which is called lane splitting, can help reduce congestion. It also allows motorcyclists to avoid potential rear-end crashes with other drivers.
However, it also poses several risks and can injure the driver and other people on the road. When a motorcycle lane-splits, they will have less space to move around other cars. Moreover, the drivers changing lanes may crash into them because they are not expecting the motorcycle to be there.
Dangerous road conditions
Some motor vehicle accidents happen because of dangerous road conditions, such as limited visibility and slick roads, which can be dangerous to all drivers.
Motorcycle drivers are more likely to sustain more severe injuries than other drivers. They are at higher risk of getting seriously hurt because they are more exposed.
Driving in the dark is also dangerous for motorists. In 2019, 51% of all fatal vehicle crashes occurred at nighttime. Low light levels make it more challenging for drivers to see other cars. Moreover, it’s also more difficult for drivers to spot road debris, potholes, and uneven pavement in the dark.
To ensure the safety of motorcyclists in Alabama, the government implemented state laws to keep drivers safe. Read on and discover the relevant laws concerning motorcycle safety in the state.
Important Laws for Motorcycle Drivers in Alabama
Under the Alabama Code Section 32-5A-245 (2020), all motorcycle drivers must wear protective clothing when on the road.
Helmets and face shields are required to protect your face in a motorcycle crash. Without a helmet, motorcycle accident victims may sustain a traumatic brain injury.
A headgear also protects the driver from wind, dirt, dust, rain, insects, and pebbles on the road. Debris can be distracting and painful if it comes from vehicles in front of you.
Goggles can keep your eyes safe, but they cannot protect the rest of your face. Glasses also won’t be enough to keep your eyes from watering, and they don’t fit snugly to your head. In fact, they might even come off when you turn your head or if there are strong winds.
An effective eye or face shield is:
- Free of scratches
- Permits air to pass through so your helmet won’t fog
- Gives a clear view of both sides of the driver
- Fastens securely
- Has room for eyeglasses, if needed
Without protective clothing, you may experience more severe injuries from an accident. Common motorcycle injuries include broken bones, road rash, spinal cord injury, and injuries that require amputation.
Insurance is also a factor you need to consider when driving a motorcycle. In Alabama, drivers with no liability insurance policies are subject to a civil penalty for operating, registering, or maintaining a vehicle.
The Alabama Department of Insurance outlines the minimum coverage requirements, which are as follows:
- $25,000 for property damage
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
You will need a lawyer if you want to file a compensation claim after a motorcycle accident. Take a look at how a motorcycle accident attorney can help you.
What a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
Facing legal hurdles alone can be tough, especially after a motorcycle accident. However, you must remember that you don’t have to address all these challenges alone. Here are the things a Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyer can do for you.
Investigate the accident
Investigating an accident is not always a straightforward task. A thorough investigation of a motorcycle accident is more than just reading police reports. This process is crucial to determine whether you have a valid legal claim for your injuries.
The investigation may include the following steps:
- Finding and interviewing witnesses
- Recording the weather conditions, date, and time of the crash
- Going to the scene of the accident to take photos
- Creating diagrams in the scene to reflect the events that led to the accident
- Looking for surveillance footage of the accident
- Determining if the defense could claim contributory negligence
- Reviewing medical evidence of injuries sustained in the crash, such as medical bills and doctor’s notes
Assessing whether you have a valid claim for compensation against other parties is an essential first step. By determining how the accident occurred, a personal injury attorney can better evaluate the strength of your claim.
You need evidence to strengthen your personal injury claim. Records supporting negligence or the other party’s fault can bolster your case. Fortunately, an expert personal injury lawyer can help you collect this evidence.
For example, if you want to prove that another driver was negligent, you may need to collect the following evidence:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Post-accident toxicology reports for both parties
- Written records of certain events leading up to the crash
- Documentation of charges or traffic citations from the accident
- Driving histories of the people involved
After filing your insurance claim, the insurance company will review it and respond. Your insurer might respond with an offer, but the amount might be lower than you deserve. With an experienced and compassionate attorney on your side, you will know better.
A lawyer can help you through the settlement process and negotiate an amount that’s fair to you based on the injuries you’ve sustained. If the lawyer succeeds, you will get fair compensation.
Offer legal support
Any legal matter often includes confusing jargon that most people might not understand. You will need an attorney who can walk you through the process with a professional eye. With legal representation, you can be sure your insurers cannot take advantage of you.
They can handle the legal aspects of your case so you can concentrate on healing and being with your loved ones after the crash.
Involved in a Motorcycle Accident in Birmingham? Check Out The Personal Injury Center Today.
A motorcycle accident can be stressful and traumatic. The investigation, negotiation, and other processes after the crash can be overwhelming for victims to go through alone.
Fortunately, motorcycle accident lawyers can ease your burdens. They can investigate your case and offer legal support so you can get the compensation you deserve. Some law firms offer free consultations and free case evaluations, so look for companies ready to hear you out.
If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle accident, visit The Personal Injury Center. Our blog posts are filled with informative reminders that can help you build a solid personal injury claim.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Birmingham
How much time does it take to settle a motorcycle accident claim?
The time it takes to settle a motorcycle accident claim can range from six months to a year. Although parties can settle some cases within a couple of months, certain factors can complicate cases.
The more complicated a motorcycle accident case is, the longer it may take to settle. If the personal injury case goes to court, it may take longer to get compensation.
Is there a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Alabama?
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Alabama is two years. If you want compensation for your injuries, you must file a case within two years from the date of the accident.
How long can my license be suspended in Alabama?
The state has a Driver’s License Point System that dictates how long a license suspension should last. Drivers get points for every traffic offense they commit. Those with high point counts will have a longer suspension period.
Suspension can last from 60 days to 120 days. However, major offenses could result in the permanent disqualification of a license. These offenses include DUI, using a motor vehicle for a felony, or refusing an alcohol test.