Oklahoma Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Information on Motorcyclists' Rights
Anyone who's ever ridden a motorbike knows the thrill of the open road and the feeling of freedom that goes with it. Unfortunately, these sensations come with a great deal of risk. Motorcycles may be less accident-prone than cars due to their accelerating and stopping abilities, smaller size, and fewer blind spots. However, these factors don't matter once you get in an accident.
Motorcyclists face some inherent dangers that occupants of other vehicles do not. For one thing, motorcyclists have decreased stability due to only having two wheels. And because there is no physical barrier between the motorcyclist and the other vehicles on the road, injuries are more likely. Additionally, a motorcycle is less visible to motorists than a car or a truck.
What would be a minor fender-bender accident in a car could result in serious injury on a motorcycle. If you’re a biker, you have the same rights as any motorist, so don’t let negligent drivers get away with pushing you around. If you have questions, call Car Accident Help at (405) 285-4357 for legal advice.
Motorcycle Laws in Oklahoma
Though motorcyclists have the same rights as other vehicles, there are certain laws that apply to them specifically. Let’s look at a few of the basics:
- It is not legal to operate a motorcycle without an "M" endorsement on your driver’s license. You can get an "M" endorsement by taking a written exam, eye exam, and a driving test. Oklahoma allows you to skip the driving test if you’ve passed a state-approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. If you pass the written and eye exams, you get a learner’s permit, which you must hold for 30 days before applying for your endorsement.
- All riders under the age of 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet.
- Riders must wear eye protection unless their bikes have wind screens.
- The motorcycle’s headlight must always be on - day or night. (Most motorcycle headlights stay on whenever the bike is running).
- All street motorcycles must be equipped with taillights, brake lights, working speedometer, horn, left and right rearview mirrors, fenders over both wheels, and an adequate muffler.
- Handlebars cannot be higher than the eye level of the operator.
- Motorcycle riders must use proper lanes. Lane splitting is illegal in Oklahoma.
Who Is Held Responsible for a Motorcycle Crash in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is a comparative negligence state, meaning that both parties involved in an accident may share some fault. For instance, if you were splitting lanes on your motorcycle when a car turned in front of you, causing a collision, a judge or jury may decide that you were 20% responsible for the accident because you were performing an illegal maneuver when the accident occurred. Even though helmets aren’t required by law, a jury may still take not wearing one as negligence on your part, and take that into account when determining the amount of compensation for a head injury.
Are Sideswipe Accidents Common?
One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents is the sideswipe. A sideswipe happens when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. Sideswipes usually happen when vehicles are changing lanes or merging onto a highway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that another leading cause of sideswipes is "drifting": when one vehicle drifts from its lane into another lane.
While two cars involved in a sideswipe accident might only result in minor dents and paint scratches, a sideswipe involving a car and a motorcycle can lead to serious injury for the biker. Drivers of both cars and motorcycles should always check their mirrors before changing lanes. This practice could greatly reduce the number of sideswipe accidents on Oklahoma's roadways.
What Is a Broadside Accident?
Another common traffic accident is the broadside, or "t-bone," collision. Broadsides usually occur at intersections when one vehicle doesn't stop at a stop sign or red light, or fails to yield. Broadsides can also happen when a vehicle is making a turn. All drivers should remember to look both ways before entering an intersection, whether they have the right of way or not. When a car t-bones a motorcycle, or if the motorcycle t-bones a car, the motorbike always comes out on the short end. Where modern cars are equipped with airbags, reinforced side panels, and crumple zones, motorcycles have no protection from front or side collisions.
What Are Common Injuries in a Collision?
In a collision, a motorcycle rider has few options. If he’s being blindsided, the rider won't be able to stop or speed up, or lay the bike down to avoid the collision. Broadside collisions can result in serious injuries and even death to the motorcycle rider. Common injuries include:
- Head, neck, face, back, and shoulder injuries
- Broken arms and hands
- Broken and shattered legs
- Broken pelvis
- Internal injuries
- Road-rash injuries
In the unfortunate event that the driver who hit you did not stop and take responsibility for the accident, you still may be able to get compensation for your injuries from your own insurance company. But your insurance company may not be willing to adequately compensate you for your injuries and losses. In such a case, you will need the representation of skilled Oklahoma motorcycle hit and run attorney.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Oklahoma
If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to know what to do:
- If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention for your injuries.
- File a police report to document the crash.
- Obtain information from anyone who was involved in the accident.
- Identify any witnesses and obtain their contact information.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and write down everything you can remember.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident without permission from law enforcement.
- Notify your motorcycle insurance company, but do not make a statement or admit fault.
- Do not accept any type of settlement.
- Contact Car Accident Help so that you will know your legal rights.
Am I Entitled to Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident in Oklahoma?
If you're in a collision with a negligent or distracted driver, you could be entitled to a large amount of compensation, including:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages due to time off of work
- Physical therapy
- Damage to equipment
- Loss of a limb
- Becoming paralyzed
- Punitive damages
If you've been injured in a motorcycle crash, seek immediate medical attention. When you're able to do so, contact an experienced Oklahoma motorcycle accident lawyer. The sooner you do this, the better.
Contact Car Accident Help Today
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a motorcycle accident, it is important to hire a skilled lawyer immediately following the accident, because important physical evidence can be lost and witnesses may become hard to find. It is crucial that you contact an attorney before you talk to any insurance adjusters - your own or the other driver’s - and never accept a settlement without first seeking legal advice. Contact Car Accident Help for a free initial consultation and we will promptly investigate the accident, determine fault, and start working to recover all damages.
Call us any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (405) 285-4357.
We also have an intake form that you can fill out. Our motorcycle accident lawyers and staff return all correspondence quickly and serve clients throughout Oklahoma City, the state, and the nation.
- Motorcycle Accident Blogs
- You Don’t Have to Wear a Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle - But Should You?
- Finding Fault in Lane Splitting Accidents
- Becoming Familiar With Motorcycle Rider Rights
- Oklahoma Motorcycle Safety and the Law
- Motorcycle Operator Manual - Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- Motorcycle Safety - NHTSA
- NTSB Motorcycle Safety Alert
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