Motorcycles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to be involved in vehicle accidents and to suffer injuries from these accidents. When a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the consequences can be particularly devastating because there is no seat belt. What is more, the motorcyclist is open to the elements without a roof or door. As a result, the motorcyclist is likely to be thrown from the vehicle. Regardless of the speed at which the accident occurs, the injuries in any motorcycle are likely to be severe and can often result in death.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, between 2004 and 2008, there were 14,423 crashes with approximately 3,000 crashes per year. During the same period, these crashes resulted in 647 deaths and another 10,816 injuries. Between 2004 and 2008, motorcycle crashes in Tennessee rose by an annual average of 9.2 percent. Even more startlingly is that from 1999 to 2008, motorcycle fatalities increased by 145.8 percent.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Sometimes motorcycle accidents cannot be avoided. More often than not, however, an accident involving a motorcycle was the result of a driver’s negligent conduct, either the motorcycle driver or the driver of another vehicle. Common causes of accidents involving motorcycles include:
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Failing to yield to drives with the right of way, including at a stop sign or light or while making a turn;
- Inclement weather conditions, including snow, ice, rain, wind;
- Poorly maintained roads, such as debris or potholes
- Operating a vehicle too closely to another vehicle;
- Operating a vehicle at excessive speeds;
- Failing to pay attention to other vehicles; and
- Improperly maintaining vehicles.
Tennessee Motorcycle Laws
In Tennessee, motorcycles have the same rights and obligations to use the roads as cars and trucks. Motorcycles are entitled to full use of the roads and other motor vehicles are not permitted to deprive motorcycles the use of the roads. Just as important, though, is that motorcyclists must also abide by the rules of the road.
in particular, motorcyclists may not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. What is more, a motorcyclist may not operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lanes or rows of vehicles. In addition, motorcyclists cannot operate more than two motorcycles side by side in a single lane. These rules are intended to protect motorcyclists from being involved in and causing accidents. Notwithstanding these rules, accidents involving motorcycles occur quite often.
Recovering Compensation if Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident as a result of another person’s negligent or reckless conduct, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries. In order to recover compensation, you must establish that the other driver acted negligently. Under Tennessee law, there are five elements that must be established in any negligence claim. The elements of negligence include (1) a duty of care owed by the defendant to plaintiff; (2) conduct by the defendant falling below the standard of care amounting to a breach of that duty; (3) an injury or loss; (4) causation in fact; and (5) proximate or legal cause.
If an injured party can establish that another driver acted negligently then the injured party may be able to recover compensation for one’s injuries. Similar to other personal injury claims, damages that an injured party may recover in a motorcycle accident include damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage.