Even the most careful motorcycle driver faces the risk that an accident will be caused by another driver's negligence. A person who has been involved in a motorcycle accident may be able to file a claim for damages related to injuries and property damage. Talk to an experienced Iowa personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are inattentive or impaired driving, adverse weather conditions and failure to obey traffic signals.
Most people are aware of the dangers of inattentive driving, but many people still continue dangerous behaviors such as texting and driving. Any source of distraction such as a pet or child in the vehicle that causes the driver to take their eyes off the road for only a few seconds can cause an accident.
Driving While Impaired
Drunk or drugged driving is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. A person should never drive a motorcycle while impaired. Alcohol and drugs can slow a person's reaction time making it difficult to stop or swerve to avoid an accident.
Foggy or Rainy Weather Conditions
Foggy or rainy conditions can cause accidents because they reduce driver visibility. Motorcyclists are already at a disadvantage when it comes to visibility because of a motorcycle's size compared to a car. Drivers who fail to take into account rainy weather conditions by driving too fast risk causing an accident when they attempt to brake and hydroplane.
Snow and Ice
Snow and ice are another major cause of motorcycle accidents. It is usually best for drivers to stay off the road if at all possible during winter weather conditions. Roads can go from being safe to drive on to slippery and dangerous very quickly.
Failure to Obey Traffic Signals
Failing to obey traffic signals puts drivers at risk for an accident. Many serious accidents occur in intersections after one driver ignored a stop sign or drove through a stop light.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents are a common cause of serious injuries. Motorcycle accidents often result in the following types of injuries:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Soft tissue damage
- Sprains and strains
- Fractured limbs
Iowa is one of the few states that does not have a motorcycle helmet law. Head injuries from a motorcycle accident are usually serious and often fatal. The good news is that in a personal injury claim, the other driver cannot argue that a person riding a motorcycle did anything illegal to contribute to their injury by not wearing a helmet. However, they may still try to argue that the driver of the motorcycle failed to use reasonable care.
The degree of impairment after a spinal cord injury depends on the location of the injury. Sometimes a person suffers a fracture of the bones in their spine but does not suffer any spinal cord damage. If the spinal cord is damaged, paralysis may be partial or complete depending on whether or not the spinal cord was completely severed. If the spinal cord was bruised instead of severed, paralysis may be temporary.
Road rash occurs when a person's skin has contact with the road. Many motorcycle riders wear leather not only for fashion reasons and to protect themselves against the weather but also because it serves as a barrier between the pavement and a person's skin in case of an accident.
Soft tissue damage includes bruises and contusions. Severe bruising can sometimes be as painful as a fracture. At the emergency room, doctors almost always order an x-ray if a person complains about pain after an accident to rule out fractures.
Sprains and strains occur when a person's muscles or ligaments are stretched or torn by physical trauma. Most people fully recover from sprains or strains. If you are involved in an accident, it is important not to assume that your injury is “just a sprain” since many people do not feel the full extent of their injuries right after a crash.
Fractured limbs are more common in motorcycle accidents than car accidents since the injuries from a motorcycle accident tend to be more serious. A serious fracture may require surgery and rehabilitation.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
The first thing you should do after a motorcycle accident is to stay calm and assess the situation. The top priority should be to get medical attention for anyone who has been injured. If you are confronted by an angry driver, avoid confrontation until help arrives. If a driver tries to flee the scene, try to get their license plate number or take a photo of their vehicle to capture this information.
As soon as possible, contact emergency services or ask someone to call if you have been injured. If you call 911, a dispatcher can send an ambulance and police to your location. The local fire department is often dispatched to serious accidents to prevent or extinguish fires and help rescue anyone who has been trapped in a wrecked vehicle.
If no medical attention is necessary after a minor accident, you should contact the police to report the accident. It is a good idea to ask any witnesses who saw what happened to stay until the police arrive and get their contact information if possible in case you need it later.
If possible, take photos of the scene. Take more photos than you think you need, and make sure to capture anything that may be relevant including the weather conditions, signs indicating the speed limit, damage to any vehicles and individuals present at the scene of the accident.
Hiring an Iowa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident in Iowa, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you. Call Shawn Smith today to schedule a consultation. Contact the Smith Law Firm, PC online or call (855) 451-1260