Experienced Portland Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Ready To Help You
At D’Amore Law Group, we understand the inherent risk in riding a motorcycle. Motorcyclists are more exposed, less visible, and unstable compared to the other vehicles they share the road with. Our winning motorcycle accident lawyers in Portland routinely represent clients who have been injured in serious motorcycle accidents and have a proven track record of success. This is coupled with years of experience combining aggressive and strategic trial strategies with a thorough knowledge of the applicable laws in order to achieve favorable resolutions.
Oregon Motorcycle Accident Facts
According to data compiled by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are over 37 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than a passenger riding in a motor vehicle. The NHTSA also reports that motorcycle riders have over a 300 % higher risk of sustaining a serious or debilitating injury than the passenger or driver of an automobile involved in the same collision. Often, the insurance company’s representatives will attempt to claim that the motorcyclist was liable for the accident taking place. However, reports compiled by multiple government research agencies note that the overwhelming majority of motorcycle accidents can be attributed to the car driver’s negligence.
Throughout the state of Oregon in 2015, there were 1,090 motorcycle accidents – up 11.11% from the preceding year. Those accidents involved 1,203 riders (of which 980 were injured and 60 were killed), an injury rate of 81.5%, and a fatality rate of 5%. By comparison, for automobile passengers involved in crashes in Oregon, only 34.7% were injured and less than .5% were killed.
The injuries typically associated with automobile accidents can be devastating and have life-changing consequences. These include: TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injury), multiple bone fractures, spinal cord damage leading to permanent paralysis, lasting facial disfiguration, and more. In some instances, a motorcycle accident may lead to a wrongful death claim when the rider’s injuries are fatal.
It is not surprising that motorcyclists experience higher accident, fatality, and injury rates than automobile passengers who are protected by the car’s metal frame, seat belts, and air bags. If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries or were killed while operating a motorcycle due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, you deserve competent legal counsel who can assist you in obtaining the damages you are owed so you can focus on your recovery. Contact our highly skilled Portland motorcycle accident attorneys to discuss your case.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
No two motorcycle accidents are alike. At D’Amore Law Group, we will conduct a full investigation of your case to develop a customized litigation strategy. These are just a few of the potentially hazardous road conditions and negligent driving practices that can put motorcyclists in peril:
- Sudden lane changes that impede the path of the motorcycle rider
- Failure of automobile drivers to check blind spots before turning
- Distracted driving or driving under the influence of medication, drugs, or alcohol
- Ignorance of applicable traffic laws and signals
- Defective motorcycle components and add-on features
- Poorly designed or negligently managed roads
Motorcycle Accidents and the Role of Comparative Fault
Unfortunately, in cases involving motorcycle accidents, the insurance companies often blame the victim. They assume that the rider was being reckless or negligent and that he or she is to blame for his or her own injuries. Of course, this assumption is often severely misguided. Motorcycle accidents are frequently the result of other drivers’ mistakes. From driving under the influence of texting and using social media behind the wheel, drivers routinely make mistakes that put motorcycle riders’ lives at risk.
But, what if you were partially at fault? What if you were riding beyond your limits, or what if you were speeding so that you could get to work on time? Under the “comparative fault” laws of Oregon and Washington, you may still be entitled to financial compensation. In Oregon, you can recover partial compensation as long as you were not primarily at fault (i.e., 51% or more) for the accident. In Washington, you can recover partial compensation regardless of who was primarily responsible.
Suppose your damages total $100,000 (which could easily be the case after an accident in which you went down). Let’s also assume that, under the circumstances of the accident, you would be deemed 50% at fault in the crash. In both Oregon and Washington, you would still be entitled to the financial recovery of $50,000.
However, regardless of the circumstances involved, you should never assume that you were at fault in a collision. Even if you made a mistake, this mistake could have been entirely irrelevant to the cause of the crash. In order to determine who was at fault and how much you are entitled to recover, you need to speak with an attorney, and you need to do so before you say anything to the insurance companies that could jeopardize your claim.
Be Proactive – Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Due to the inherent dangers of operating a motorcycle on Oregon roadways, it is essential for motorcycle riders to remain educated on the applicable traffic laws and be proactive in taking safety precautions to protect themselves from serious injuries. Here are a few common preventative steps to consider:
- Wear a Helmet: Helmets are mandatory per Oregon law and they could be the difference between life and death when it comes to motorcycle accidents involving high speeds and exposed riders. Motorcycle riders who do not wear helmets are 40% more likely to be killed and 15% more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries as compared to riders wearing helmets. Additionally, failure to abide by this legally-mandated requirement may significantly affect your chances of recovering damages.
- Be Cognizant of Road Conditions & Avoid Excessive Speeds: According to a 2009 statistical report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 48% of all motorcycle accident fatalities involved riders breaking the speed limit. Riding at excessive speeds is ill-advised, as the posted limits were calculated specifically for the given road conditions and overarching concern for motorist safety. Riders should also reduce their speed and exercise particular caution when travelling in inclement weather conditions when visibility is limited and road conditions are not optimal.
- Do Not Operate a Motorcycle Under the Influence: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcyclists with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) over the legal limit of 0.8% accounted for 42% of motorcycle fatalities over the past year. Alcohol, and other substances, not only impairs your reaction time and awareness (making an accident more likely to occur), it also drastically impacts your legal options in the future.
- Obtain Health and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Plans: PIP includes coverage for medical expenses and loss of expected wages up to a predetermined cap for all automobile drivers involved in accidents. Regardless of who is at fault for an accident, you can receive PIP coverage to help pay for your injuries and damages. Although Oregon state law mandates that PIP is incorporated in all motor vehicle insurance plans, it does not extend the same requirement to motorcycle insurance plans. Protect yourself from significant financial loss due to accident-induced medical costs by purchasing PIP coverage on top of your existing health insurance plan.
- Know Motorcycle-Specific Oregon State Laws: Motorcyclists are subject to a number of regulations and requirements under Oregon state law; they are not permitted to transport a passenger who is not riding on a seat, motorcycle passengers cannot be situated in such a way that obstructs the driver’s field of vision or ability to operate or control their vehicle, and motorcycle operators must wear helmets at all times while riding.
Sadly, motorcycle accidents will continue to happen, regardless of preventative action and increased education. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the knowledgeable Portland motorcycle accident lawyer at D’Amore Law Group are here to assist you with all of your legal and insurance needs.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can have life-altering consequences. The best thing you can do as a rider is to be proactive by following the safety steps outlined above and staying educated on the traffic laws and regulations that apply to you. Unfortunately, even the most cautious, prepared motorcyclists can be involved in an accident. Here are some do’s and don’ts that you should follow in the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident:
- Dial 911 as soon as possible for law enforcement and medical care.
- Ensure you and any others involved move out of the path of oncoming traffic.
- Obtain information, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of those involved in the accident as well as any eyewitnesses.
- Record information regarding the other vehicles involved in the collision – such as the make, model, year, and license plate number.
- Seek out competent legal counsel, like you will find at D’Amore Law, to ensure your rights are protected at all stages of your case.
- Make statements pertaining to the accident to anyone besides law enforcement officials.
- Issue apologies to the other parties involved in the accident, regardless of who you believe may be injured or to take blame for the collision.
- Engage in an argument with other drivers or eyewitnesses about what took place or who is at fault.
- Sign documents from any other party or witness that claims to relay the details of the accident.
- Sign documents from any insurance company representative that contacts you following the accident.
Contact Our Proven Portland Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Before signing any papers presented to you by insurance companies, seek advice from experienced legal counsel. The attorneys at D’Amore Law Group will thoroughly examine your case in order to ensure that you pursue all available avenues of recovery. Otherwise, you could be signing away your legal rights and adequate compensation for your injuries and losses. Meet one of our Portland motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation in one of our offices located in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, Oregon; or visit our office in Vancouver, Washington. Contact us online or call 503-222-6333. Don’t delay, our law firm will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.