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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Causes a High-side Motorcycle Crash in Indiana? A Good Lawyer Can Help

Motorcycle riders are always at a very high risk of being involved in an accident that results in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Even though a lot has been done to make the roads a lot safer for motorcyclists, Indiana still witnesses huge numbers of motorcycle accidents each year.

In a collision involving a motorcycle and a larger vehicle, it is the motorcycle rider who bears the brunt of the crash. These riders are exposed, and they have very little in the way of protective gear or other safety measures. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "Can you get whiplash from a motorcycle accident?"

One of the best ways for riders to stay safe is to learn more about the different types of motorcycle accidents that can happen and how to protect themselves. In this regard, one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents is a highside crash.

In Indianapolis and surrounding areas, victims of motorcycle crashes are entitled to receive fair compensation to cover their medical expenses and other losses. However, motorcycle riders often face an uphill climb when seeking justice in court.

Without an experienced motorcycle accident law firm to guide them, winning motorcycle accident cases is not easy for riders. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has dedicated many years to the pursuit of justice for all victims of motorcycle crashes in Indiana.

Indiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Indiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics

The statistics of motorcycle accidents that occur in Indiana make for grim reading. It is clear that a lot more still needs to be done in terms of improving safety and increasing awareness of the risks motorcycle riders face each day. Indiana motorcycle riders must keep in mind the following important statistics:

  • There is a high number of motorcycle crashes that result in fatal injuries. In 2017, for example, 147 motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal accidents in Indiana.

  • Older riders are at a higher risk of suffering fatal injuries due to overconfidence, reduced use of helmets, slower reaction times, and reduced health and well-being.

  • There are fewer motorcycle accidents compared to car accidents, but riders account for at least 16% of all fatalities.

  • Due to the high number of fatalities recorded on these highways, U.S. 12, U.S. 421, Indiana 55, Indiana 53, and Interstate 55 are among the most dangerous roads for motorcycle riders in the state.

Typical Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders generally have a bad reputation among all road users because a lot of people blame them for riding recklessly, ignoring traffic laws, and endangering the lives of other road users. However, this is usually a very unfair accusation. Looking at the statistics, it is clear that drunk drivers and distracted drivers pose a much greater threat than motorcyclists.

There seem to be too many cases where car drivers cause accidents because they fail to see motorcycle riders or give way to them. The following are some of the behaviors of drivers that have resulted in fatal motorcycle accidents:

  • Drivers look but do not see riders coming toward them

  • Drunk drivers

  • Distracted drivers

  • Intentionally pulling out in front of motorcycle riders

  • Opening car doors without looking

  • Using too much speed on roadways

However, even though some of the blame lies on car drivers, this does not mean the riders themselves are not to blame. In general, too much acceleration and riding too fast along busy roads are some of the biggest causes of motorcycle crashes in Indiana. The following are the other common causes of bike crashes:

  • Slamming into open car doors

  • Lane switching

  • Riding without paying proper attention

  • Poor weather conditions, especially wet weather

  • Lane splitting

  • Reckless riding

  • Alcohol and drug use

  • Rider inexperience

  • Poor road conditions, such as potholes

  • Failure to yield the right of way

  • Poor motorcycle maintenance, causing issues such as a loose chain, brake failure, etc.

Highside Vs. Lowside Motorcycle Crashes

Many motorcycle accidents happen when the rider loses control of the bike and causes a rear-wheel-slide across the road. Depending on various factors, such as speed, the position of the rear or front wheel, and how the rider tries to correct the bike, this situation can result in either a high-side crash or a low-side crash.

Traffic fatalities can happen in either case, but high-side crashes are usually the more dangerous of the two. In a high-side crash, there is a temporary loss of traction in the rear wheel, which is then suddenly regained, causing the rider to be thrown off the bike on the high side of the motorcycle.

Lowside crashes are also caused by loss of rear wheel traction, but in this case, the traction is never regained, causing the bike to slide on the low side until it crashes. At times, a low-side crash can be caused by loss of traction in the front wheel with the same result. Both a high-side crash and a low-side crash can occur at low speeds, and all types of motorcycles are at risk of such an accident.

Rider experience, especially when negotiating turns, is the biggest factor that determines whether a high-side crash or low-side crash will occur. Experienced riders know the right speed and turning angles needed to avoid low-side crashes and what to do to prevent high-side crashes when the bike loses traction.

What Causes a High-side Motorcycle Crash in Indiana?

When dealing with a personal injury case involving a motorcycle rider, one of the first duties of an attorney is to determine the cause of the accident so that the at-fault party can be identified. If no other vehicles are involved in the motorcycle accident, the attention usually turns to the rider, with the following being the most common causes of a high-side motorcycle crash:

The Rear Wheel Loses Traction

Since a motorcycle is a two-wheeled vehicle, if the rear wheel loses traction, it is very difficult to correct the situation. Often, in trying to get the bike under control, the rider will cause a sudden regaining of the traction, which will result in a high-side crash where he or she is thrown over the handlebars.

Braking Too Hard on a Slippery Surface

Riding over a slippery patch is one of the most dangerous things for a motorcycle rider. Most inexperienced riders make the mistake of braking too hard in this situation, which causes a loss of traction, and the bike begins to slide.

However, as soon as the motorcycle clears the slippery patch, the tires will regain their grip on the road, and the effect of the braking will suddenly be felt a lot more. The momentum of the sliding bike will cause the rider to be thrown off, resulting in a high-side motorcycle accident.

Too Much Acceleration Out of the Corner

Properly negotiating a turn is all about managing the speed of the bike from the beginning of the turn until the road straightens out again. However, most riders make the mistake of accelerating too fast and too soon before clearing the corner.

Too much acceleration before the bike has had a chance to straighten itself again will almost always result in a high-side or lowside crash. It takes experience and a lot of practice to be able to judge a corner well and know when it is safe to push down the throttle and begin accelerating.

Downshifting Too Fast Before Turning

Situational awareness is always very important when riding a bike. A rider has to be able to anticipate a turn and begin decelerating before it is too late. However, distracted drivers and riders often realize that there is a turn coming up when they are right on top of it.

In the case of a motorcycle rider, seeing the turn late will result in them having to downshift too fast before turning. Such a maneuver can cause the rear wheel to lock and begin to slide. Once the tire regains traction, the rider will be thrown off, and a high-side motorcycle accident will occur.

Leaning Too Far When Cornering

When turning a motorcycle, the rider often has to lean the bike to one side. The sharper the turn, the more the rider will have to lean. However, there is a limit to how low the rider can safely lean the motorcycle.

If this limit is breached, some parts of the bike, such as the handlebars, muffler, or footpeg, can hit the ground, causing the rear wheel to lose traction. As soon as traction is regained, a high-side motorcycle crash is inevitable.

Injuries a Motorcycle Rider Can Suffer

The victim of a motorcycle accident is always at risk of suffering serious injuries, especially if they are in the habit of not wearing protective gear. In most cases, the more speed the bike or other vehicle is traveling, the more catastrophic injuries the victims will suffer.

Here is a list of some of the most common injuries motorcycle riders may suffer:

  • Cuts, scrapes, and bruises

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Internal injuries

  • Road rash

  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries

  • Amputation

  • Back and spinal cord injuries

  • Burns

  • Face and eye injuries

  • Broken bones

What Must Motorcycle Riders Do After a Highside Crash?

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, it is normal for victims to feel disoriented and confused. This may lead them to make bad decisions, such as ignoring serious injuries or admitting guilt. Such choices not only put the victim's life in danger but also make it difficult for them to win an accident lawsuit should they later decide to seek fair compensation.

As such, it is important for all motorcyclists to remember the following crucial steps after a motorcycle accident:

  • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible.

  • Taking pictures of the accident scene.

  • Talking to potential witnesses.

  • Obtaining a police report and doctor's report.

  • Approaching a motorcycle accident attorney for legal help.

Damages Victims of Motorcycle Accidents Can Win

With the right lawyer in their corner, victims of motorcycle accidents can walk away with huge compensation for their injuries and other losses. The state of Indiana entitles motorcycle crash victims to the following damages:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost wages

  • Property damage

  • Wrongful death

  • Loss of consortium

  • Permanent disability or disfigurement

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Pain and suffering

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?

While the law is on the victim's side when it comes to motorcycle accident cases, it does not mean that getting the at-fault driver or their insurance company to pay is an easy task. In many cases, especially when the injuries are so severe that a huge settlement will be expected, the lawsuit can easily become a dogfight.

Usually, in such situations, one thing the victims can be sure of is that the insurance company will come prepared. It will have a team of attorneys trying to blame the rider. Without legal help, the victim will likely lose the case or be brow-beaten into settling for far less than they deserve.

Personal injury law in Indiana can be very complicated. There are certain things that only a good lawyer would know, such as how to determine fault, how much to ask for in terms of compensation, and the Indiana statute of limitations on personal injury cases. They can also provide more insight on questions like, "At what speed do most motorcycle deaths occur in Indiana?"

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney with a lot of knowledge of the Indiana justice system will provide their client with the following benefits:

  • An estimation of the potential damages that can be won

  • Expert legal advice

  • Filing of the motorcycle crash claim

  • Gathering of all the important documents and evidence

  • Determining who is at fault

  • Representation in court

  • Fighting for maximum compensation

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Will Go to War for Victims

Only a small percentage of motorists and insurance companies will readily admit being liable after a motorcycle crash. It seems the common thing is to put all the blame on the motorcycle rider. However, as the accident statistics in Indiana show, the rider is not usually the one at fault.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to go to war for victims of motorcycle crashes. Any motorcyclist who has suffered severe injuries and is looking for a legal team to help them seek fair compensation should call +1 463-203-1198 and request a free consultation.


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