Motorcycle Accidents


Tulsa Motorcycle Accidents

Tulsa motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Riders can suffer catastrophic injuries that require life-long medical care. While motorists are required by Oklahoma law to actively watch for motorcyclists, many make negligent errors that can cost a rider their life.

The Unique Challenges of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders are exposed to many dangers on the roads. This is why it is important to take the necessary safeguards when riding. Although motorcyclists are often stereotyped as reckless and fast drivers, the number one cause of motorcycle accidents is inattentive behavior from other motor vehicle drivers.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office released a report stating in the last reporting year:

  • There were 1,435 motorcycle accidents and 89 motorcycle fatalities
  • More than 100,000 motorcyclists have died in traffic accidents nationwide since the enactment of the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966
  • Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents result from a violation of the motorcyclist’s right of way
  • Motorcyclists’ risk of death is 26x greater than automobile passengers
  • The chance of a motorcyclist being injured in a collision is 5x greater than the same risk for those driving passenger vehicles
  • More than 70% of motorcycle accidents that involve an automobile occur at intersections
    Oklahoma Motorcycle Laws and Requirements

In Oklahoma, the following are in place, including:

  • All motorcyclists and their passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets.
  • Each motorcyclist should complete motorcycle training and pass a motorcycle driving test in order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement or license.
  • Daytime use of headlights is required.
  • Left and Right Mirrors are required.

Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause More Damage?
Motorists are far more protected than motorcyclists. Cars and trucks serve as steel cages, shielding drivers and passengers from some of the damage caused by a collision with a motorcycle. In addition, most motor vehicles are equipped with safety features, including airbags and seatbelts.
Riders are exposed to the elements, taking the full force of a collision with a motor vehicle. Helmets, gloves, and other safety garments provide a motorcyclist with some protection. However, a rider’s body is no match for 3,000 pounds of steel and fiberglass.

Motorcyclists Have Less Control
Motorcycles have very sensitive steering and brake components, making defensive riding very challenging. If a car swerves into its lane, a motorcyclist may swerve to avoid a collision and accidentally steer into a nearby object. However, braking suddenly to avoid the car may send a rider into a spin. A motorcyclist can easily lose control of their bike, preventing an accident only to cause more damage to themselves.

Riders Suffer Two Impacts
Motorcycle accidents involving passenger cars or trucks produce more serious injuries for the rider. When motorists hit a motorcyclist, they only experience the force of the initial impact.
Motorcycle riders, however, will bear the force of the initial crash and the additional impact of hitting the ground. In most motorcycle accidents, a rider will either slide or tumble along the road, suffering severe road rash and broken bones.

Debunking Myths About Motorcyclists

Many people hold misconceptions about motorcyclists, viewing them as reckless or even dangerous on the road. In truth, most motorcyclists practice safe riding habits and are well aware of traffic rules. Contrary to popular belief, not all motorcyclists speed or weave in and out of lanes. Motorcycle riders often undergo rigorous training and are usually extra vigilant, knowing full well how vulnerable they are compared to car drivers. These stereotypes not only stigmatize motorcyclists but also can impact how other road users interact with them. Fair treatment on the road and in the eyes of the law depends on dispelling these unfounded myths.

Prevalent Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorists generally look out for other cars and trucks. However, motorcycles are much smaller. Unless a driver is actively watching for a motorcycle rider, they can easily hit or cause a rider to run off the road.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving has reached near epidemic levels across the country. When motorists look away from the road to check an alert on their phone or adjust the radio station, they can cause deadly motorcycle accidents.
  • Road Hazards Road hazards are especially dangerous to motorcycle riders. Motorcycles have sensitive steering and braking systems. A rider is not able to maneuver around objects in the road as easily as a passenger car driver. In addition, uneven heights between lanes or wet roads can cause a motorcyclist to lose control and crash.
  • Reckless Driving: When motorists engage in reckless driving and cause an accident, motorcycle riders usually suffer the most. Reckless driving can include speeding, failing to yield, drunk driving, running red lights, and disobeying street signs.
  • Failure to look for motorcycles: Failing to actively watch for riders is the most common reason for motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are small and can easily be overlooked in a blind spot. Intersections, changing lanes, and left-hand turns are the top three places motorists miss a motorcycle and cause a devastating crash.

When a motorist drives negligently or recklessly, motorcycle riders can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries. Negligent behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield right-of-way contribute to dangerous conditions for everyone on the road. When a car or truck driver engages in such behaviors, motorcyclists often bear the brunt of the impact due to their reduced visibility and lack of protective barriers. These negligence-induced accidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities for motorcyclists. Legal recourse may be the only way for victims to seek justice and compensation for the devastating impacts negligence can cause.

Post-Accident Guidelines for Motorcyclists

After a motorcycle accident, there are critical steps for a rider to take to ensure their safety and ability to make a successful injury claim.

  • Get Off the Road: First, it is crucial for a rider to get to safety. Other cars and trucks may not see motorcycle riders on the road and cause more damage.
  • Do Not Remove Helmet or Safety Gear: Secondly, motorcycle riders should leave all their protective gear in place. It is especially important not to remove the helmet. Motorcycle crashes can produce detrimental injuries. However, injured victims may be in shock, or the rush of adrenaline may mask the pain of any physical trauma. Riders may be unaware of the severity of their injuries. Removing the helmet may worsen any head injuries. Accident victims should wait until the paramedics have assessed their injuries.
  • Always Seek Medical Attention Even if the motorcycle accident was minor, riders should seek medical attention. Shock and adrenaline can prevent symptoms from showing for several hours, days, or weeks. Delayed injuries may worsen with time. Internal organ damage and head injuries may not show immediate symptoms and are often overlooked. Untreated, internal organ damage and head injuries can lead to severe complications or death. Motorcycle riders should always get medical attention to prevent exacerbating their condition.
  • Gather Critical Evidence at the Scene: If able, motorcycle riders should gather as much evidence as possible. Motorcycle accident claims are notorious for their difficulty. Liability is hard to prove. However, collecting evidence at the scene can help support a motorcycle injury case.
A motorcycle rider should:
  • Take pictures of the scene from every angle and at varying distances
  • Take pictures of their injuries
  • Take pictures of property damage, including their bike and the other motorists’ vehicles
  • Write down the details of the accident while it is fresh in the mind
  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Interview witnesses and gather contact information
  • Collect information from the driver that caused the accident, including contact information and insurance information

Having strong supportive evidence can drastically improve the success of an injury claim. Insurance companies often deny legitimate claims due to a lack of evidence. In addition, if an insurance agent can place any responsibility for the accident on the rider, they may deny an injury claim.

Time is of the essence when considering legal action after a motorcycle accident. Statutes of limitations impose strict deadlines for filing personal injury claims. Missing these deadlines can result in forfeiture of the right to pursue legal remedies, leaving injured motorcyclists without an avenue for justice or compensation. Immediate consultation with a knowledgeable attorney can provide crucial guidance on how to navigate complex legal timelines and requirements. Delays in seeking professional advice can compromise the quality of evidence, witness availability, and ultimately the strength of a legal case. Prompt action is imperative to secure a favorable outcome.

Common Liability Issues in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable on the roadways. They have minimal protection against other vehicles, distracted drivers, weather conditions, and other road hazards. When a motorcycle accident occurs, and a rider is injured, it can be difficult to prove who is at fault. Occasionally liability in a motorcycle accident may be cut and dry; however, it is common that many causes are not easy to determine instantly.

In Oklahoma, a modified comparative negligence rule applies in personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents. Under such a rule, a claimant’s own fault in contributing to an accident doesn’t automatically disqualify them from receiving compensation. However, their percentage of fault must be less than that of the other involved parties. If a motorcyclist is found to be 20% at fault, for example, any damages awarded would be reduced by that percentage. It’s worth noting, though, if an injured party is found to be 50% or more at fault, compensation becomes unattainable. Understanding these nuances is essential for anyone seeking justice or compensation after a motorcycle accident in Oklahoma.

Sometimes motorcycle accidents occur, and there is no physical contact with another vehicle. This can complicate the legal process, but it does not mean that the other driver’s negligence did not cause the accident. Motorcyclists are often forced to drive off the road or dangerously lay their bikes down to avoid collisions with drivers who are not paying attention or driving unsafely.
In cases like this, even though the other driver did not physically hit the motorcyclist, they are still responsible for the accident and any injuries.

When drivers make left-hand turns, they often do not first check to see if there is a motorcyclist in their blind spot, contributing to thousands of accidents and deaths every year. This, coupled with the growing rate of distracted drivers on the roadways, makes for increasingly dangerous conditions for America’s motorcyclists.

In other situations, dangerous road conditions such as potholes or unmaintained roadways may be to blame. These conditions may also play an important role in any motorcycle accident, contributing to the severity of injuries to the motorcyclist and the damages that can be claimed.

Even with proper riding technique and all recommended safety gear, motorcyclists are at a much higher rate of injury and death if an accident occurs. Car drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months when riders are out in greater numbers.

Safety Recommendations and Best Practices for Riders

In a perfect world, motorists would always look for motorcyclists and share the road appropriately. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to respect motorcycle riders and their rights. Riders can help protect themselves by following some important tips:

  • Wear the appropriate riding gear, including leather jackets and long, thick pants protect the skin from surface abrasions in case of an accident
  • Wear brightly colored clothes that are visible at night
  • Check headlights and tires before long rides
  • Keep up with regular service and maintenance checks
  • Always follow the rules of the road

Adherence to traffic rules and wearing protective gear stand as fundamental elements in ensuring motorcyclist safety. Obeying speed limits, yielding right-of-way, and avoiding reckless maneuvers can markedly decrease the risk of accidents. Protective gear like helmets, gloves, and riding jackets adds an extra layer of safety, mitigating the severity of injuries in the unfortunate event of a crash. Helmets are particularly effective in reducing traumatic brain injuries, one of the most severe consequences of motorcycle accidents.

Our Dedication to Motorcycle Accident Victims

For an accident victim to secure the deserved compensation, it’s crucial for their legal representative to possess a wealth of experience in personal injury claims. The attorneys at our firm bring a proven track record in combating influential businesses, insurance entities, and governmental organizations in prominent personal injury lawsuits. Given this strong history and notable case victories, our legal team frequently manages to negotiate advantageous settlements for clients, often negating the need for a courtroom battle

FAQ: Motorcycle Accidents in Oklahoma
  • What should I do immediately after a motorcycle accident?
    Immediate steps include ensuring personal safety, contacting authorities, and seeking medical attention.
  • How is fault determined in Oklahoma?
    Oklahoma employs a comparative negligence system, meaning both parties could share fault, affecting the amount of compensation.
  • What types of compensation can I seek?
    Victims may be eligible for medical expenses, lost wages, and even compensation for pain and suffering.
  • Do I need a lawyer for a motorcycle accident claim?
    Given the legal complexities often involved in motorcycle accidents, securing experienced legal representation is generally advisable.
  • How long do I have to file a claim in Oklahoma?
    You generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim in the state.

Graves McLain is renowned for its exceptional expertise in personal injury law, especially when it comes to complex cases like truck and motorcycle accidents. With a team of dedicated professionals, the firm showcases an unwavering commitment to ensuring justice and fair compensation for its clients. Prospective clients are encouraged to take the first step in their legal journey with our free consultation service. This initial meeting serves as a prime opportunity to assess the specifics of one’s case and discuss possible courses of action, all under the guidance of the skilled attorneys at Graves McLain.
Contact Graves McLain for more information on how a motorcycle accident attorney can assist with an injury claim by dialing (918) 359-6600.

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