Marion County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Marion County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycles make up approximately 3% of all registered vehicles and .6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the country. However, motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities, and 3% of occupant injuries. These numbers indicate that motorcyclist crash-related fatalities have doubled over the past two decades. Motorcycle injuries often contribute to mortality and morbidity, burdening injury victims and their families. As such, motorcycle road safety has become an increasing concern among traffic safety professionals.
Individuals who suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident should consult the experienced Indiana personal injury attorneys at the Tabor Law Firm. The attorneys on the team have an extensive history of securing favorable outcomes for Marion County motorcycle accident victims. Contact an attorney at Tabor Law at (317) 236-9000 to discuss your rights and remedies after a motorcycle collision.
Indiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Every year, the Traffic Safety Division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) develops a series of benchmarks to grade the state of traffic safety in Indiana. These markers focus on fatal and injury collisions as they correspond to impaired driving, seat belt use, motorcycle safety, dangerous drivers, and non-motorist injuries. Most recent findings from the ICJI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that in FY 2021, Indiana failed to meet its performance target of 106 motorcycle fatalities. Data showed that there were 134 motorcycle accidents, which was a 21% increase from the previous reporting year.
Further, Marion County collision overview data showed that in the most recent reporting year, there were:
- 37,726 total collisions
- 106 fatalities
- 338 motorcycle collisions
- 3,273 speed-related collisions
- 391 alcohol-impaired crashes
- 91.3% restraint use
The majority of motorcycle accidents occurred in the following municipalities:
- Beech Grove
The Traffic Safety Institute reports that Marion County has the highest number of fatal crashes in any Indiana county. Further, accident data shows that most motorcycle accident fatalities occurred on urban roads, in good weather, and at night.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents typically involve a complex series of events involving the interplay of human, vehicle, and environmental factors. Motorcycles provide very little injury protection to riders or passengers. Thus, these accidents tend to result in serious injuries. While motorcycle trauma can result from several different mechanisms, there are four main types of motorcycle crashes. The most common motorcycle crashes include the following:
- Lowside Accidents: When the rider falls to the low side of the lean during a turn, often as a result of another driver cutting the motorcyclist off.
- Highside Accidents: The rider falls to the opposite side of a turn while trying to correct, causing the motorcycle to flip over and the rider to be thrown off.
- Topside Accidents: When the motorcycle suddenly decelerates, the rider flips over the handlebars.
- Collision Accidents: When the motorcyclist hits or is hit by a stationary object, causing the rider to experience blunt trauma.
While motorcycle accidents can cause severe and potentially fatal injuries, head-on collisions tend to have the most dire outcomes. While the majority of motorcycle accidents are the result of a rider making a snap-decision to avoid an imminent accident, usually caused by another driver, insurance companies tend to focus on even the slightest error in judgment when reviewing a claim. Thus, it is imperative that motorcycle accident victims work with an experienced injury lawyer who can put their actions in context and illustrate why the other driver was responsible for the accident.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable group of road accident victims and often experience the most devastating injuries. During a motorcycle crash, riders and their passengers often endure a high-velocity impact caused by the collision. Absorbing this energy often causes head, extremities, and spine injuries, making victims more prone to severe injuries.
The most common injuries include damage to the following areas:
- Shoulder girdle
- Pelvic ring
These injuries often stem from head-leading collisions, direct vertical impact, fuel tank injuries, limb entrapment, and tire-spoke injuries.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many factors influence the severity of an Indiana motorcycle accident. Some factors include the following:
- Helmet use
- Speed of vehicles
- Objects with which the vehicles collide
- Driver impairment
- Dangerous driving behaviors
- Emergency Response times
According to the NHTSA, in 2020, over 35% of motorcycle riders involved in deadly crashes were riding without a valid motorcycle license.
Indiana Motorcycle Helmet Law
Under Indiana law, only motorcyclists under 18 or those with a motorcycle learner’s permit must wear helmets. The NHTSA reports that about 76% of fatal Indiana motorcycle accidents involved unhelmeted riders. Motorcycle helmets reduce motorcycle-related deaths and head injuries. Most notably, recent data from Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute shows that only 25% of motorcyclists between the ages of 35 to 44 involved in a motorcycle crash were wearing a helmet.
Establishing Liability and Proving Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claim
Establishing liability after an Indiana motorcycle accident is critical to an accident victim’s personal injury claim. Under Indiana’s tort laws, a victim or their loved one must establish that another’s negligence or misconduct was the cause of the victim’s damages. To prove negligence, the victim must demonstrate the following:
- The at-fault party had a duty to operate their vehicle safely.
- The person who caused the accident breached their duty.
- The breach caused the victim’s injuries or fatality.
- The victim experienced actual damages because of their injury.
In Indiana, motorcycle accident victims can recover damages for economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages are objective, quantifiable monetary losses such as the following:
- Medical bills
- Future treatment costs
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
Noneconomic damages are more subjective and typically address the victim’s non-monetary losses, including the following:
- Physical pain and distress
- Emotional pain
- Loss of consortium
Further, in Indiana, punitive damages are recoverable; however, these damages are subject to significant restrictions.
Third-Party Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycle accidents are typically caused by the negligence of a motor vehicle driver or motorcyclist, in some cases, another party might be liable for the accident. For instance, the following parties may be liable for a motorcycle accident:
- Property Owners: Property owners have a duty to keep their property free from unreasonable dangers. Motorcyclists who suffer injuries because of a defective or dangerous condition on another’s property may have a valid claim for damages against the property owner or occupier.
- Governmental Entities: In some cases, motorcycle accidents may result from defective or unsafe road conditions. While pursuing claims against governmental entities can be challenging, an attorney can assist victims in establishing liability and recovering damages from liable parties.
- Manufacturers: A car or motorcycle manufacturer may be liable for damages and injuries that stem from the manufacturer’s negligence. These cases typically involve defective design, manufacturing, or failure to warn claims.
While Indiana permits third-party liability, these cases require a comprehensive understanding of complex procedural, evidentiary, and statutory laws.
Comparative Negligence Indiana Motorcycle Accident
Sometimes, a negligent party may defend their position by claiming the victim was partially responsible for their injuries. Under Indiana’s modified comparative negligence statute, victims can only recover damages for their injuries if they were less than 51% responsible for the incident.
Pure Several Liability in Indiana
In some cases, more than one party may be responsible for causing the victim’s injuries or damages. Indiana is one of only 14 states that follow the theory of “pure several liability.” Under this theory, if two or more parties are responsible for the accident or injuries, each at-fault party is only responsible for their percentage of responsibility. In these cases, the victim is responsible for identifying non-party at-fault parties and pursuing claims against that party for damages.
Statute of Limitations for Indiana Motorcycle Accident Claims
Under Indiana’s personal injury laws, victims must file their lawsuits within two years of the date of the accident or injury. In most situations, the statute of limitations begins when the cause of action arises. However, there are certain exceptions to Indiana’s two-year statute of limitations. Some exceptions include the following:
- Legal Disabilities: Under Indiana law, if the injured party is under a “legal disability,” the statute of limitations for certain claims will not begin to run until the disability is removed. For instance, if the victim was a minor at the time of the accident, they will have two years from the time they turn 18 to file their claim.
- Tort Claim Against a Government Entity: Under Indiana law, you have only 180 days to provide notice of intent to file a tort claim against any city or state government entity. For example, this comes up if a motorcyclist intends to sue a government for failing to safely maintain a road.
Motorcycle accident victims should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure they meet the state’s strict statute of limitations.
Have You Been Injured in a Marion Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the driver who was responsible for the accident. At the Tabor Law Firm, our Marion motorcycle accident lawyers have more than 150 years of combined experience aggressively pursuing fair compensation for seriously hurt motorcyclists. We recognize the challenges you face when attempting to move on with your life after an accident, and we will do everything possible to make the recovery process as easy on you as possible. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will explain the recovery process, answer your questions, and provide you with an honest assessment of your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, contact the Tabor Law Firm at (317) 236-9000. You can also reach our Marion County personal injury attorneys through our online contact form.
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