On a beautiful day in Alabama, there’s nothing like hitting the open road for a ride on your motorcycle. In fact, Alabama is home to more than 109,000 licensed motorcyclists. Unfortunately, the driver of a motorcycle is more likely to be injured or killed in a crash than those in a car or truck, particularly if a truck is involved. On average, our state witnesses around 1,500 motorcycle injuries annually and dozens of fatal bike accidents, according to Drive Safe Alabama.
Why Are Motorcycles More Dangerous?
- Less Visibility: Motorcycles are smaller, less visible to drivers in trucks or cars and more easily hidden by other vehicles or road obstacles.
- Smaller and Less Stable: Motorcycles have only two wheels, rendering them less stable than vehicles with four wheels, particularly during emergency braking or maneuvering.
- Road Hazards: Sometimes small hazards such as gravel, wet roads or small objects, that have little effect on a larger vehicle, can cause a motorcycle to crash.
- No Barrier: In a motorcycle there is no barrier between the rider and the road and no passenger compartment to protect the biker from other vehicles or the road when a crash occurs. A motorcycle also has no seat belts and no airbags.
- Skill Level: Riding a motorcycle takes more skill and physical stamina than driving a car. Less experienced motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in a crash.
The average motorcycle weighs about 400 pounds, while the legal limit for a loaded semi is 800,000 pounds. It seems obvious that a crash between a truck and a motorcycle will be far more dangerous for the biker.
Who Is Liable in a Motorcycle Accident?
Liability in an accident will often be determined by whether one driver was negligent, meaning whether one driver behaved in a thoughtless or reckless manner that caused injury to another. But often both drivers may have contributed to the accident and comparative or contributory negligence will come into play. Alabama has a contributory negligence model, which creates special challenges for plaintiffs seeking damages.
In the comparative negligence model, each party involved in an accident will be assigned a certain percentage of fault. As long as you are less at fault than the other party, you can recover damages.
By contrast, in Alabama’s model, if the defendant can prove that you shared some responsibility for the accident, you can be barred compensation entirely. To win a case given our state’s high standards, therefore, you often need a detailed, meticulous legal strategy.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, let the skilled attorneys at Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys help. Contact us now for a free consultation at (256) 533-5000.