Category Archives: Motorcycle Accidents

    Motorcycle Universal Helmet Laws Make a Difference

    Motorcycle enthusiasts usually have strong feeling about mandatory helmet laws. There are many riders who would never consider firing up their engine without strapping on a helmet. These motorcycle riders often support motorcycle helmet laws as a way to save lives, prevent catastrophic injuries, and reduce public health expenditures for crash-related injuries. Many other motorcyclists find mandatory helmet laws to be an unnecessary intrusion on a rider’s freedom of choice.

    As Mississippi personal injury attorneys who see the devastating impact of traumatic head injuries incurred in motorcycle accidents, our law firm urges riders of all ages to wear a helmet that meets Department of Transportation (DOT) and Snell Foundation standards. While we leave the political and philosophical debate to lawmakers, our Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Lawyers are firm proponents of the theory that the best decisions are those based on as much information as possible. This blog post provides some critical facts about motorcycle helmet safety and the impact of mandatory helmet laws.

    Universal helmet laws, which currently exist in only 19 states and the District of Columbia, have changed dramatically in recent times. Approximately, 28 other states have laws that mandate helmet use for some riders, such as riders under a certain age and/or riders that do not satisfy certain minimum insurance requirements. All states had universal helmet laws in the early 1970s until the federal government ceased tying federal funds for safety programs and highway construction to the existence of mandatory helmet laws. Unlike many other states, Mississippi continues to require all riders to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle on public roadways.

    There is a wealth of data that demonstrates the potential risks associated with riding a motorcycle without a helmet. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of crash-related motorcycle deaths on a per mile traveled basis is 26 times higher than the number of fatalities in car accidents. Approximately 4,668 people died and another 88,000 were injured in motorcycle accidents in the most recent year for which federal data is available. Serious head injuries are the most common cause of permanent disability and fatalities among motorcycle accident injury victims. The NHTSA reports that wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent and reduces the risk of a traumatic brain injury by 67 percent.

    While there is little dispute that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of injury or death for riders, some might question whether mandatory helmet laws actually increase helmet usage. A recent federal study suggests that helmet use nearly doubles in states with universal helmet laws compared to all other states. The researchers found that the helmet use rate in universal helmet law jurisdictions was 89 percent whereas the rate was only 48 percent in all other states. Further, increased helmet use in mandatory helmet law states and the effectiveness in helmets in preventing serious head injuries has resulted in improved rider safety. A number of states have reinstated their universal helmet laws since 1989 with the following results:

    • State                Decline in Motorcycle Accident Fatality Rates
    • Oregon:           33 percent
    • Texas:              23 percent
    • California:       37 percent
    • Nebraska:        32 percent
    • Washington:    15 percent
    • Maryland:        20 percent

    Whether you are a supporter of universal helmet laws or not, these statutes seem to be an effective way to improve motorcycle safety. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash, the compassionate and knowledgeable Mississippi personal injury lawyers at Porter & Malouf, P.A. are here to help. Call our office today at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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    The Primary Ways of Preventing Motorcycle Crashes in Mississippi

    The vast and open roads across the United States makes it a prime place for motorcyclists to take their bikes out for a spin. However, while motorcycling can quite a lot of fun, it can also be highly dangerous. According to national motorcycle accident statistics, bikers in the United States are 35% more likely to succumb to injuries resulting from a motorcycle crash. Further statistics provide that about 75% of motorcycle accidents occur between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, with the remaining 25% involving individual motorcycle crashes. Out of the 75% of accidents that occur, most arise as a result of other drivers that simply fail to see motorcyclists.

    Due to the inherent risks associated with motorcycling, it is crucial to take proactive safety measures to decrease your chances of getting into an accident. The following are certain things you can to give yourself a safer and more enjoyable ride:

    1. Always wear a helmet. This is the simplest step you can take to ensure your safety. As experienced motorcycle accident attorneys, we have seen devastating injuries that have arisen due to the failure of a biker to wear a helmet. While some people find helmets to be a nuisance or perhaps unfashionable, they are the best way to save one’s life. That is why it makes sense to wear one at all times, regardless of where you are going and when.
    2. Wear clothing that is both visible and protective. Ever wonder why bikers wear heavy leather or denim clothing, even when it is extremely hot outside? That’s because they know that if they fall of their bike for whatever reason, these types of clothing can help protect them from road rash, an extremely painful condition that is caused by coming into contact with a road. Moreover, wearing clothing that is visible to other drivers is also highly recommended. Since most motorcycle accidents occur due to poor driver visibility, wearing clothing that makes your presence known to other drivers can ensure your own safety.
    3. Make sure your bike is well-maintained and kept in good repair at all times. People who fail to maintain or repair their motorcycles are much more likely to be involved in an accident than others whose bikes are well-maintained. For instance, if a motorcycle’s brake systems fail due to overuse or improper maintenance, it can cause devastating and sometimes fatal crashes.
    4. Use hand signals if you have to. As silly as it may sound, making sure you are noticed by other drivers and also, communicating with them so that they know where you are going is highly important. Lack of visibility is one of the main reasons why drivers become involved in accidents with motorcyclists. The more you can do to be noticeable, the better chances you are of remaining safe.

    If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, call us now to find out more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We are experienced motorcycle accident attorneys who will do what it takes to protect your legal interests and also, assist you in making informed decisions about your case – every step of the way. Contact the seasoned motorcycle accident attorneys of Porter Malouf, Attorneys at Law, at 601-957-1173 to schedule your free, no obligation case review. We look forward to providing you with excellent representation.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Other Drivers: the Leading Cause of Motorcycle Crash Cases Nationwide

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the number of motorcycle accidents in the United States is on the rise, reflecting an alarming national trend. Back in 2008, nearly 100,000 people were injured across the country in motorcycle-related accidents. And, despite what most people may think in terms of causation, inclement weather and poor driving conditions are not the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. In fact, a nationwide study indicates that this rarely causes motorcycle crashes. According to this study, other drivers cause the majority of motorcycle accidents, resulting in life threatening and sometimes fatal injuries.

    Conducted by a major university and commissioned by the NHTSA, the study investigated nearly every single possible aspect of over 900 motorcycle accidents and over 3500 motorcycle accident reports in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. The study concluded that according to its own analysis as well as all past and present research, weather was not a contributing factor in the majority of motorcycle crashes. Specifically, it indicated that weather was mostly clear and dry in most of the accident cases. Overall, the study evaluated the major causes of motorcycle accidents and what measures motorcyclists can take to protect against serious accidents and injuries. Although the study was published in the early 1980’s, its conclusions and findings are still worth considerable merit today.

    As noted in the report generated by the above study and still relevant to this day, most motorcyclists are involved in serious and life threatening accidents due to the fact that other drivers often fail to yield to them. In other words, cars and other vehicles are not always able to spot motorcyclists in their vicinity, often leading to collisions and catastrophic injuries. Unfortunately, no one is immune to the inherent risks associated with motorcycling. Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clark knows this first-hand, as we he seriously injured earlier this year when an oncoming vehicle cut him off while making a sharp left turn in front of him. While Mr. Clark survived the ordeal, he ended up with serious injuries to his feet and had to undergo surgery.

    In light of the above, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are a few tips:

    • Wear a helmet at all times. In Mississippi, helmets are mandatory and most people walk away with less major injuries as a result of having worn an accident during their accident. Be smart and play it safe!
    • Don’t take unnecessary risks. If you are unfamiliar with the area, or a novice biker, do not drive into places that you do not know, or that may be too hazardous for someone without years of experience.
    • Wear protective, reflective and highly visible clothing. Always be sure to be visible to other drivers, and, wear gear such as leather to help protect you from road rash and other conditions that can cause severe and debilitating pain.
    • Take a motorcycle safety course. It is never too late to get some extra training, even if you are a highly seasoned biker.

    Experienced car accidents attorneys know full well the various challenges and nuances associated with successfully representing motorcycle accident victims in Mississippi. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle, car, truck or any other type of accident, call Attorneys Tim Porter or Patrick Malouf to have your case reviewed. Contact us today online for a free, no obligation case review or call our office directly at (601) 957-1173.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions about Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents

     

    There is no greater thrill for some people than to take their motorcycles out for a spin during the warm weather months. However, this can be a very dangerous undertaking. Specifically, motorcycle accident related injuries and fatalities are on the rise in Mississippi and across the United States. In fact, they lead to some of the most serious injuries of all other types of vehicle accidents, as there is very little protecting a motorcyclists upon impact with the road. When injured motorcyclists and their families meet with me, they ask numerous questions regarding their rights to compensation and legal responsibilities. As such, I have compiled a list of the most FAQs that I am asked when I meet with clients for the first time. These are as follows:

    • How do most motorcycle accidents happen in Mississippi?

    Most motorcycle accidents happen because other drivers fail to notice them. Specifically, motorcyclists are often vulnerable to side swipe accidents due to the fact that other drivers often change lanes without seeing the biker in the lane next to them. Additional causes of motorcycle accidents are due to novice bikers who are not as familiar with maneuvering in bad weather or when faced with hazardous road conditions.

    • What do I need to do if I was in a motorcycle accident in Mississippi?

    No matter what, you must seek medical treatment immediately, as motorcycle accidents can cause life threatening and sometimes fatal injuries. Even if you do not believe that you have been badly hurt, it is better to be safe than sorry in this regard. Seeking treatment as soon as possible is also important, since the amount you may be entitled to recover is contingent upon the damages you sustained (including both personal property and physical damage). Additionally, you should contact your insurance company in order to file a motorcycle accident claim and also, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

    • What types of damages am I entitled to receive?

    If you sustained serious injuries in a Mississippi motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, out of pocket costs, loss income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and more. It is essential to speak with an experienced Mississippi motorcycle accident attorney to find out more about the damages you may be entitled to receive.

    • If I am uninsured, can I still recover for my injuries?

    Yes. You can file a lawsuit against the person who hit you in order to obtain compensation for your injuries and damage sustained to your motorcycle. Just because you are uninsured does not necessarily mean that you do not have a personal injury lawsuit.

    • Who may be held liable for my injuries?

    Anyone who played a part in your accident may be held legally responsible. This may include pedestrians, government workers who fail to keep roads in good repair, insurance companies, and the driver that hit you.

    • Do I need a lawyer?

    Having a lawyer is not required by law however, it is extremely prudent to speak with one about your accident. A qualified Mississippi motorcycle accident attorney is in the best position to advise you of your legal rights and how to maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries. A seasoned attorney can also decipher who is at fault for your accident and also, who should be named in your lawsuit.

    At the law firm of Porter Malouf, Attorneys at Law, our Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys have the skills and experience necessary to handle any motorcycle accident case, regardless of how challenging or complex. When you meet with one of our highly seasoned personal injury attorneys, we will take the time to answer all of your questions, examine the facts of your case, and advise you of your legal options. For more information on our legal services, contact Porter Malouf, Attorneys at Law online or call us at 601-957-1173 to schedule your free, no obligation case review.

     

     

    Motorcycle Safety Laws in Mississippi

    All states have different motorcycle laws. Some states are more strict than others and this reflects each state’s goals and desires regarding motorcycle regulation. The state of Mississippi is more lenient than other states, and its motorcycle safety laws are fairly liberal. The most important laws for all motorists to know about motorcycles include the following:

    • Eye protection is not required in Mississippi;
    • Lane splitting is not authorized in Mississippi (as is the case in most states);
    • Safety helmets are only required for riders and passengers under the age of 16;
    • Rider education certification is only required for riders and passengers under the age of 16;
    • Motorcycle headlights and taillights are not required;
    • Mufflers are not required;
    • An operator license is not required;
    • Mississippi accepts motorcycle endorsement from other states; and
    • A vehicle title is not required

    From this list you can see that the Mississippi motorcycle laws are very accommodating for motorcyclists of most ages and skill level. This is favorable for motorcycle lovers, however, it can also be dangerous to both the motorcyclists and other motorists sharing the road. An inexperienced motorcyclist may not know how to react in particular situations and could suffer serious injuries in an accident and/or cause a very devastating accident.

    Further, motorcyclists who are involved in an accident are likely to suffer more serious injuries if they are not wearing helmets. If these individuals are injured because of another motorist’s negligent driving, the motorcyclists would still have a personal injury cause of action and should rightly receive compensation. However, these motorcyclists may run the risk of receiving less compensation because they were not wearing helmets, as a defendant motorist could argue that the injuries were only as severe as they were because no helmet was worn. This certainly isn’t always the case, but motorcyclists should be aware of all possibilities when pursuing a personal injury case.

     

    What a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Do For You

     

    Injured motorcyclists deserve to receive compensation regardless of whether or not they may have been wearing a helmet, safety goggles, or following other recommended safety measures. The bottom line is that if Mississippi law doesn’t require a motorcyclist to wear a helmet, have headlights, among the other laws and regulations mentioned above, that motorcyclist should not be precluded from recovering in a personal injury case.

     

    A qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney knows to expect the challenges that come along in pursuing a personal injury case on behalf of injured motorcyclists. Such attorneys are not afraid to fight hard and push to the end until their clients receive what they rightfully deserve. The sooner an injured motorcyclist contacts a seasoned Mississippi motorcycle accident attorney, the more prepared the attorney will be to advocate for his or her client.

    Contact Porter & Malouf, P.A. To Schedule Your Free Consultation

    If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to find out if you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. The severity of injuries that can result from motorcycle accidents can be some of the worst out of any type of automobile accident. At the law firm of Porter & Malouf, P.A., our attorneys have the experienced required to advocate on your behalf and help you recover from the injuries you have suffered. Our firm was ranked the 14th winningest law firm in the United States in 2002 by the National Law Journal, and received a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell. To speak with one of our seasoned motorcycle accident attorneys, contact us online, or call us at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free consultation.

    Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Lane Splitting

    Motorcycles are able to maneuver around traffic in a way that no other motorist can. If traffic is backed up on a highway and a motorcyclist wants to avoid waiting, he or she has the ability to drive between lanes and beat the traffic. However, motorcyclists must follow the same rules as all other motorists in Mississippi. Under Mississippi law, driving between lanes, or “lane splitting,” is illegal, yet many motorcyclists continue to do it for the simple fact that they are likely to get away with it. Because this will continue to happen, drivers need to be aware that although there are many motorcyclists that do follow the law, there will be that few who decide lane splitting is worth the risk of causing a deadly accident.

    In an automobile accident involving a motorcycle, the motorcyclist is likely to suffer more severe injuries than the driver of a car or truck. However, there are situations where a motorcyclist may cause an accident but not be injured at all. For example, if the driver of a car wishes to change lanes on a highway, and a motorcyclist is riding closely behind but in between the lanes, the driver may not be able to see the motorcyclist until the last second. The motorcyclist may be able to easily drive around the car, but if the driver of the car reacts by slamming on the brakes, he or she may lose control of the car, hit the vehicle in front of it, or cause the vehicle behind it to also slam on the brakes, starting a chain reaction resulting in a multiple car accident with multiple injured drivers. Had the motorcyclist been properly driving in one lane, the driver would have seen the motorcycle passing by and could have avoided an accident.

    Lane splitting may not be that dangerous when there is little or no traffic. However, consider the situation where a motorcyclist chooses to drive between lanes when two semi-trucks are on either side of the motorcycle. This motorcyclist is putting him or herself at a significant risk for being hit. Trucks take up a large portion of the lanes and have a very large blind spot so they generally cannot see what is directly next to them. If a motorcyclist was hit and killed while driving between two semi-trucks on a highway, it would be difficult to put blame on the truck drivers, no matter how tragic or devastating the accident is.

    Further, even if not struck, the motorcyclist is creating the potential for the two semi-trucks to hit each other. This is precisely why motorcyclists must follow the same rules as other drivers and avoid lane splitting. By driving between lanes, a motorcyclist is violating his or her duty of care to all other drivers and if an accident results, causing injuries to other drivers, the motorcyclist should be found negligent and the injured parties should be compensated for the injuries suffered.

    Contact Porter & Malouf Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

    Automobile accidents happen every day and innocent people are seriously hurt and killed. While many accidents cannot be prevented, an accident that is the direct result of a motorcycle driving between lanes is certainly one that can be prevented. If you have been injured in an automobile accident involving a motorcycle illegally driving between lanes, you may be entitled to compensation. The Jackson, Mississippi law firm of Porter & Malouf, P.A. employs seasoned attorneys who have a reputation for success. Ranked the 14th winningest law firm in the United States by the National Law Journal in 2002, and receiving a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell, Porter & Malouf, P.A. has the skill and experience to offer you the best representation possible. To schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys to evaluate your potential case, contact us online today, or call us at 601-957-1173.