Serving Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast
Motorcycle accident victims face a combination of challenges that other types of accident victims do not. Injuries are often severe or catastrophic, and you may not even remember the accident. The most difficult challenge is overcoming the prejudice against bikers that can affect every aspect of your case from the police report, to witness statements, to how the jury perceives you.
We’ve all observed bikers speeding and driving recklessly, weaving between cars and sometimes between lanes. Understand that the majority of motorcyclists do not drive recklessly but enjoy the speed and freedom of owning a bike. Most motorcyclists are responsible riders who follow the rules of the road.
Our Biloxi motorcycle accident attorneys represent motorcycle accident victims throughout Mississippi and are here to fight for justice for you. We are experienced, aggressive, and have a track record of success in these cases. Please call us today at 228-300-2754 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 to help you handle the trauma after a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Dangers in Mississippi
Motorcycle accidents in Mississippi took the lives of 42 individuals in 2018, according to the state Office of Highway Safety. Among those deaths, seven people were not wearing a helmet.
Nationally, there were 4,985 motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2018, an almost 5% decrease from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you are in a motorcycle accident with a motor vehicle, it is nearly 28 times more likely to result in a fatality.
That’s because you do not have the advantage of a protective steel cage, roll bars, seat belts, and inflatable air bags. It’s just you and the road.
If the bread winner for your family is injured it will be up to family members to pick up the pieces. You will need to deal with police who prepare an accident report, insurance adjusters, who try to figure out the at-fault party, and a loss of income. At the same time, medical bills are piling up alongside your pain and suffering. In the worst cases, funeral costs will need to be dealt with.
It will be up to your lawyers to determine who is the at-fault driver. Was there a distracted driver or an intoxicated driver involved? Did the driver of the automobile cause the accident by turning in front of the motorcycle? These are common scenarios that often lead to motorcycle accidents.
Causes of Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents
As your law firm, we will start our investigation looking at the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents and injuries including:
Impaired Driving/Riding – In 2017, there were 1,357 deaths among motorcyclists who were impaired with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 % or higher. The driver of an automobile is also less likely to see a motorcyclist if he has been drinking. Whether driving a car or a motorcycle, there is no reason to be impaired, especially when one can call a car service with the ease of pushing a few buttons on a smart phone.
Speeding – Among fatalities nationally, 32 percent of motorcycle riders were speeding. Speeding, by either biker or passenger car, increases the risks for everyone on the road, and if there are adverse weather conditions, everyone should reduce their speed.
Failure to Yield – We often hear from drivers who say they simply did not see the motorcycle before a collision. The bike may have been in a blind spot or the driver may not have been looking. That driver may fail to yield to the motorcyclist’s right of way when they turn in front of him. Left turns by passenger cars cause the most common type of collisions with motorcycles.
Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is anything that takes a motorist’s focus away from their primary job of safely operating a vehicle. Drivers have always had to deal with various distractions, such as unruly passengers, signs and billboards that steal their attention for too long, eating and drinking, grooming, tuning the car radio, reaching for objects in the vehicle, and in recent decades, talking on their cell phone.
We’ve seen a sharp increase in motorcycle accidents in the years since Apple released the first iPhone in 2007. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports we lose about 100 people on the roads every day with about one-quarter due to distracted driving.
In Mississippi, drivers receive a $100 fine when caught texting and driving, not much of a deterrent to the habitual practice of checking one’s phone. Distracted driving also risks the vehicle’s occupants, other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Motorcycle Helmet Law in Mississippi
Federal statistics show 749 lives could have been saved in 2017 if motorcyclists had worn helmets. Without a helmet, motorcyclists can suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These occur when the biker is thrown from the motorcycle and there is nothing to stop the momentum other than a tree, the road, or a stationary object. Unfortunately, the projectile path often leads with the head traveling at a great rate of speed.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the most difficult to recover from and often these injuries are permanent.
Misinformed friends and family may have told you that you have no right to compensation because you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and the insurance company would be thrilled if you believed that, but it is a myth.
Mississippi’s helmet law requires all riders and their passengers to wear an official Department of Transportation-approved helmet, but you are still allowed to recover compensation for your injuries if you were not wearing one when your accident occurred.
Mississippi follows the doctrine of pure comparative fault, which allows injury victims to receive compensation, even if they were partly to blame for their injuries.
Keep in mind, however, that compensation is reduced by your portion of blame. For example, if not wearing a helmet contributed 20% to your injuries and the award is $100,000, then you will only be allowed to collect $80,000.
If you suffered head and brain injuries, your compensation for those injuries may be reduced as a result of your failure to wear a helmet. Compensation for injuries that cannot be minimized by helmet use, such as a back injury, is not affected.
Bottom line: it is much easier for you to recover damages if you have done all you can to protect yourself.
Preparing Your Motorcycle Accident Case
You will certainly need representation as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. Even though most cases settle out of court, we will prepare your case as if we are going to trial. We start with a thorough investigation of your motorcycle accident.
We will rely on police reports, witness statements, and forensics from the scene to bolster our position that you were following the rules of the road. We will need to fight all efforts by the other side which will claim you are responsible for your own injuries.
When proving negligence on the part of the driver who caused your injuries, we need to present a solid case that will get past the misconception that motorcycle accident victims are automatically to blame for their injuries because they are risk takers, and turn that prejudice on its head to show that the real negligence is the carelessness of drivers and their disregard for motorcyclists’ right of way.
We will present a compelling picture of how your injuries have affected you and your family and how they will continue to do so in the years to come.
Picking up the pieces after a Mississippi motorcycle accident is hard enough. Let us help you during this difficult time.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a motorcycle accident in Mississippi, our Biloxi lawyers and are here to fight for justice for you. We are experienced, aggressive and have a strong track record of success in these cases. Please call us today at 228-300-2754 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 to schedule your free consultation.
We also handle motorcycle accident cases in Pascagoula.