Driving a two-wheeled vehicle inherently comes with more risks than operating a car with four wheels. It’s not uncommon to hear about motorcycle wrecks in Albuquerque. In most cases, the motorcyclist does not walk away uninjured. In too many situations, fatalities occur. This often has to do with the limited protection the smaller vehicles offer riders.
If you’ve been injured in a crash or you’ve lost a loved one, the Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Law Firm can help you file a legal claim and recover from what you’ve been put through. In order to file a successful claim, it’s important to understand how the crash happened. We can investigate the incident and determine the exact cause. Based on statistics compiled by the state, there are a number of patterns when it comes to crashes involving motorcyclists.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Albuquerque
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. The majority of motorcycle collisions in Albuquerque were the result of human error. The top contributing factors include excessive speed, driver inattention, drug or alcohol involvement, improper driving techniques, tailgating, and failing to yield properly.
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.
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.
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 car tailgates a motorcycle they’re risking read-ending the bike and causing fatal injuries. Crashes also happen when vehicles fail to yield or merge properly when changing or entering a lane.
Understand the Consequences of a Motorcycle Crash
While most 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 resulted in injuries or fatalities. While motorcycles were only involved in 3.5% of all vehicle crashes, the related fatalities accounted for 16.4% of the state’s total. The majority of deaths were of riders who were unhelmeted. Additionally, nearly 50% of the fatal accidents involved drug or alcohol use.
The most common motorcycle accident injuries include traumatic brain injuries, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and burns. 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.
Because of their exposure to the elements, injuries like nerve damage, 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. Their bodies absorb almost all the impact.
Road rash, while not unique to motorcycle crashes, 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. Road rash is incredibly painful and susceptible to infection. Depending on the severity, skin grafting could be needed 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 medical devices can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, if not more. Even with quality healthcare insurance, families are often left will bills they can’t afford.
When a crash victim is trying to focus on recovering while worrying about their financial state, it’s common to develop conditions like depression and anxiety. The patient could also be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder from the 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.
Determining Liability After a Wreck
If after a wreck you decide to file a personal injury claim, your lawyer can help you prove liability. You’ll need strong evidence to support the fact that you were at fault for what happened if you’re looking to seek compensation for the accident-related losses you incurred.
Most motorcycle accident claims are built on the concept of negligence, to which there are four elements. First, it needs to be established that the other driver owed you a duty of care. This is a given for most auto wreck claims, as motorists must exercise care when driving. Second, you’ll need to show that the other driver breached that duty. This typically involves explaining how and why the accident happened—whether the cause was speeding, drunk driving, etc.
After you’ve proven an existing duty and a breach of that duty, you’ll need to show how that breach caused your injuries. Finally, your injuries will need to correlate to the losses you incurred. Medical records and bills are useful at this point.
Once fault’s been successfully proven, your lawyer will help you seek full and fair compensation so you can recover from your injuries.
Recovering from Injuries and Losses
It’s likely the claim you file will be with the other driver’s insurance company. In some situations, like in the event of a hit-and-run, however, you could be filing a claim through your own policy. Regardless, it’s unlikely that the insurance company adjuster will be in total agreement with how the 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.
The most common damages are the economic ones. These include expenses like medical bills, future cost of care, lost wages, property damage, and more. They are calculable down to the penny or easily estimated based on existing figures.
More challenges to calculate are the noneconomic damages. They factor in pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more. Because they’re not based on dollar amounts, your lawyer will take into consideration how your life has changed since the accident, the likelihood of you making a full recovery, your ability to work now and in the future, and any changes to your overall mood.
Through negotiations, your lawyer will ensure the settlement you’re offered covers the losses you incurred as a result of a crash that never should have happened.
Buckingham Barrera Law Firm Fights for You
No matter what you’ve lost as a result of your crash, our Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyers will fight for you. We have extensive experience representing crash victims, and we’ll do what it takes to ensure the party that caused your wreck is held accountable for their actions.
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 attorneys today. We’ll begin by evaluating what you’ve been through and providing you with advice on how best to proceed to secure your future.