Motorcyclists are disproportionately affected by drunk driving accidents. According to Department of Transportation figures, 29% of all road traffic fatalities were caused by an accident involving a drunk driver, but drunk driving was attributed to 33%, or ⅓, of all motorcycle fatalities.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injury and death in traffic-related accidents simply because they do not have the same safeguards that automobile drivers do. Motorists are able to rely on a variety of safety features, like airbags and seatbelts, when they are in a collision. Motorcyclists usually bear the brunt of a collision with an automobile because the opposing vehicle hits their bodies directly. Drunk driving endangers all drivers, but they are especially dangerous to motorcyclists.
If you were riding your motorcycle and were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, contact the Austin motorcycle accident lawyer of Loewy Law Firm today at (512) 280-0800 for a free consultation about your possible compensation for your injuries.
The Dangers of Driving Intoxicated
Alcohol, drugs, and driving are a dangerous combination, but driving while intoxicated is, sadly, a common occurrence. In fact, alcohol is involved in a quarter of all traffic accidents. Impaired driving can lead to incredibly serious accidents that can result in life-altering injuries and death.
Here are some of the reasons why driving while intoxicated is dangerous to others, especially motorcyclists.
- Slow reaction time. Driving while intoxicated impairs a person’s ability to react quickly to rapidly changing traffic situations. It reduces drivers’ capacity to perceive distance and depth, and drivers who are intoxicated may fail to observe motorcycles on the road from a distance. Alcohol can impede a driver’s ability to take notice of an obstacle in time to stop before hitting it.
- Reduced concentration. All the components of safe driving require a drivers’ attention. Alcohol and drugs reduce a driver’s ability to concentrate and stay focused on the task of driving. Reduced concentration and attention may cause a driver to veer into other lanes without meaning to, mismanage their speed, fail to maintain an appropriate distance between their vehicle and other vehicles/motorcycles, and prevent them from properly abiding by traffic signals.
- Lack of coordination. Driving while intoxicated may cause a driver to swerve or change lanes erratically and unpredictably, which is dangerous to motorcycle riders, who can be hit if an automobile suddenly swerves into their lane.
- Inhibited judgment. Drivers tend to be much more reckless when they are under the influence. Lack of judgment can lead to distracted driving, which is especially dangerous for vulnerable motorcyclists. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is focused on something other than driving, such as adjusting the radio, texting, talking to passengers, or eating and drinking.
Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving Accidents
Injuries caused by drunk driving accidents can be severe, especially for motorcyclists. Some of the common injuries that occur in traffic accidents that involved a drunk driver include:
- Traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most common and most severe that occur in drunk driving accidents. This type of injury can be debilitating and even life-altering. It can affect memory, emotions, intellect, vision, hearing, and much more.
- Spinal injuries. The spinal cord is full of nerve tissues that deliver messages from the brain, the body’s supercomputer, to the rest of the body. It’s one of the most vital parts of the human body. Spinal damage can lead to permanent disabilities that affect every area of a person’s life. A transected spinal cord can cause paralysis below the point of the injury.
- Broken, fractured, and crushed limbs. These types of injuries can require complicated surgeries and long-term physical therapy. If the case is particularly serious, an injury to a limb can lead to amputation of the limb.
- Soft-tissue injuries. Torn muscles and ligaments can reduce a person’s ability to move and complete normal day-to-day activities and tasks. They can also result in long-term pain.
- Internal injuries and organ damage. Internal vital organs like the lungs and kidneys are often damaged in drunk driving accidents. These injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
- Burns. In a severe crash, the vehicles may catch fire or even explode. Burns sustained in a crash fire can cause permanent scarring on the skin and life-changing disfigurement.
What to Do if You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
Motorcycle riders are at a much greater risk of being hit by automobiles and being injured due to a lack of a safety framework. If you’re injured in a motorcycle crash with a drunk driver, these are the steps you need to take to build a case for compensation:
- Seek medical care. Call 911 or have a bystander call. Attend to your most serious injuries first, especially if you are losing blood. Don’t take off your helmet – it could save your life. Get evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
- Document the accident. Take note of everything about the scene. Document your injuries, the location, the damage to your bike, damage to the vehicle that hit you, the make and model of the vehicle, and license plate numbers. Get any bystanders or eyewitnesses to give a statement about what happened, and make sure to ask for their contact information so that you can get in touch later.
- Document your expenses. This includes your medical expenses, like surgeries, physical therapy, emergency services, etc., as well as property damage to your bike, towing services, and any repair costs.
- File a police report. The responding police officer will likely take down details of the crash scene and make an initial identification of the at-fault party. Make sure to give the responding police officer as much information about the accident as you can.
- Consult with an attorney. An attorney that specializes in motorcycle accidents is your best bet at getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries and for the property damage done to your bike. In the state of Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the driver who hit you is only two years, so talk with an attorney as soon as possible.
Compensation for Your Drunk Driving Claim
If you are a motorcyclist and sustained injuries in a crash with a drunk driver, you could be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Assessing the value of your claim may be challenging since your compensation should include non-monetary elements like pain and suffering, as well as reimbursement of medical costs.
The expert motorcycle accident lawyer at Loewy Law Firm has experience in these matters, and can accurately evaluate your past and future medical expenses, properly evaluate the non-monetary elements of your claim, and arrive at an amount of compensation that can provide you full and fair financial recovery for your misfortune.
How Loewy Law Firm Can Help
If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver in Austin, TX, we’re here to help. Our team has the necessary knowledge and experience to help you thoroughly investigate the accident, identify the at-fault party, develop the facts, and put together a solid case for compensation that will hold up against scrutiny. Contact Loewy Law Firm today at (512) 280-0800 to get your free initial consultation and find out how we can help you.