Alabama's law's regarding motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents are based on a designation of 'at fault'. This means that the driver on the motorcycle or driver of the vehicle who is determined to have called the accident or the one at fault is the one responsible for paying for all the damages caused by or in the accident. Of course, there may be other factors such as road conditions, weather conditions, vehicle speed or impairment due to fatigue, drugs or alcohol, which come into play when determining who is at fault in the accident and thus liable for payment of damages.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Alabama, you are 32 times as likely to experience death on a motorcycle than if you are in a vehicle. This is in spite of the helmet law in Alabama that mandates all motorcycle riders must wear a motorcycle helmet which meets or exceeds Alabama safety standards for helmets. Helmets make good sense in that statistics prove that riders who wear helmets stand a reduced chance of incurring an injury and a much lesser chance of dying due to injuries received in a motorcycle accident.
Legally, motorcycle riders have the same rights under the law as do drivers of automobiles and must carry a minimum level of insurance in the vehicle in addition to standard license and registration under the law. The motorcycle itself must be licensed under the Alabama Department of Public Safety and registered with the Alabama Motor Vehicle Division. The operator of the motorcycle must have an Class M license to operate a motorcycle which requires successful completion of a written test and an operating examination.
In Alabama, a motorcycle operator must provide injury liability insurance of $20,000 for one person and $40,000 for all persons involved in an accident on a motorcycle. In addition, property damage minimum insurance requirements amount to $10,000. In addition, simply because of the increased danger and likelihood of physical injury, a motorcycle operator should consider additional insurance such as uninsured motorcycle insurance. The cost for such insurance will be dependent upon such factors as age and experience of the operator, age and size of the motorcycle and the driving record of the motorcycle operator.
With the all the stipulations, legal requirements and training required, an accident while operating a motorcycle is still far more deadly than any other type of vehicular accident. Over 4000 fatalities involving motorcycles occurred in 2004 and the number continues to increase. In additional to motorcycle accidents being more dangerous than other types of motorized vehicle accidents, they are often more of a legal quandary, due to the overlapping stipulations of liability, no fault and insurance requirements.
In any case, those who are involved in a motorcycle accident should certainly seek legal advice in order to help with the complicated process of assessing liability, receiving prompt and complete payments from the owner's insurance company or from the other party's insurance carrier, as appropriate. Selecting an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in this law specialty will protect the rights of the injured motorcycle rider. In addition, if there is equipment failure either of the motorcycle or of helmets and other protective gear which made injuries worse or which caused the injury, an attorney will be of great assistance in sorting out liability claims so that negotiations and or litigation will be successful.
In the aftermath of a serious accident, most victims or their loved ones want to get the matter settled so that life can move on as smoothly as possible. Yet, to be rushed through the process of claims settlement by the insurance companies is likely to end up with a payment from the insurance company that is substantially less than what is needed or within the rights of the victim.
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