As an avid rider in New Mexico, you are well aware of the dangers you face out on the road. While you accept that there is some degree of risk inherent in riding a motorcycle, you should not have to accept the danger drivers put you in when they ignore traffic laws and refuse to allow you the space you need to operate safely. When driver negligence causes you to crash, you are at high risk of a neck or head injury.
Our motorcycle accident lawyer team proudly represents motorcycle riders throughout the state, and we know how serious motorcycle head and neck injuries can be and what the lifetime cost of recovery could be. If you suffered such an injury in a bike crash, trust us to hold the negligent driver accountable and to fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
What Kind of Head and Neck Injuries Happen in Motorcycle Crashes?
While most riders understand that wearing a helmet decreases the risk of a brain injury by up to 85 percent, there is a common misconception that helmets increase the risk of a neck injury. Some riders think that the added weight of a helmet puts more strain on the neck in a crash. However, studies have shown that riders wearing helmets do not suffer more neck injuries than unhelmeted riders and might even have a lower injury rate. Even though New Mexico law does not require riders over the age of 17 to wear a helmet, it’s a good idea to wear one!
When you are run off the road, knocked off your bike, or run over by a careless or negligent driver, you are in danger of suffering one or more of the following catastrophic injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even when wearing a helmet, a hard impact to the head can result in a concussion, brain bruise, brain hemorrhage, or diffuse axonal injury. These injuries can cause loss of cognitive ability, motor skills, and sensory perception.
- Neck fracture. Contact with the pavement or the hood of a car could cause the vertebrae in the neck to shatter. If bone fragments penetrate the spinal cord, the victim could suffer paralysis from that point down, or the injury could be fatal.
- Whiplash. A soft tissue injury to the neck happens when the neck is whipped back and forth in a collision or fall. Stretching or tearing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can lead to chronic pain, reduced mobility, and permanent disability.
- Dislocated vertebrae. Even if the bones in the neck do not fracture in a collision, the vertebrae could be dislocated, causing pain and limiting mobility. If the dislocated bone impinges on the spinal cord, it can have the same effect as a broken vertebra. The victim could suffer paralysis or death.
Each of these injuries has the potential to be life-changing. If your injury was caused by a negligent driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can investigate the crash and determine the value of your claim based on the seriousness of your injuries.
How Drivers Cause Motorcycle Crashes
The key to recovering damages from a negligent driver is proving that their negligent actions caused the crash. Drivers cause motorcycle crashes by:
- Distracted driving. Using a cellphone, talking to passengers, looking at the GPS—these actions might only take a second, but that’s enough time for a rider to appear without the driver seeing them.
- Impaired driving. A drunk or drugged driver is less attentive and has slower reaction times. If a biker is in their blind spot, for example, they might not have the situational awareness to avoid hitting the biker.
- Failure to yield. Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as cars, but drivers often fail to acknowledge that fact. When a driver violates traffic law and causes a crash with a biker, the driver should be held accountable.
- Not looking out for bikers. In one way or another, the cause of most negligent driver motorcycle crashes is the driver not making an effort to look for motorcycles and grant them the space they need.
Not every personal injury lawyer is sympathetic to bikers, but at Keller & Keller, we are riders ourselves. You can trust us to fight for you!