Category : Motorcycle Accident Injuries

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Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

It’s extremely common to be very upset, confused and frazzled in the minutes after you are initially in a car accident. In the aftermath and scramble, you may make a few mistakes that can affect your legal claim. Below are actions you must take to ensure you do not jeopardize your claim.

car accident

Gather Information

The first thing you should automatically do is call the police. Then, get as much information about the other driver as possible. Some of Contrada’s clients have actually taken pictures of the other person’s driver’s license, insurance card and, of course, the license plate number of the other vehicle.

Ask the other driver for this information and if they refuse to give it to you, do not become confrontational, as there is a lot of road rage. The police officers will obtain this information.

The pertinent information to gather at the scene of an accident; if you are medically able is:

  • Name
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Telephone Number
  • Address
  • Insurance Information
  • Make, Model and Year of the Vehicle
  • License Plate Number

Moving Vehicles

Under some circumstances it is important to move vehicles to allow other traffic to move forward.  It is also highly advisable to move your vehicle if you believe there is a likelihood that you will crashed into again.   However, if at all possible, take several photographs of the relationship of your car to the car that hit you before the vehicles are moved.  You may also wish to take a photograph of the back of the other driver’s car before the vehicles are moved, because we have had several clients tell us that after they moved the cars, the driver at fault told the police officer they were hit by someone else and pushed into the car in front.

Get Medical Treatment

If you feel any symptoms after your accident, seek treatment immediately. You do not want to give the insurance company any doubts over the cause of the injuries. Once you do seek medical treatment, follow the doctor’s orders, make sure you go to all medical appointments and take any medication prescribed by your doctors. Failing to go to appointments with medical providers often provides insurance companies a reason to reduce the full value of your claim. If the treatment is not helping, tell your provider and be prepared to stop going, if necessary, but let the provider know that or discuss it with your family doctor first.

Document Damages

In the old days, insurance companies wanted people to get three (3) estimates for repair damage but in today’s world, take your vehicle to where you want your car fixed and ask them to provide an estimate and, more importantly, contact the other person’s insurance company directly.   A representative of the other person’s insurance company will want to physically look at your vehicle before they authorize repairs or write you a property damage check for those repairs.  Make arrangements to have the insurance company representative see your vehicle as quickly as possible.

Do Not Speak With the Other Insurance Company

You certainly want to speak with the other driver’s insurance company about the damage to your car.  They will want to come out and see your car and make arrangements for that to happen as quickly as possible.  However, you have no obligation to discuss the accident or discuss your injuries with the insurance company.   Many people simply tell the insurance company that they don’t feel good and they will talk to them later about those issues.  On the other hand, you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company and unless you are willing to give them a statement about the accident and occasionally about your injuries, they will not honor your insurance contract and they do not have to.  Oftentimes people prefer to talk to a lawyer before they have to give any statements to insurance companies and feel free to do that.

Retain a Lawyer

Some victims of a car accident think they can handle a claim on their own. This could be a very costly mistake. Retaining a personal injury attorney has many benefits. Your best interest is always protected and they can help you navigate the very confusing process of filing a claim and are dedicated to getting you the best results possible.

If you were injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

 

Defensive Driving for Motorcyclists in the Spring

It’s officially spring and with the weather warming up most motorcyclists are chomping at the bit to get out on their bikes for the first ride of the New Year.  Whether you’re a newer motorcyclist or an experienced one, it’s always best to keep refreshed on defensive driving tips to make your ride as happy and accident-free as possible.

Defensive Driving

The only way to ride safely on a motorcycle is to drive defensively. Based on Charlie’s 30 plus years of experience and backed up by AAA, most motorcycle collisions are caused by drivers who say they did not see the motorcycle. The best way to make yourself noticeable to the other drivers around you are to wear bright colored clothing, keep your headlights on at all times, always signal when your intention is to make a turn or switch a lane, avoid driving in other motorists blind spots and use your horn if you think other drivers are not aware of your presence before you make any moves.

Weather

Spring time weather can also play a big role in riding your motorcycle safely. The weather can be very unpredictable in the spring. Quick rain showers, melting snow, muddy conditions and glare can wreak havoc on motorcyclists by making the roads slick and hazardous. Roads are the most slippery after a quick rain shower because oil and dirt rise to the surface and have not had a chance to be washed away.  Spring storms can also come quickly and can be severe at times with high winds. If you are on your motorcycle and get caught up in one of these storms, find shelter or stop under an overpass until the storm passes.

Road Conditions

Motorcyclists also need to be aware of road conditions as well during their rides. Potholes are everywhere, road cracks and puddles can also make for very dangerous riding conditions. Hitting a pothole on a motorcycle can cause the rider to easily lose control and can cause serious damage to the bike itself. If you find yourself going into unfavorable road conditions, do not slam on your brakes or try to swerve as that can cause you to lose control, slow down as much as possible when driving over that road hazard. Don’t be fooled by a small puddle, they can easily hide a large pothole. Always be aware of your surroundings, stay focused and look for these types of hazards to avoid.

Last but not least, always wear a helmet whether it’s the law or not. Many bikers have told Charlie they feel safer driving without a helmet because they can hear and see better. Perhaps that is true for some, but I see the brain injuries and medical scans if they are hit. Helmets will help save your life if you ever find yourself in a motorcycle accident. Helmets are required by law in Ohio for people 17 years and younger.

In Michigan, the choice is yours to wear a helmet or not if you meet the qualifications, which are you have to be 21 years of age or older and have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process and assist you in dealing with insurance companies and the company of the party involved.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a motorcycle accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with motorcycle accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Motorcycle Safety during the Fall Season

As the season changes from summer to fall, there are increasing concerns of motorcycle safety. Inclement weather adds to the potential for accidents on the roadway that motorcyclists are more susceptible to.

There are several tips that motorcyclists should follow during the colder months of the year to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injury. Our motorcycle accident lawyers have listed tips below that can help Ohio motorcyclists be safe throughout this fall and winter.

Motorcycle Safety in the Fall & Winter

  • Don’t ride in the rain – wet roads are hazardous and can be slick for those operating a motorcycle. The first 30 minutes of a shower are even more dangerous if it has not rained in the days before the shower as there are certain substances on the roadway. If it begins to rain while you are riding your motorcycle, pull to the side of the road and wait until the first half-hour is over.
  • Wet leaves create a slippery roadway – pay attention to the roadway during the fall. Wet leaves can create a very slippery surface, increasing the changes of losing control of your motorcycle.
  • Wet leaves can hid potential hazards – wet leaves on the roadway can hide hazards such as potholes, road defects, and dangerous debris.
  • Drive through wet patches with caution – wet patches on the road can result in reduced traction. If you come across a wet patch that appears darker than dry pavement, stay off the brakes and straighten up the bike when driving through.
  • Wear appropriate gear – you should always wear safety gear when riding on your motorcycle. Our motorcycle accident lawyers recommend wearing a helmet, protective pants and jacket, motorcycle boots and riding gloves, raingear, and protective glasses. To learn more about the protective gear to wear, read our blog post about motorcycle accident prevention.

Motorcycle accident Caused by Vehicle

Many motorcycle accidents that occur are due to the fault of another vehicle, not the motorcyclist. The lawyers at our law office have helped countless victims of motorcycle accidents and their families by working on their behalf to secure the compensation that is deserved for the injuries.

If you or your loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident and you would like to learn about the legal options that you have, contact Contrada & Associates at 419.841.4400

Injured in Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents have proven to be some of the most serious accidents that occur on the roadway today. Due to the fact that motorcyclists are not fully protected while riding their bikes in addition to their unmatched size with the other vehicles they tend to be in accidents with (compact cars, trucks, etc.), the odds are that such accidents end in serious injury or even death.

The motorcycle accident lawyers at Contrada & Associates have helped many injured victims through the legal process. Since many motorcycle accidents are caused by another vehicle on the road, the injured motorcyclist is able to pursue a personal injury claim.

Personal Injury: Motorcycle Accident

When an individual is injured on a motorcyclist, the type of legal claim that is filed is for personal injury. The injured victim should almost always go to the emergency room following the accident. In almost every incident there is injury, although for some people it can be masked by adrenaline that kicks in after a crash. Seeking medical care helps to protect the physical health of the individual and it also documents the injuries that were sustained in the accident.

After the injuries have been treated in an emergency room, our personal injury lawyers recommend that injured motorcycle accident victims contact a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to work on your behalf from the beginning in such accidents can greatly affect the outcome of your settlement, particularly if photographs and measurements need to be taken at the scene to verify that you were not at fault.

Contrada & Associates works to help injured individuals receive the compensation that is warranted for the injuries that are sustained. There are several things that are affected by an injury, including the medical bills that must be dealt with in addition to effects on other areas of life. For example, if a 40-year-old male was injured in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another driver and suffered injury, the following things could occur due to the injury:

  • Medical bills
  • Time off work/lost wages
  • Missed family vacations, weddings, etc.
  • Inability to attend child’s sporting events
  • Emotional trauma/distress

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or your loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in injury, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer. The sooner that you hire a lawyer to represent you, the easier the legal process becomes. If you do not have a lawyer, you can expect to receive calls from the insurance company requesting statements regarding the accident.

There are several things that a personal injury victim can unknowingly do following an accident that jeopardizes their case. Contacting a personal injury lawyer soon after the accident prevents you from making statements that could hurt your claim, or possibly signing documents that you shouldn’t. Call Contrada & Associates at 419.841.4400 to review your accident with our personal injury lawyers and learn what your legal options are.

What are Ohio’s Helmet Laws?

Helmet laws differ by state for motorcyclists. Some states require a helmet for all riders, while others do not. In Ohio, helmets are required for novice riders, as well as those under the age of 18.

Ohio Novice Riders

A novice rider is someone who has had their license for less than one year. Their motorcycle license would have a “novice” designation on it, requiring that they operate their motorcycle with a helmet.

Ohio Revised Code 4501-17-01 Protective helmet, chin strap, and eye device describes the laws surrounding novice riders and helmet use. This area of the law states that no person who is under the age of eighteen or has a novice license shall operate a motorcycle unless they are wearing a protective helmet with a chin strap properly fastened.

Motorcyclists Under 18 Years Old

As explained above, motorcyclists under the age of 18 are also required to wear helmets while on their bike. This would mean that even if an individual had their license for over one year, yet are under 18-years-old, they would still be required to wear a helmet.

The helmets that must be worn, for both those under the age of 18 and novice riders must meet the specifications found in Ohio Revised Code 4501-17-02 Test standards – protective helmet. This area of the law states that all helmets must meet the federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) 218. These specifications can be found here.

Passenger’s Helmet Requirements

The passenger on a motorcycle is required to follow the same helmet specifications as the operator. Therefore, if an individual is the passenger of a motorcyclist under the age of 18 or has a novice license, they are required to wear a helmet as well. If the operator is over 18 and does not have a novice license, the passenger would not be required to wear a helmet.

Motorcycle Helmets in Ohio

Contrada & Associates has helped numerous motorcycle accident victims after they have been injured while on their bike. From the extensive experience representing these victims, attorney Charlie Contrada believes that no matter the helmet law, it is imperative for motorcyclists and passengers to wear helmets.

There are some motorcyclists who believe that helmets reduce visibility as it prevents them from seeing with their peripheral vision. Motorcyclists also believe that they can hear better without wearing a helmet, so they can react better to their surroundings while operating their motorcycles. The claim that helmets reduce both vision and hearing contributes to motorcyclists believing that they are safer without helmets because they can better avoid accidents.

However, attorney Charlie Contrada reminds readers that motorcyclists do get into accidents and that helmets do help to prevent injuries.

The best piece of advice given by attorney Contrada to Ohio motorcycle operators is to always wear a helmet. Helmets and other protective gear can help to save the lives of motorcyclists and their passengers. We have listed additional information on the subject in our blog post, Ohio Motorcycle Accidents: Facts & Prevention. If you have any questions regarding the legal options of a motorcycle accident victim, call the Contrada & Associates office at 419.841.4400.

Ohio Motorcycle Accidents: Facts & Prevention

Usually when you hear about a motorcycle accident in the news, it is one that has caused very serious damage or fatality. When a motorcyclist is on the roadway even at a low speed and they get into an accident, they have nothing protecting them from the damage that the crash will cause (i.e. airbags, seat belt, etc.), resulting in injuries and fatalities.

The motorcycle accident attorneys at our law firm have helped countless victims of motorcycle accidents and we have found that a common denominator of the cause of the accident. Oftentimes the other driver on the roadway does not see the motorcycle. This finding has led us to share not only accident facts in our blog, but also tips for motorcycle accident prevention.

Motorcycle Accident Ohio

Ohio Motorcycle Accidents Facts

The Ohio Department of Public Safety has broken down motorcycle crash statistics on a yearly basis, with the most recent results published from the year 2012.This breakdown includes the age group of individuals involved in a motorcycle accident and the number of people who were either killed or injured as a result. The table, available on the Ohio Department of Public Safety website, shows that the number of motorcycle accidents and related fatalities and injuries is significant.

Surprisingly, the age group defined in the report that has the highest number of fatalities is 51-55 and 46-50 coming in second.

The age group with the most motorcyclists injured in a motorcycle accident is 46-50 and 51-55 coming in second.

As you can see by the number of fatalities and injuries, this is a serious issue. With such a high rate of injury and fatalities, it is imperative for motorcyclists to be aware of the tips that can help to prevent their involvement in an accident, as well as protect them while they are on their bikes.

What many people do not realize is that a significant number of motorcycle accidents are caused by other motorists who are at-fault in causing the accident. Accidents that involve a motorcycle and a vehicle amount to 56-percent of motorcycle fatalities, with a great majority of those being head-on collisions. 

There are many contributing factors to the high number of motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities, including the following:

  • Motorcycles are not as visible to vehicles – motorcycles are smaller and easier to miss, especially at intersections.
  • Wet pavement – wet pavement affects motorcycles more than vehicles
  • Lack of barrier/protection – there is nothing holding a motorcyclist in, such as the car itself, seatbelts, or airbags.
  • Uneven roads – uneven road surfaces cause a higher risk of accident to a motorcycle than a vehicle.
  • Debris/objects on roadway – while a small piece of debris or other object on the road doesn’t affect a large vehicle, it can put a motorcyclist at risk for an accident.

Due to the above factors that can cause a motorcycle accident and the high rate of crashes that do occur, attorney Charlie Contrada believes that it is very important to wear the proper safety gear, especially a helmet. Below is a list of protective gear that every motorcyclist should wear on a regular basis:

  • Helmet
  • Protective pants (to prevent road rash)
  • Protective jacket (to prevent road rash)
  • Motorcycle boots
  • Motorcycle riding gloves
  • Raingear
  • Protective glasses

In Ohio, a helmet is not required for all motorcyclists. Those under the age of 18, and motorcyclists who have had their license for less than one year are required to wear a helmet in Ohio. There is some controversy among drivers who claim to feel safer if they do not have a helmet on. Attorney Contrada stresses the importance of helmet safety to all motorcyclists as it can mean the difference between life and death in a motorcycle accident.  

Ohio Motorcycle Accident Attorney

As explained above, there are many motorcycle accidents that are caused by an individual other than the motorcyclist. In this case, it is very important for the motorcycle victim and their families to make a claim for injury. Doing so will allow them to collect the compensation that is deserved for the injuries and damages caused by the accident.

Attorney Charlie Contrada has helped countless motorcycle accident victims and their families through the legal process. While these accidents can be very serious and life-altering, attorney Contrada helps to make the process easier by offering the personal attention that the victims and their families need. To speak to attorney Contrada about a motorcycle accident that you or your loved one has been involved in, or to ask questions about the legal process of filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit, call 419.841.4400.