The Bluegrass State is uniquely situated geographically to experience neither the extreme heat of the south nor the bitter cold of the northern United States, meaning that riding a motorcycle is an option nearly all year long in most parts of Kentucky.
There were more than 99,700 registered motorcycles in Kentucky in 2021, and though there is nothing like the feel of the open road, riding a bike is inherently dangerous and often listed as one of the most dangerous ways to travel. Unfortunately, motorcycles do not usually fare well in collisions with other vehicles, often resulting in catastrophic injuries.
In many cases, obeying traffic regulations will prevent most accidents. But when drivers fail to check their mirrors or follow posted speeds, it can have severe consequences for motorcyclists. If you or a loved one have been in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced Owensboro motorcycle accident lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for what you have been through.
Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle accidents occur more often than many people realize. According to National Safety Council Injury Statistics, motorcycles accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, even though they made up only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States. Over the ten years from 2011 to 2021, motorcycle deaths increased by 19%, and they do not appear to be slowing. In Kentucky, crashes involving motorcycles totaled 1,575 in 2022, resulting in 99 fatalities. Moreover, while motorcycles represent less than 1% of vehicles in all Kentucky collisions, 7% of the vehicles involved in fatal collisions were motorcycles.
Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident because of circumstances that were not your fault, you may have a legal right to compensation. It is important to know who to bring the claim against. Seeking counsel from motorcycle accident lawyers in Owensboro, KY, can ensure that you accurately determine who is liable. In some cases, there may be multiple parties at fault.
Many motorcycle accidents are caused by vehicle drivers who fail to follow basic traffic laws or pay attention to motorcycles on the road. Here are some common ways that negligent driving causes motorcycle accidents:
- The driver was distracted and did not see the motorcycle,
- The driver was speeding and could not stop in time,
- The driver failed to yield when appropriate,
- The driver cut off the motorcycle without correctly gauging their speed,
- The driver did not signal before merging,
- The driver did not provide enough room for the motorcycle, or
- The driver failed to check their blind spot.
A vehicle driver may not be the only liable party. If you are hit by a commercial vehicle, the company that employs the driver may also be responsible. In some cases, there may not be a driver involved at all. The government (local, state, or federal) usually has the duty to maintain roadways. If the condition of the road caused the accident, the government may be liable. Your Owensboro motorcycle accident attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your accident to determine who was legally at fault.
What If You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
In states without universal helmet laws, 57% of motorcyclists killed in 2020 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 11% in states with universal helmet laws. Wearing a helmet is always a good idea, but it is not required for everyone in Kentucky.
In the Bluegrass State, a person may operate a motorcycle without a helmet if they are over 21 and have held a motorcycle license for one year or more. Motorcycle passengers must be 21 or over to ride without a helmet.
If you were required to wear a helmet but did not, you are not barred from recovery. In some situations, not wearing a helmet may be viewed as a contributing factor to your accident. You can be partially at fault in Kentucky and still seek damages, but your award will be adjusted based on your degree of negligence. Experienced motorcycle accident attorneys in Owensboro, KY, can help you acquire the evidence you need to ensure you are not accused of being more at fault than you actually were.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Owensboro, Kentucky
Most vehicle accidents start as insurance claims. Kentucky is a no-fault state, meaning your initial claim will be filed with your insurance company. Kentucky drivers are required to carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP), though drivers can opt out of this type of insurance.
If your injuries exceed the maximum PIP, or you have a serious injury like a broken bone or permanent injury, you may bring a claim against the negligent party’s insurance. It is important to remember that you do not have to accept an unfair settlement. Your Owensboro motorcycle accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf to make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Your attorney can also advise you on whether you should file a lawsuit if an agreement cannot be reached. Many insurance companies make low offers hoping you will accept them because some compensation is better than none. That is not true. These fast settlements can leave you with lasting injuries that you do not have the resources to care for long-term. Do not settle for less than what you deserve.
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Contact an Owensboro Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys has secured multiple multi-million dollar motorcycle accident verdicts for victims in Kentucky and surrounding states. We understand what it takes to prove your case and help you get the compensation you need and deserve. We have over five decades of experience and are committed to pursuing justice on your behalf. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.