Protecting the Rights of Delaware Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle accidents claim the lives of many people every year and fatality rates are increasing. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 32 people die per every 100 million vehicle miles. In 2020, motorcycles accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 18% of all occupant fatalities, and 4% of all occupant injuries, although they make up only 3% of all registered vehicles.
Motorcyclists deserve to use the roadways in safety like everyone else. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Delaware, you are legally entitled to hold the at-fault party liable for the accident and pursue compensation. An experienced attorney can provide you with your legal options for a motorcycle accident claim, so it’s important to contact one as soon as possible.
Edelstein Martin & Nelson has a team of reputable attorneys ready and available to help you file a personal injury claim. With each lawyer having experience in various personal injuries, we are a leader in this field. To quickly evaluate your case and best protect your legal rights, we offer a free consultation.
Delaware Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Motorcycle accidents fall under personal injury law. When a personal injury lawyer works to obtain compensation for victims involved in motorcycle accidents, they are referred to as a motorcycle accident attorney. This specialty also requires knowledge of state traffic laws and familiarity with motorcycles.
Each state has its own laws regarding personal injuries, including motorcycle accidents. That is why when you are seeking legal representation it is necessary to consult an experienced attorney in your state. A Delaware motorcycle accident lawyer can help you protect your rights as a motorcyclist in the state of Delaware and obtain for you the maximum compensation you need in order to recover and continue your life.
When searching for an experienced attorney to make your case successful, Eldenstein Martin & Nelson has the reputation, ethics, and responsibility you need. Contact us for leading Delaware motorcycle accident lawyers that can offer you expert legal representation and professional resources to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The statistics on motorcycle accidents are very different from other types of traffic accidents:
- Compared to all other motor vehicles, motorcycles have the highest rates of injuries and fatalities. In 2019, there was an injury of 426 per every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
- Car accidents have a 20% injury or mortality rate, while motorcycle accidents have 80%.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), .07% of bikers will experience a motorcycle accident. That’s approximately 72 out of every 100,000 motorcycle riders.
- 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, according to the NHTSA.
- One of the most dangerous ways to travel in the U.S. is riding a motorcycle. In 2019, there were more than 200 fatalities per billion passenger miles.
- Motorcycle accidents peaked in 2016 and have slightly decreased in recent years.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that you did not cause, you have the right to pursue justice. A motorcycle accident attorney has the resources and experience to build your case and hold the responsible party accountable for all damages they’ve caused to you physically, emotionally, and to your property.
Motorcycle Accidents in Delaware
Riding a motorcycle is a popular pastime in the United States, whether it’s for exploring cities or winding through country roads. The state of Delaware is especially appealing to motorcyclists, with its scenic roadways. However, many preventable motorcycle accidents occur. Here are some facts from one recent year:
- The state of Delaware had 11.8% of motorcycle deaths as a percentage of total motor vehicle deaths.
- Delaware had 15 deaths from motorcycle accidents.
- In 2021, Delaware had a population of 989,948, with 26,729 registered motorcycles, which equals 2,700 registered motorcycles per 100,000 residents.
These facts are eye-opening and illustrate the need for motorcycle safety on the part of motorcyclists and other motor vehicle drivers with whom they share space on the road.
Riding a motorcycle is appealing for many reasons: It’s a fun, fast, affordable and convenient form of transportation. But who rides motorcycles the most? In the United States, some demographics of motorcyclists are as follows:
- 81% were male owners in 2018
- 9% were between 18 to 25 years old
- 8% were between 26 to 59 years old
- 2% were below the legal motorcycle riding age of < 15 years
- 1% of motorcycle riders 15 to 17 years old were illegally riding a motorcycle with a greater than 110cc engine
- The typical motorcycle owner has a median age of 47, up from 40 in 2009 and 32 in 1990.
What Are Common Injuries for Motorcycle Accident Victims?
If you’re a motorcycle rider, you likely understand the serious injuries a motorcycle accident can cause according to stories from the news and fellow riders in your community. With a high risk of more severe injuries and fatalities than in car accidents, motorcycle accident victims can experience the following:
- Head injuries
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Lung injuries
- Hand and arm injuries
- Chronic pain
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
Common head injuries that motorcycle riders experience in motorcycle accidents include:
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Hemorrhaging (bleeding in the brain)
- Brain swelling
Catastrophic injuries including head injuries and traumatic brain injuries occur when the rider is thrown from the motorcycle and experiences blunt force trauma to the head. Motorcycle accident victims with such injuries have a high chance of dying. If they survive, they may suffer secondary complications of bleeding, swelling, and a period of being in a comatose state.
Motorcycle accident victims often experience confusion, disorientation, memory loss, depression, anxiety, and loss of coordination and motor skills following the accident. Obvious signs of brain trauma that emergency medical personnel look for are nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, headaches, slurred speech, loss of coordination, convulsions, and unconsciousness.
Even after medical treatment, their injuries can result in permanent brain damage with chronic pain, impaired cognitive ability and physical movement, and the need for extensive and continuous medical treatment, special medical devices, rehabilitation, or home care. Their quality of life decreases with mental anguish over lost wages, decreased or eliminated earning capacity, and loss of consortium.
Motorcycle accident victims can also have more serious broken bone injuries than those involved in car accidents. Injuries such as broken collarbones which require extensive healing time, or shattered legs, which require pins and screws, are not uncommon. That’s because motorcyclists do not have any type of armor to protect their bodies, and limbs are vulnerable as they must have free movement to control the bike. While long pants resist abrasion, and long boots and armored riding gloves with hard knuckles help some, there is truly very little protection for any motorcyclist when an accident happens.
Many motorcycle accident victims experience PTSD. This condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder, can last for months or years and symptoms may not be noticeable right away. If you are experiencing mental health symptoms such as sleeping problems, nightmares, flashbacks, and mood swings, you may have PTSD. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you prove during the course of your motorcycle accident claim that mental anguish is part of the damages you have suffered.
That’s why it’s so important to seek immediate medical treatment following a motorcycle accident. Even if you stood up and walked, or you only feel bruised and scraped, it is impossible to know with any certainty that you do not have any injuries from the accident. The longer you wait to have a medical evaluation, the greater risk you have of complications, a longer recovery time, more medical bills, and more lost wages.
It is also necessary to have immediate medical records to directly and easily connect the motorcycle accident to your injuries. If you need help getting your medical records or need legal advice about what your next step should be, contact us for a free consultation. When you decide to have us represent you, we will put you in touch with top-notch medical professionals that will document your physical and emotional trauma to help us build your case.
Stigma Against Motorcyclists
Part of your legal rights as a motorcyclist is the freedom to equally and safely use public roadways, but unfortunately, not everyone practices sharing the road. Motorcyclists experience a stigma in society from the stereotypical belief that they are reckless, violent, or gang members. They also believe that motorcycles are inherently dangerous, dismissing any measures motorcyclists take to be safe. If you’ve had a motorcycle accident, this stigma may come into play, and you could be unfairly blamed for causing the accident.
When Insurance Adjusters Apply Unfair Stereotypes
Bias against motorcyclists isn’t only present in police reports, where police are likely to blame them for causing accidents. An insurance company may give them unfair treatment as well. Because many people believe negative stereotypes about motorcyclists, and insurance adjusters are not immune to bias, it can be difficult to obtain adequate compensation for your injuries. This is one more reason why it is so important to see a Delaware motorcycle accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible after being involved in a motorcycle accident.
An experienced attorney such as that from our law firm at Eldelstein Martin & Nelson is familiar with cases involving this unfair treatment. Our work in motorcycle accident cases has proven we know how to win your injury claim and protect your reputation as a motorcyclist despite this bias.
Protective Gear for Motorcyclists
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider’s Course recommends that every rider and passenger wear the following:
- Full-fingered gloves
- Over-the-ankle footwear with nonslip soles
- Long pants
- Eye protection
Helmets are the most well-known protective gear for motorcyclists because they are the most important; they protect the head from trauma. Other protective gear exists to minimize impact, prevent scrapes or “road rash,” protect against the elements and debris that could obscure the motorcyclist’s vision, and help the motorcyclist maintain control of the bike.
Protective wear, however minimal the protection does offer some degree of help to motorcyclists and their passengers to stay safer, minimize their risk of an accident, and minimize the severity of their injuries if they do have an accident. Even the safest motorcyclists and passengers benefit from riding prepared with safety gear.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Knowing about the various types of motorcycle accidents helps during the victims’ medical evaluation, so the doctor can best determine their injuries and necessary medical treatment. It also helps during the investigation, where the plaintiff needs to argue that the accident caused their injuries. The four major categories of motorcycle accidents are:
- Lowside: When the front or rear wheel slides out
- Highside: When a rider falls opposite the side the motorcycle falls after the bike rotated on its long axis
- Topside: When the rider is thrown over the handlebars of the bike
- Collision: A crash with another vehicle or object
These wrecks cause the following traumas:
- Head-leading collisions, where the head is the first point of impact
- Direct vertical impact, where the motorcyclist is moving at a high speed and strikes their shoulder against a pole or road sign
- Limb entrapment, which prevents blood circulation and can lead to amputations
- Fuel tank injuries, which could mean burns or other injuries from an ignition of flammable material
- Tire-spoke or wheel-spoke injuries, which commonly result in soft tissue and bone trauma
There are also different ways in which an accident is caused:
- Left-turning cars, when the motorcyclist is riding straight through an intersection, passing or trying to overtake a car. This accounts for 42% of accidents between a motorcycle and a car.
- Lane-switching from being in the other driver’s blind spot
- Head-on collisions from another vehicle colliding head-on with a motorcycle – these account for 56% of fatal motorcycle accidents.
- Lane splitting, when the motorcyclist moves between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped vehicles while in traffic or at a traffic light
- Riding while under the influence of alcohol, which impairs coordination and judgment
- High speed, which prevents safe sudden stops
- Corner-turning, when the motorcycle is likely to encounter debris in the road
These causes are often preventable, which means that the person who caused the accident must be held accountable. Often even if a car driver caused a motorcycle accident, it is the motorcyclist who will be stigmatized as irresponsible. If you’re a motorcycle accident victim, you need an experienced attorney who will thoroughly investigate the accident and can understand as well as explain how the other driver caused it.
Additional Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Distracted driving accounts for 40% of motorcycle accidents. Other causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence
- Inexperience or inattention
- Adverse weather conditions
- Dangerous road conditions
- Sudden stops
- Lane splitting or lane switching
- Left turning
- Corner turning
- Head-on collisions
- Not wearing a helmet
- Motorcycle defects
- Physical or emotional impairment
Alcohol and Motorcycle Accidents
In Delaware, 25% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were under the influence of alcohol. It’s a major factor in causing motor accidents since it impairs coordination, thinking, and judgment. It also increases the rate of fatalities in motorcycle accidents. Riding a motorcycle requires focus and awareness, mostly because it’s extremely easy to have an accident from turning a corner, changing lanes in traffic, or unexpecting hitting something in the road.
Consumption of alcohol also interferes with the absorption of prescription and over-the-counter medications, meaning that it could take less alcohol to impair a motorcyclist, or the alcohol would impair him more severely than if he were not taking medication. Drunk driving while on a motorcycle can be just as fatal for the operator, if not more so, than the other injured parties. Drunk driving a motorcycle is also more dangerous than drunk driving a car, where the operator is more likely to cause fatalities than experience them.
Wear Your Helmet, It Could Save Your Life
Helmets are legally required and do offer some degree of protection, as they greatly absorb the impact of blunt force trauma to the head, reducing the risk of head trauma by 69% and the risk of death by 42%.
Not wearing a helmet is not a cause of motorcycle accidents, but it greatly increases the risk of catastrophic injuries and death. Not wearing a helmet is a common theme seen in motorcycle accidents where there is severe head trauma.
The Role of Cars in Motorcycle Accidents
In more than half of all motorcycle accidents, multiple vehicles are involved. In fact, drivers of cars cause more than half of all motorcycle accidents. With 75% of all motorcycle accidents involving a collision between a motorcycle and at least one car, motorists of other vehicles are often the at-fault party in motorcycle crashes.
Speeding and other reckless driving practices lead to sudden, severe impacts at high speeds. It is easy for drivers of cars to misjudge their own safety at high speeds and fail to understand when it is necessary to slow down.
Inattention through inexperience or distraction accounts for many motorcycle crashes. When operating any vehicle, your focus on being safe is not only about your own driving but about that of everyone around you. Even if you are cautious, it does not mean the other motorists will also be.
Where do motorcycle accidents occur most?
Many motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. They are especially common when a motorist turns left at an intersection without seeing the oncoming motorcyclist.
What types of motorcycles are in accidents the most?
Cruisers are the most common type of motorcycles involved in accidents. They account for 50% of all motorcycles on American roads, so this is likely the reason why we see them the most in motorcycle accidents.
What specific laws apply to a Delaware motorcycle accident claim?
Delaware motorcycle accident claims are often based on driver negligence. The state of Delaware uses a modified doctrine of comparative negligence, which determines a percentage of fault for each involved party. If the plaintiff is 50% or less at fault, they can seek compensation for damages. Possible liable parties can include drivers of cars or trucks, and even passengers of motorcycles, if they distract drivers from paying attention.
Motorcycle safety courses are not required for new riders in Delaware, but they are offered by the state. Any rider age 19 or over must have a helmet and eye protection in their possession while riding, while any rider up to age 19 must wear an approved helmet and eye protection.
How long do I have to file a Delaware motorcycle accident claim?
All Delaware motorcycle accident victims have 2 years from the date of their accident to file an injury claim. Time is of the essence when filing any personal injury claim, and filing your claim as soon as possible increases your chance of obtaining maximum compensation.
Damages Awarded In Delaware Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle rider who is injured in a motorcycle accident in Delaware, or their surviving loved ones, can pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Lost income
- Decreased earning capacity
- Medical expenses, including all medical bills, out-of-pocket medical costs, and ongoing medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
When you are a motorcycle accident victim with serious injuries, you will likely need a variety of medical providers to aid in your recovery. A Delaware motorcycle accident attorney can help you get the medical treatment you need right away and defend your rights to ongoing medical care and compensation to cover it and much more.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Delaware
Motorcycle accident victims are not legally required to have legal representation following the accident. However, it is highly advisable to seek counsel immediately. An experienced attorney will take care of all of the following important tasks to ensure you get the best possible outcome:
- Investigate the accident scene
- Collect and preserve evidence for your claim
- Calculate compensation for your damages
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Win your settlement in a relatively timely manner
Legal representation from Edelstein Martin & Nelson comes with our stellar reputation and our long history of winning fair and full compensation for our clients’ motorcycle accident cases. Our Delaware motorcycle accident lawyers are not only familiar with the nuances of motorcycle accidents compared to other types of personal injuries, but they are also well-known in the state of Delaware for their hard work and commitment to motorcycle accident injury victims.
Protect Your Rights As a Motorcyclist
Riding a motorcycle is an exciting activity and a popular expression of freedom. Hopefully, you never have to experience a motorcycle accident. But if you have, and you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek legal compensation for your damages.
Seek guidance from the strong legal team at Eldelstein Martin & Nelson. Let us help you with an initial consultation free of charge to evaluate your injury claim and review your legal options with a leading Delaware law firm today.