Motorcycle accidents can be devastating.
They can take a tremendous toll on one’s health, and even result in loss of life. They can also cause loss of income and property. A motorcycle accident can change your life, and the life of your loved ones, in a mere instant.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering what your options are, or what to do next. That’s why the experienced team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Whitener Law Firm have put together this guide to motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle Accidents in New Mexico
Motorcyclist deaths made up nearly 12 percent of total motor vehicle deaths in New Mexico in 2016. Nationally, over 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in crashes the same year, a 5.1 percent increase from 2015. In 2015, approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in traffic accidents.
More recently, the New Mexico Department of Transportation found that 78.4 percent of all people on motorcycles in crashes were either injured or killed in 2018.
The largest number of total crashes in 2018 occurred in the cities of Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe.
Alcohol and/or drug involvement was the most prevalent top contributing factor among fatal motorcycle crashes, at 46.2 percent.
A little over four percent of motorcyclists wearing a helmet in crashes were killed, compared to nearly eight percent of motorcyclists not wearing a helmet during the crash.
According to New Mexico law, anyone under the age of 18 must wear a safety helmet when operating or riding on a motorcycle. Those over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet.
Types of Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
There are no “typical” types of motorcycle crashes, so it can be difficult to pin down common injuries one might expect from a motorcycle accident.
However, if you look at how a motorcycle is structured compared to an automobile, you can guess how a driver or passenger might be injured.
A motorcycle has less weight, bulk, and protection for its passengers than an automobile does. A standard car can protect its passengers with seat belts, airbags, a roof, and a car body.
Motorcycles are also not as easy to see since they’re smaller and can be less stable to ride due to its two wheels. You can easily get injured by being thrown from the motorcycle in a sudden stop or unexpected collision, hitting an object or the ground, losing control of the bike in inclement weather, and so on.
Types of physical injuries can include:
- Leg and foot injuries due to exposure while riding
- Traumatic head injuries, regardless of helmet use
- Broken wrists and hands when attempting to break a fall onto the ground
- Injuries to the face and eyes when not wearing a helmet
- Internal abdominal injuries or bleeding
Long-lasting injuries are not limited to bodily injuries. Those involved in motorcycle accidents may experience emotional anguish, depression or anxiety, and reputational damage, and more.
Of course, depending on your injury, you may want to seek compensation for the emotional and physical challenges you now face.
Compensation Available to Motorcycle Accident Victims
Following a motorcycle accident, you may be offered damages, or compensation, from the insurance company. In New Mexico, compensation covers both “economic damages” and “noneconomic damages.”
- Economic damages include tangible expenses such as medical bills, lost wages if you’re unable to work, and property damage to your motorcycle.
- Noneconomic damages encompass intangible expenses such as physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety.
As you can see, it’s difficult to calculate what’s considered “fair compensation.”
How do you come up with an appropriate amount of compensation for something intangible like pain and suffering, or mental anguish?
The amount an insurance company offers you may be lower than the amount you truly deserve.
Furthermore, New Mexico has a state law in place called comparative negligence, or comparative fault.
That means if you were at fault to some degree for the motorcycle accident, the amount of financial compensation you can recover may be decreased based on that degree.
If you were found to be more at fault than the other parties involved in the accident, you may not be able to receive compensation at all.
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can feel stressful and overwhelming. If you’ve been injured, it can be especially difficult to get better if you’re worrying about your legal rights and options. You need a legal expert who can handle the tough legal stuff for you, and who can get you results.
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can help you navigate a motorcycle accident claim while you recover. They can look over documents like your police report and medical records, contact witnesses for statements or further information, analyze any photos you’ve taken of the accident, and more.
Plus, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you communicate with the other parties’ insurance companies and put together your case for a court. Figuring out who is responsible for an accident can be difficult, and more than one party can be responsible, too. Not just the other motorists involved in an accident can be responsible. Bike repair shops, motorcycle parts manufacturers, government entities in charge of the roads, and other parties can all contribute to one motorcycle accident.
Contact Whitener Law Firm in Albuquerque
An attorney can take on these tasks to help you win your claim and get you the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident in New Mexico, call Whitener Law Firm at 505-883-7877 or fill out our online form. You can also receive news updates and more legal resources by liking and following the Whitener Law Firm Facebook page.
Your initial call is free, and there are no obligations. The team of personal injury lawyers at Whitener Law Firm work on a contingent-fee basis: you don’t have to pay us anything unless we win your case. We’re here to help.