An intersection can be one of the most dangerous places for motorists and motorcyclists alike. When two roads converge at a 90-degree (or nearly 90-degree) angle, the risk for serious motor vehicle collisions resulting in injury or death rises. The collisions that typically result at intersections are called side collisions (or “T” collisions) and occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle (thereby forming a “T” shape; hence the name). When a motorcyclist is one of the vehicles involved in these collisions, the motorcyclist is at a tremendous risk of suffering severe, disabling, and/or fatal injuries.
Compensation may be available to motorcyclists injured at intersections as a result of the negligent or careless driving of another motorist. A prompt investigation that reveals what happened to cause the T collision is necessary in order to ascertain the motorcyclist’s rights.
Causes of Motorcycle Accident Intersection and Stoplight Collisions
When two roads intersect, local planning authorities must determine a safe and effective way to allow vehicles using each road to pass by one another safely. Depending on the location of the intersection and the volume of traffic expected on either road, planning authorities and engineers may:
- Place a sign telling traffic using one road to “yield” to traffic that might be present in the intersection traveling the other road;
- Place a sign requiring traffic on one road (or both roads) to come to a complete “stop” before continuing through the intersection; or
- Place a traffic signal that regulates when traffic using a particular road may proceed through the intersection.
Safety at these intersections depends on cars using both roads to obey the signs and signals that are placed to control that road’s traffic. Failing to stop at a stop sign or yield when directed is almost always an act of carelessness and will surely lead to a collision with traffic using the other road.
When the Motorcyclist is Struck in an Intersection and Stoplight Collision
Imagine a scenario in which you are riding your motorcycle and are approaching an intersection controlled by a stoplight or stop sign. You wait until you have a green light (or until you have stopped and yielded as required) and proceed through the intersection. Another car comes at you from the side and hits you and your motorcycle. What happens next?
- You will lose control of your motorcycle and be diverted from your intended path of travel;
- You may be thrown from your motorcycle and strike another object such as a car or street sign;
- You will likely suffer “road rash” – painful skin abrasions as a result of “sliding” across the road;
Injuries you may expect to receive from such a crash include a traumatic brain injury (especially if you are not wearing a helmet), head, neck, and spine injuries, broken bones and ribs, internal trauma to your organs, and cuts and lacerations. Depending on the specific nature of the crash, you may also be in danger of losing one or more of your fingers, toes, and/or limbs due to serious and deep cuts or crushing injuries.
When the Motorcyclist Strikes Another Vehicle at an Intersection or Stoplight
If a vehicle proceeds through an intersection when it is not supposed to and cuts the motorcyclist off, the motorcyclist may strike the vehicle. If the vehicle is a small passenger car, the motorcyclist may be thrown from the bike and over the top of the vehicle. If the vehicle is a large truck, the motorcyclist may crash headfirst into the side of the truck. The injuries a motorcyclist may sustain under this fact pattern are similar to those a motorcyclist would sustain in the event he or she was hit by a car while proceeding through an intersection.
Who is at Fault for My Intersection Motorcycle Crash?
Obviously, a motorist who disregards a stop sign or signal and proceeds through an intersection when he or she is not legally entitled to do so and who causes a crash with a motorcyclist may be held civilly responsible for the medical bills and other expenses incurred by the injured motorcyclist, such as time he or she missed from work. However, the cause of a motorcycle crash at an intersection may not be as clear-cut as this.
If there were no signs controlling the intersection, or if these signs were difficult to see or faded (or if a signal was malfunctioning), other entities like local road maintenance departments may also be to blame. Bringing a claim against a government subdivision for negligently failing to maintain the signs and signals that control traffic at intersections is difficult and must be done according to strict legal procedures.
Entrust your motorcycle intersection and stoplight collision case to Stern Law, PLLC. As an injured motorcyclist, you will be busy in the days and weeks after your crash recovering from your injuries and attempting to get your life back together. Stern Law, PLLC can help you do this by handling your claim for compensation and asserting the legal rights to compensation you may have. Call Stern Law at (844) 808-7529 today and learn how attorney Ken Stern can help you investigate your motorcycle collision and help you obtain the compensation and damages and your family need.