According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are just over 4,000 registered motorcycles in Washington, DC. Motorcycles are unquestionably enjoyable and they allow motorcycle riders to easily move through small, congested cities like DC. However, motorcycle accidents make up a disproportionate amount of fatalities in DC and across the United States. The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration estimates that fatalities caused by motorcycle accidents make up 22.2% of all motor vehicle deaths in Washington, DC.
Pop culture often portrays motorcyclists as young, reckless riders who do not follow traffic laws. That is far from the truth. Think about this: when was the last time you saw a motorcyclist looking down at their phone while operating the bike? It rarely, if ever, happens. Because of the way the bike needs to be driven, motorcyclists often focus solely on the road. Therefore, many times, the party at fault in a motorcycle accident is not the rider. Rather, it is due to the negligence of the vehicle driver.
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a Washington, DC motorcycle accident, the Regan Zambri Long motorcycle accident lawyers will pursue compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income, and emotional consequences of your injuries. The motorcycle attorneys at Regan Zambri Long have secured millions for their clients and will work to do the same for you.
Call today for a free consultation with an expert DC motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss all your legal options. Allow Regan Zambri Long to take the burden of the claims process of your hands so you can focus on a full recovery.
What are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Washington, DC ?
Motorcycle accidents occur any time, anywhere, to anyone. Poor weather, lack of sleep, and reckless behavior can all contribute to a deadly crash. The main causes of motorcycle crashes are:
Distracted driving: Distracted driving is a problem throughout the United States and one of the leading causes of all motor accidents. Drivers of motor vehicles get distracted by texting, looking at their phones, eating, grooming, and talking with passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, taking your eyes off the road to look at a text message for five seconds is comparable to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Distracted driving can cause the motorist to not be able to stop in time, or simply to not even see a motorcyclist, causing a catastrophic motorcycle accident.
Unsafe lane changes: Blind spots are dangerous in any situation, but many motorcyclists are hit by motorists who fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or making left-hand turns. It is important for motorists to check blind spots for oncoming motorcyclists before turning or switching lanes. Left-hand turn collisions are among the most common causes of motorcycle crashes.
Drunk driving: Driving while intoxicated slows down reaction times and impairs coordination. Intoxicated drivers are less aware of their surroundings and are not in the right mind to take proper precautions while driving. For these reasons, drunk drivers are extremely dangerous to anyone on the road, but especially dangerous to motorcyclists. Motorcycles are not as easily seen as regular vehicles and the riders do not have the same protection that a vehicle driver does if a motorcycle crash should occur.
Speeding and unsafe driving: When a motorist speeds, it inevitably takes more time to slow the vehicle down at sudden stops, which leads to more frequent and deadlier collisions. Most passenger vehicles are equipped with crumple zones, which are designed to protect the driver by absorbing the impact of the collision. Motorcycles do not come equipped with such a feature. In fact, there is no structure around the rider that will provide protection in the event of a motorcycle accident. Therefore, when vehicle drivers swerve in and out of lanes, tailgate, suddenly stop, or aggressively drive, they run the risk of causing an accident with a motorcyclist who has minimal protection. Speeding and unsafe driving on the part of a motor vehicle driver can cause catastrophic damage to a motorcycle rider.
Loose cargo: If motorcyclists are riding near commercial trucks, there is a chance that any loose cargo may fall and hit the rider. While this is dangerous for all motorists on the road, motorcycle riders do not have the protection of a vehicle to lessen the impact of the falling cargo. Improperly loaded cargo can cause riders severe injuries or even wrongful death.
Design or manufacturing defects: Mechanical failures, which cause many motorcycle accidents, can be the result of negligence during the design or manufacturing of the bike. If something goes wrong mechanically, such as brakes giving out or the clutch not working properly, then it can lead to a serious crash.
Defective equipment: Defective equipment, such as helmets, can make a motorcycle crash more severe for the rider. If equipment fails to adequately protect the rider, then a case may be made against the manufacturer of that equipment.
What are Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents in Washington, DC?
Motorcyclists and motorists differ in the amount of protection their respective vehicles give them. As discussed above, a car not only has a full structure around the driver, but also comes equipped with a crumple zone that is meant to protect the driver during car accidents. Cars and trucks also come equipped with airbags and safety belts. Motorcycles do not have any of those safety measures. That is why motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident, (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-motorcycle-crashes) according to the NHTSA. If the motorcyclist does survive an accident, they are frequently left to cope with life threatening injuries. The most common injuries sustained are:
Traumatic Brain Injury:
A traumatic brain injury or TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. Even when wearing helmets, riders run the risk of suffering a TBI in a motorcycle accident due to the impact of hitting another vehicle without any structural protection. People who suffer from traumatic brain injuries can have symptoms ranging from problems with speech, memory, cognitive skills, all the way to developing seizures or slipping into comas.
A traumatic brain injury can take anywhere from a few weeks up to ten years to fully heal. Accident victims will most likely need rehabilitation and/or physical and occupational therapy in order to fully recover.
Spinal Cord Injury:
Spinal cord injuries are when the spinal cord is injured from impact of a collision. This type of injury can lead to paralysis (paraplegia or quadriplegia), which would cause permanent disability for the victim. In most cases, victims of spinal cord injuries are unable to return to their previous occupations.
Motorcycle accidents can cause the motorcyclist to fall over and tumble onto the road. The impact of the fall and the instinct of the rider to try to catch themselves to break the fall can cause broken bones in the wrists, hands, and arms. There are also instances when the rider’s legs can be under the bike when it falls over, causing fractures and broken bones in the lower extremities.
Internal Injuries and Bleeding:
Blunt force trauma, which is a blow from something hard that doesn’t break the skin, can cause severe damage to internal organs. Penetration trauma, which is trauma from something sharp such as window or windshield glass, can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs.
Other types of injuries following a motorcycle accident are road rash, whiplash, lacerations, lost limbs, or facial disfigurement. The first thing you should do if you were involved in a motorcycle crash is seek medical attention. Pain and injuries can develop and worsen over time. Even if you think you are fine, it is extremely important to get checked out by a doctor immediately following the motorcycle accident.
How do I Prevent Motorcycle Injuries?
The most important thing to do when going for a ride on a motorcycle is to avoid engaging in reckless behavior. Reckless behavior is any behavior that causes distraction to the rider and disregards the consequences of one’s actions. Examples of such behavior are racing on a motorcycle, popping wheelies on the road, or trying to do other tricks with other motorists around. Keep your focus on the task at hand, which is riding your motorcycle safely to your destination.
In order to minimize motorcycle accidents, Washington, DC imposed several strict laws regarding motorcycles and motorcyclists. One of the main laws is that riders must obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. In order to obtain the specialized license, the rider must:
- Pass the DC motorcycle knowledge test.
- Pass the DC DMV motorcycle demonstration skills test.
- Be at least 18 years of age, which is two years after a teenager can get a regular license.
The Washington, DC DMV also requires riders to carry liability and uninsured motorist insurance in order to register a motorcycle in the District. Motorcyclists have to wear a DOT-approved helmet all times while riding. Eye protection, such as goggles and/or a windshield on the bike is also necessary. Bikes must come equipped with left-side and rear-view mirrors, as well as daytime or modulating headlights. Handlebars may not be higher than 15 inches above the seat.
The Motorcycle Legal Foundation also highlights several other laws, including laws regarding mufflers and footrests. Mufflers cannot be modified to amplify sound above 86 decibels and any passenger on your bike must have their own footrest and seat. These laws are intended to keep motorcyclists and other motorists as safe as possible while traveling on DC roads.
Besides adhering to the DC motorcycle laws, motorcyclists should avoid traveling on their bikes in poor weather conditions. If you have to ride in the rain, pack the necessary gear to stay dry, comfortable, and safe.
Faulty equipment, such as tires, brakes, headlights, or engines can cause a horrible motorcycle accident. Be sure to perform regular maintenance on your bike to help reduce the risk of a crash.
Of course, like any other motorist on the road, riders should stick to the speed limit, never drink and drive, and always stay completely focused on the road.
How Will the Regan Zambri Long Motorcycle Accident Attorney Determine the At Fault Driver?
More often than not, motorcyclists are not typically at fault in motorcycle crashes. Rather, they are mostly the victims of the accidents. Medical bills and expenses from property can pile up quickly. There is no need to go on the journey alone. The Regan Zambri Long DC motorcycle accident lawyers can take over the claims process for you.
Our legal team will collect all the information necessary for your case, including conducting motorcycle accident reconstruction, which is the investigation and analysis about the events and causes in a collision. They will speak to the police and witnesses to the crash, obtain the police report, and secure any footage from surveillance or security cameras around the crash site, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Our attorneys understand they are coming into their clients’ lives at a deeply stressful and difficult time. Patrick Regan, one of the firm’s partners, notes that clients don’t want to be clients for a minute longer than necessary. That is why Regan Zambri Long personal injury lawyers can be contacted at all times and will work diligently to recover fair compensation for you and your loved ones as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Crashes in Washington DC
What are the typical demographics of DC motorcyclists?
A: Contrary to popular belief, the median age of a typical motorcyclist is 50 years old. Men are more likely to own motorcycles than women. The majority of owners are married and make over $62,000 per year.
Does Washington DC have a statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident lawsuit?
A: Yes. The Washington DC statute of limitations to file a motorcycle accident claim is 3 years.
What are contributory negligence laws?
A: Contributory negligence law is practiced in Washington DC and four other jurisdictions, including Virginia and Maryland. The contributory negligence law means that no amount of fault can be attributed to you in order to file a claim against another motorist. If you are found to be responsible for even 10% of the motorcycle accident, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries.
This is why it is essential to have a Regan Zambri Long accident lawyer by your side. They understand the ins and outs of DC laws and various insurance companies and policies. They will guide you through the claims process and work to secure fair compensation for your physical injuries and emotional injuries.
What are the most dangerous intersections in Washington DC?
A: Some of the most dangerous intersections in the District are:
- 14th Street
- Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue
- Florida Ave, New York Ave, and First Avenue NE
- 7th Street and Massachusetts Avenue
- Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street
- Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road
Does Regan Zambri Long practice in other states?
A: Yes, the Regan Zambri Long firm extends to Virginia and Maryland. Call (202)960-4746 for a free case review today and speak with the experienced personal injury attorneys about options and legal advice regarding your legal claim.