Driving a two-tire vehicle like a motorbike inherently comes with more risks than operating a car with four wheels. While you may assume it’s a balance thing that makes operating a motorcycle so dangerous, that’s not the only potential hazard.
It’s not uncommon to hear about motorcycle wrecks in Albuquerque. In most motorcycle accident cases, the motorcyclist does not walk away uninjured. In too many personal injury cases like this, preventable fatalities occur. While these adverse outcomes can certainly stem from operator error, motorcycle collisions often occur because of the limited protection the smaller vehicles offer riders.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash or you’ve lost a loved one in this type of wreck, an Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help. Our attorneys can provide legal assistance as you file an injury claim so that you can focus on recovering from what you’ve been put through. Your first step toward establishing a relationship with an attorney from our office is to schedule a free consultation to discuss your New Mexico case.
Statistics Surrounding New Mexico Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are regularly injured and killed in New Mexico. According to the state’s Department of Transportation, a motorcycle was involved in a crash every eight hours in 2017.
While motorcycles were only involved in 3.5% of all vehicle crashes, the related fatalities accounted for 16.4% of the state’s total crashes. The majority of deaths involve unhelmeted riders. Additionally, nearly 50% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved drug or alcohol use.
Leading Causes of New Mexico Motorcycle Accidents
Based on the above-referenced statistics compiled by the state, there are a number of patterns when it comes to motorcycle accidents.
The majority of motorcycle accidents in Albuquerque were the result of human error. The top contributing factors include:
Speed limits exist to ensure drivers have maximum control over their vehicles. In the event a person decides to disregard the established limit, it’s easier to lose control—especially around curves and in the event of an emergency stop. When a motorcyclist is involved in a high-speed accident, their injuries are more likely to be fatal.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
Operating any vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous. The substances reduce a person’s ability to understand what’s happening around them. If someone gets behind the wheel in a state like that, they may be unable to operate their vehicle properly on the road. Additionally, a drunk driver is less likely to see a motorcycle, making the possibility of a collision higher.
Violating Traffic Rules
Part of driving responsibly involves following the rules of the road. When a driver neglects to do so or chooses to drive erratically, they’re putting others at risk. For example, when a New Mexico car tailgates a motorcycle, they’re risking read-ending the bike and causing fatal injuries. Crashes also happen when one or both vehicles involved fail to yield or merge properly when changing or entering a lane.
Understand the Consequences of a Motorcycle Crash
While most New Mexico car accidents involving two passenger vehicles are only likely to result in property damage, the damage when a motorcycle is involved is much more severe. The majority of wrecks result in injuries or fatalities—many of which are wrongful death incidents.
Injuries Resulting From Albuquerque Motorcycle Accidents
The most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
Because of their exposure to the elements, injuries like nerve damage, head and brain injuries, amputations, and spinal cord injuries happen frequently when a rider is thrown from their motorcycle. The injuries are so severe because they’re not equipped with airbags or the safety the inside of a vehicle offers.
Motorcyclists’ bodies absorb almost all the impact in a motorcycle crash. Thus, aggressive medical treatment is almost always warranted in these instances.
The more catastrophic the injuries are, the more necessary it will be to recover the maximum compensation necessary to pay for present and future medical expenses and lost wages you’re likely to have. Our motorcycle accident lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm are well-experienced in helping clients who’ve suffered the worst injuries possible recover compensation, and can help you do the same by filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Prevent Injuries?
Even with a helmet on, it’s possible for a motorcyclist to hit their head hard enough to cause damage. While a minor TBI, like a concussion, is likely to heal in a matter of weeks or months, severe brain damage can result in cognitive impairment and loss of motor function.
What To Know About Road Rash
While not unique to motorcycle crashes, road rash is a type of burn commonly associated with these types of crashes. This, again, has to do with the exposure a motorcyclist faces.
Even while wearing protective gear, exposed skin is easily damaged by the pavement in a motorcycle accident. Road rash is incredibly painful and susceptible to infection. Depending on the severity, our dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys have seen where clients have needed skin grafting to assist in the healing process.
Because the injuries are usually severe, motorcycle accident victims are left to deal with extensive medical bills. Hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy appointments, medications, and implants or assistive devices can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, if not more. Even with quality health care insurance, surviving family members of deceased or injured motorcyclists are often left with bills they can’t afford.
Mental Health Concerns Motorcyclists Suffer From
When injury victims are trying to focus on recovering while worrying about their financial state, it’s common to develop conditions like depression and anxiety. In fact, our accident lawyers have handled cases in which clients developed post-traumatic stress disorder from the motorcycle accident itself.
Taking care of mental health concerns is just as important as tending to physical injuries, which is why it may be necessary to speak with a professional counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist as part of the medical treatment process.
Determining Liability Before Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
To file a successful New Mexico motorcycle accident claim, it’s important to understand how the crash happened. While it may seem straightforward to you, an insurance company may not see it that way. This is particularly the case if it means they might have to pay up. You can count on our law firm to investigate the incident and determine the exact cause.
If, after a motorcycle collision, you decide to file a personal injury claim, your Albuquerque motorcycle accident attorney can help you prove liability. You’ll need strong evidence to support the fact that you were not at fault for what happened if you’re looking to seek compensation for the motorcycle accident-related losses you incurred.
Proving Liability in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Most motorcycle accident injury claims are built on the concept of negligence, of which there are four elements.
First, it needs to be established that the other driver owed you a duty of care to keep you safe. This element is a given for most auto wreck personal injury claims, as motorists must exercise care when driving.
Second, you’ll need to show that the other driver breached that duty of care. Establishing this element typically involves explaining how and why the motorcycle accident happened—whether the cause was speeding, drunk driving, distractions, not yielding the right of way, tailgating, or something else.
After you’ve proven an existing duty and a breach of that duty, you’ll need to show how the injuries caused stemmed from the breach of duty of care.
Finally, your severe injuries will need to correlate to the economic or non-economic losses you incurred (the ones that you’re claiming). Medical records and bills, employment records showing lost wages, and even journal entries showing your mental state are useful in documenting these losses.
Third Parties Often Assist Motorcycle Injury Attorneys in Building Cases
Sometimes it may be necessary for a personal injury attorney from our law firm to bring an accident reconstruction expert to conduct an analysis of your motorcycle accident to further investigate what happened so we can ensure you have a valid or strong claim.
This is often the case when there are serious injuries involved, as this is when a New Mexico insurance company may be more apt to deny that their insured is the negligent driver and instead claim you are the at-fault party.
Next Steps To Take After Establishing Liability
Once the fault has been successfully proven, your experienced personal injury lawyer at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will help you seek full and fair compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf, so you can recover from your injuries.
There are a few different things that need to happen quickly to ensure you’ll be able to easily establish liability and defend your position in your case, including:
- Receiving immediate and regular medical care until a doctor releases you
- Preserving evidence, including taking pictures and witness statements
- Ensuring timely filing of all claims and lawsuits
Each of these factors is critical to preserving your rights in your case. These are some of the many important details we’ll want to discuss with you when our Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm attorneys meet with you for an initial, free consultation.
Recovering Losses After a New Mexico Motorcycle Accident
New Mexico is an at-fault insurance state, meaning you’re eligible to file an injury claim against the negligent driver and their auto insurance company for damages after an accident occurs. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, in the event of a hit-and-run or an incident in which the motorist who struck you had inadequate coverage to pay for your damages, you could be filing an insurance claim with your own carrier.
Regardless, it’s unlikely that insurance adjusters will be in total agreement with how the motorcycle accident occurred and what it cost you. That’s why when we build a claim, we make sure to take all your losses into consideration before attempting to negotiate with an insurance company.
What Economic Damages Are
The most common damages are the economic ones. These include medical expenses. These can be associated with past and future medical care, lost wages, property damage, and more.
Existing medical bills can be used to calculate past medical treatment costs. Your Albuquerque motorcycle accident attorney here at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will use your past medical bills and records and health industry forecasts to demand maximum compensation in your personal injury case.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers want to ensure you obtain compensation that will adequately cover your future medical bills that you’re sure to have if you’re in physical pain after you’ve suffered a debilitating personal injury.
What Non-Economic Damages Are
It’s more challenging for personal injury attorneys to calculate how much non-economic damages associated with the following are worth:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish or emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Quantifying Non-Economic Damages
The reason why it’s difficult for an Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer to determine how much in maximum compensation to demand for these damages is because they’re not easily quantifiable. Since these losses aren’t based on dollar amounts, your personal injury lawyer will take into consideration:
- How the motorcycle accident changed your life
- The likelihood of you making a full recovery
- Your ability to work now and in the future
- Changes to your overall mood
What Punitive Damages Are
When it comes to the maximum compensation you can recover, you may also be eligible for punitive damages in your New Mexico motorcycle accident case. These are assessed as a type of punishment to deter a defendant and future defendants from committing similar acts in the future.
While your attorney may be able to provide you with an idea of the amount of damages you may expect during your free consultation, it may not be possible. It often comes down to how far into your treatment plan you are, including whether you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, and if so, what your doctors’ records show your prognosis is.
Through negotiations, your Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer will ensure the settlement an insurance company offers you covers the losses you incurred as a result of a crash that never should have happened.
How an Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Supports You
No matter what you’ve lost as a result of your crash, our Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will fight for you. We have extensive experience investigating motorcycle accidents, submitting insurance company claims, and escalating motorcycle accident cases by filing a civil lawsuit, too.
Our New Mexico legal team has decades of experience providing legal representation for motorcycle crash victims. Any of our motorcycle accident lawyers that you establish an attorney client relationship with will do what it takes to amass physical evidence necessary to ensure the party that caused your wreck is held accountable for their actions.
Just know that the Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyers have no problem taking on the insurance company or an at-fault party. And we won’t accept an insurance company trying to get you to recover compensation that’s less than what you deserve.
It’s important to understand that the claims process can be complicated, so the sooner you get started, the better your chances are of maximizing your compensation. To learn more about the process or to discuss starting your claim, schedule a meeting with our Albuquerque motorcycle accident attorneys today.
You have no obligation to work with our legal team if you don’t want to simply because you attend a free consultation. We’ll begin by evaluating what you’ve been through and providing you with advice on how best to proceed to secure your future.