Omaha Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Whether you are navigating the streets of Omaha or riding across the state of Nebraska, a motorcycle is a thrilling way to travel. However, there are numerous hazards on our roads that put riders at risk of suffering serious, and often fatal, injuries. Whether in huge tractor-trailers or everyday passenger vehicles, negligent drivers often strike motorcyclists and force them to contend with costly injuries.
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If you were injured after a wipeout due to another person’s actions or lost a loved one to a motorcycle crash in the Omaha area, please contact an Omaha motorcycle accident attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. to set up a free consultation. We will investigate what happened and determine if you are owed compensation from the at-fault party and their insurance company. We are strong advocates for injured motorcyclists and will vigorously defend your right to compensation in an accident claim or lawsuit. Call our office at (402) 505-8234 to speak to an experienced legal team.
Riding a motorcycle is inherently risky business. In a single recent year, motorcyclists in the United States were five times more likely than passenger car riders to be injured in an accident, and 29 times more likely to die as the result of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, further research has shown that many motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the riders themselves but are due to the negligent actions of other vehicle operators.
Whether someone is driving a car, van, or truck, they are typically not aware of how quiet and small motorcycles are, making it easy to miss a motorcycle in their blind spots or incorrectly estimate how fast a motorcycle is traveling. If drivers are distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise reckless, they could easily hit a motorcyclist or drive a bike off the road, causing a severe accident. In fact, the NHTSA has noted that 57% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve another motor vehicle.
Everyone should drive responsibly. You should file a personal injury claim if a person hit you while:
- Driving distracted
- Driving drunk or drugged
- Driving drowsy
- Failing to check mirrors and blindspots before merging or turning
- Failing to come to a complete stop before proceeding through an intersection
- Making left turns without checking for oncoming motorcyclists
- Tailgating you
- Performing aggressive maneuvers that you had to avoid, maybe by laying the motorcycle down in the road.
If any of these scenarios sounds familiar to you, you probably have a strong case for compensation. Speak to our legal team right away to get the help you deserve.
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, resulting in deaths, costly injuries, and a great deal of pain and suffering. According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHSS), the cost of all motorcycle accidents totaled more than $100,000,000 in the state of Nebraska.
Even with advancements in motorcycle technology and protective gear for bikers, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer traumatic injuries than passenger vehicle occupants, often including:
- Road rash and other skin abrasions are caused by contact and friction with roads and other surfaces, scraping away layers of skin and in some cases other tissues. While rarely fatal, road rash is extremely painful, and if not treated properly can result in infection.
- Broken bones are a frequent injury in motorcycle crashes. Age is also a factor in bone injuries. Riders over the age of 40 tend to sustain more injuries to their arms, legs, and ribs than younger riders, owing to the changes in bone density that come with age. A 2008 study reported that the most common sites of fractures from motorcycle accidents in the U.S. were:
- Foot and lower leg (30%)
- The face and skull (22%)
- Forearm, hand, and wrist (19%)
- Chest and ribs (16%)
- Head injuries are the most frequently fatal in car-motorcycle collisions. In Nebraska in particular, one-third of all motorcycle hospitalizations involved a head injury, according to the NDHHS. While some were mild concussions, many victims were left with lifelong disabilities, such as paralysis or cognitive impairments.
- Internal and soft tissue injuries are caused when the inner parts of the body are wounded, whether or not the bones are affected. Broken bones can also puncture internal organs such as the lungs, causing internal bleeding or hemorrhaging. Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body are also common. Once again, motorcyclists age 40 and over have an increased risk for such injuries.
Motorcyclists are often worried about filing an accident claim because they assume they will be blamed for their own injuries. Many riders face bias from the police, insurance providers, and everyday people. While the belief that bikers are reckless is certainly an issue in Nebraska, it is important to understand that you are well within your rights to file a claim if another driver caused your injuries.
In the state of Nebraska, everyone on the road has a duty of care toward others around them. This means drivers and motorcyclists must follow the rules of the road, check their blind spots, and respond accordingly to dangerous weather conditions. If a driver caused a motorcycle to crash, then the rider can and should file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy.
It is important to remember that Nebraska is a modified comparative negligence state: everyone involved in an accident can be assigned a certain level of fault for their actions. If you are assigned 50% of fault for the accident, then you are barred from receiving compensation. In addition, the percentage of fault you receive will reduce the total amount of money you are awarded. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in compensation but receive 20% of the fault, then you will only be able to receive $80,000 in compensation.
Factors that can influence the amount of fault you receive include making dangerous lane changes, speeding, or performing risky driving maneuvers. In addition, the state of Nebraska has laws against driving between lanes, called "lane splitting," as well as laws for safely carrying cargo or another passenger. Following the rules of the road establishes you as a responsible driver and keeps you and your passenger safer overall. However, following the rules yourself will not stop a careless or aggressive driver from causing a crash. Even if an insurance company says your actions contributed to the accident, a skilled attorney can advocate for proper compensation for your injuries.
Helmet use is another element cited by insurance companies as a reason to deny a claim, as Nebraska has a universal helmet law. Other protective gear, such as gloves, padded jackets, pants, and body armor are not legally required while riding a motorcycle, but do a great deal to prevent bodily injury and reduce medical costs.
However, what you were wearing at the time of the crash does not excuse an at-fault driver from liability for your medical bills, lost work, and other losses related to the accident. Seriously injured bikers often require reconstructive surgery to repair their shattered limbs, as well as skin grafts and other invasive treatments. After a motorcycle collision, you may be in the hospital for months, unable to work, and have limited mobility when you do get out and require full-time assistance. These are all costs that the negligent driver should be required to pay.
Even the most cautious motorcyclists may be involved in an accident due to factors beyond their control. In the aftermath of a crash, an injured biker should call 911 immediately and get emergency medical intervention right away. After this, here are some helpful things to do to help your claim:
- Document your injuries. Go to the emergency room or see your doctor as soon as you can after the wreck. Not only will you get treated sooner, this allows you to get the most accurate documentation of any injuries you have. If you have preexisting injuries from before the accident, your doctor can confirm if those injuries have gotten worse.
- Document details of the accident. Memory is notoriously unreliable, and can be severely impacted following a traumatic event such as a motorcycle collision. When you are physically able, take notes on what you can remember about the incident. Take photographs of the scene, your injuries, and any physical evidence such as damaged item as soon as possible. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information and their written testimony. Documenting evidence will establish your claim that you were not at fault.
- Obtain additional records to corroborate your story. Filing a police report of the accident can be an important step in pursuing a personal injury claim, as it will contain important details of the incident. Additional documents such as proof of days and wages lost as a result of the accident are also crucial.
Few auto insurance companies are eager to pay in the wake of a crash in which their client was at fault. No matter how bad your injuries are or how clear-cut the liability appears, you may still have trouble getting the compensation you are rightfully owed. The insurer may try to blame you for what happened, or try to talk you into accepting a quick settlement, even though they know you’ll need more money for medical care in the long run.
That’s why working with an experienced Omaha motorcycle injury lawyer is vital in these cases. Protect yourself, and protect your family. The worst has already happened – don’t be victimized again by a greedy corporation.
Most motorcyclists ride alone, but you don't have to. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, our Omaha personal injury legal team will fight to ensure you gain the maximum compensation to cover your losses. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we offer a free initial consultation with no obligation and we work on a contingency-fee basis - you don't pay a fee unless we win your case. Call our Omaha office at (402) 505-8234 to speak with a Omaha auto accident attorney today. If you are too injured to travel to us, we can send a car to pick you up, or drop by the hospital ourselves. Just let us know!
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