Understanding Alabama Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders love the feeling and the freedom of hopping on a chopper or cruiser and hitting the road. Alabama’s beautiful weather and scenery make it a great place for motorcycle adventures. 

Motorcycle riders (and car drivers) must understand the legal issues behind motorcycle accidents. This article explains what motorcycle riders need to know about getting compensation after a motorcycle accident. Read on to see answers to common questions about Alabama motorcycle accidents. 

Alabama Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Sadly, motorcycle accidents are both common and dangerous. Nationally, motorcycles are just three percent of all vehicles. But in 2021, motorcycle accidents accounted for 14 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Though passenger car accident rates have dropped steadily since the 1970s, motorcycle accidents are increasing. 

The picture in Alabama is similar. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, though motorcycle accidents briefly dipped in 2020 and 2021, they rebounded to their previously high levels in 2022. 

Why Motorcycle Accidents Are So Serious

Motorcycle accidents are much more severe than car accidents for several reasons. First, and most obviously, passenger cars protect those inside. Motorcycle riders are fully exposed, so when they get hit by a car, their bodies absorb the full impact. 

However, external protection is only one reason why Alabama motorcycle accidents are so serious. Others include: 

  • Higher sensitivity. Motorcycles’ steering mechanisms are far more sensitive than cars’. This means a startled motorcycle rider who accidentally oversteers will have a harder time correcting than a car driver. 
  • Weaker brakes. Cars have much stronger brake systems than motorcycles. So, it takes motorcycles much longer to come to a complete stop. The difference can be as much as the entire length of a semi-truck. 
  • Balance and stability. Motorcycle riders must move and balance at the same time, which can be tricky. Any brief or slight loss of balance can lead to a crash.  
  • Road hazards. Their lighter weight makes motorcycles more susceptible to potholes and other road dangers.
  • Reduced visibility. Motorcycles are smaller and harder for drivers to see than other cars. This puts motorcycle riders at risk of being hit. 

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

Motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries. Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include 

  • Broken bones, 
  • Traumatic brain injuries (e.g., concussions and contusions), 
  • Being crushed, 
  • Facial and skull fractures, 
  • Dislocated joints, and 
  • Burns, bruises, and cuts including “road rash” (damage to the skin caused by scraping across pavement).  

Arm and leg fractures are most common, followed closely by injuries to the head, face, and neck. 

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Crash? 

After an Alabama motorcycle accident, it’s important to collect as much information as possible. This will help your Alabama accident attorney build your case. This information includes

  • The other driver’s name and insurance information, 
  • The names and contact information for any witnesses, 
  • Police reports, and
  • Photos of the crash (including damage to all vehicles, weather conditions, signs, and any other relevant information).

What Do I Need to Do to Win My Alabama Motorcycle Accident Case? 

To win your Alabama motorcycle accident case, you’ll need to prove that the other driver was negligent. Negligence means that the other driver owed you a duty to behave carefully but failed to do so. If that failure injured you, you may be entitled to damages. Damages are financial compensation for your accident.

However, Alabama follows a strict rule called contributory negligence. This rule says that if a person is even one percent responsible for the accident, they cannot collect damages from the other driver. About 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents are caused by the motorcycle rider. Also, actions such as failing to wear a helmet as required by Alabama law could reduce the amount of damages you may claim. There are exceptions to the contributory negligence rule, however. Your Birmingham injury lawyer can help you determine if contributory negligence or any exceptions apply in your case. 

What Kind of Compensation Can I Get After an Alabama Motorcycle Accident? 

If you win your motorcycle accident case, you will be eligible for two different types of damages: compensatory and punitive. 

Compensatory damages are designed to put you in the same position you were in before the accident. Accident expenses such as medical bills and lost wages fit this category. You may also be eligible for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. 

While compensatory damages focus on you, punitive damages focus on the other driver. If their behavior was particularly egregious (e.g., drunkenly speeding down the road in the wrong direction), you may be eligible for punitive damages. Your Birmingham personal injury attorney can tell you which damages might apply in your case.

How a Lawyer Can Help You After an Alabama Motorcycle Accident

After an accident, you have legal rights. To protect them, you need legal advice. A skilled Alabama accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance with several tasks, including

  • Investigating your accident,
  • Handling insurance claims on your behalf, 
  • Negotiating a fair settlement for your case, and
  • Representing you in court, if necessary.

If you need legal assistance after a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact Collins Law, LLC. Our firm is one of Birmingham’s highest-rated personal injury law firms. We’ll give you the expert legal guidance you need while treating you with the compassion you deserve. Use our website’s online scheduling tool or call 205-588-1411 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.