Motorcycle Accidents A Nationally Recognized Firm with a Passion for Winning

Cleveland Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Ohio Motorcycle Accident Claims

Because of the design of motorcycles, bikers are extremely vulnerable when on the road. If they are involved in an accident, they are more likely than a passenger in a vehicle to sustain serious injury, and in extreme cases, death. Since 2015, over 3,000 motorcycle accidents have happened each year on Ohio roads. Every year, over 100 of those are fatal collisions, and more than 1,000 are injury-causing. Although bikers may practice defensive riding, sometimes collisions with negligent or reckless motorists can't be anticipated or avoided. If you or a loved one was harmed in a motorcycle accident caused by another person, reach out to HMW Law to discuss your legal options.

At our firm, our Cleveland motorcycle accident attorneys are aware of the substantial harm that can result from these types of crashes. We also know that medical treatment for injuries can lead to hefty bills and an inability to return to life as normal. When you turn to us for legal representation, we can thoroughly investigate your case, determine liability, and work toward recovering just compensation on your behalf. We believe that you shouldn't be stuck with financial burdens that resulted from someone else's negligence. That is why we will fight relentlessly for you.

To learn about how we can help with your claim or lawsuit, call us at (216) 220-6776 or contact us online today. We offer a free initial consultation.

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What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accident claims are sometimes won based on the evidence that the plaintiff can bring to negotiations and litigation. Oftentimes, the most useful evidence can be found in the immediate aftermath of the wreck. For this reason, what you did before leaving the scene of the motorcycle accident is important.

Let our Cleveland motorcycle accident lawyers know if you took these steps after the crash:

  • Call 911: If someone was seriously injured or the debris could cause other motorists to crash, you need to call 911. The first responders can render emergency medical care, take control of the scene, and write accident reports, which our attorneys can use when building your claim.
  • Exchange information: As with any motor vehicle accident, you must exchange contact and insurance information with any other involved party after a motorcycle accident. This information is essential for starting the claim later.
  • Take photographs: Insurance defense teams will work tirelessly to defeat any argument that a plaintiff brings. However, they have a harder time fighting tangible evidence like photographs. Prepare your case from the start by taking many photos of the scene right after the crash happened if you can.
  • See a doctor: You should head to the doctor the same day as the accident, assuming you aren’t taken to the hospital for serious injuries. A doctor can diagnose your injuries, which could be subtle right now but get worse soon. A note in your medical record can also show when you suffered your injuries and how they happened, which is beneficial for your case.

Common Reasons for Motorcycle Accidents in Cleveland

The following are the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents on roads and freeways.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting, or lane sharing, happens when a biker drives through two lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles. It usually occurs during traffic jams. While Ohio doesn’t explicitly outlaw lane splitting, bikers could be cited for failing to drive in marked lanes or engaging in unsafe lane changing by law enforcement. So, bikers in Ohio could participate in lane splitting if they don’t mind risking the citation to get to their destinations more quickly. The danger in this practice is car drivers don’t always expect a motorcycle, or anything else for that matter, to be between their cars and the cars in the next lane. While they may check for large objects in the rearview mirror, they may not check again, during which time a biker could have driven into their way while they changed lanes. Bikers are also in much closer proximity to cars and have less room to maneuver if they need to get out of the way quickly.

Speeding

Speeding can be dangerous in any vehicle, but it’s particularly deadly on motorcycles. According to statistics, half of the accidents involving a single motorcycle are caused by speeding or alcohol use. Motorcycles can go incredibly fast, particularly those designed for racing, such as supersport bikes. Their light frames and lack of protection make crashing a deadly experience for any driver, and the faster you go, the less control you have over the vehicle you’re driving.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol and driving any vehicle is a poor decision, but it can lead to severe consequences for bikers in particular. Just as speeding can result in many crashes, alcohol makes its own contribution. Alcohol lowers the inhibitions of those who drink it, which means people are more likely to make poor decisions when driving, such as speeding. Likewise, it can influence the balance and coordination of the drinker. Because motorcycles require balance to drive them well and safely, a drunk biker can often lose that balance and fall over. At high speeds, this could be disastrous.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles are less able to respond to dangers on the road than cars and other vehicles. While they are more maneuverable, if the driver doesn’t have enough time to avoid road hazards, such as potholes, road kill, ice, or sand, one of the wheels could slip over the hazard and take the driver down. These accidents are more likely to happen if drivers take blind corners at high speeds.

Collisions

Around 56% of all motorcycle-related deaths involve crashes of motorcycles and other vehicles. In many of these accidents, the car strikes the motorcycle from the front. In only 5% of accidents, the car will hit the bike from behind. If there is a head-on collision between car and bike, the motorcyclist will often die as a result. As stated earlier, the fatality is largely the result of the severe lack of protection a motorcycle offers its driver. When bikes collide with fixed objects as well, it can lead to deadly results. Around 25% of motorcyclist deaths involve colliding with fixed objects, such as walls or trees.

Left-Hand Turns

Cars making left-hand turns account for about 42% of all accidents involving motorcycles and cars. When the turning car strikes a motorcycle, the bike is usually going straight through an intersection, passing the car, or trying to overtake the vehicle. While these types of accidents can also affect cars, again, the car offers more protection for its occupant than the motorcycle.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries in Cleveland

Motorcycle accidents can happen in a variety of ways: A driver might have been distracted and turned left in front of the biker without seeing them, an intoxicated driver might have weaved into the biker's lane and hit them, or a motorist might have collided with a motorcyclist while changing lanes. Those are just a few of the causes of motorcycle accidents, but whatever the reason, the rider may suffer serious injury as a result.motorcycle accident lawyer cleveland ohio

Some examples of injuries that may occur in a motorcycle accident include:

  • Head and neck injuries: A helmet can save a rider's life, but they may still suffer an injury, such as a concussion, when their head makes impact with the asphalt. Additionally, the sudden jolt of the neck after being hit by a vehicle or falling onto the ground can cause injury to the spine, ligaments, muscles, and tissue in that area of the body.
  • Road rash: In some motorcycle accidents, the rider is flung from their bike and skids across the asphalt. The movement can result in layers of skin being peeled away. In some cases, it can expose the muscle, tissue, and bone underneath.
  • Arm injuries: When people start falling, their natural tendency is to protect themselves by extending their arms. Typically, motorcyclists do this when they are flung from their bikes during an accident. Because of the speed at which they're traveling, upon impact, they may suffer broken arms, shoulders, elbows, and/or fingers. Additionally, they may sustain permanent nerve damage.
  • Leg injuries: In a motorcycle crash, the bike might fall on top of the rider, or the biker may be launched from the vehicle and suffer injuries to their lower extremities, such as a broken leg or twisted ankle. In some cases, they might suffer lacerations or torn ligaments.

Often after a motorcycle accident, the rush of adrenaline prevents the rider from immediately recognizing that they have been injured. Regardless of how they are feeling right after the crash, it's essential that they seek medical attention to determine the extent of the harm suffered.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it's crucial that you get the medical care you need. Then, reach out to HMW Law to get started on your case.

Overview of a Motorcycle Accident Case

HMW Law and our Cleveland motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help you from start to finish. You don’t have to worry about the complexities and challenges of your claim when we are leading the way.

In a typical motorcycle accident case, you can expect these steps:

  • Investigate the accident to determine liability.
  • Calculate the damages owed to you, which could require you to first reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • Send a demand letter to the defendant for the compensation owed to you.
  • File a claim in court if the demand letter is not accepted.
  • Prepare for court and litigate on your behalf if necessary.

Damages Available in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

We want to secure justice in your name if you were hit while riding. To make that happen, compensation needs to be secured, too. How much compensation will set things right, though? The answer depends on the specifics of your motorcycle accident and the losses it has caused you to suffer.

Compensation in motorcycle accident claims usually takes two forms:

  • Economic: Losses that can be tracked with receipts, bills, paystubs, etc. are economic. Lost wages and medical bills are the two most common types of economic damages.
  • Non-economic: Losses that are harder to calculate but are just as serious to the plaintiff are non-economic, such as pain, suffering, and a lowered enjoyment of life.

Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations

Ohio uses a two-year statute of limitations that begins on the “date of action,” which means the date of the motorcycle accident in your case. You must file a claim before two years pass, or you can’t file one after. To make sure that your claim is ready to be filed on time, leave it up to our Cleveland motorcycle accident attorneys.

Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

If you’ve been injured on a motorcycle because of the negligence or carelessness of another person, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our Cleveland motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. Our firm is dedicated to helping the victims of personal injury seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Our Cleveland personal injury team is prepared to deliver the effective and personalized representation you need. We can work hard at developing a compelling strategy for your case and protecting your rights.

We are consistently available, responsive, and honest communicators. Contact us at (216) 220-6776 to schedule your free consultation with our Cleveland motorcycle accident lawyers.

3 Ways to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

Most people know motorcycle riding is incredibly dangerous. More often than not, other drivers of larger vehicles are the biggest part of what makes riding such a hazardous activity. Drivers don’t often expect these smaller vehicles to be nearby when they make turns or change lanes, so they might not bother to check between lanes. If you’re a bike rider, here are 3 ways you can better avoid a disastrous accident on the road.

Ride Defensively

Defensive riding and driving include preparing for the worst always. As a defensive rider, you assume other vehicle owners on the road never see you. By making this assumption, you can automatically make tactical decisions to defend yourself by keeping a safe distance between your bike and other vehicles.

Use Protective Gear

Unlike car drivers, you do not have the benefit of a large metal cage to protect you in an accident. Because of this, people have designed different methods to protect bikers on the road. From leather gear to complete body armor to helmets, bikers have the option of many types of protective gear from which to choose. While it may be expensive, it is worth the investment if you do find yourself in an accident. How much is a good set of gear compared to extensive medical bills after a severe injury?

Avoid Driving Between Moving and Parked Vehicles

Dooring is one of the most common types of motorcycle and bike accidents. It happens when a parked car’s owner opens the driver’s side door without checking to see if anyone is coming. The sudden obstacle often causes a rider to crash into either the door or another car in the left lane as the biker tries to avoid the car door. Likewise, not all drivers signal before they pull out of a parking spot and into moving traffic. Keep in lanes that are constantly moving, so you don’t get caught by surprise.

Cleveland Motorcycle Accident FAQ

Is lane-splitting legal in Cleveland?

Lane-splitting or riding between lanes of occupied traffic is unlawful in Cleveland and the rest of Ohio. You should not lane-split because drivers won’t be expecting it, so they could be more likely to hit you while you lane-split.

Does Cleveland require me to wear a motorcycle helmet?

Ohio requires riders who are under the age of 18 or who have not been licensed for a year or more must wear a motorcycle helmet when the vehicle is in operation. However, we recommend that all riders wear a motorcycle helmet at all times. It is a safe choice and can dramatically reduce your risk of head injury, brain injury, or fatality in a crash.

Can I file a claim if I partially caused the motorcycle accident?

In Ohio, you can file a motorcycle accident claim if you were partially but not mostly liable for the crash. In other words, if your liability meets or exceeds 51%, then the state’s comparative negligence statute will bar you from making a recovery against the other party.

How expensive is it to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer?

At our firm, we offer contingency fee agreements to motorcycle accident clients. With a contingency fee agreement, you won’t owe any attorney fees unless we win your case, such as securing a settlement or award in your name.

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