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What are 6 things I need to know about motorcycle accidents?

Whilst riding motorcycles can be a fun and convenient mode of transport, it is a statistically more dangerous way of getting around. If you have been involved in a motorbike accident that has led to an injury, read these six important facts about making a motorcycle accident claim.

1. Motorcycle accidents are often not about speed

Even with the use of protective equipment and caution on the road, motorcyclists are at much higher risk of accidents. Despite only 1% of road users being motorcyclists, in 2012, 9,834 people killed or seriously injured in accidents involving cars, compared to 5,656 motorcyclists (UK Parliament PDF).

People often attribute accidents involving motorcyclists to speed and recklessness, but accidents often occur as a result of other road users not seeing them, or through road surface issues. Common accidents that are possible to make a claim for include:

  • Being knocked off when not seen by motorists
  • Other road users’ lack of awareness of motorbikes, especially at junctions
  • Motorists failing to see a motorbike because of car windscreen pillars
  • Motorcyclists having problems on bends, or overtaking
  • Potholes or uneven surfaces, due to lack of road maintenance
  • Loose chippings on the road
  • Diesel spillages causing a skid or accident

2. It’s usually the driver’s fault, not the rider’s

Unfortunately, when it comes to determining who was at fault in a crash, people will often jump to conclusions and blame the motorcyclist. However, bias towards them is unfounded, as 80% of motorbike accidents are in fact caused by someone else’s negligence.

If you have sustained injuries through a crash that you feel was not your fault, you should not be deterred by any bias against motorcyclists. With the right facts and evidence, if an accident was not your fault, you can make a rightful claim for compensation.

3. A crash involving a motorcycle doesn’t just lead to physical injuries

Without air bags and seat belts, motorcyclists are likely to suffer more in an accident than a driver. The impact of a vehicle hitting a motorbike can be severe, as the vast majority of the force is absorbed by the bike and the rider. This can lead to a number of injuries, such as:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Skin burns and deep cuts
  • Muscle and tissue damage

What is perhaps lesser known is the risk of psychological trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common result of a traumatic motorcycle crash. Symptoms of this may include experiencing fearfulness, a difficulty getting to sleep, finding the event hard to forget, difficulty breathing and mood swings. To find out about other symptoms, look at Mind’s comprehensive guide here.

4. The steps you take following an accident can be key to a motorcycle accident claim

The impact of a crash may leave you unable to react, but in order to pursue a road accident compensation claim, the more evidence and notes you can collect, the better your chances of a successful claim. If possible, try to do the following:

  • Seek medical assistance to assess your condition and attend to any injuries
  • Note down the details of those involved and any witnesses
  • Take photographs of the scene
  • Keep hold of any records, medical or otherwise, that have been made in relation to the event

Once acquired, this information will help a road accident solicitor to assess your claim and offer guidance accordingly.

5. Compensation calculates more than your injury alone

A motorcycle crash will not just affect you physically, the effects can take their toll on your life as well as those around you. If your ability to work and maintain relationships has been impacted, these can be considered when assessing a compensation sum. Financial hardship as a result of damage to property and the inability to work will also be calculated.

As discussed above, psychological problems are also common. If you are suffering from any psychological consequences of the event, a psychiatric report may be necessary to prove your post-traumatic stress, and support your claim.

Following your crash, you may also require further care. This could be to lengths as extreme as full-time care, or it could be that you require alterations to your house or extended medical care and physiotherapy. These costs – whether past or planned in the future – will be taken into account. Your age and sex may also make a difference to your compensation. For example, women can, by law, be awarded more compensation for facial scarring.

To summarise what may be accounted for in a motorcycle claim, see below:

  • Your injury
  • Repairs to your motorcycle and attire (including helmet)
  • Cost of alternative transport
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical treatment and rehabilitation cost

6. Making a claim for a motorbike accident will involve expert analysis

Initially, a statement will be obtained by your solicitor to fully understand the details of your accident. They will then obtain your full GP and medical notes, which will be reviewed by an independent medical expert. If the motorbike accident injuries are permanent, the medical expert will consider how this will affect your future, such as your ability and/or chances to work again.

The courts will take all the above into account, listening to what you have to say about the impact of the injuries on your life and the opinion of the medical experts. The courts will also then consider other cases similar to yours to decide how much to award you.

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