Nashville Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In Davidson County, 329 motorcycle crashes occurred in 2015. Nashville’s county was number three on the list of all counties in Tennessee, behind VanBuren County in second place and Blount County in first. Tennessee’s roadways are extremely dangerous for motorcyclists. Inclement weather, winding roads with blind curves, and negligent drivers contribute to motorcyclist fatalities every year.
In 2015, our attorneys recovered more than $3.4 million in damages for our clients – many of whom were victims of motorcycle crashes. Our firm won a $600,000 settlement for three people injured in a motorcycle crash in Nashville at an intersection after hiring an expert arborist to prove that trees and brush had been covering the stop sign for a negligent amount of time. In another case, we won $605,000 for an injured motorcyclist who suffered severe leg injuries after a collision.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident and are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve, our Nashville personal injury lawyers will evaluate your case and start making moves on your behalf immediately. We have the resources you need to prove negligence in a motorcycle crash, and will defend your case to the fullest extent of Tennessee law. With over 35 years of personal injury experience in Nashville, our legal team understands the gravity of motorcycle crashes and responds to them with aggressive representation.
Motorcyclist Rights and Responsibilities
Tennessee law enforcement holds motorcyclists to the same rules of the road as other motor vehicles. Motorcyclists must follow road signs, stoplights, and traffic patterns while on the roadway. They are not allowed to ride next to cars in the same lane, but two motorcycles can ride next to each other in the same lane. Weaving between cars or riding in the emergency lane to avoid traffic is not allowed.
Motorcycle riders, including passengers, must wear helmets at all times in Tennessee. The helmets must meet federal standards. Lawmakers put these rules in place for your protection: wearing a helmet decreases your chances of suffering a traumatic head injury and permanent brain damage. However, if you weren’t wearing a helmet during a motorcycle accident, it won’t be admissible as evidence of fault in the event of negligence by a third party.
Personal injury attorneys handle traffic crashes involving motorcycles the same way as other motor vehicle crashes, although the injuries sustained are generally more severe. Motorcyclists can suffer from serious road rash, spinal cord and neck injuries, head trauma, brain injuries, internal bleeding, and wrongful death. The compensation a motorcyclist can receive in the event of negligence from a third party may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional suffering and trauma
- Medical expenses, including rehabilitation
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damages
Injured motorcyclists regularly sustain life-threatening injuries or permanent disfigurement during a crash. If an accident results in death, the spouse and/or family are eligible for consortium damages. In these cases, the spouse or family can sue for tangible damages as well as intangible damages such as loss of love, attention, education, etc. that the spouse and/or family would have reasonably received had the victim not been killed.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can be deadly at worst and extremely inconvenient and painful at best. When a motorcycle is in an accident, the rider is more likely to be injured as a result. Sometimes, despite how much care you exercise in operating your motorcycle on Tennessee’s winding roads, other drivers make a collision inevitable. After a motorcycle accident in Tennessee, call an experienced attorney who can help you recover financial losses.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents occurs when vehicles turn left through an intersection. This can result in an accident if the motorcycle is continuing straight from the opposite direction or if the motorcycle was passing the car or attempting to overtake the car. Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that it is safe to perform left-hand turns. However, due to the motorcycle’s smaller size – rendering it less visible, many cars fail to safely execute a left-hand turn.
In almost all cases of this type of accident, the law will find the car driver at fault. However, if the motorcycle was speeding or not in the proper lane, the motorcyclist may be partly responsible for the accident.
Head-On Collision vs. Rear-End Collisions
Head-on collisions are another common source of motorcycle accidents. This can be especially common on some of Tennessee’s two-lane divided roads. They often happen when a vehicle attempting to pass another vehicle fails to notice the oncoming motorcycle and so moves into the motorcycle’s lane to pass. Again, in this situation, the driver is at fault for failing to observe the motorcycle. Many head-on collisions like this are fatal to the motorcyclist, even if he or she is wearing a helmet and other safety gear.
Rear-end collisions involving motorcycles are less common, but they may occur when a motorcycle is stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. Often, the car trailing a motorcycle fails to notice the motorcycle in front and collides with the vehicle.
Motorcycle Accidents and Road Hazards
Road hazards are another significant cause of motorcycle accidents. Weather conditions may contribute to an accident or debris on the road can fly up and strike the motorcycle operator. The condition of the road may also lead to an accident. In this case, it may be possible to collect damages from the government, though these cases are difficult to pursue.
Determining Fault in a Tennessee Accident
Tennessee is an at-fault state, which means that responsibility for the accident is on the person the law finds to be at fault for causing it. However, more than one driver can be responsible for an accident, so an experienced lawyer can help determine a percentage of fault to know how to best pursue a case.
A percentage of fault may work like this: If a car turned in front of you, resulting in an accident, but you were operating the motorcycle 10 miles over the speed limit at the time, the police may determine the car driver was 90% responsible for the accident but that you contributed 10% to the accident due to your speeding. In such a case, the courts could reduce the amount of compensation by your 10% fault. For example, if the courts award you $10,000 in this situation, you will receive it – minus 10% – leaving you with $9,000.
In any case where the police determine someone is more than 50% at fault in an accident, he or she cannot receive any compensation as a result. You can only be receive a reward if the other driver is primarily responsible for the accident.
How Insurance Determines Fault
Because of how the courts determine fault, the representatives for the insurance company will attempt to show you played a role in causing the accident. In this way, they attempt to reduce the amount of compensation they owe you or perhaps avoid paying you completely. Often, insurance companies use the possible reduction in compensation to lower any settlement offers they make.
While you may have partly contributed to your motorcycle accident, you are still able to receive compensation if the other party was more than 50% at fault for the accident. An attorney will establish your case and help ensure no one assigns more fault to you than is fair.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When a motorcyclist is in an accident, injuries to the cyclist are almost guaranteed. Because of the vulnerability of a motorcycle, those injuries tend to be more severe than they would be in a passenger automobile accident.
Some of the more common motorcycle injuries are:
- Head injuries. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the odds of suffering a head injury in an impact; however, it is no guarantee of safety. Head injuries are often debilitating and require expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation that can last for years.
- Neck and back injuries. The force of an impact can cause neck injuries, including whiplash, damage to ligaments around the neck or back, damage to the vertebrae, and damage to the spinal cord itself. Neck and back injuries can be as minor as a back sprain requiring a few days of rest or result in temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Bone fractures. Fractured bones are much more common in motorcycle accidents than in automobile accidents. Broken bones in the hands, feel, arms, or legs, can take weeks to mend, and you may be unable to return to work until they are fully mended.
- Amputation. Having fingers or limbs amputated in an accident or requiring surgical amputation afterward is unfortunately common in motorcycle accidents. The loss of an arm or leg may require specialized medical equipment such as a wheelchair and modifications to your home or car.
- Disfigurement. In many cases, a motorcycle accident may leave the victim with terrible scars or other disfiguring injuries. Road rash is common, and deep lacerations to the face, a broken nose, or having teeth knocked out can leave you with a disfigurement that may require expensive surgery.
Talk to Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
We’ve provided legal representation for many injured motorcyclists and taken due care to document all injuries and evidence of negligence. Our firm understands the severity of most motorcycle accidents, and knows how difficult these crashes can be on victims and their families.
Our expert personal injury attorneys take care of all your legal matters so you can focus on recovering. From securing proper medical attention to answering calls from insurance companies, your needs are our responsibility. If someone’s negligence has caused your injury or the death of a loved one, contact the Nashville law firm of Larry R. Williams today to discuss your options.