ATV, Bike & Motorcycle Accidents
Car and Tractor Trailer Accidents : ATV, Bike & Motorcycle Accidents
The motorcycle definitely has its attractions: the feel of the wind whipping through your hair, the hum of power between your thighs, the exhilaration caused by the way it turns. It’s small, it’s sleek, it handles like a dream.
Of course, the motorcycle has its drawbacks, too. Since they’re smaller than cars, motorcycles are harder to see. Some drivers fail to yield the right of way. In 2006, approximately three-fourths of motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle and most were caused by the other driver. Additionally, since the motorcycle is open (lacking sides, doors, windshield), its riders are far more likely to experience significant personal injury, including severe brain or spinal cord injuries, broken bones, loss of limb, abrasions, and even death. The costs of medical care to treat injuries but especially a brain injury can be enormous. The NHTSA has studied the number of motorcycle accidents along with severe injuries as well as the costs. Injuries from wrecks where no helmet are worn can be especially severe.
Handling hospital bills and insurance claims is technical and requires knowledge of the laws. Are you tired of not getting answers and feeling like you’re getting the run-a-round?
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in the central Iowa area, Steve Lombardi of the Lombardi Law Firm, an attorney with motorcycle accident experience located in Des Moines, can help you find the best way to handle the situation. With 26 years of experience in the courts, he is very knowledgeable about the state and national laws and well equipped with the best way to approach the courts to get the result you will need.
Despite the risks, the sales of motorcycles and scooters have gone up. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), over one million motorcycles and scooters were sold in 2005, an increase of 4.5% from 2004—and those numbers only represent MIC members. There’s a strong suggestion that the recent appeal of motorcycles and scooters is related directly to the increasing price of gas, since two-wheelers get better gas mileage than most cars. Some bikes get 58 to 60 miles a gallon. There’s even a 50CC scooter that gets 82 miles per gallon. When the price of gas is three, three and a half, four dollars a gallon and rising, who wouldn’t want to save a buck?
The real question is: are the risks worth it? In 2006, approximately five thousand people were killed riding motorcycles. The number of non-fatal injuries were significantly higher. In Ohio, for instance, there were 4,427 crashes in 2005: 3,757 resulted in injury and 177 were fatal. In Iowa, according to Scott Falb, DOT driver safety specialist, at least 66 people were killed in motorcycle accidents by late December, 2007, the most deaths in 25 years.
One large cause for concern, of course, is the number of older motorcycle riders. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the median age for buying a motorcycle in 2003 was 41.0 years, compared to 32.0 in 1990. As the numbers of buyers have increased in the 40-49 and 50+ brackets, the number of accidents in those age ranges has likewise gone up. People age 45 and older made up more than 45 percent of the casualties in Iowa in 2007. And there are valid reasons for such a dramatic increase in injuries and fatalities in those age brackets. First, since more people own bikes, there will be more accidents. More importantly, however, older riders are more likely to suffer from deteriorated senses, lowered skill levels, decreased reaction speed, and a lack of balance (which is essential for riding a motorcycle).
In motorcycle crashes, injuries are common around the head and neck area. Many states have accordingly mandated helmet laws (think of them as being similar to safety belts in cars). Iowa does not mandate helmets but permits its riders to choose to wear or not. Statistics obtained from the 1994 Motorcycle Statistical Annual, Motorcycle Industry Council, however, show that the numbers of injuries and fatalities were actually greater for states with mandatory helmet laws.
Helmet laws or no helmet laws, all age issues aside, the bottom line is that the number of motorcycle-related fatalities has increased dramatically since 1997. The fatality rate per 100 million was 20.99 in 1997; by 2004, that number had almost doubled to 39.89 (2,116 deaths in 1997 compared to 4,008 in 2004). Take into account that there are almost 2 million more registered motorcycle riders in the country but that, comparatively, the number of vehicle miles traveled has not increased, and it becomes clear that motorcycle riders face a severe problem. When you ride a motorcycle, you face a significant risk of being seriously injured.
If you should find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident in the central Iowa region, don’t wait. Call personal injury attorney Steve Lombardi at 515.222.1110 as soon as you can. In the state of Iowa, personal injury claims must be brought to court within two years. More importantly, it’s essential to have an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights, to help you recoup lost pay, and to help you pay for the medical bills incurred by a potentially severe injury. You have the right to be justly compensated for injuries caused by the negligence of another.