Boomer Bikers in Motorbike Accidents
Ireland has the second worse record for fatal and serious motorbike accidents in Europe. The Road Safety Authority states in its annual “Road Collision Factbook” that “For a motorcyclist, the risk of dying in a traffic crash per vehicle kilometres travelled is about 21 times higher than that for a car occupant” and, as motorbikes do not offer riders and pillion passengers the same back and head injury protection as a car would in a similar collision, there is a greater risk of serious injury in any motorbike accident.
A further problem- and one that affects motorbike accident claims – is that the fastest growing segment of motorcyclists in Ireland are middle-aged men returning to the saddle for either economic or social reasons. These “Baby Boomers” are now riding on roads which were much quieter than when they first rode motorbikes and in a far better condition. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we tend not to heal as quickly as we once did, and with the serious nature of motorbike accident injuries, the rehabilitation period which needs to be accounted for in motorbike accident claims is often considerable.
Typical Motorbike Accident Injuries
Whereas the majority of car accident claims concern whiplash-type injuries, injuries in motorbike accident claims tend to be far more serious. Crash helmets give a certain level of protection to the head, but not the same as if you were sitting in a car with an air-bag to protect you. Padded riding jackets can lessen the impact of a motorcyclist being thrown to the floor, but are not much of a shield against hitting a motorway safety barrier at speed, and strong riding boots only partially safeguard against sustaining a broken leg.
In fact, the most common injury sustained in a motorbike accident in Ireland is a broken bone. The government’s “National Motorcycle Action Plan” revealed that almost a third of all breakages occur to the fibula or tibia, and almost a quarter of all motorbike accident casualties in Irish accident and emergency departments had broken bones in multiple locations. As well of the risk of neurological damage, there is also the risk of psychological damage when a motorcyclist loses their confidence on the roads, and this is just one of the more delicate issues that need to be integrated into motorbike accident claims in Ireland.
Issues with Motorbike Accident Claims
Despite the fact that it is medically accepted that older people take longer to heal, the Injuries Board – when they make their assessment of how much motorbike accident compensation you should be entitled to – often make no allowance for this. They will assess motorbike accident claims on the Book of Quantum and an average rehabilitation period depending on the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies, representing the negligent drivers responsible for your injuries, also adhere to this code, so it is vital that you have your application to the Injuries Board prepared by a personal injury solicitor aware of these facts.
Furthermore, with insurance companies often making approaches to accident victims soon after they have been injured, it is important that you know your entitlement to motorbike accident compensation at the earliest possible stage to avoid being undercompensated in your desire to have the matter dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity. Once you have accepted an inappropriate offer of early settlement, you cannot go back for more if your rehabilitation takes longer, and is more expensive, than you originally imagined.
Motorbike Accidents and the Younger Generation
Not all motorbike accidents concern “Boomer Bikers” and the younger generation also face issues when making motorbike accident claims. There is a historical perception that motorcyclists are irresponsible road users and because of this motorbike accident claims can often be disputed by the liable party’s insurance company or awards of compensation reduced to account for “presumed contributory negligence”.
This myth was destroyed in the government’s “National Motorcycle Action Plan” which revealed that 75 per cent of all motorbike injuries in two vehicle collisions were due to the driver of the other vehicle not paying due care and attention. One would believe that with information like that, motorbike accident claims would be treated more fairly, but you can still be taking a gamble on getting adequately compensated if you make motorbike accident claims in Ireland without the assistance of an experienced personal injury solicitor.
Free Accident Legal Advice
It is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. Sometimes that is not possible when you are in a hospital bed or immobile from your injuries at home. Consequently, we have established a free legal advice service which enables you to contact us via the form below, and we will call you back when it is most convenient for you. You might want somebody to be with you if you are still in a lot of pain, or you may be reading this article when a family member has sustained an injury in a motorbike accident for which they were not wholly to blame.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with motorbike accident claims once you have spoken with us, and all conversations between yourself and a solicitor are completely confidential. We may have to ask you a number of personal questions in order to establish your full entitlement to motorbike accident compensation, but these will enable us to provide you with the best possible practical advice about motorbike accident claims.