-Motorcycle Accidents

According to statistics, there are more automobile drivers than motorcycle riders on the road. While weather conditions often prohibits bike riding, injuries and deaths due to motorcycle accidents are up in the United States. One of the most common injuries that motorcycle riders and passengers sustain is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sometimes, motorcycle accident injuries cannot be prevented; however, there are several precautions that riders can take to avoid a brain injury from a bike wreck.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle accidents can be life-shattering. In the most serious cases, the accident victims who suffer these injuries may face physical, emotional, and social disabilities that will last for the rest of their lives. Effects of traumatic brain injuries can include paralysis, seizures, loss of motor abilities, and loss of memory. Victims may experience concentration loss and cannot return to work. Such devastation can cause anxiety, depression, and mood swing disorders.

Minor motorcycle accidents usually cause scrapes, cuts, or broken bones. The time and cost of repairing such injuries pale to how much motorcycle accident victims pay for traumatic brain injuries. Financial burdens can be overwhelming for these victims. They have to pay for hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation. Sometimes, they must pay for permanent medical care at home or be placed in a long-term care facility.

How You Can Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury from a Motorcycle Accident

  • Helmets: Your best defense against getting a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle wreck is a helmet. According to medical studies, you reduce your chances of receiving a TBI by 85% by just wearing your helmet. Helmet laws are different in each state. Some states require that only passengers and drivers under 21 have to wear a helmet. While there are many states that mandate helmets for all riders on a motorcycle, some states do not have any requirements. Currently, the state of Arizona only requires that motorcycle operators who are under 18 have to wear helmets. You may have heard riders complain that helmets are uncomfortable and that they “mess up my hair”. Nothing could be more uncomfortable or messed up ones hair than a permanent brain injury. So, your best safety bet is to wear your helmet.
  • Safety Information: Most states require motorcycle operators to complete a safety course in riding. They must also pass a knowledge and skills test to get an operator license. However, most of these laws only pertain to street riding. If you want to stay safe while you ride, be sure that you know all the safety rules. You should also be very familiar with your motorcycle and how it reacts in various weather conditions and terrains. Read your owners’ guide thoroughly and keep your motorcycle in good condition.
  • Practice Defensive Driving: People who are driving cars are protected by metal all around them. Cars run on four wheels and drivers do not have to worry about balancing themselves. When you are on your bike, you have virtually no protection. Except special motorcycles with three or four wheels, most bikes require you to balance on two wheels. In light of these differences, cars clearly have the upper hand when it comes to power and safety.

As a motorcycle rider, remember that your bike is much smaller than a car and is easier to crash. Maintain safe distances between you and other motorists and drive carefully. Often times, car drivers cannot see you. If you have to pass a car, do so carefully and make sure that the driver is aware of you. Be wary of speeding motorists and cars that are passing you. Do not speed and weave in and out of traffic. If you see a car doing this, let him drive far away from you. Use extreme caution when riding in rain or snow.

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries due to a motorcycle accident can face incredible physical and financial catastrophe. If you, a friend, or loved one have been injured and need a motorcycle accident lawyer because you suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to be compensated for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and loss of income. There may be other losses for which you are entitled for remuneration.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today at (602) 535-1900.

Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

Motorcycle operators and passengers face significant risks on Arizona roadways.  According to the Department of Public Safety, in 2016 alone there were 792 motorcycle collisions in the state, and 32 of them fatal.

Passengers who have been subjected to an unreasonable risk of injury have a right to recover compensation for the harm they suffered.  Successfully litigating the claim requires skilled advocacy.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon for assistance.

Specific Prohibitions and Requirements Involving Motorcycle Passengers in Arizona

Arizona law features a number of prohibitions that could impact your injury claims against the motorcycle operator:

  • Passengers must wear a helmet if they are below the age of 18 (though it’s important that you wear a helmet regardless, as the defendant is likely to argue that a failure to do so constitutes contributory negligence);
  • Passengers cannot ride with motorcycle operators who only have their permit, and not a license; and
  • Motorcycles must be equipped with a passenger seat and footrests to ensure that the passenger can ride safely.

For example, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having obtained their license (they only have a permit), they could be held liable for injuries that you suffer in an accident caused by their negligence.

Similarly, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having properly installed a passenger seat and footrests on the vehicle, and the lack thereof causes you to be harmed in a subsequent accident, then you would have an actionable claim against them under Arizona law.

Pursuing a Claim Against the Motorcycle Operator

As the injured motorcycle passenger, you may have several different claims against various defendants, including the motorcycle operator with whom you were riding.  Pursuing a claim against the motorcycle operator can be somewhat complicated, however, if you are also bringing a claim against another defendant, as you must be able to delineate fault between the parties.

For example, imagine that you are riding on the back of a motorcycle when the operator decides to take a sharp turn at an intersection without looking.  This leads to a left-hand turn collision with a car that causes you to suffer serious injuries.

Now, clearly the motorcycle operator was at-fault, and you would have a legitimate claim for damages against them, but you may also have a claim against the driver of the car — after all, perhaps they were distracted at the time of the accident and did not notice that you were passing in front of them.  Had they been paying attention, they could have stopped their car and prevented the collision.  In juggling claims against these two parties, you will have to wrestle with the issue of each party (the motorcycle operator and the car driver) arguing that they are “less” at-fault than the other.  Depending on the insurance coverage available to each defendant, this could have a significant impact on your ability to recover your damages in full.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Request a Free Consultation

If you have been injured as a motorcycle passenger in Arizona, then you may have a right to compensation under the law.  Depending on the circumstances of the accident, motorcycle passengers may have actionable claims against a number of different parties, from the operator of their own vehicle to various third-parties (i.e., other drivers, manufacturers, property owners, etc.).

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over seven decades of combined experience providing specialized representation to injured plaintiffs involved in motor vehicle accident disputes, including accidents that involve a passenger on the back of a motorcycle.  These types of disputes are unique, challenging, and full of opportunity for those who understand how to properly navigate them.

Ready to move forward?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to request a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.  We will evaluate your claims and work with you to identify possible avenues for recovery.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to damages.  Do bear in mind, however, that the lawsuit may be a bit more complicated than it initially appears.

Motorcyclists are often — and unfortunately — perceived by much of the general public to be inherently undisciplined on the road.  This perception can be challenged, of course, but it takes skillful and detail-oriented advocacy, particularly in situations where the injured motorcyclist may have engaged in behavior that is violative of the law.

Without context, this can all be somewhat confusing.  Let’s explore some basic issues relating to lane sharing and splitting, and how liability is affected.

Two Motorcycles May Ride Together in the Same Lane

In Arizona, Section 28-903A of the Revised Statutes quite clearly allows for two motorcycles to ride abreast of one another in a single lane.  This “lane sharing” allowance is limited to two motorcycles, however.  If another motor vehicle attempts to share the lane with you, then they could be held liable in the event of an accident.

Prohibited Behavior

Arizona prohibits a variety of behavior relating to motorcycle lane use:

  • Motorcycles may not ride more than two abreast in a single lane
  • Motorcycles may not ride between lanes of traffic (i.e., lane-splitting)
  • Motorcycles may not overtake other vehicles in the same lane (they must transition into the next lane and back to perform a passing maneuver)

By violating any of these prohibitions, you will have committed a “negligent” act, which could influence your damage recovery in the event of an accident.

How Liability is Affected

Arizona implements the doctrine of pure comparative fault.  Simply put, a motorcycle accident plaintiff may recover damages even if they are partially at-fault for their own injuries.

In fact, the doctrine of pure comparative fault allows recovery even if the plaintiff is 99 percent at-fault for their own injuries.

Importantly, however, the amount of damages that you are entitled to recover are reduced in proportion with your contribution of fault.  If a court deems you 50 percent at fault in a case involving a claim for $100,000 in damages, for example, then you may only receive $50,000.

Any contributory negligence that is linked to your injuries will have a significant impact on your total recovery.  Suppose that you were riding three abreast in a lane (violative of the law), and in doing so, you had less room to maneuver and avoid a drunk driver.  Given the circumstances, you may be found partially at-fault, leading to a reduction in damages.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience advocating on behalf of motorcycle accident plaintiffs.

As a firm, we only handle motor vehicle accident claims (including motorcycle accidents).  We have successfully represented numerous clients in a variety of motor vehicle accident litigation, including disputes that center around motorcycle accidents.  Thanks to our focus on personal injury cases over the decades, we have gained key insight into what it takes to secure a favorable result both pre-and-post-litigation.

Curious about your claims?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to request a free and confidential consultation with one of the skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Let Our Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help

If you are a motorcyclist who was injured due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover damages as compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result.

Motorcycle accident litigation — not unlike other motor vehicle accident litigation — can become quite complicated when the facts are “messy.”  In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may not be entirely absent of fault.  It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to have acted negligently and thereby contributed to the accident in their own way.

So, how does this affect the dispute?  Let’s dive in for a closer look.

Comparative Fault in Arizona

In Arizona, pure comparative fault rules apply.  What this means is that an injury plaintiff is not barred from recovering damages even if they have acted negligently (and this negligence has contributed to the injuries at-issue).  Instead, the plaintiff’s overall damages will be reduced in accordance with their fault contribution.

For example, suppose that a plaintiff was hurt in a motorcycle accident and has suffered overall damages equivalent to about $100,000.  If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at-fault for their injuries, then they will be entitled to recover $100,000 minus $40,000, or $60,000 in total.

As the plaintiff, it’s not only important that you “win” your case (i.e., negotiate a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict), but also that you secure the maximum possible compensation given the circumstances.  An effective litigation strategy will therefore seek to minimize your fault.

Standard of Care Basics

For the defendant to prove that you — the motorcyclist plaintiff — were negligent (and that your damages should be reduced accordingly), they will have to show that you violated the applicable standard of care and that this negligence substantially contributed to your injuries.

The standard of care is the degree of caution that must be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances.  When determining whether the standard of care has been violated in the motorcycle accident context, the court will consider how another motorcyclist would have acted under similar circumstances.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a left hook motorcycle accident where an incoming car made an illegal turn in front of you.  At the time, you were distracted, and thus did not have enough time to stop safely before the collision.  In evaluating your own contribution of fault, the court will have to determine whether a reasonably prudent motorcyclist in the same conditions and with the same training/experience would have come to a stop before the collision occurred.  Expert testimony will help illuminate what could be expected.

Speak to Our Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Assistance

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm.

Our attorneys have decades of experience handling claims on behalf of those who have suffered harm due to the fault of others.  We represent motorcyclists and others involved in motorcycle accidents, and unlike many of our competitors, our focus is on personal injury cases — this has given us deep insight into what is necessary to succeed in such litigation.  Since our founding, we have helped clients recover over $100 million (in verdicts and settlements).

Call 602-535-1900 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.

Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcyclists have good reason to be paranoid while operating their vehicles on America’s roadways.  Motorcycle accidents — in Arizona and elsewhere — are often caused by car and truck drivers who fail to drive in a manner that accounts for the possibility of two-wheelers on the road, or who otherwise fail to “notice” the presence of a two-wheeler.  This can expose motorcyclists to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Given the risks, it’s not surprising that many motorcyclists wonder whether they have an affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves more (in the visual and auditory sense) obvious to others.

Let’s explore some of the basics for a clearer understanding.

Motorcyclists Must Exercise Reasonable Care — There is No Special Responsibility to Make Oneself Obvious

Motorcyclists have no affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves obvious.  In fact, it could be reasonably argued that attempts to make themselves more visible or otherwise obvious to other vehicles could expose the motorcyclist to additional risks of harm.  For example, many motorcyclists swerve within their lane to make themselves more visible to passing cars, but this activity can confuse other drivers — they may not be aware that you are intending to stay in your own lane.

As a motorcyclist, your mind should be focused on exercising reasonable care given the circumstances.  If the actions necessitated by the circumstances involve making yourself obvious, then that would justify you doing so.  Otherwise, it’s not required to take additional or special actions to make yourself obvious.

For example, suppose that a car is shifting into your lane.  The driver does not realize that they are about to collide with you.  Now, given the circumstances, you should attempt to move out of the way and honk your horn to alert the driver to your presence.  Though the driver is clearly negligent, the circumstances are such that you might be found contributorily negligent if you failed to take action to make your presence known by honking.

On the other hand, if you’re riding in your lane and there is no immediate scenario demanding that you make your presence “actively” known to another driver, you do not have to honk or swerve or do anything else out-of-the-ordinary.

Contact Our Team for Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing the interests of injured plaintiffs.  We pride ourselves on our commitment to client-oriented service that is aggressive, relentless, and dedicated to securing substantial positive results.  Over the years, this commitment has paid off — since our founding, we have recovered over $100 million in favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you obtain compensation for your motorcycle-related injuries?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit a case evaluation form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.  We will evaluate your case and work with you to develop a strategic plan moving forward.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, motorcyclists sometimes attempt to split lanes in an effort to cut through traffic and avoid the gridlock.  This is perfectly natural, of course — many motorcyclists see lane splitting as a maneuver that is meant to take advantage of the unique dimensions of a two-wheeled vehicle.  Motorcyclists (like most others on the road) tend to also see themselves as exemplary operators and may therefore find any restriction on lane splitting to be questionable.

In reality, however, lane splitting can expose both motorcyclists and others to a significant risk of injury.  It should come as no surprise that Arizona and most other states have regulated lane splitting in an effort to minimize the occurrence of motorcycle accidents (and the injury claims that may result from such behaviors).  As per section 28-903 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the state imposes a complete ban on motorcycle lane splitting.

How does this effect damage recovery in a motorcycle accident?  Let’s take a look.

Recovering Damages in a Lane Splitting Accident

Given that lane splitting is banned in Arizona by statute, if you are involved in an accident while you are splitting a lane (i.e., riding between two lanes of traffic or between adjacent rows of vehicles), then you will be found negligent per se.

Importantly, however, the fact that you are negligent for violating the lane splitting prohibition is not — in and of itself — enough to prevent you from successfully recovering damages in an accident.  Arizona implements the pure comparative fault doctrine, which allows injured plaintiffs to recover damages even if they acted negligently and thus contributed to their own injuries.  The total damages will simply be reduced in proportion to their own fault contribution.

For example, if you are found 50 percent at-fault in a lane splitting accident where the damages total $100,000, then you would be entitled to recover $50,000.

The fundamental question in a lane splitting accident, then, is whether the defendant is responsible — even partially — for your injuries.  The defendant is still required to exercise reasonable care given the circumstances.  For example, if the defendant can see that you are lane splitting (despite it being against the law in Arizona), then they must act accordingly and avoid blocking your path.  If they do so, then it’s likely that a court would find the defendant negligent, and therefore liable.

Contact Our Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Guidance

If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident — whether or not you were lane splitting at the time of the accident — then Arizona law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages.  Motorcycle accident litigation can be quite challenging in situations where there are lingering concerns over the injured motorcyclist’s own contribution to the accident, however.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have more than 65 years of combined experience representing injury victims in a range of auto accident disputes, including motorcycle accidents.

Interested in speaking to an attorney directly?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our seasoned Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.

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