Motorcycle accidents occur in an instant, but the aftermath of a serious accident is often prolonged, overwhelming, and frustrating. It’s difficult to untangle the split-second events leading up to the crash, and dealing with insurance companies, witnesses, and healthcare providers is exhausting. If you or a loved one has been injured in a recent motorcycle accident, you may need a Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney to help you navigate this difficult time. This article will help you know the statistics, understand the risk factors, and take the key steps necessary to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- Motorcycle accident fatalities have quadrupled in Tennessee over the past 20 years, increasing from 42 deaths in 1998 to 168 deaths in 2018.
- Nationwide, the average number of motorcycle fatalities reaches over 5,000 annually.
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the vast majority of motorcycle injuries and fatalities occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., often when traffic is heavily congested and daylight is waning.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycles have a 550% higher chance than cars of being involved in a fatal accident.
- The NHTSA reports that 78% of motorcycle crashes result in injury, as opposed to only 31% of car wrecks.
Understanding the Risk Factors
Why are motorcycles much more likely to be involved in serious or fatal accidents? Public perception sometimes leads to the assumption that rider error is to blame, but often, motorcycle crashes have more to do with other drivers’ behavior than that of the motorcycle operator. In order to untangle the potential causes of your crash, it’s vital to understand the main risk factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents.
- Visibility: Motorcycles are much smaller than automobiles and tend to be darker in color, which can make them difficult for other drivers to notice, particularly in heavily congested or fast traffic. If another driver is distracted, intoxicated, or glances away from the road for too long, they may fail to notice an oncoming motorcycle and cause a serious collision.
- Balance: Motorcycles operation requires a greater level of balance and coordination than driving, due largely to the light, two-wheel construction of most motorcycles. It is much easier for motorcycles to be thrown off-balance by potholes, debris, or slippery patches on the road, or to be edged off of roadways by aggressive drivers.
- Lack of protection: Compared to automobiles, motorcycles provide virtually no rider protection. An accident that would cause little or no injury to car passengers can be catastrophic to motorcycle riders.
When You’ve Been Injured: Four Key Steps to Take
- Take pictures. If possible, take extensive photographs of the accident scene, the damage to your motorcycle, damage to any other vehicles or stationary objects, any existing skid marks or debris, and any circumstances which may have contributed to the accident, such as road conditions or obscured traffic signs. You should also take pictures of any injuries sustained by you or your passenger and continue to document these injuries as they heal or worsen.
- Write down details. In the days or even hours following the accident, you risk forgetting key facts about the circumstances leading up to the crash, especially if you’ve suffered an injury. You’ll likely be overwhelmed by information from police, healthcare providers, or even conflicting stories from other drivers and eyewitnesses. It’s vital to write down your version of events as soon as possible, in as much detail as you can, to accurately preserve your memory of what happened.
- Obtain a crash report. Crash reports are vital sources of information about recent accidents. They contain the names and addresses of involved parties and potential eyewitnesses, descriptions of the scene of the accident, and the responding officer’s official determination of what happened and who was at fault. Crash reports can be obtained by any driver or passenger involved in the crash by contacting the responding law enforcement agency.
Contact a Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Attorney
- If you or your loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, one of your highest priorities is obtaining just compensation for the pain you’ve endured. It’s vital to seek competent, experienced motorcycle injury lawyers as soon as possible before accepting any type of settlement from other drivers or other parties who may be responsible. Contact the Nashville motorcycle accident attorneys at David Randolph Smith & Associates for a free consultation, and let our expert motorcycle lawyers advise you on the next steps to take with your claim.