It is pretty well understood that riding motorcycle is inherently dangerous because motorcyclists are so exposed to injury. They are more exposed than a passenger in a car would be. Because of this substantial lack of protection, the risk of fatalities as a result of motorcycle accidents is much higher. If a loved one dies in a motorcycle accident, wrongful death actions can be brought against the responsible driver. Regardless, the horrors of fatal motorcycle accidents are hard to get past.
Recent Motorcycle Fatality in Arkansas
On September 6, 2015, a fatal motorcycle accident occurred in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. Two young men were both traveling on motorcycles on I-30. One motorcyclist collided with the other and they both slid several feet before the motorcycles caught fire. One of the cyclists was pronounced dead at the scene. Motorcycle collisions may not be as common as car versus motorcycle, or truck versus motorcycle accidents, but they do occur.
Wrongful death claims for motorcycle fatalities
A wrongful death claim is the type of claim you file in court when someone dies as a result of their personal injuries in a motorcycle accident. This type of claim, obviously, can only be brought by the victim’s survivors. A wrongful death claim is only appropriate when the death is the result of the negligence or other misconduct of a third party. In other words, if a motorcyclist simply loses control and runs off the road, there is not likely a claim for wrongful death.
How common are motorcycle fatalities?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2011, that nearly 4,700 motorcyclists were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents. This was a 2% increase from the prior year. A study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), reported that motorcycle deaths increased nearly 9% in 2012, which was the largest overall traffic fatality increase reported. This increase has been steady for the last 15 years. Unfortunately, motorcyclists remain one of the few groups of motorists where no progress can be shown over the last decade, as far as safety.
Why are motorcycles more dangerous?
The obvious reason is that motorcycles do not have the protective barrier that an automobile has. Without any significant protection between the motorcyclist and the road or other vehicles, they are more exposed to major injury. Another contributing factor is the difficulty many motorists have seeing or anticipating a motorcycle in traffic. This leaves motorcyclists more prone to collisions with other vehicles. In light of the lack of safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, and a metal frame, motorcyclists typically suffer more extensive, or even catastrophic, injuries.
Protective clothing and equipment
There are various types of protective clothing available for motorcyclists that can protect them better from serious injury, should they be involved in a collision. Obviously, a helmet is a must. Goggles, boots, gloves and leather pants and jacket, for example, can be very beneficial in protecting a motorcyclist’s bare skin from the pavement.
If you have questions regarding fatal motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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