Motorcycle Accidents Attorneys in Lima, Ohio
According to the Ohio Statistics and Analytics for Traffic Safety (OSTATS), Ohio roadways saw 4,005 motorcycle-involved accidents in 2021, up just 1 percent from the year before. These accidents resulted in 215 fatalities (up 5 percent) and 1,197 serious injuries (2 percent increase).
Motorcyclists were deemed at fault in 58 percent of the accidents, and 42 percent of the accidents involved only the motorcycle. Of those killed, 70 percent were not wearing helmets, and 60 percent of those seriously injured were also helmet-less. Ohio law, however, requires helmets only for motorcycle operators under the age of 18 and those with less than one year of cycling experience and their passengers.
Motorcycles and their drivers and passengers are clearly in danger of serious injury – and even death – when they collide with a motor vehicle or truck on the highway. A motorcycle may weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds, while a vehicle comes in at 4,000 pounds or more – 80,000 for a big rig. In addition to the weight differential, a motorcyclist rides in the open air with no barriers.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident – or lost a loved one – in Lima, Ohio, contact the personal injury/motorcycle accident attorneys at Siferd & Associates, LPA. We will work with you to obtain the just compensation you deserve for any injuries and losses you suffered, including the filing of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Our team at Siferd & Associates, LPA, serves clients throughout the counties of Allen, Hardin, Auglaize, Putnam, Hancock, and Mercer.
Ohio Motorcycle Laws
To operate a motorcycle in Ohio, you must pass a test and hold either a motorcycle license or an endorsement on your driver’s license. You are expected to obey all the laws observed by passenger vehicle operators. You also must obtain the same level of liability insurance as any vehicle operator in the state.
As for specifics, Ohio’s helmet law was briefly described above – mandatory for those under 18 and those in the first year of operating a motorcycle, as well as for their passengers. Other laws specific to motorcycles include:
- Cannot be driven more than two abreast in a single lane
- Must have at least one but no more than two headlights
- Must have one tail light and brake light
- Must have a white license plate
- Must have a horn that can be heard for 200 feet at least
- Must have at least one rearview mirror
- Must have handlebars that do not rise higher than the operator’s shoulders
- Must have turn signals if the motorcycle was manufactured after January 1, 1968
Lane splitting, riding in the space between two vehicles operating in adjoining lanes, is not specifically prohibited, but it can be the subject of a citation anyway for engaging in unsafe driving or failing to drive in a marked lane.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident
Ohio is an at-fault automobile insurance state, which gives you three options if you’re involved in an accident with another vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle appears to have been at fault. You can file a claim with your own insurance company, which will seek an abrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. You can file a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Of course, successfully reaching an insurance settlement and proving your case in court are both going to require that you provide sufficient evidence that the negligence of the other driver caused your accident and subsequent injuries. Thus, at the scene of the accident, if you are physically able – not injured so badly that you need immediate care – you should:
- Call the police and report the accident if there are any injuries or property damage that exceeds $1,000. If police come and file a report, try to get a copy of it when available.
- Seek medical evaluation as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel pain or injury. Some injuries can take hours or days to appear. You will need a medical evaluation for your claim.
- Gather the other driver’s pertinent contact and insurance information.
- Take cell phone pictures or videos of the scene, including roadside warning signs that may have been ignored.
- Speak to witnesses, if any, and get their statements and contact information.
- Retain all documentation and records, certainly receipts for your medical and related expenses.
- Document as soon as you can, either by writing it down or recording it on your cell phone, the details of the accident as best as you can remember.
- Contact a personal injury/motorcycle accident attorney to evaluate your claim and handle negotiations and legal actions for you.
Modified Comparative Negligence and Your Claim
To win your case in court or settle an insurance claim in your favor, you’re going to need to show that the other driver caused the accident through negligence.
Each vehicle operator has a duty of care toward others on the road, and if you can show the other driver was distracted or took some action – making an unannounced, sudden turn, following too closely, or even speeding, for instance – you can show that they breached their duty of care and their negligence resulted in your injuries.
However, Ohio observes the modified comparative negligence (or fault) standard, which means that you and your actions or negligence also will be assigned a percentage of fault.
Say your motorcycle’s rear brake light malfunctions, and the driver behind strikes you. You can be assigned anywhere from 20 percent (or more or less) of responsibility for causing the accident. Your settlement or jury award will then be reduced by that 20 percent, say from $20,000 to $16,000. If your percentage rises above 50, you cannot collect at all. You must be 50 percent or less at fault to collect.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident, Ohio law allows for the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of death. A wrongful death lawsuit is based on the premise that, had the victim survived and been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, then a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
Ohio law, however, also requires that the personal representative of the deceased must file the lawsuit, even though the compensation will go to the family. A personal representative is a person named in a will to oversee the administration of the estate by the grantor of the will. If the person dies without a will, the court will appoint someone to fulfill the role of the personal representative, usually a family member.
Motorcycle Accidents Attorneys Serving Lima, Ohio
It may seem like a simple process to file a claim with your insurance company and sit back and wait for the settlement. But, the at-fault driver’s insurance company claims adjuster will try to get you to say something to pin the fault on you. The attorneys at Siferd & Associates, LPA, are well versed in the tactics of claims adjusters and can deal with them while you recover from injuries. If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident in Lima, Ohio – or worse, you’ve lost a loved one – reach out immediately.