Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need to Know

Riding a motorcycle on the open road is an exhilarating experience. The feeling of wind rushing past your body and the purr of the motor as you open the throttle gives riders a real sense of freedom. This freedom is not without risk, however, with motorcycle accidents forming a major percentage of motor vehicle incidents.

A Guide on What to Do after Your Motorcycle Accident

Regardless of the cause of the accident, the following list is a guide on what steps you should take following a road traffic incident. Please note that before taking any of these steps that you assess the safety of the situation.

  • Check for injuries. A quick self-check will help to identify any major injuries, such as compound fractures, to assist paramedics when they attend the accident site. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable, however, such as concussions and internal bleeding, and are equally important to identify. Always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident to determine any inconspicuous injuries
  • Move the bike off the road. If it is safe to do so, move the motorcycle out of traffic. Being small, lightweight vehicles, motorcycles lying flat on the road may not be visible to other traffic until it is too late, potentially causing another accident
  • Take photos. Only if it is safe, take photos which show not only the damage but also the potential cause of the accident. For example, if there was any damage to the road surface or poorly visible signage, this may be a factor
  • Gather information from other parties. Collect the details of all other parties involved including vehicle registrations, names, and telephone numbers. If there are witnesses to the incident, take note of their details as well
  • Prepare your legal case. Regardless of who was at fault, you will need a solid understanding of your legal rights which is best sought from an attorney

Additionally, due to the lack of metal surroundign the rider, as a passenger in a car woudl have, motorcycle riders are at a much higher risk of injury than those in passenger vehicles.  It goes without saying that those injuries are almost always much more severe than those involved in the same accident, but in a passenger car.  Sadly, motorcycle accidents often involved severe, permanetn injuries or death of the motorcycle operator.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident and are in need of legal assistance, we invite you to call Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C. at (541) 617-0555.

Another Year of Rising Fatalities on American Roads

For decades, as safety technology in vehicles improved and public awareness of safe driving behavior increased, the total number of fatalities on American roads fell year after year. Beginning in 2014, however, a troubling trend took hold wherein more and more people are dying on US roads each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently released the roadway fatality statistics for 2016, which show that the trend has continued for another year.

According to the NHTSA, 2016 saw the deaths of 37,461 while in or near a motor vehicle. In other words, an average of 100 people died every day in 2016 in a motor vehicle-related accident. This number is an increase of 5.6% over the total number of roadway fatalities recorded in 2015. This number also means that there has been an increase of 14.4% in the annual number of deaths on the road between 2014 and 2016.

One category of fatalities that has seen a particularly stark increase has been among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists—so-called “non-vehicle occupants.” Non-vehicle occupants accounted for 33% of all roadway fatalities in 2016, but this share used to be much smaller. In fact, non-vehicle occupants made up only 25% of all roadway deaths as of ten years ago. Deaths among pedestrians has risen 22% since 2014, and the number of fatally-injured motorcyclists and bicyclists has risen 15% respectively in that time.

The reasons for the increase in roadway deaths has been subject to some disagreement among experts. According to the NHTSA, phone distractions accounted for a mere 448 deaths on the road in 2016, but other safety organizations estimate that this number is much higher. The private nonprofit safety group National Safety Council, for example, found in its own investigation that the NHTSA only considered about half of all accidents where distraction from a phone was involved as being caused by mobile phone distraction. Law enforcement often find it difficult to determine whether a phone was involved in causing a crash, since learning this fact relies on either the driver confessing to using their phone, or to an eyewitness happening to see the driver use their phone immediately before a crash. Victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers may have a right to money damages, and they can support their claims of negligence by including evidence that the at-fault driver used their phone near the time of a crash.

For assistance getting the damages you deserve after an Oregon motor vehicle accident, contact the seasoned, compassionate, and effective Bend personal injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C. for a consultation, at 541-617-0555.

Preventing Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians are increasingly likely to be injured or killed in accidents with cyclists, or vehicles.  In fact, a recent study showed that 15% of all vehicle crash deaths involve pedestrians.

The risk to the pedestrians is inevitably higher than that of the cyclist (who is likely to be wearing some protective clothing), or the person(s) inside the vehicle (who are protected by doors, windows, and in many cases seatbelts). The study showed that most of the injuries and deaths are caused by a lack of awareness by one or both parties involved.

Keeping Our Pedestrians safe from Harm

Regardless of whether you’re on foot or behind the wheel, being observant of your surroundings is paramount to everybody’s safety. The following items will highlight areas of awareness that will help minimize the chance of a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians should be mindful of the following:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • Avoid jaywalking by crossing at designated crosswalks where possible
  • Refrain from focusing on electronic devices while walking
  • Follow all traffic and crossing signals
  • Runners and walkers – opt for high visibility clothing when exercising with restricted daylight

For cyclists, there are very similar guidelines as those for pedestrians with the following additions:

  • Sound a bell or horn when approaching pedestrians
  • Slow down when approaching crosswalks and intersections

With vehicles, far more caution needs to be taken due to the additional speed and weight associated with driving:

  • Check for pedestrians before backing out or entering a drive
  • Be sure to check your blind spots when changing lanes
  • Slow down around schools during peak times
  • Take care when passing large stationary vehicles such as buses
  • Follow the road rules, including the speed limit

By following these guidelines and being more observant of our surroundings, the chance of a pedestrian accident will be greatly reduced.

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area and find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident and need legal help, we invite you to call our friendly team at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys at (541) 617-0555 for a free consultation.

When a Cyclist Is Injured in a Collision with a Car

A collision with a car is the greatest fear most people have about cycling, and it actually prevents many people from picking up a helmet and hitting the road. Sadly, many road bicycle accidents involve children but it is not uncommon for adults to be seriously injured or even die during such a collision.

As with most road accidents, here in Portland as in the rest of the country, the collision is usually caused as a result of somebody’s negligence. The accident could have been the fault of the driver, the cyclist, or both, although most collisions between cyclists and motorists are due to the driver’s negligence.

There are also other causes of bicycle accidents, including the poor condition of the road or trail, and sometimes cyclist’s crash into other cyclists and pedestrians. However, the accident was caused it is almost always the result of somebody’s negligence.

When a cyclist is injured due to somebody else’s negligence, they have a legal right to be compensated for their injuries. This is applicable even if the cyclist may be partially responsible for causing the collision. A good personal injury attorney would be able to advise any injured cyclist of their right to compensation and the legal steps required to obtain it.

Four Tips after Car v. Bicycle Accident

If you have recently been involved in a road accident or would like some advice, here are some helpful tips on what to do:

1: Contact the police immediately:

Every police department has its own policy on how they respond to bicycle accidents and they will normally respond to a crash depending on the level of injury. Nevertheless, notifying the police is always a must as you will require the official report as evidence for your claim. The police will also want to conduct their own investigation to determine if any charges should be brought against the driver if charges are laid this will help bolster your claim.

2: Don’t assume anything after the accident: 

Some people don’t realize that they have been injured until several hours after the accident. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to brush off any minor injuries – but never assume that you won’t need medical attention. If the police do respond to the accident, make sure you collect the driver’s insurance information to help you to pursue a claim once any injury later develops.

3: Never try and make a deal at the accident: 

Unfortunately, some people try to negotiate a settlement at the scene of the accident. This is never a good idea as you have no idea what the ramifications of the accident will be. There could be serious injuries, invalid insurance details, fake licenses and a number of other scenarios impossible to predict. Focus on what you need and don’t be swayed into making a deal under pressure.

4. Gather all evidence: 

It can be hard to think clearly after an accident, but it is vital that you collect every piece of information available to you. Don’t leave the scene without the driver’s details, their insurance information, and lots of photos that show your damaged bicycle and location.

At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C., we have years of experience handling personal injury cases and want to ensure that you are compensated for any and all losses and that those who are at fault are held accountable.

If you have been involved in a car vs. bicycle accident we welcome your call today at (541) 617-0555 to arrange an initial consultation with one of our very skilled and proficient personal injury attorneys.

Oregon Truck Accident Causes

Most of us don’t think about the likelihood of being involved in a road accident, never mind a collision with a truck, when we get into our vehicles. However, some truck accident statistics released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) show that truck accidents are actually on the increase.

The Numbers

Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. 5,000 of these trucking accidents result in fatalities.  Indeed, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision. It is forgivable to assume that most trucking accidents are caused by tiredness or even minor negligence but driving under the influence (DUI) is actually the leading cause of fatal truck accidents today.

To highlight the issue, here is a list of Oregon truck accident statistics for 2004:

  • In 2004, 1,159 truck accidents that caused fatalities, injury or damage, took place in Oregon. This figure is 8.01% higher than in 2003
  • 596 accidents were the fault of the truck driver
  • 13 truck accidents was the maximum number reported in one day
  • 545 people were injured in the above 1,159 truck accidents

Although these figures reflect the accidents that occurred in 2004, the trucking industry has seen continual growth and our congested roads demonstrate that trucking accidents are not likely to have decreased in more recent years.

Truck Driver Error and Other Leading Causes

As mentioned above, the most common cause of commercial truck accidents is an error on the driver’s part. Truck driver’s focus for long stretches of time making them exhausted and prone to falling asleep behind the wheel. This fatigue means they are unable to be fully aware of their surroundings and have slow response times.

Alcohol and substance abuse can also be a contributing factor along with other causes, including:

Equipment Failure

The second most common cause of commercial truck accidents is equipment failure. This can be caused by a problem with the design or even a flaw in the manufacturing process that resulted in a defect with the truck. Poor maintenance of the truck can also lead to equipment failure. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that every truck driver perform an inspection before they make a journey. Sadly, pre-trip inspections are not always performed and issues with the truck go unnoticed or ignored which leads to equipment failure that causes an accident.

Poor Weather Conditions

Poor weather conditions can play a big factor in the safety of a large truck on the road. Wet roads and windy weather can make it hard for large trucks to brake and maneuver which can lead to disaster. Commercial trucks take longer than cars to come to a stop because of the momentum behind the weight of their load. The weight also makes it more difficult for drivers to steer and avoid obstacles. Adding wind, rain, snow and ice into the equation puts commercial trucks at a higher risk of having an accident.

Improper loading of the truck

Many people might overlook this cause but the manner in which a truck is loaded is crucial to its safety. The load within the truck must be safely distributed and secure so that the weight is evenly balanced. An improperly loaded truck will have shifting cargo that prevents the truck from breaking or steering sufficiently. In some cases, the truck may even roll or flip on its side while attempting to break or make a sharp turn.

In some rare situations, it is also possible for the load to fall off the truck and into traffic which endangers other drivers and causes accidents.

At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C., we have had many years’ experience handling personal injury cases involving truck accidents and we want to ensure that you are compensated for any injuries you receive when you become the victim of one.  Indeed, we recently obtained nearly $4.5 million at trial in one such trucking injury case.

Those who were at fault for the accident should be held accountable and we will endeavor on your behalf to pursue a claim through the courts for you. If you would like to find out more about compensation for your injuries, we welcome your call today at (541) 617-0555 to arrange an initial consultation with one of our very experienced attorneys.