There are few things as exhilarating as riding down the highway on two wheels. Motorcycles are fun and exciting, but they are inherently dangerous. Because of a motorcycle’s low profile and the lack of protection it affords its riders, accidents involving motorcycles often result in life-altering injuries. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you should contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, immediately. With decades of experience handling challenging and complicated cases, Ken offers his clients professional and compassionate representation.
Coping with the effects of a devastating motorcycle accident is physically demanding, emotionally trying, and economically straining. Our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney can provide the legal assistance you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call (479) 316-0438 to learn more about your legal rights and options during a free and confidential consultation.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Arkansas
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous to operate than any other vehicle on the road. Because of the size and the relatively small silhouette of a motorcycle, they are often difficult to see. Other motorists also tend to have a problem judging the speed of a motorcycle that is sharing the road. Additionally, a motorcyclist is provided very little protection by either their bike or their clothing, so any accident has the potential of causing catastrophic injuries. There are a variety of reasons why motorcycle crashes occur.
Opening Car Doors
A motorcycle accident does not require another motorist to be operating their vehicle. Many accidents occur when a careless driver or passenger opens their door before verifying that there is no oncoming traffic.
Reckless Lane Changes
As stated above, motorcycles present a much smaller profile on the road. When a distracted or careless driver changes lanes without checking their blind spots or rear-view mirrors, they could collide with a nearby motorcycle.
When speeding is a primary cause of an accident, the chances for devastating injuries increases. If a motorcyclist is hit by a speeding car, their injuries could be fatal. Speeding drivers have less time to react to motorcycles on the road.
One of the leading causes of rear-end collisions is tailgating. When another motorist does not allow adequate space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, they might not be able to react to a sudden stop. When a car rear-ends another car, the result is usually structural damage to both vehicles. However, when a car or truck rear-ends a motorcycle, the injuries are often serious or deadly.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Drinking or drug use diminishes a motorist’s ability to make decisions or physically react to changing traffic conditions. If a motorcyclist is struck by a driver who is operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the offending driver could face both civil and criminal penalties.
Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make errors or mistakes that endanger other motorists. Because of the lack of protection, a motorcyclist is especially vulnerable to mistakes made by novice drivers.
Left-Hand Turn Accidents
A quite common cause of motorcycle accidents is left-hand turns made by other drivers. In some cases, a motorist might not notice an oncoming motorcyclist or they could misjudge the speed of the bike, turning directly into the path of the motorcyclist. If the motorcyclist is unable to avoid a collision, the results could be devastating.
Not every motorcycle accident is the result of the carelessness of another driver. Dangerous road conditions could spell disaster for a motorcyclist. While a pothole could damage a car, the same pothole could be a deadly hazard to an unsuspecting motorcyclist.
Likewise, sometimes the motorcycle itself is at fault. If a motorcycle has defective brakes or substandard tires, the motorcyclist is placed at unreasonable risk. Furthermore, a motorcyclist relies on their safety equipment in case of an accident. A defective helmet could result in a preventable head or brain injury. If you have been injured because of a defect in your bike or equipment, the manufacturer could be held accountable.
Determining Liability in an Arkansas Motorcycle Accident
Prevailing in any personal injury lawsuit arising from a motorcycle accident requires proving that another party’s negligence caused the crash. Our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney will have to establish four elements for you to receive compensation for your injuries.
Legal Duty of Care
In any lawsuit arising out of negligence, the first element that must be proved is that a duty of care existed. Duty of care depends on the relationship between the parties. Fortunately, in a motorcycle accident, it is usually easy to demonstrate that a duty existed. Every motorist owes every other motorist, and motorcyclist, a duty to safely operate their vehicle, including obeying all traffic rules and regulations.
Breach of Duty
Establishing a duty of care existed is just part one of the equation. Next, our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney will have to prove that the defendant’s conduct was a breach of the duty of care. For example, if our office can show through cellphone records that the defendant was texting while driving, then their conduct could constitute a breach of their duty. Likewise, if another driver tested above the legal alcohol limit, their behavior would be found to be negligent. In many cases, proving a breach is the most challenging part of a lawsuit.
Proving poor behavior is not enough to win a personal injury case. Our office will have to demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct caused the accident and your injuries. In some situations, this is not difficult. For example, when a motorcycle is struck by a car ignoring a red light, the conduct clearly caused the accident. However, when multiple parties are involved, determining how an accident happened could be challenging and require reconstructing the event.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit arising from a motorcycle accident, you are seeking monetary compensation for the damages you suffered. Damages is the legal term that describes the harm you experienced, including financial losses, physical injuries, and emotional distress. To recover through a personal injury lawsuit, you must have suffered actual damages. If your motorcycle was hit but you were not injured, you might not have the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.
Proving Fault in an Arkansas Motorcycle Accident
There are many ways to prove the four necessary elements. What steps our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney will take will often depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury.
In many cases, the scene of the crash tells the story of what occurred. It is not uncommon to send an investigator to examine the site of the accident. By reviewing skid marks and other features, it might be possible to determine the chain of events that resulted in your accident. Other contributing factors to your accident could also be discovered, such as poorly maintained road signs or defective road conditions. It is also possible that local businesses have video evidence of the crash and it is crucial to have them preserve the footage before it is erased.
Thoroughly examining the vehicles involved in the accident could also provide important information and answers. While the damage location is essential in determining what happened during the accident, an investigation of your motorcycle might show a defect that contributed to the accident.
Eyewitnesses are also a valuable asset in piecing together an accident. You should not hesitate in contacting our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney because essential evidence and witnesses might not be available months or years after the event. Furthermore, our office will want to question any witnesses as close to the time of the accident as possible. Evidence fades along with memories.
Our office will also work closely with your healthcare providers and medical professionals to understand the extent of your injuries. Severe injuries could have a more significant impact on your life. If you require multiple surgeries or years of physical therapy, you should be appropriately compensated.
Motorcycle Accidents and Arkansas Negligence Laws
Arkansas follows the legal doctrine called modified comparative fault in personal injury cases arising from negligence. Under Arkansas law, the conduct of the injured individual could influence their potential compensation.
When our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorney is preparing your case, they are working to prove that another party was at fault for your injury. However, in addition to finding someone primarily at fault, it is possible that an injured plaintiff could be found to have contributed to the accident. For instance, a driver could be found primarily at fault for colliding with a motorcycle while making a left-hand turn. However, if the motorcyclist was determined to have been speeding at the time, their conduct could be held to have contributed to the crash.
In most cases, such as the above, the blame will be apportioned between the parties involved in the accident. Therefore, the driver making the left-hand turn could be found to be 70 percent responsible for the accident, while the motorcyclist is found to be 30 percent to blame. If this is the case, a compensation award of $100,000 would be reduced by $30,000 to reflect the motorcyclist’s responsibility.
Damages Available After a Motorcycle Accident in Arkansas
Damages available in a personal injury lawsuit are typically split into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the financial losses you experienced because of your injury. These types of losses are usually easy to understand and calculate. For example, an injured motorcyclist is entitled to recover for their medical expenses. It is important to understand that future medical costs are included in this calculation. If you require years of physical or occupational therapy, it should be included in the amount our Arkansas motorcycle attorney is seeking through your claim. While big-ticket items are apparent, you are also permitted to seek compensation for costs related to your medical care, such as medication, travel and parking expenses, and modifications to your home.
Another potential significant award is recovering for lost wages. Lost wages does not only include the time you missed because of the injury; it could include the time you will lose or the decreased earning capacity you will experience because of your injury. If you are unable to return to work because of the severity of your injury, you deserve to be compensated for your lost income.
Many people think about being paid for their pain and suffering when they think about a personal injury lawsuit. Pain and suffering are included in what is known as non-economic damages. These types of damages are different from economic ones as there is no easy way to quantify them. You can provide a receipt for medical care but not for the emotional distress you suffered after a devastating accident.
There is a significant amount of physical pain and mental anguish associated with a motorcycle injury. It is not uncommon for an injured person to be overcome by depression, anxiety, insomnia, or a fear of riding again. Additionally, the injury could further impact your life and relationship with your family and loved ones. If your injury is severe, you might not be able to physically play with your young children. You deserve to be compensated for these types of losses and emotional trauma. Our office will work closely with those providing medical and psychological care along with your family and friends to understand how the injury uniquely affected you.
Call our Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was hurt in a motorcycle crash, Ken Kieklak could provide the legal representation you need. For decades, our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorneys have represented injured riders and their families. Our office and staff understand the frustration of dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. We are dedicated to providing professional and passionate representation for individuals fighting for the compensation they deserve. You should not be responsible for the financial losses associated with an accident you did not cause. We will work to hold all liable parties accountable for the injuries they cause. To schedule a free consultation with our Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyers, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today at (479) 316-0438.