Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Accidents’ Category

Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Discuss Collisions from Behind

Friday, October 30th, 2015

A recent motorcycle accident that claimed the life of an Alcorn State University professor serves as a tragic reminder of just how deadly accidents involving motorcycles and cars can be. This particular accident occurred when a car struck the motorcycle from behind. The impact caused the rider to be ejected from his motorcycle, and he was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

When a car or other type of vehicle collides with a motorcycle, serious injury and/or death are likely to result. The direction from which the impacting vehicle is moving also affects the likelihood of fatality. For example, rear-end motorcycle accidents frequently result in rider fatality. Motorcycle riders and their passengers do not have the protection that drivers and passengers who are enclosed in vehicles do. Because of this, the impact of a vehicle hitting a motorcycle often crushes the rider and their passenger, if they have one, or sends them airborne.

Because rear-end collisions are so often deadly, both drivers and riders must learn how to share the roads safely. Understanding how rear-end collisions between vehicles and motorcycles occur is an important part of understanding how to prevent or avoid them. There are two ways in which most rear-end motorcycle accidents happen. Either the rider is stopped at a traffic light or for some other reason, and the vehicle strikes them from behind, or the motorcycle collides with the rear end of the vehicle after the vehicle stops suddenly. Both types of collision often result in the rider being ejected from his or her bike. A rider can collide with moving or fixed objects as they fly through the air, and when they hit the ground, they do so with tremendous force. Unfortunately, airborne riders also sometimes land in the path of moving vehicles.

Many motorcycle accidents can be prevented. Drivers can reduce the risk of hitting a motorcycle by looking twice in either direction before entering an intersection, and by checking side and rearview mirrors when changing lanes and navigating on and off ramps. Both riders and drivers can reduce accident risk by using turn signals to enable others on the road to anticipate their movements. Accidents can also be prevented by giving other vehicles, including and especially motorcycles, enough space. When there is adequate space between vehicles of any type, drivers and riders have a chance to respond to the movements of vehicles around them. What many drivers may not realize is that motorcycles need at least twice as much space as other types of vehicles because of the way that they slow down and stop.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Representing Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Victims and Their Families

If you have been injured or someone that you love has been killed in a motorcycle accident, you may have many questions on your mind. The Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys of the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. may be able to to help you. Please call our office today at (601) 355-2022 to learn more.

 

 

Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Discuss Street Racing and Other Dangers of the Road

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Last November, a man was killed in a tragic crash that resulted from a high-speed motorcycle race in Jackson. According to a witness, two people on motorcycles blocked rush hour traffic so that two other riders could race down the street. The riders who were racing attained speeds of up to one hundred miles per hour. As the racers sped down the boulevard, a vehicle pulled out of a side street and into their path. One rider was able to avoid the vehicle, but the other rider collided with it. The rider who crashed into the vehicle died at the scene of the accident.

Racing in rush hour traffic is an extremely risky endeavor, not to mention an illegal activity. Unfortunately, some people still choose to engage in dangerous riding behaviors that put their lives and the lives of other people at risk. Risky behavior can lead to motorcycle accidents, whether you are riding alone or with a group. Studies have shown that younger riders are much more likely to take risks while riding than older riders are. This is probably the reason that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the two age groups with the highest motorcycle accident risk as twenty to twenty four year olds and twenty five and twenty nine years year olds.

Any motorcycle can be safe or dangerous, on any given day, depending upon the rider and their behavior choices. Street bike riders are involved in four times more deadly crashes than riders of cruisers are.  Differences in the way that street bikes and cruisers are designed create variations in how often and under what circumstances they are likely to crash. Street bikes are light weight, with short wheel bases, so they are easier for novice riders to control on dry pavement. The longer wheel bases of cruisers provide more stability and make for fewer crashes on wet pavement, provided that riders are able to handle them properly.

Riders should be aware that the single most important factor affecting motorcycle crash risk is rider behavior. Some risky behaviors have been shown to be exhibited by one type of riders more frequently than another. Statistically, street bike riders ride faster than riders of cruisers. It makes sense, then, that, speed causes more street bike accidents than cruiser accidents. Alcohol is involved in more fatal crashes by people who ride cruisers than it is for people who ride street bikes. Both speed and alcohol use are things that a rider can control. Although accidents can be caused by factors that are outside of a rider’s control, riders are, in large part, able to reduce the risk that they will be involved in a motorcycle accident by choosing to ride safely.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for injured parties and for families who have lost loved ones. If you have been hurt or someone in your family was killed in a motorcycle accident. The Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. can help you to pursue the financial recovery that you deserve as you focus on your physical recovery. Please call our office today, at (601) 355-2022.

Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Talk About How to Ride Safely at Night

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Riding a motorcycle requires a great deal of skill and concentration at any time. Night riding presents even more challenges and requires an even greater level of skillful focus. One challenge is that it is more difficult for other vehicles to see you. Your ability to see important things like signs and pavement markings is affected too. It is also hard to see pedestrians and wildlife at night, and you may have little time to react to them when you come upon them. Riding at night is not only more challenging than riding during the day, it is also more dangerous. Sixty percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents that occur in America happen after dark.

Nighttime riding becomes a little safer if you keep your speed down. By riding more slowly than you would during the day, you give yourself more time to react to anything that you might see in the road, including other vehicles. Riding at night is more taxing for your eyes than riding during the day, and your eyes can actually get tired, even if the rest of your body is well rested. If your eyes get tired, find a safe location and take a rest break. Wildlife are often present near roadways after dark, so be on the lookout for them, as they often stand on the side of the road and then dart unexpectedly into the roadway.

You can also keep yourself safe at night by increasing your visibility. Other motorists should be paying attention and looking out for motorcycles as they drive along. That said, one of the most common types of motorcycle crashes involves a vehicle turning left and into the path of a motorcycle, causing the rider to collide with the vehicle. These left-turn accidents often result in serious injury or death. In order to prevent left-turn accidents and other types of accidents that could occur if a driver does not see you, do as much as you can to increase your visibility to others on the road.

Reflective or fluorescent accents can increase visibility, so display them on clothing, helmets, and even on your bike. Good lighting also increases your visibility. If your bike has a small rear brake light, consider replacing it with a bigger, brighter one. You can also add running lights to the front of your bike, so that there are three lights instead of just one. You can maximize the brightness of your headlight by using a DOT-approved super bright headlight bulb. The angle at which your headlight is aimed matters, too. Check your state’s motorcycle laws, and then raise your headlight to the maximum angle that the law allows.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. A Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorney can help you to understand the process of pursuing a motorcycle accident case, and what you might expect to happen as your case progresses from start to finish. The knowledgeable Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

Jackson Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Discusses Risks Associated with Growing Popularity of Novelty Helmets

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

If you ride motorcycles in Jackson and the surrounding areas of Mississippi, you are well aware that many drivers fail to pay attention to the presence of motorcycle riders.  Because motorcycles are smaller than four wheeled vehicles, drivers of passenger vehicles frequently fail to notice or account for the possible presence of a motorcycle when executing a lane change or turn.  When riding a motorcycle, riders have a smaller margin of error and virtually no protection during a crash.  Head injuries are the most common form of catastrophic injury suffered by riders and also the leading cause of motorcycle fatalities.  While motorcycle helmets can substantially improve a rider’s prospects of surviving a motorcycle accident without serious head trauma, many riders are left largely unprotected because they wear novelty helmets that are designed for style rather than safety.

Mississippi’s Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law Is Designed to Protect All Riders

Mississippi has had a universal motorcycle helmet law that applies to all riders and passengers for over four decades.  While many states have enacted partial repeals of mandatory helmet laws based on the age of the rider, minimum medical insurance coverage or other conditions, our state continues to require all riders to wear helmet.  Although many riders reject the notion that the government should dictate helmet use, there is little dispute that motorcycle helmets that meet certain standards can substantially improve the survival rate for victims of motorcycle crashes.

Helmets Can Save Lives of Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Victims

A few statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide a compelling case for the value of motorcycle helmets that meet minimum safety standards:

  • Motorcyclists are thirty times more likely to die in a traffic accident than occupants of passenger cars based on a per mile traveled basis.
  • Motorcycle accidents account for approximately 14 percent of motor vehicle fatalities despite the fact that the vehicles constitute only three percent of licensed vehicles.
  • Motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities.
  • Helmets saved the lives of 1,600 people nationally during a one year period, but it is estimated they would have saved an additional 700 lives if all riders had been wearing helmets.

Novelty Helmets: Style Over Substance

While these statistics make a compelling case for wearing a motorcycle helmet, these benefits are only fully realized if the rider is wearing a helmet that meets federal safety requirements.  Many novelty helmets offer little or no protection during a motorcycle crash.  These helmets often provide virtually no impact-attenuating lining nor do they meet minimum penetration standards.  There also is no assurance that the helmet will remain strapped on a rider’s head during a motorcycle crash.

Generally, motorcycle riders should look for the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on a helmet to ensure the helmet complies with minimum safety standards.  However, the sticker alone is not sufficient to ensure that a helmet complies with DOT standards because fake stickers are frequently affixed to counterfeit helmets.  The NHTSA has provided a checklist for riders attempting to evaluate whether a helmet meets federal safety standards:

  • Minimum one inch thick liner of polystyrene foam
  • Weight should be about three pounds (one pound or less is definitely unsafe)
  • Nothing should extend more than two tenths of an inch from the surface of the helmet
  • Sturdy rivets and chin strap
  • DOT sticker indicating that the helmet meets or exceeds FMVSS 218
  • Manufacturer label sticker

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Mississippi motorcycle accident or a loved one dies in a Jackson motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or loss.   We invite you to contact our Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation.  We invite you to call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help!

Frequently Asked Questions about Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Mississippi’s miles of endless highway make it an ideal spot for motorcycle enthusiasts.  However, along with the popularity of this mode of transportation comes a high risk of harm.  Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious injury because of the lack of structural protection afforded motorcyclists, as compared to drivers of motor vehicles.  Over 100,000 U.S. motorcycles a year are involved in crashes and more than 4,500 fatalities result.

Given the high rate of deaths and severe injuries, motorcycle accident victims and their families often require the assistance of a personal injury attorney to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death suit.  The following are some of the most frequent questions posed by motorcycle accident victims and their families.  Those with further questions are invited to contact us to schedule a consultation.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Mississippi?

Motorcycle accidents are most commonly caused by driver error.  When the driver of the passenger vehicle fails to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing injury to the motorcyclist, the motorcyclist may have a valid personal injury claim.  Common causes of negligent driving include:

  • Distracted driving—driving while texting, talking on the cell phone, eating, grooming, and performing any other activity that takes one’s eyes off the road can lead to serious injury.  Distracted driving is a danger to all other vehicles on the road, but particularly so for the less visible drivers of motorcycles.
  • Unsafe lane changes—occurring often on highways, but also on any two lane streets, the driver of the motor vehicle does not see the motorcyclist because he or she does not adequately check rear view mirrors, side mirrors, and blind spots.  At times, the driver also fails to use proper signals.  The motorcyclist has no opportunity to avoid the crash that ensues.
  • Left hand turns into motorcyclists—often cited as the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, passenger vehicles frequently make a left hand turn into a motorcycle.  This leads to a collision or may result in the motorcyclist skidding to a halt.

Are all motorcycle accidents in Mississippi caused by driver error?

No, not all accidents are a result of driver error.  Sometimes, motorcycle collisions in our state are a result of equipment failure, defective roadways, or defective motorcycles.  When these sort of accidents arise, the manufacturer of the motorcycle may be liable for the injuries caused by the defective motorcycle.  Further, those responsible for the defective roadway may be liable under premises liability law.

What types of compensation are available to those in Mississippi injured in a motorcycle accident?

There is a wide range of potential damages available to motorcycle accident victims.  Exact recovery will depend upon the circumstances of the claim.  Common damages sought in a Mississippi Motorcycle Accident claim include:

  • Emergency room bills and hospital admissions bills
  • Ambulance or helicopter bills
  • Follow up physician bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future disability and impaired earning ability
  • Impaired quality of life
  • Loss of consortium (brought on behalf of the spouse of the injured victim due to a diminished marital relationship)

It may be possible to additionally seek punitive damages if the other driver’s conduct was particularly egregious; such when the accident results from the other driver’s intoxicated state.

At Giddens Law Firm, our goal is always to provide our clients with the excellence of legal services necessary to obtain results.  Our experienced Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys will diligently pursue all claims and seek to maximize your recovery.  For a free case analysis, call us today at (601) 355-2022.

Top Things You Should Not Do Following a Motorcycle Accident in Mississippi

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

In recent years, motorcycle riding has become increasingly popular.  The number of motorcycles in the U.S. jumped to 9 million in 2012, an increase of over 50% from previous years.  Sadly, along with the rise in popularity of the motorcycle, motorcycle accident rates have also climbed.  In 2010, over 4,500 riders were killed and 80,000 injured.  A search of recent headline news reveals Mississippi is no stranger to motorcycle accidents.  Just recently, an off-duty Mississippi Highway patrolman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Senatobia.  In Pearl, a person was injured in a motorcycle accident involving a collision with a pickup truck on Highway 80.  Finally, a woman died in Jackson over the summer in a terrible motorcycle accident involving an 18-wheeler.

Motorcycle accidents are tragically commonplace due to the cyclist’s lack of visibility.  If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you are likely to be stressed and shocked following the accident.  You may do or say things that are not helpful in the long run towards accomplishing recovery from your accident.  To this end, we have prepared the following list of the top things not to do if you have been in a motorcycle accident:

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident—but do move yourself and your bike, if possible, to the nearest safe soft shoulder.  Under Mississippi law, you cannot flee the scene of the accident and doing so can result in criminal charges.  You should be sure you are sufficiently out of the way of other vehicles and safe from any further collisions.
  2. Do not forget to file a police report—it is best to call the police as soon as possible after the accident, even if no one appears injured.  A police report can prove crucial towards your later recovery.  Officers will typically respond quickly to the call.  If for some reason you do not obtain a police report at the scene of the accident, go to the police station and complete an accident report as soon as possible.  Never simply exchange insurance information with the driver of the vehicle or other motorcycle—you need that police report.
  3. Do not admit fault—do not, under any circumstances, admit fault to the accident.  You have just been in a traumatic event.  You need time to process the incident, and statements you make while under the stress of the accident may not be accurate.  Therefore, do not make any statements concerning liability.  Statements you make now can impact your later recovery.
  4. Do not refuse or delay medical attention—injuries following motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than those from car accidents due to less protection on a bike.  Many injuries following a motorcycle accident may not manifest for several hours following the accident.  It is best to seek medical attention immediately following the accident or as soon as possible afterwards.  The longer you wait the more room you give for the insurance company to argue your injuries were not caused by the motorcycle accident.
  5. Do not delay consulting with a knowledgeable Mississippi motorcycle accident attorney—you should seek the assistance of a licensed Mississippi motorcycle attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Crucial evidence can be lost during the immediate aftermath of the accident if you do not act quickly to secure representation.  A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can advise you on the steps you need to take to obtain full compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries.  So before you speak to any insurance adjuster, consult with a professional motorcycle accident attorney.

The Giddens Law Firm has handled countless motorcycle accident cases in the Jackson, Mississippi area.  We have the knowledge and resources necessary to expertly handle your motorcycle accident case, regardless of how challenging or complex.  The Giddens Law Firm operates on a contingency fee basis and the first consultation is always free.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to learn more about your legal options!

The 411 on Motorcycle Accident Laws in Mississippi

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Motorcycle enthusiasts love the thrill of the open road and the feel of the air rushing past. Riding a motorcycle has become a beloved American pastime and a way of life for some. Unfortunately, however, the rate of motorcycle accidents has climbed in recent years.  Each year, over 4,500 riders are killed in accidents on the roads, and another 80,000 injured.   In Mississippi alone, 58 motorcyclists were killed in 2011.  Due to increased vulnerability of motorcyclists, if a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident, the likelihood of injury is an astonishing 96%.  If you plan to ride a motorcycle Mississippi, here is a summary of motorcycle accident laws that you should be aware of in the event you are ever in an accident.

Your Responsibilities as a Motorcyclist in Mississippi

You are required by Mississippi law to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your license before operating a motorcycle in the state.  To receive this endorsement you must take both a written and a riding test.  If you are new to the state and have a valid endorsement from another state, you should only have to transfer your license; the state will waive the written and riding tests.

Mississippi Code Ann. § 63-7-64 requires all operators of motorcycles to wear a helmet approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.  While you are required to wear a helmet, eye protection is not mandated.

All motorcyclists in the state must carry liability insurance.  The state minimums are as follows:

  • Bodily injury (1 person): $10,000
  • Bodily Injury (all persons involved in 1 accident): $20,000
  • Property Damage: $5,000

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcycle accidents in Mississippi and across the U.S. are due to the motorcyclist’s lack of visibility.  The following is a list of common causes for motorcycle accidents:

  • Speed
  • Poor driving conditions
  • The motorcyclist is in the car’s turning lane and the care violates the cyclists right of way or does not see him or her
  • Head on collisions
  • Lane splitting
  • Alcohol or drug use

Many motorcycle accident attorneys will tell you from experience that when the accident involves a motorcycle and a vehicle, it is most often due to the fault of the vehicle.  Generally, the accident occurs when the vehicle turns into the motorcycle, whether through failure to yield to the motorcyclist’s right of way or simply not checking to see if a motorcycle is in the vehicle’s path.

Your Right to Recovery Following Injury in a Motorcycle Accident

Under Mississippi motorcycle law, negligent drivers are liable and responsible for your injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident.  Mississippi is an at fault state, meaning that the negligent party in an accident involving a motorcycle must pay damages under negligence laws.  Your claim may be reduced under the principals of comparative negligence if you were at fault to some percentage.

If you are in a motorcycle accident and survive the crash, your best avenue of recovery will be through a personal injury suit.  If you are the family of a loved one killed as a result of a motorcycle accident, you can recover through a wrongful death suit.

You have three years from the date of the accident to bring your personal injury suit.  In your personal injury suit, you can seek recovery for the following:

  • Medical bills- past and future
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Replacement services

A wrongful death suit based on negligence must also be filed within three years of the victim’s death in the motorcycle accident.  The family of a deceased victim may seek to recover the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of earnings and benefits
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of love and companionship

The Giddens Law Firm Can Help

While this summary provides you with a general idea of Mississippi motorcycle accident laws, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Motorcycle accidents can be complex and require the assistance of a skilled attorney.  The Giddens Law Firm has extensive experience representing the victims of motorcycle accidents and their loved ones.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.