Columbus Motorcycle Accident Lawyer | Legal Services for Accident Victims
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, almost 4,000 accidents involving motorcycles occurred in Ohio 2020 and 214 people died as a result of 205 deadly motorcycle accidents.
Because of these alarming statistics, motorcycle accidents are considered a major concern in Ohio, and the state government has even devised a five-year strategy to create safer roads for motorcycle riders.
The reality is that motorcyclists do not have protection from an external body if an accident occurs. This means that they are more likely to sustain serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Traveling by motorcycle is also considered more dangerous because a motorcycle is much smaller than other vehicles on the road, so other motorists often do not see them and cause an accident.
Motorbike riders are therefore more likely to be hit by another vehicle than other motorists on the road. When this happens, motorcyclists need to arm themselves with the proper legal knowledge to know what to do in the event of an accident.
Keating Law Firm Is Here to Help!
The friendly lawyers at Keating Law Firm are here to help provide motorcycle riders with the information they need and help them pursue fair compensation for the injuries they suffered due to a motorcycle crash by filing a motorcycle accident claim.
Contact Keating Law Firm today to book a free consultation and case review with an established, reliable Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer!
Why Victims Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The regulations in Ohio that govern motorcycle accidents are complex, and there are numerous traps for bikers who have been harmed due to someone else's recklessness. Insurance companies also try to place the blame on motorcyclists to avoid having to pay hefty claims.
An insurance company may also offer a low settlement amount that may not cover future expenses and other damages, such as pain and suffering. This is why it is essential to get in touch with a Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer before accepting any offers from insurers.
A Lawyer Can Help Bring Clarity to Several Issues
Here are some of the things an attorney can help with:
Offering reliable legal counsel
Gathering evidence to prove negligence
Provide tips on how to handle the property damage claim
Inquiring about insurance benefits
Ensuring that victims get the compensation they are entitled to
Advising victims on what information should be shared with an insurance company and what should not
These are just a few of the benefits victims can expect when they enlist the services of a trained, experienced attorney.
Why Choose Keating Law Firm in Columbus?
There are so many law firms in Columbus, Ohio, so victims may be wondering what sets Keating Law apart from other law firms. Here are a few reasons why victims can rely on the motorcycle accident lawyers at Keating Law:
A contingency fee basis means that victims do not pay legal fees until the motorcycle accident attorney can achieve a positive outcome
Clients can discuss the details of their case with an experienced lawyer during a free consultation
Keating Law Firm has been representing motorcycle accident victims for several years
When choosing Keating Law, victims gain access to expert legal advisors that can provide much-needed guidance to help them through the legal process
Columbus motorcycle accident lawyers have won hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for accident victims
Why Are Motorcycle Riders More Vulnerable to Injuries?
While motorcycle riders cause several motorcycle accidents in Ohio, the reality is that over 40 percent of accidents were, in fact, the result of motorists being reckless or negligent on the road. Even the most skilled motorcyclist can do nothing to prevent an accident if the other driver is driving recklessly.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable and exposed in an accident with a considerably bigger and heavier vehicle, putting them in danger of serious harm.
Because of their smaller size and the fact that there are substantially fewer motorbikes on the road than other vehicles, they are more likely to be involved in a collision.
Before making a turn or changing lanes, even the most cautious motorists are more aware of other vehicles on the road, but often not motorbikes.
The Reasons Why Motorcycles Are a Popular Means of Transportation
Anyone would think that people would steer clear of motorcycles because they are a riskier form of transportation.
However, as per data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of bike riders has nearly doubled since 2002, from a total of 4.2 million in 2002 to 8.3 million in 2018.
This implies that, despite their potential for danger, motorcycles are nevertheless a popular and well-liked mode of transportation.
Why is motorcycle riding so appealing? Below are some of the reasons why people prefer to travel on motorcycles.
A Love for Riding
Many people ride motorcycles simply because they enjoy doing so. It offers a sense of freedom that cannot be found with any other mode of transport. Traveling atop a motorbike can make one feel empowered, and people often ride these two-wheelers because they have a love and appreciation for the motorcycles themselves.
Physical and Emotional Benefits
There is no doubt that riding a motorcycle can keep riders fit and healthy, both physically and emotionally. Because of the exhilaration people feel while traveling with the wind in their hair, bike riding has been linked to decreased anxiety and depression.
It can also improve physical health because the entire body operates the vehicle. This is very different from car driving, as motorists use fewer muscles to operate the vehicle.
No matter what a rider's reason for choosing to ride a motorcycle is, their legal right to safe travel should not be breached. When this happens, reckless or negligent drivers must be held accountable for their actions.
The Motorcycle Accident Laws in Play in Columbus
Ohio state laws govern the way motorcycle accidents are handled in Columbus. It is essential for victims to know and understand these laws because they affect the compensation they may receive in a motorcycle accident claim.
These laws are the helmet laws, the contributory fault law, and the statute of limitations. The sections below discuss these regulations in greater detail.
Helmet Laws in Ohio
Anyone who operates a motorcycle and is under the age of 18 is required by law to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Furthermore, anyone with a Motorcycle Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card or a beginner's permit is advised to wear a helmet.
Motorcycle passengers must wear a helmet whenever traveling with a person who is under 18 or with a temporary or beginner license, irrespective of their age or licensing status.
The Contributory Fault Law
Ohio is an at-fault state, which means that the individual responsible for the accident will be legally obligated to pay compensation for any damages. The at-fault driver may file a claim with their insurance company to ensure that the victim receives fair compensation.
However, if the insurance company does not cover the amount mandated by the court, the at-fault driver will have to pay for the victim's damages out of their own pocket. Victims of motorbike accidents can take legal action, even if they were partially to blame for the unfortunate incident.
According to state law, they are entitled to compensation if they contributed less to the accident than the other involved parties. However, if the court finds that the motorcyclist was largely to blame for the collision, the case will be thrown out.
Statute of Limitations
Every state places a time limit on when a person may file personal injury or wrongful death claims. According to Ohio state law, motorcycle accident claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident.
In rare cases, the courts may grant extensions, so victims should contact a Columbus motorcycle accident attorney to determine whether they qualify for an extension if they have missed the deadline.
Motorcycle accident lawyers often advise people not to wait too long before filing a claim. This is because as time passes, it becomes more difficult to find sufficient evidence to back up their claims. Witnesses can lose their credibility over time as their memories fade.
What Causes Serious Motorcycle Accidents?
While there are several reasons why motorcycle accidents happen in Ohio, the Ohio State Highway Patrol analyzed the accident and fatality data collected to determine the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the state.
When a driver is distracted, it means that his or her attention has been diverted, either partially or entirely. This leaves room for accidents and mishaps on the road. Throw in the likelihood of the driver missing a motorcycle due to its small size, and there is a recipe for disaster.
What Are Some Examples of Distracted Driving?
Drivers can be distracted when they text while driving, take calls, take their eyes off the road to change the radio station, or when they lean over to pick something up.
Careless or Reckless Driving
All motorists have a duty of care to all other motorists on the road. This means that they have a responsibility to drive safely and in a way that does not cause harm to anyone else. However, when drivers neglect this responsibility by disobeying the rules of the road, speeding, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can cause serious injury to others.
Motorcyclists Are at Greater Risk of Being Treated Poorly
Furthermore, motorcycle riders are at a greater risk of receiving poor treatment from other motorists because they travel on smaller vehicles.
When this happens, and a crash involving serious injuries occurs, victims can count on a motorcycle accident attorney from Keating Law to help them pursue compensation.
Driving While Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could also result in a motorcycle accident. This is because these substances impair a driver's judgment.
State laws governing drunk drivers are strict, and anyone found operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, or more could face jail time and hefty fines.
Drunk drivers are also prone to driving negligently, which means they are more likely to travel over the speed limit, brake abruptly, or make sudden turns.
The more quickly a car travels, the more challenging it is to maintain control, particularly when something unexpected occurs.
Even if the motorist slams on the brake, if a car is moving at high speeds and a motorbike emerges from nowhere, the motorist will not be able to slow down in time to avoid crashing into the motorcycle.
A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help Victims Take Legal Action
Motorcycle accident victims involved in a motorcycle accident where the driver was speeding can take legal action against the driver to cover their medical expenses and lost income. Get in touch with a Columbus motorcycle accident attorney today to begin the process!
Weather conditions have also proved to play a part in motorcycle accidents in Ohio. Fog, snow, and rain can all reduce a driver's vision, and he or she may not see a motorcycle and collide with it. Slippery roads can also cause motorists and motorcyclists to lose control of their vehicles, which can also lead to motorcycle crashes.
Poor Road Conditions
Another cause of motorcycle accidents is poor road conditions. Although potholes and bumps in the road have little effect on motorists, motorcycle riders may not be so lucky. Driving over potholes can cause motorcyclists to lose control of their motorcycles and crash.
The Ohio Highway Patrol blames motorcyclists roughly 60 percent of the time when examining motorcycle crashes in Ohio. A motorbike license or a valid driving license with a motorcycle endorsement is required for everyone who rides a motorcycle.
Over 50 Percent of Riders Did Not Have the Appropriate License
However, more than half of the motorcyclists involved in motorcycle accidents did not have the relevant license. Passing a skills test demonstrating that the rider knows how to operate a motorcycle safely is required to obtain that license or endorsement.
When motorcycle riders do not take this skills test, they often lack the skills necessary to ride safely.
Proving Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Cases
One of the first things motorcycle accident lawyers will do when they take on a case is determine who was negligent. As mentioned before, a negligent driver is one who fails to travel on the road in a manner that ensures the safety of fellow drivers.
The lawyer will determine who the liable party is, which will be the person primarily to blame for the accident. It is important to note that more than one party may be at fault for the accident. Riders are encouraged to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to find out more.
Proving a duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and resulting damages are necessary steps in establishing liability in a motorcycle accident case.
Duty of Care
In a motorcycle accident case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care or a responsibility to keep the motorcyclist safe, or vice versa. This is often not difficult to prove because all drivers have a duty of care when traveling on the road.
Breach of Duty
Additionally, a victim must be able to prove that the at-fault driver failed to perform his or her duty of care. This involves proving that the driver was speeding or driving recklessly, for example.
Next, the accident victim must prove that this breach of duty caused the motorcycle accident. There is no point proving that a driver was speeding if the accident occurred because of a slippery road.
The last thing that a plaintiff must prove is that the accident led to damages and injuries. A Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer will gather evidence, such as medical bills, proof of lost income, tax information, and more to prove that the damages were, in fact, the result of the motorcycle accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
Since Ohio is an at-fault state, the first thing to do following a motorcycle crash is to determine who is to blame for the occurrence.
Victims may file a motorcycle accident claim to cover their medical fees and motorbike repair charges if they can prove that the other person is to blame for the collision.
An attorney will begin by discussing the specifics of the case to determine whether the motorcyclist was at fault for the accident. The truth is that motorcycle accident cases aren't straightforward. There may be more than two parties involved who share the blame for the accident.
When this happens, determining liability can be difficult. However, the motorcycle accident lawyers at Keating Law can help victims determine liability thanks to decades of collective experience. Below are some of the other parties that may have played a part in causing the accident.
The Local Municipality
Following a crash, some motorcyclists decide to file a lawsuit against the local municipality. The city is responsible for maintaining the roadways and ensuring that the streets are safe for cyclists.
Those involved in an accident due to road flaws such as potholes may be able to sue the local municipality for the damages they suffered.
While most motorcycle accidents involve a driver and a motorcyclist, many accidents involve more than two parties. In such cases, all parties involved may share the liability. The best way to determine who is likely to be at fault in such cases is by consulting an experienced lawyer.
Manufacturers are required to follow tight guidelines to ensure that the motorbikes produced in their facilities are safe and fit to drive. If a product has a flaw, the manufacturer must disclose it and recall all the motorcycles that are affected.
Suppose a rider dies or is seriously injured due to an unreported motorbike problem. In that case, the manufacturer may be held accountable.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcyclists often suffer serious injuries following a motorcycle accident. Unlike a motor vehicle, there is no dashboard, airbag, or seat belt to lessen the impact. Below are some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents.
1. Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) was found in 15 percent of helmeted motorcyclists and 21 percent of helmetless riders in an NHTSA study of 104,472 bikers injured in traffic collisions. 54 percent of those who died in this category died as a result of traumatic brain injury.
How These Injuries Occur in Motorcycle Accidents
Some accidents cause riders to be thrown headfirst from their motorcycle, while others cause riders to jerk their heads abruptly. These actions can cause serious injuries to the head, neck, and brain. Brain injuries are often devastating and leave motorcycle accident victims with permanent consequences.
Columbus Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help!
TBI sufferers often require several surgeries and medical treatment before they are able to resume their normal lives, and medical bills can start to pile up. In these cases, the best thing to do is contact a Columbus motorcycle accident attorney at Keating Law Firm to begin the legal process and recover compensation.
2. Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord has often been described as the body's information highway since it carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. A disruption of this information highway can have several consequences, and more often than not, these consequences are severe.
Victims may be left with permanent disabilities and may never return to their normal way of life following serious spinal cord injuries.
Treatment and rehabilitation can take several years, so those whose injuries were caused by a negligent driver should seek compensation with the help of a trusted motorcycle accident lawyer.
3. Broken Bones
Because of the nature of motorcycle accidents, broken bones and fractures are common. These injuries can change a person's quality of life by limiting their movement. In some cases, an amputation may be necessary, altering the victim's life forever.
Injuries to the Lower Extremity Is Common in Motorcycle Accidents
Broken bones and fractures often require ongoing medical treatment, procedures, and in some cases, prosthetics, which can be very expensive.
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that injuries to the lower extremities were more common in motorcycle accidents and fractures were more prevalent than soft tissue injuries.
This means that many riders won't be able to travel by motorcycle any longer, which can have devastating effects on both their personal and professional lives.
In these cases, victims can find some financial relief by filing a motorcycle accident claim. Get in touch with Keating Law today to get professional legal counsel!
4. Road Rash
Road rash is one of the more minor injuries that motorcyclists in Ohio often suffer. If a rider leaves an accident scene with only road rash, he or she should consider themselves lucky. This injury is caused when there is friction between a rider's skin and another surface, such as concrete or asphalt.
Although extensive medical treatment may not be required in these cases, road rash may require some medical care to prevent the skin from becoming infected.
Claiming Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Those who have never filed a personal injury claim before may be wondering what damages they may be entitled to.
The truth is that every case is different and has its own unique facts and details. Therefore, the best way to determine what damages may be claimed in a motorcycle accident case is to get legal counsel from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
There are three types of damages that victims can claim in a motorcycle accident case. These are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The sections below discuss these in greater detail.
1. Economic Damages
Economic damages are often referred to as financial or monetary damages because they refer to the financial losses that a victim incurred as a direct result of the accident. Here are some examples of economic damages that victims can claim following a motorcycle accident.
This includes both past medical bills and the anticipated costs of future medical expenses. Victims may claim all aspects of medical care required to treat their injuries, including surgical procedures, lab tests, physical therapy, and hospitalization.
Serious injuries often cause victims to take extra time off work. Extended leave often goes unpaid, which can place significant strain on a victim's family. The good news is that accident victims can contact a Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer to claim lost wages, both past and future.
Complainants may also claim for the damage to their motorcycle in addition to the motorcycle accident injuries they sustained. The at-fault driver's insurance company will cover these costs in most cases.
2. Non-economic Damages
These damages are a lot harder to quantify than economic damages. They are non-pecuniary losses that occur as a result of an accident. Below are some examples of non-economic damages that victims may be eligible for.
Pain and Suffering
Victims may be compensated for the emotional trauma and physical pain they experienced while recovering from their injuries.
Loss of Quality of Life
Complainants can claim loss of enjoyment or quality of life if the accident causes lasting damage or impairment. This offers monetary compensation to victims who have been disabled because of the accident and cannot experience the same quality of life as they did before the incident occurred.
Personal injuries that lead to permanent scars and disfigurement can lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A personal injury attorney can help victims by holding the at-fault driver responsible for the injuries and securing maximum compensation when this happens. Get in touch with a Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin the legal process.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are essentially a way to punish the party at fault for their act of recklessness or negligence that led to the accident. The court, not an insurance company, will decide whether these damages apply.
When Motorcycle Accidents Lead to Wrongful Death
Sadly, many motorcycle accident victims do not make it out alive. There were 205 fatal motorcycle accidents in Ohio in 2020 alone that claimed the lives of 214 people. When a life is lost suddenly and unexpectedly, it can be devastating.
If the accident occurred due to another driver's negligent behavior, the family members of the bereaved might be entitled to compensation for the damages they suffered.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
While the motorcycle accident lawyers at Keating Law Firm know that filing wrongful death claims in such circumstances will not make up for the loss of a loved one, they still encourage family members to file these claims.
This is because the loss of income that a family may suffer as a result of wrongful death can put the family under severe financial strain. The best course of action is filing a wrongful death lawsuit in these cases.
An attorney at Keating Law Firm can help family members obtain the compensation they deserve for the following damages:
The loss of support
Grief associated with losing a loved one
Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney? Contact Keating Law Firm Today!
A motorcycle accident might be resolved peacefully in some circumstances, particularly if the damage and injuries are minor. Does this mean that victims do not need a motorcycle accident lawyer at their side? Should they simply rely on their insurance company to take care of things?
Unfortunately, finding people who are on their side after a motorcycle accident can be difficult, especially if the victim plans to file a claim. The other driver's insurance provider may find a way to blame the motorcyclist for the accident to minimize their client's liability.
Hiring an expert attorney can help victims avoid being taken advantage of by others.
The lawyers at Keating Law are ready to take on motorcycle accident cases, no matter how big or small. Book a free consultation by dialing (866) 836-4878 today to get professional legal advice!