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The Effect of an Accident Victim’s Failure to Wear a Seat Belt or Helmet in an Arizona Personal Injury Case

With sunny and warm weather all year-round, motorcycles are a popular choice for daily transportation and commuting in Arizona. However, riding a motorcycle also comes with its fair share of risks. Indeed, each year, there are dozens of fatal Arizona motorcycle accidents, and hundreds more are injured in these collisions. Like seat belts, helmets have been shown to significantly reduce the chance of serious or fatal injury during an Arizona traffic accident. However, helmets cannot prevent all injuries. Thus, the question often comes up whether someone’s failure to wear a helmet can impact their ability to recover from the other motorists responsible for causing the collision.

When it comes to evidence of an accident victim’s decision not to wear a helmet, Arizona courts liken the situation to a motorist’s failure to wear a seat belt. In Arizona, the law provides limited circumstances under which evidence of an accident victim’s failure to use a seat belt is admissible. Even when such evidence is admissible, it is only relevant to certain questions. For example, Arizona courts have adopted the doctrine of comparative negligence, which considers whether a plaintiff’s damages should be reduced based on the plaintiff’s own negligence. Along those lines, Arizona law states that a plaintiff’s failure to use a seat belt is relevant to whether the accident victim acted reasonably to minimize their injuries. However, this evidence is only allowed if the opposing party can show that the accident victim’s injury would not have occurred, or would have been lessened, had the seat belt been used. Otherwise, evidence of seat belt non-use is inadmissible.

Arizona law treats an accident victim’s failure to wear a helmet in the same manner as a failure to wear a seat belt when considering the evidence in personal injury claims. Thus, if the defendant can prove that an accident victim’s injuries would have either been prevented or lessened had they been wearing a helmet, evidence of the victim’s failure to wear a helmet may be admissible. However, this evidence still would not bar a personal injury claim.

Personal injury claims involving motorcycle or automobile accidents can often be complex. This is why potential plaintiffs are advised to contact an experienced attorney who can help prepare for any likely defenses that may come up throughout the course of the case. It is crucial to hire excellent representation with a strong reputation for advocating complicated legal issues on your behalf.

Have You Been Injured in an Automobile or Motorcycle Accident?

If you or someone you know has been severely injured in an Arizona motorcycle accident, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. Following a major accident, it is imperative to quickly file a claim to preserve your rights. If you are successful in your claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. The attorneys at our firm are experienced Arizona lawyers who have worked on all kinds of personal injury claims and have a track record of success when it comes to representing victims and their loved ones. To set up a free initial consultation today, contact our office at 855-749-5299.

Bikers are 27 Times More Likely to Die in a Crash Per Mile Traveled than Car Passengers

Riding a motorcycle in Phoenix can be amazing. It is relatively cost-effective, can make parking a breeze, and can be very fun at the same time. Unfortunately, though, bikers continue to face serious risks every time they get on a motorcycle and enter a public roadway – even if that biker does not do anything wrong while riding. While the risks are not unique to Arizona riders, they can be more apparent here due to the crowded nature of our roads and expressways, the number of drivers who are unfamiliar with where they are driving, and the high number of bikers in the Valley.

Data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute sheds light on some of the more startling statistics related to biking in America. Based on 2014 numbers, the Insurance Information Institute reports that bikers are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per mile traveled and almost five times more likely to be injured.

Some of the reasons behind these discrepancies are agreed upon readily by experts while others continue to be hotly debated. It is critical that all adults who use the roadways, including those that do not ride, understand as much about motorcycle safety as possible so that motorcycle accidents can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated in their entirety.

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Concerns Raised over some Harley-Davidson Brakes

It is not hard to find a Harley-Davidson motorcycle cruising around Maricopa County. Even in the dead of summer, odds are that you might see one on occasion as a brave rider endures the heat for the freedom of a ride. Several establishments in the Phoenix area are known as hangouts for bikers and there are annual biker rallies all over Arizona, leading even those who do not ride to realize that motorcycles are a part of life for many here.

But now, concern is being raised by the nation’s largest automobile safety group over the effectiveness of the brakes on some Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riders should be questioning whether they are safe on their bikes as a result.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) defines its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.” It seeks to accomplish that by administering recalls over automobiles and motorcycles, conducting and reviewing research into traffic safety initiatives and concerns, and making recommendations to limit the toll enacted by traffic incidents in terms of the lives involved as well as the finances that are harmed.

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Know Before You Ride: Motorcycle Safety Tips

To many, this is an ideal time of year to live in Phoenix and the surrounding cities. The weather is consistently warm but has not yet hit the brutal heat that comes with summer. Many seasonal activities are popping up across the Valley, kids are in school, and baseball has returned. Some who like this time of year most of all are those who ride motorcycles in Arizona, a sizable and dedicated group of individuals who enjoy the freedom, convenience, and simply joys that come with riding a bike.

If you have spent a decent amount of time in the Valley, you know that traffic can be a big problem, and in some areas, parking can be very difficult. Add to that the ever-fluctuating price of gasoline and you may be able to see some of the practical appeal to riding a motorcycle. If you have been thinking about a bike or if you have ridden previously but it has been a while, keep the following general tips in mind to ensure you remain as safe as possible if and when you do ride and to limit your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident:

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Legal Rights after a DUI Motorcycle Crash

Anytime an accident takes place in the Phoenix area, it is a bad thing that affects the lives of those involved. If someone is hurt in a crash, not only will the victim’s life be altered but so will the lives of that victim’s family members, friends, and coworkers. The far reaching effects of motorcycle accidents show how serious these incidents are and why we should be treating them as a threat to the safety of the entire public – and not just those who choose to ride motorcycles.

Preventing motorcycle accidents is a responsibility that everyone in Arizona bears for even if you never ride on a motorcycle, you can still be involved in a collision with one. While experts have identified numerous factors that contribute to a large percentage of all collisions, one of the biggest issues continues to be the presence of alcohol in the system of bikers or other drivers on the roadways.

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Tips for Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet

If you own a motorcycle or if you ride on one on occasion, you may find yourself wondering about what steps you can take to improve your safety. The basic rules that apply to all drivers apply to motorists so those are a good place to start: obey all traffic signals, yield the right-of-way, and make sure you obey speed limits. However, unlike drivers or passengers in cars, another big step can be taken by bikers to improve their safety, and that is wearing an appropriate helmet.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that motorcycle helmets are about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and about 37 percent effective in preventing death when they are used properly and a biker is involved in a crash. But despite these significant numbers, only about 60 percent of riders across the country wear helmets that are compliant with Department of Transportation guidelines, and the number of riders in Arizona using approved helmets is believed to be much lower.

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Motorcyclist Killed on Northbound Loop 101

About a dozen states routinely report more than 100 deaths caused by motorcycle accidents every year, and unfortunately, Arizona is among them. The high number of fatalities is not due to a single factor but likely a combination of several, including the fact that Arizona has a high population which is increasing annually. Add to that the fact that the weather in most of the state makes riding year-round possible, though sometimes not ideal, and that several areas have a significant biker culture which makes riding even more pleasurable.

Bikers are a valuable sect of the Phoenix community, yet they are often overlooked when it comes to safety concerns. Drivers may fail to look for or fail to notice motorcycles on the roads and highways of Maricopa County or in more rural areas across the state. This can lead to dangerous situations where a car and a biker collide, often leading to injuries to those involved.
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Two Riders Hurt in Motorcycle Accident

In the media and in movies, traffic accidents are often depicted as a cut-and-dry situation where one driver made one mistake. In reality, things tend to be more complicated as multiple factors usually combine to cause a collision, and in some cases, multiple drivers may have played a role in the crash.

This holds true not just for car accident but also for motorcycle collisions, a dangerous type of traffic crash that often results in serious injuries. Whether just one bike is involved or it is a crash with a bike and another vehicle, it can be complicated to sort through the details and determine the full extent of the fallout from a collision. If you have been hurt, speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand what your accident means in light of local and state laws and whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.
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Biker Killed in 3 Vehicle Phoenix Crash

The Valley has been experiencing record-setting temperatures recently with days hitting above 115 degrees. For many, that kind of weather is brutal and makes it too hot to leave the comforts of air conditioning unless a trip is a necessity, like taking kids to school or driving to work. With this type of weather, some motorcycle riders have been limiting their time on the roads and opting instead for other forms of transportation.

But not all riders have been calling it quits as numerous motorcycles can still be seen daily on the roads and highways of Phoenix. These riders are endowed with the right to operate on the roads just like the drivers of cars are and bikers are protected by the same laws that protect drivers. Despite these rights and the legal authority to ride, some motorist ignore the safety of bikers or otherwise act in a negligent manner that can lead to motorcycle accidents.
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Motorcyclist Killed in I-10 Crash

In 2014, there were 3,127 motorcycle accidents across the state of Arizona. During that same period of time, there were 192,474 motorcycles registered within the state. That means that roughly 1.5 percent of all registered motorcycles were involved in some type of collision in a single calendar year. When you consider that most riders operate a motorcycle for many years in a row, you understand that the risks associated with bikes can be high and that a collision is not only possible, but in some cases, likely.

Motorcycle crashes pose a unique set of risks to those involved when compared to a car accident. Though it is true that any type of collision can result in injuries, motorcycle accidents are more likely to cause harm because there is little to protect the bikers in the event of an impact. Unlike a car, there are no airbags, no crumple zones, and no seat belts to help a rider survive a crash which means that they suffer injuries at a high rate.
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