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Motorcycle riders are much more exposed to the dangers of the roads than their counterparts driving in cars. As a result, accidents involving motorcycles often result in catastrophic injuries to the riders. There are also more motorcycles on the road now than at any other time before. Correspondingly, the number of serious injuries and deaths to motorcyclists has been increasing significantly since 1997. In fact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there are over 100,000 motorcycle accidents in the United States on a yearly basis. In 2007, 5,154 people were killed in motorcycle crashes, which was a 6.6 percent increase over 2006. These figures indicate that a motorcyclist is 35 times more likely to die in an accident than an occupant of a car.
Given the increased likelihood of serious injury or death, Motorcycle accident claims are more likely to justify large recoveries from the insurance companies of those who are at fault. Aside from the larger claims, a claim for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident is similar to those for a car accident. As is the case in other negligence claims, a driver or other individual has the general responsibility to conduct him or herself in such a reasonable manner so as not to place another at unreasonable risk. If someone fails to conform to that standard and as a result of such negligent action or inaction, a motorcyclist is injured or killed, that person is responsible for the injuries and damaged sustained by the victim motorcyclist and in some instances his or her family or estate.
As discussed, Injuries that befall a motorcyclist are often severe. Because motorcycle riders are more exposed and less protected than drivers of automobiles, they are more susceptible to serious injury and death in accidents. Some of the more frequent that occur as the result of a motorcycle crash accident include:
The severity of injuries to motorcycle riders has given rise to significant debate over mandatory helmet laws. The federal government has at times compelled states to enact laws requiring helmet usage through restrictions on federal highway funding. However, most recently in 1995, Congress reversed its position and in effect left it up to the individual states to determine the requirements for helmets. As of 2007, 20 states had laws that mandated helmet usage. 27 states had partial mandates that required only certain classes of riders, usually minors, to utilize helmets. Three states have none. Iowa happens to be one of those states.
While it is certainly a matter of debate whether or not it should be the governments business to be forcing riders to wear helmets, it generally cannot be argued that helmets can reduce risk and save lives in certain circumstances. Given that Iowa does not mandate helmet usage, the accidents here often result in catastrophic injury. Generally the more serious the injuries, the more complex an injury claim can be. Accordingly, it is very important to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon after an accident as possible. Getting an effective injury attorney involved early will insure that the accident is properly investigated, evidence is preserved and the injuries and damages are fully explored. Also, help with insurance coverage issues and properly submitting a claim is best handled by an experienced professional.
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Wrongful Death/Traumatic Injury, Alcohol Related, Bar Responsibility, Drunk Drivers...
Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC
440 Fairway Drive, Suite 210
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Des Moines, Iowa: 515-226-0500
Nationwide Toll Free: 1-877-475-5297
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Mason City, Iowa 50401