What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
As a motorcycle rider in Colorado, you can enjoy the freedom of the mountain roads during our state’s many days of sunshine. But, on a motorcycle, you do not have the same physical barriers to protect you as a driver of a car or truck does.
Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Deadly
A motorcycle accident is different than a typical car crash. Injuries are generally more serious, and the determination of fault can be based on laws that are unique to motorcycles. There are specific laws pertaining to motorcycle operation in Colorado that all motorcyclists should know.
Colorado laws for motorcycle operation:
- It is illegal for a motorcyclist to share a lane with a car.
- It is illegal for a motorcyclist to ride between rows of stopped cars.
- Motorcycle passengers must ride behind the motorcycle operator and use footrests.
- Motorcyclists under the age of 18 must wear helmets.
- Motorcyclists must use approved eye protection.
- Motorcyclists must have regular driver’s licenses that specifically authorize the driver to operate a motorcycle. This special authorization is obtained by passing a motorcycle written test and a motorcycle driving test as well as paying required fees.
- Low-power scooters do not qualify as motorcycles but do require a basic driver’s license for operation.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
As previously mentioned, injuries from motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than injuries suffered in a typical car crash. Because of the lack of a protective car frame and a seat belt, injuries often include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Road rash
- Blunt force trauma
These injuries are more likely to be serious and permanent. Permanency means that the injured’s body will be different in some way after the crash than it was before, and this can include scarring. From the perspective of recovering damages, there is no limit in Colorado for permanency.
What Does At-Fault Mean?
Colorado is an at-fault state, meaning that the party determined to have caused the accident is the party who pays the damages. Despite popular belief, motorcyclists are generally found to be at fault in about half (not all!) of crashes involving a motorcycle and car. Crashes can happen for many and multiple reasons. When a motorcyclist is found to be at fault, it is often because of speeding, carelessness, fatigue or illegal lane sharing. When a driver of a car is found to be at fault, it is almost always because (due to inattention, distraction or speeding) the driver did not see the motorcyclist. Among riders and drivers alike, intoxication is a factor in approximately one-third of Colorado crashes. Minimize your risk by following the law.
Tips For Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents occur when a car turns left into the path of a motorcycle and the motorcycle does not have time to stop. When you are behind the wheel, remember to check your blind spots before merging, especially when turning left. When you ride, do not ride in the blind spot of a car. Pay attention to the road conditions, too. Potholes, for example, pose a threat to motorcyclists that simply does not exist for drivers of cars.
The Importance Of Wearing A Helmet
Although persons aged 18 and older may legally ride without a helmet in Colorado, helmets really can mean the difference between life and death in a crash. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), there were 103 motorcyclist fatalities in Colorado in 2018. More than half the motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. Some riders believe that helmets are dangerous because they reduce peripheral vision, but in a study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes, where 40% of riders wore helmets, there was not even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger (Colorado Motorcycle Handbook). Riders who wear helmets are more likely to survive a crash.
Injured In A Motorcycle Accident? Reach Out To Us.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, then you should know that the police report is not always the final word in determining liability. Because of the nature of accidents involving motorcycles, fault can sometimes be shared, and the less-guilty party can still collect damages. Fault can also involve parties that seem irrelevant at first, like the municipality in charge of road design and repair or a motorcycle maintenance shop.
Even if you don’t think you have a “case,” talk to us, Denver personal injury lawyers, and let us make that call. At Shafner Law, we have successfully recovered compensation for injured motorcyclists and their passengers. Even when, at first glance, compensation was severely in doubt.
For a free consultation with an attorney, call Shafner Injury Law at 720-800-4715 or contact our office online.