By Matt Lalande in Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers, Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer on April 04, 2023
In our experience as Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers, the most common type of motorcycle vs vehicle accident is a car turning left in front of a motorcycle, often referred to as the “left-turn accident.” This typically occurs when the car driver fails to see the motorcycle or misjudges its speed, turning across the motorcyclist’s path, and causing a collision. Visibility issues, distractions, and lack of attention are some common factors contributing to these accidents. Below our Hamitlon Motorcycle Accident Lawyers review the left-turn accident, why it is so devastating and the common injuries it can cause to motorcycle riders in Ontario.
If you or your loved one has been injured In a motorcycle accident it’s important that you speak to a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you recover the compensation you need. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyer have represented motorcycle accident victims in the Hamilton area, and all over the province of Ontario since 2003. If you are allowed one is been involved in serious motorcycle accident, contact us today, no matter where you are in Ontario by calling us at 1-844-LALANDE or local throughout southern Ontario by calling us at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us confidential email through our website or chat live with our live chat operator 7 days a week 24-hours a day. Our Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers are here to help you recover justice – in a time of need.
Left-turn accidents are the most common type of motorcycle accident in Ontario (and many other Provinces) for several reasons:
Limited visibility: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible compared to other vehicles on the road. Drivers may not see an approaching motorcycle when they attempt to make a left turn, especially if their view is obstructed by larger vehicles, blind spots, or poor weather conditions.
Perception and speed estimation: Perception and speed estimation are critical factors in left-turn accidents involving motorcycles. The size and visual appearance of motorcycles, being smaller and narrower than cars or trucks, can make it difficult for drivers to accurately judge their speed and distance. The smaller profile of a motorcycle can create an optical illusion that makes it appear farther away and moving slower than it actually is. This may lead drivers to believe they have enough time to complete a left turn before the motorcycle reaches the intersection, resulting in a collision.
Furthermore, drivers may be less accustomed to estimating the speed of motorcycles compared to other vehicles, as they have less frequent encounters with them on the road. This unfamiliarity can further exacerbate the problem of misjudging the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
Driver distraction: Distracted driving is a significant factor in many accidents, including left-turn motorcycle accidents. A driver who is texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distractions may not notice an approaching motorcycle or may not accurately assess the situation before making a left turn.
Right-of-way errors: Right-of-way errors contribute to the prevalence of left-turn accidents involving motorcycles. These errors can occur when drivers are uncertain about or misunderstand the rules governing the right-of-way at intersections, particularly in complex or uncontrolled situations. For example, a driver may incorrectly assume that they have the right-of-way when turning left at an uncontrolled intersection, resulting in a collision with an oncoming motorcycle.
This type of misunderstanding can be exacerbated by the fact that motorcycles are less common on the roads, and drivers may not be as familiar with their rights and responsibilities when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Additionally, the smaller size and profile of motorcycles may lead drivers to underestimate the significance of giving right-of-way to an oncoming motorcycle, increasing the risk of a left-turn accident.
To mitigate the risk of right-of-way errors, both motorcyclists and drivers should familiarize themselves with the rules of the road, including who has the right-of-way in various scenarios. Drivers should be particularly cautious when making left turns and ensure they are yielding to oncoming motorcycles as required by law. Motorcyclists should be aware that drivers may not always follow or understand right-of-way rules, and ride defensively to anticipate potential errors. By increasing awareness and understanding of right-of-way rules, both motorcyclists and drivers can help to reduce the frequency of left-turn accidents.
Gap acceptance plays a notable role in left-turn accidents involving motorcycles. Gap acceptance refers to a driver’s judgment in determining whether there is enough space and time to safely make a left turn across oncoming traffic. When drivers misjudge the gap between themselves and an oncoming motorcycle, they may attempt to turn when there isn’t sufficient space or time to do so safely, leading to a collision.
Several factors can contribute to poor gap acceptance in left-turn situations. As previously mentioned, the smaller size of motorcycles can make them appear farther away and moving slower than they actually are, causing drivers to believe they have enough time to complete the turn. Additionally, drivers may not be as familiar with estimating the speed of motorcycles as they are with larger vehicles, leading to incorrect judgments about the available gap.
To improve gap acceptance and reduce the risk of left-turn accidents, drivers should take extra care when making left turns, particularly when motorcycles are involved. They should pay close attention to the speed and distance of oncoming motorcycles and allow for a larger margin of safety when deciding to turn. Motorcyclists can also help by being aware of this issue and riding defensively, adjusting their speed as necessary when approaching intersections where drivers may misjudge the gap. By working together, both motorcyclists and drivers can help decrease the occurrence of left-turn accidents caused by poor gap acceptance.
Some of the more serious injuries sustained in motorcycle vs vehicle accidents include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries: traumatic head injuries are a significant concern in motorcycle accidents due to their potential for severe and long-lasting consequences. Concussions, a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), are common in motorcycle accidents and occur when the brain is shaken within the skull from an impact or sudden change in motion. Symptoms of concussions can include headache, dizziness, confusion, and temporary memory loss, and while they are considered mild TBIs, repeated concussions can have cumulative effects on the brain.
Contusions, or bruises on the brain tissue, are another type of head injury that can result from a direct impact to the head during a motorcycle accident. Contusions can cause localized brain damage and may require surgical intervention if they lead to significant swelling or bleeding. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which occurs when the brain is subjected to rapid acceleration or deceleration forces that stretch or tear nerve fibers (axons), is common in high-speed motorcycle accidents and can result in widespread brain damage, potentially leading to severe disability or even death.
Skull fractures can also occur in motorcycle accidents when the force of impact causes the skull to break. The severity and consequences of a skull fracture depend on the type, location, and extent of the fracture. Intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding within the skull, is another serious head injury that can result from damage to blood vessels in the brain or surrounding tissue. Intracranial hemorrhages can lead to increased pressure within the skull, causing further brain damage and potentially life-threatening complications.
To reduce the risk and severity of head injuries in motorcycle accidents, wearing a helmet and practicing safe riding techniques is crucial. Both motorcyclists and drivers must remain vigilant and share the road responsibly to minimize the likelihood of such accidents occurring.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries in motorcycle accidents typically result from significant forces acting upon the vertebral column, causing direct or indirect damage to the spinal cord. These forces may include rapid acceleration or deceleration, twisting, compression, or direct impact to the spinal column. Injuries can occur at different levels of the spinal cord, with each level corresponding to distinct functional impairments and clinical manifestations.
Cervical spinal cord injuries, affecting the neck region, are often the most severe due to their potential to cause quadriplegia or tetraplegia, resulting in loss of function and sensation in all four limbs and the trunk. These injuries can result from hyperextension or hyperflexion of the neck during a motorcycle accident, such as when a rider is ejected from the motorcycle and lands on their head or neck. High cervical injuries (C1-C4) may also lead to respiratory compromise, necessitating mechanical ventilation.
Thoracic spinal cord injuries, involving the mid-back region, can cause paraplegia, which is the loss of function and sensation in the lower extremities and trunk. These injuries often result from direct impact or compression forces on the thoracic spine, such as when a rider’s back strikes an object or the ground with significant force. Depending on the level of injury, the individual may retain upper body function but experience varying degrees of impairment in the lower body.
Lumbar and sacral spinal cord injuries, affecting the lower back and pelvis, typically lead to partial or complete loss of function and sensation in the lower extremities and may impair bowel and bladder control. These injuries can be caused by forces that create flexion, extension, or compression of the lumbar and sacral spine, such as when a rider is thrown from the motorcycle and lands on their buttocks or lower back.
The severity and prognosis of spinal cord injuries depend on the level and extent of the injury, as well as the presence of secondary complications, such as swelling or bleeding around the spinal cord. Immediate medical attention and specialized care are crucial for optimal outcomes and to minimize the risk of long-term disability following a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident. It’s also important that you call a Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyer who also specializes in spinal cord injuries to insure that proper insurance benefits are put into place to assist with your discharge home and the financing you will need for ongoing care in the future.
Internal injuries: The impact of a collision can cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, liver, kidneys, or spleen. These injuries may require emergency surgery and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Fractures and broken bones: Motorcyclists often suffer from fractures and broken bones due to the force of the impact and lack of protection. Common fractures include those of the arms, legs, wrists, hands, collarbones, and pelvis.
Road rash: Road rash, a term used to describe skin abrasions resulting from sliding across the pavement during a motorcycle accident, can vary in severity and lead to significant pain, suffering, and potential long-term consequences. The severity of road rash can be classified into three degrees – first, second and third degree road rash. First-degree road rash is the mildest form, characterized by reddening of the skin, similar to a superficial abrasion or sunburn. First-degree road rash typically heals on its own with proper wound care and generally does not cause permanent scarring. Second-degree road rash is when the skin is broken, and the underlying layers of the dermis may be exposed. Second-degree road rash can be extremely painful, as nerve endings are often exposed, and the risk of infection is higher. With appropriate wound care and treatment, such as cleaning and dressing the wound, healing usually occurs without significant scarring. However, minor discoloration or texture changes may persist. Third-degree road rash is the most severe form, in which the skin is completely removed, exposing the underlying tissue, fat, or even bone. Third-degree road rash is excruciatingly painful and carries a high risk of infection, as the body’s natural barrier against pathogens is compromised. Surgery, such as skin grafting, is often required to close the wound and promote healing. Permanent scarring is almost inevitable, and the affected area may have significant changes in appearance, texture, and sensitivity.
In addition to the immediate pain and suffering, road rash can lead to complications that prolong the recovery process. Infections, if not properly managed, can cause further tissue damage, delay healing, and even become life-threatening in severe cases. Moreover, road rash may require extensive medical intervention, including surgical procedures, wound care, and ongoing pain management.
Lower extremity injuries: Injuries to the lower extremities, such as the knees, ankles, and feet, are common in motorcycle accidents. These injuries can include dislocations, sprains, fractures, and, in severe cases, amputations.
Amputations: Motorcycle accidents can result in severe and life-altering injuries, including amputations. When a limb is crushed or severely damaged during an accident, doctors may have no choice but to perform an amputation to save the individual’s life. The devastating impact of losing a limb goes beyond the physical pain; it can also have significant emotional, psychological, and financial consequences. Amputees often face a long and challenging road to recovery, adapting to their new reality and learning to use prosthetic limbs. The loss of a limb can prevent a person from returning to their previous line of work, especially if it requires physical labor or dexterity. This may lead to financial instability and the need to retrain for a new career, adding further stress and uncertainty to an already difficult situation. The emotional toll of such a dramatic change in one’s life and capabilities can be overwhelming and may require ongoing support from medical professionals, therapists, and loved ones.
In Ontario, the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) is a set of regulations outlining the accident benefits available to individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents. Under the SABS, a “catastrophic impairment” is a specific classification of injury that entitles the injured party to access more extensive accident benefits compared to less severe injuries.
Motorcycle accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries due to the nature of the collisions and the fact that motorcyclists are more exposed and vulnerable than occupants of other vehicles. Catastrophic injuries are typically severe and life-altering, often requiring long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and assistance with daily activities.
According to the SABS, a catastrophic impairment can result from one or more of the following conditions:
Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries due to high-speed impacts, direct contact with other vehicles or objects, or the lack of protection offered by the motorcycle itself. Examples of injuries that could be considered catastrophic include severe spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, traumatic brain injuries with permanent cognitive or physical impairments, and limb amputations.
When a motorcyclist suffers a catastrophic injury, they may be eligible for increased accident benefits under the SABS, such as higher medical and rehabilitation coverage, attendant care benefits, and housekeeping and home maintenance benefits. The goal of these benefits is to help the injured person adapt to their new circumstances and receive the necessary care and support.
In summary, motorcycle accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule in Ontario due to the severity and life-altering nature of the injuries sustained. These injuries may entitle the affected individual to more extensive accident benefits to support their recovery and long-term needs.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to pursue legal action against those were responsible. Although we can’t undo the damage you face, we can fight to provide you with the compensation and financial security you need to begin healing and help go on with your life in the best manner possible.
Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can help you recover compensation for pain, suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. We can also help you recover compensation for present or future medical expenses that OHIP will not cover, your lost income and wages, and other associated costs to help protect you, your family and significantly improve your ability to reach maximum recovery. Call us toll-free today, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton / Burlington area at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form on our website today. Our personal injury lawyers would be more than happy to provide you and your family a free consultation, with no obligation, to inform you of your legal rights and your options concerning your motorcycle accident related injuries and losses.
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Common causes include speeding, alcohol use, lack of experience, poor road conditions, and collisions with other vehicles, often due to the other driver’s failure to see the motorcyclist.
Injuries often include road rash, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.
Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, which are common in motorcycle accidents. They can also protect your face and eyes from debris.
Road rash is a skin abrasion that occurs when a motorcyclist slides across the pavement during an accident. It can be treated by cleaning the wound, applying antibiotic ointment, and dressing the wound to promote healing.
Wearing a motorcycle jacket with built-in spine protectors, along with a properly fitted helmet, can help protect your spine during an accident.
If the accident was another person’s fault, or even partly their fault, you have the right to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to help recover compensation and help put you in the place you were financially before the accident happened.
You should consider hiring a lawyer if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to another party’s negligence, and you need help navigating insurance claims, gathering evidence, and seeking compensation for your injuries.
A skilled lawyer can help by investigating the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, representing you in court, and ensuring you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Look for a lawyer with experience handling motorcycle accident cases, a track record of successful outcomes, good communication skills, and a compassionate approach to your situation.
Yes, you may still be entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help determine your level of responsibility and negotiate a fair settlement based on comparative negligence laws in your jurisdiction.
Most motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive payment if they successfully recover compensation for you. The fee is typically a percentage of the settlement or award.