Motorcycle riders are far more likely to suffer fatal injuries in an accident than motor vehicle occupants. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal motorcycle accidents is nearly 30 times higher than the number of fatal car accidents based on the number of miles traveled.
While all types of motorcycle accidents have the potential to be fatal, some accidents are more dangerous than others. The single most common type of fatal motorcycle crash is a crash involving a head-on collision with a motor vehicle or stationary object.
The Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine have seen the devastation that can result from a serious motorcycle accident firsthand. In an instant, a negligent driver can turn a motorcyclist’s life upside down. If you were hurt in a wreck, our attorneys want to hear your story.
The Risks of Head-On Motorcycle Accidents
Several factors make head-on collisions particularly dangerous for motorcycle riders. Oftentimes, two or more of these factors will combine to result in fatal injuries. Some examples of the primary causes of death in head-on motorcycle crashes are:
- Combined Speed – In a head-on collision involving a motorcycle and a car, truck, or SUV, the speed of each vehicle contributes to the severity of the crash. For example, if each vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, this is equivalent to a rider hitting a stationary object at 60 mph.
- Impact Force – Even at relatively low speeds, the impact force of a motorcycle colliding head-on with another object can be more than enough to cause fatal injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic injuries resulting in organ damage or severe blood loss are all common causes of death in head-on motorcycle crashes.
- Rider Ejection – Riders will almost always be ejected from their motorcycles during head-on collisions. When riders get ejected, they are helpless to protect themselves. Hitting a windshield, tree, power pole, guard rail, or the ground can cause fatal injuries even if a rider is not fatally injured in the initial head-on impact.
Ways Motorcycle Riders Can Mitigate Their Risk of Suffering Fatal Injuries in a Head-On Crash
Unfortunately, motorcycle riders cannot entirely protect themselves against the risk of suffering fatal injuries in a head-on crash. No matter how safe a rider may be, the rider can still encounter factors that are beyond his or her control. With that said, there are steps riders can take to mitigate their risk of suffering fatal injuries in a head-on crash, including:
- Complying with Traffic Laws – Stopping at red lights and stop signs, obeying the speed limit, passing safely, and otherwise complying with California’s traffic laws can reduce riders’ risk of suffering fatal injuries in all types of collisions.
- Wearing a Helmet – According to the NHTSA, wearing a helmet reduces motorcycle riders’ risk of suffering fatal injuries in an accident by 37 percent. Wearing a helmet is also required under California law.
- Riding Defensively – Being cautious, maintaining plenty of visibility, and always being sure to have an escape route can help reduce motorcycle riders’ risk of fatal accidents as well.
Establishing Liability for a Fatal Head-On Motorcycle Crash in Bakersfield, CA
Given that most riders follow these steps (and others) to keep themselves safe, the majority of fatal head-on motorcycle crashes are the result of driver negligence. When negligent drivers cause fatal motorcycle accidents, riders’ families can pursue claims for financial compensation, and they will be entitled to significant insurance settlements in many cases. A Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer can help.
Pursuing a wrongful death claim after a fatal motorcycle accident requires proof of liability. This means that the family needs evidence demonstrating that a negligent driver (or other at-fault party) caused their loved one’s fatal crash. Depending on the circumstances involved, types of evidence that may be available to prove liability for a fatal head-on motorcycle accident include:
- Forensic evidence from the crash site
- Police report
- Traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness statements, photos, and videos
- Phone records
- Driver logs
This is true whether the accident involved a head-on collision with another vehicle or the rider was forced off of the road by a negligent driver. In both scenarios, grieving family members have the same legal rights. Even if a negligent driver did not hit a motorcycle directly, the driver can still be held fully liable if he or she caused the rider to collide with another vehicle or other object.
If you have lost a loved one in a head-on motorcycle accident, we offer our sincere condolences, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your family’s legal rights.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer Mickey Fine, please call (661) 333-3333 or request an appointment online today.