Cincinnati Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle injury cases should never be treated like typical auto accident claims. Trauma suffered by motorcyclists and their passengers is much more likely to result in lifelong health problems or wrongful death. Your quality of life — and your family’s well-being — may depend on your successful recovery of compensation for the total harm the motorcycle crash has caused you.
To recover maximum compensation in an Ohio motorcycle accident, a victim or family needs to prove more than the fault of another person — which can be surprisingly difficult. The victim, or plaintiff, must provide convincing evidence regarding the extent to which the crash has impacted his or her life. While damages for past medical expenses and lost wages may be relatively straightforward, future costs and noneconomic harms are difficult to value and prove.
The attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima have an excellent track record of getting motorcycle accident victims and their families compensated for all damages recoverable under Ohio law. Our Cincinnati motorcycle accident lawyers treat clients like they are our own family members. We help bikers overcome the unfair biases they routinely face. We are not afraid to take your case to trial if the at-fault motorist and insurer refuse to pay the full value of your claim.
For a consultation with one of the motorcycle accident attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, call 513-496-0134 or contact us online. We are available 24/7.
Proving Fault: Overcoming Denials Of Responsibility
Our job as motorcycle accident attorneys is to help our clients prove how an accident happened and hold the at-fault driver and their insurance company accountable. Too often, the reason motorcycles are cut off or hit is because other drivers do not look for motorcycles. Even in situations where the car driver’s negligence is obvious, defendants and insurers will lowball the claim or completely deny wrongdoing.
At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, we will use our network of resources to strengthen your motorcycle injury claim:
- We will use experts for accident reconstruction.
- We will use our network of reliable medical expert witnesses to prove the extent and effect of your injuries.
- We will leverage our success as trial lawyers to help ensure that you receive a fair settlement offer. If your claim is not treated fairly, the opposition knows that we will gladly take your case to trial if that is what it takes to get you fully compensated.
- We understand there is an unfair bias against motorcyclists. We excel at eliminating this bias on a case-by-case basis so our clients can get what they are rightfully owed.
A Record Of Success And Satisfied Clients
Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima is a family-founded law firm serving southwestern Ohio and Greater Cincinnati. We deliberately keep our staff small and customer focused. Read what our clients have to say about our attorneys.
Although our firm is selectively small, we have the accolades and accomplishments of a large law firm, including:
- The highest professional and ethical rating possible under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating* system for some of our staff
- Several attorneys selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers; less than 5 percent of Ohio attorneys are selected for this list
- Numerous multimillion-dollar recoveries
- Numerous successful arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court
- Experience handling high-profile cases, including those with national media coverage
When A Driver Does Not Yield To A Motorcyclist
It’s easy for drivers to watch for cars and trucks. Keeping eyes open for motorcycle riders requires more care and attention, but that care and attention is necessary. Motorcycles have the same right to the road as every other motor vehicle. They need to be yielded to when they have the right of way. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. The result may be serious injuries or the wrongful death of the motorcyclist.
Were you hit by a car while driving through an intersection because the driver took a left turn into your path? Did a driver take a right turn from a red light or stop sign and collide with you when you had the right of way? These are clear examples of a negligent driver failing to yield to a motorcycle rider. Unfortunately, these types of motorcycle crashes are all too common.
Our attorneys investigate all cases carefully. Frequently, when a claim involves failure to yield to a motorcycle rider who had the right of way, we find that it was a distracted driving accident. The negligent driver did not see the motorcycle because he or she was sending text messages or engaged in some other distraction. Count on us to take action in these cases.
Help For Injured Motorcyclists
Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in head injuries. This is simply because motorcyclists do not have the protection provided by other vehicles. The only buffer they have against an impact is a helmet, and there is no guarantee that even that will prevent brain injuries. Even with a helmet, the brain can bounce against the inside of the skull, resulting in what is referred to as a closed head injury.
What if the victim was not wearing a helmet? In Ohio, motorcycle riders are not required to wear helmets, so the lack of a helmet does not prevent the victim from seeking compensation if he or she was hit by a negligent driver. Action can be taken.
One of the biggest challenges in motorcycle accident brain injury claims is the perception that many people have about motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders are often seen in a negative light. Presumptions are made about them being dangerous. When we bring these claims to trial, we take great care to ensure juries understand that not all motorcyclists are thrill-seekers who are flirting with danger. We make certain our legal strategy is sound and designed to obtain full compensation.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
As more recreational riders take to Ohio roads, motorcycle ridership has increased. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents have also increased. Since motorcycles do not offer the same level of protection as cars, the consequences of a motorcycle crash are often far more serious and sometimes fatal. Motorcycle accidents can result in a multitude of severe injuries, including:
- “Road rash” and scarring
- Complex fractures and broken bones
- Closed head injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
- Wrongful death
After any motorcycle crash, it is important to seek proper medical treatment, and it is also critical to consult with an attorney who understands motorcycle accident claims.
If You Are The Victim Of A Serious Injury, You Need Experienced Legal Counsel
Choosing the right lawyer is often a key component in reaching fair compensation for your injuries and loss. The stakes are higher in motorcycle accident cases because the injuries are often more severe. Our motorcycle accident lawyers know how to build a case that considers all your expenses, including extensive medical bills and life-care plans that will provide for long-term rehabilitation, and other costs such as outfitting your home if you require a wheelchair.
Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima has successfully orchestrated multiple multimillion-dollar settlements for our clients. We are intimately familiar with the popular local roads, the insurance providers and Ohio laws that concern motorcycle accident cases. We pride ourselves on our ability to use this knowledge to help our clients through this difficult experience. We believe our compassion and patience are what make clients come back to us and refer their friends and neighbors to us.
Studies Show That Ohio Is One Of The Most Dangerous States For Motorcyclists
Ohio’s highways and streets can and should be safer for motorcycles. Every day, motorcycle riders are forced to contend with unsafe drivers in cars, trucks and commercial vehicles. Preventable motorcycle crashes happen frequently. For years, many people suspected that Ohio roads are less safe than other areas of the country, and now we have solid statistics showing that Ohio has more motorcycle accidents than most other states of a similar size. We hope these statistics help bring more awareness to motorcycle safety and make Ohio drivers more aware of two-wheeled vehicles.
Motorcycle Fatalities And Accidents Are Unfortunately Common
According to the latest Ohio State Highway Patrol Statistics, Ohio had 996 motor vehicle crashes that resulted in a fatality in 2018. Of those crashes, 144 people riding on motorcycles were killed. Forty-seven of those motorcyclists who lost their lives were wearing a helmet and taking other precautions to protect their safety. While we do not have more recent fatality numbers, many expect the trend to continue. Greater motorcycle safety awareness will hopefully reduce the number of preventable crashes and fatalities.
While motorcycle deaths peaked in Ohio in 2016, the 2018 number of fatalities is still higher than the 2014 low. A nationwide study that covered motorcycle accidents from 2008 through 2017 also shows slight growth in the number of motorcyclist fatalities and accidents compared to previous lows across the country. While 2020 statistics are not available, we expect the number of deaths to remain the same or grow steadily.
A 2016 nationwide study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked Ohio as the state with the fourth-highest motorcycle fatality rate. This statistic is especially concerning because the states in the top three positions had significantly higher populations and longer warm weather months, making riding more frequent. When the statistics from the last few years become available, we expect the number of Ohio motorcyclist deaths will remain high.
Navigating Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Claims
Beyond the higher rate of accidents, Ohio motorcyclists also must contend with uninsured and underinsured motorist claims. According to a 2015 study, Ohio is in the top 25 states where drivers operate their vehicles without insurance. Although more recent statistics about uninsured drivers have yet to be released, little has changed to cause the number of uninsured and underinsured to differ significantly.
If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver while riding your motorcycle, you might be uncertain if you have any legal recourse and who will pay for your medical bills. Our Cincinnati motorcycle accident attorneys will use their years of experience uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to help you find the best possible outcome for your motorcycle accident. We also take creative approaches to find additional coverage and third-party policies to help victims of motorcycle crashes.
What Can Motorcyclists Do If They Are In An Accident?
While motorcyclists can take every precaution, the negligence of other people on the road can still lead to an accident. If you or your loved one is hurt in an accident, you need to take immediate action to protect your health, financial future and well-being. First, get medical attention for your injuries, then contact a lawyer with a history of success in motorcycle cases. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will handle everything related to the accident and the insurance claim.
Helmets Are A Critical Tool For Protecting Motorcyclists
We know there continues to be a debate among motorcyclists regarding whether helmets should be worn. In Ohio, the law does not force riders to wear helmets. While helmets remain a controversial topic for some motorcyclists, the statistics show that they are an essential part of motorcycle safety. A 2017 study by the NHTSA showed that the helmet use rate in Ohio fatal crashes was only 29.2%. If the motorcyclists had been wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, an estimated 42 additional lives could have been saved. Ohio’s helmet use rate pales in comparison to a few states that had a 100% use rate, such as Nebraska, Vermont and Washington.
Standing Up for Injured Motorcycle Passengers
If you or a loved one has been injured as a passenger on a motorcycle, it is important that you choose an attorney with the experience to explore all possible sources of compensation. The driver of another vehicle may be to blame. The driver of the motorcycle that the passenger was riding may also be to blame. In some cases, there may be other parties who hold fault for the motorcycle accident as well. At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, our Cincinnati attorneys understand how to determine who holds fault and to analyze all relevant insurance policies in cases involving motorcycle passenger injuries. With more than 200 combined years of experience, they know how to make certain every base is covered to get you the compensation you deserve. Our firm has secured multiple multimillion-dollar settlements for people like you.
Passengers are often hesitant to file a personal injury claim against the driver of the motorcycle, because the driver may be a friend or family member. It is important to understand that these claims are not designed to take any money out of the driver’s pocket or to do any damage to the driver, who may have been injured as well. The driver purchased insurance for a reason. This is the reason.
The action we take is actually against the driver’s insurance company. We simply want to make certain that the insurance company provides all of the compensation to which you are entitled. Do not expect the insurance company to voluntarily pay you all you deserve. These businesses thrive by minimizing compensation, and your case is no exception. Our lawyers are here to force the insurance company to fulfill its obligations.
When The Road Itself Causes A Motorcycle Crash
Negligent drivers are not the only danger that motorcycle riders face. The road itself can hold many hazards. If you or a loved one has been hurt because of an object in the road, a defect in the road or any other road hazard, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills and other costs. It is important that you discuss your motorcycle accident claim with an experienced lawyer.
For more than 30 years at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, our Cincinnati attorneys have been holding negligent drivers accountable for motorcycle accidents. The millions of dollars in compensation we have recovered for people like you is proof of our ability to find opportunities in even the most challenging personal injury cases. We can help.
Some of the road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents are the result of other vehicles. A common scenario is a semi truck that suffers a blowout, sending shredded tire treads into the path of a motorcyclist. Even if the motorcyclist manages to avoid collision with the semi-truck tires, he or she may be forced to lay the bike down to do so.
Other road hazards are related to road construction. Perhaps the asphalt was not cured properly, or a design defect left the lanes uneven. Perhaps the road was resurfaced improperly, or dangerous loose gravel was left behind. No matter what the case, our attorneys will determine what went wrong and find out who was responsible. We can take action against truck companies, road construction companies and other parties to get results for you.
Information For Ohio Motorcyclists: Your Risks, Your Rights
When you first started riding, you probably heard friends or family members comment on the injury threat of motorcycles. Maybe they said, “Motorcycles are dangerous.”
Motorcycles themselves aren’t dangerous, if the rider is properly trained and respects the strengths and limitations of the machine. However, the environment that Ohio bikers ride in certainly is dangerous. Weather, wildlife and poorly maintained roads bring a real risk of injury or death. Of course, the biggest threat motorcyclists face is passenger vehicles, like cars or trucks, also known as “cagers.”
A recent study in Florida found that caged motorists are at fault in 60 percent of car-motorcycle collisions. That number is much too high, especially when considering the rising popularity of motorcycles and trikes.
“I Didn’t See Him”
The most common type of motorcycle accident is when a car or truck driver doesn’t “see” a motorcyclist. A more accurate statement would be, “I didn’t look for a motorcycle before turning.”
These crashes occur when the caged motorist turns in front of the motorcycle. The accidents usually involve a left turn across the motorcyclist’s path, although right-turn crashes are also common. In these crashes, the non-motorcycle driver is often cited for “failure to yield” to the motorcycle, which had the right of way.
This type of car-motorcycle collision is often fatal when the bike is traveling at high speeds, such as on a highway, but these crashes routinely occur in any setting – urban, rural or residential.
In an earlier era, accidents involving only a motorcycle were the most prevalent form of motorcycle crashes. Improvements in rider safety education and stricter drunk driving laws and enforcement have drastically reduced single-vehicle motorcycle accidents. Today, half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve a caged motorist.
Some people find it surprising that single-motorcycle crashes aren’t always the fault of the biker. Circumstances that may place fault on a third party include:
- Defective highways: unmarked construction zones, dangerous potholes or other road hazards caused by negligence
- Motorcycle defects
- Mechanics’ errors
- Accidents where another driver enters a motorcyclist’s lane, causing him or her to crash, then flees the scene
- Collisions with domesticated animals: dogs, horses or cows
Even in multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, caged motorists aren’t always involved. Unfortunately, danger can come in the form of a fellow rider.
A recent accident in Walnut Hills, Ohio, shows how one motorcyclist’s mistake can put fellow bikers’ lives in peril. Two motorcycles were traveling east on Martin Luther King Drive when one of the riders lost control of his Hayabusa 1300. He struck the rear tire of a man on a Yamaha then swerved into the westbound lanes and struck a Suzuki GSXR.
The man on the Yamaha suffered life-threatening injuries after ending up underneath a Dodge Avenger. The riders on the Hayabusa and Suzuki were also hospitalized, but doctors expect them to survive and recover.
This Cincinnati-area crash is a bit unusual – motorcycles traveling in opposite directions don’t usually collide with each other – but it shows how one rider’s error can quickly put many bikers in danger. This is the risk with group riding.
There are two basic keys to group riding: leadership and organization. Good leaders will organize the motorcycle pack and ensure that everyone is on the same page. They will keep an extra eye on novice motorcyclists within the group.
When done properly, group riding increases both the enjoyment and safety of motorcyclists. Effective group riding makes motorcycles more visible to passenger vehicle motorists, decreasing the threat of the biggest danger Ohio bikers face: the dreaded “failure to see a motorcyclist” accident.
Healing Takes Time And Money
An accident may leave a motorcyclist in a poor situation, physically and financially. Injuries may render the victim unable to work, or worse, may necessitate a prolonged hospitalization. It may take weeks, months or years to recover – if ever – and the victim needs to be compensated for medical bills, lost wages and other areas of life impacted by the crash. Because insurance policies have limitations and companies aim to minimize claim payouts, a personal injury lawsuit is often necessary to recover sufficient money damages.
When a fatal motorcycle crash leaves a family hurting, a wrongful death claim can provide compensation for the profound loss. Ohio wrongful death suits allow certain family members to collect compensation on behalf of the deceased. Ohio statutes provide that the spouse and children recover this money; if the victim was unmarried with no children, then his or her parents and siblings are next in order. If none of those scenarios apply, then more distant relatives may be entitled to collect damages. An Ohio wrongful death lawyer can assess your specific situation.
Providing Answers to Questions About Your Motorcycle Accident
At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, we offer clear, experienced representation to individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents throughout Butler, Warren and Hamilton counties and the surrounding areas of southern Ohio. We can provide you with the in-depth, personalized answers you require to understand your situation and your options.
The following are the types of questions we commonly receive from individuals hurt in motorcycle accidents. Reach out to our Ohio personal injury law firm for more information and answers to other questions.
Do I need an attorney for a motorcycle accident?
Technically, no. Ohio allows crash victims to represent themselves, known as pro se litigation. However, motorcyclists often face an unfair bias and need a skilled attorney to ensure they are compensated at full value.
How long do I have after my accident to file a personal injury claim?
As with all motor vehicle accident claims in Ohio, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. Please do not wait until the statute of limitations deadline to seek legal counsel. The earlier you hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, the better. Your lawyer needs time to thoroughly investigate your case prior to preparing a lawsuit. Additionally, your lawyer can guide you through the insurance claims process in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident to make sure your rights are protected. Please do not trust your insurance adjuster.
Is my case worth less because a motorcycle was involved?
In the eyes of the law, a motorcycle accident is no different from any other motor vehicle accident. In fact, motorcycle accident injuries are often severe and require more compensation than other motor vehicle accidents. Lawsuits involving motorcycles, however, often raise stereotype concerns. It is your lawyer’s job to address these concerns and focus the case on your injuries and the fault of the other driver.
The at-fault driver claims that he never saw me. Does this mean I cannot bring a claim against him?
Excuses by the at-fault driver are no protection against a lawsuit. Car drivers often fail to take the necessary precautions to protect motorcyclists. Drivers often do not give motorcycles enough space. More frequently, drivers often fail to yield to motorcyclists either because they fail to pay attention or they are distracted by other things such as their cellphones, radios, or passengers. Drivers have a duty to look for motorcycles on the roadway.
Do I still have a motorcycle accident claim if I was not wearing a helmet?
Yes, you do. Talk to us to learn more.
What do I do if I was a passenger on a motorcycle and was injured in an accident?
Not only do you have a potential claim against the at-fault driver, but you may also have a potential claim against the person driving the motorcycle. There are many insurance issues involved in this situation, and there are multiple insurance policies that should be analyzed. We can help you understand your options and guide you through the claims process. You may also visit our motorcycle passenger injuries page.
To obtain answers about your motorcycle accident, contact our Ohio law firm at one of our three locations (Lebanon, West Chester and downtown Cincinnati) today. Our attorneys will use more than 200 years of combined experience to provide you with the comprehensive answers you need.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
Every biker knows he or she is vulnerable to injury, but motorcyclists still do not expect to become victims of a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle accident can be devastating and disruptive.
We have assembled a checklist of things to address after a serious motorcycle crash.
Seek medical treatment
The most important issue after a motorcycle crash is your health. Do not let an attorney or insurance adjuster determine whether you should seek treatment or what type of treatment you should seek. Despite all the insurance and legal issues that arise after an accident, you need to focus on your recovery.
Some injuries do not appear to be severe at first. After your crash, you may have gotten up and walked away. Do not let this fool you; you may still need treatment. Adrenaline often masks serious injuries, which could become more pronounced in the hours or days following the accident. If you fear you suffered trauma to your head, spine or internal organs, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Medical treatment documents your injuries and establishes evidence for your injury claim. Be sure to be honest when discussing your pain and symptoms after an accident. Do not exaggerate, but also be thorough and discuss all your symptoms with your doctor.
If you unnecessarily delay treatment or downplay your injuries, the defendant’s insurer or attorneys will use the delay to attempt to refute the extent or nature of your injuries.
Contact an Attorney
Seek medical attention first, then contact an attorney. It is never too early to contact an attorney. The sooner you do, the better chance the lawyer has to recover and preserve valuable accident evidence.
A skilled Cincinnati motorcycle accident attorney will act as your adviser by helping you avoid making crucial mistakes. Do not deal with the insurance company prior to speaking with an attorney.
Read our new White Paper: The Attorney You Choose Impacts the Settlement or Verdict of Your Motorcycle Accident Case .
Be Aware Of Social Media And Your Own Insurance Adjuster
Even your own insurance adjuster is not your friend. They have only the best interests of the insurance company in mind.
You should be careful what you say, write or do after your accident. The insurance company and defendant’s lawyers are constantly looking for evidence to attempt to discredit your injuries and claim.
Defense lawyers are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to collect evidence damaging to the plaintiff’s claim.
Refer Insurance Agents To Your Lawyer
Do not speak with insurance adjusters about your accident; they are trained to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Insurance adjusters are taught to be extremely nice to injured persons in an attempt to settle the claim before an attorney is involved. It is in their best interest to minimize their payout. Give them your attorney’s contact info and refuse to engage in conversations with insurance representatives. Words are critical and can be used against you at later proceedings.
Follow Doctors’ Orders
Physicians know how to help you heal; obviously, it is in your best interest to follow their orders and recommendations. Additionally, your compliance can have a serious impact on the value of your personal injury claim.
If you ignore a doctor’s advice, it could later be used against you in court. The defendant’s attorneys will say it is evidence that your injuries aren’t bothersome enough for you to care about following orders. Further, the insurance company may argue that you unnecessarily let your condition worsen.
Miss A Step Or Make A Mistake? Do Not Panic, But Call Now.
A motorcycle accident is an unnatural and traumatic event. In the moments or days after a crash, people do or say things they wish they could take back. If you did something regrettable, don’t panic, but it is important to immediately speak with a skilled Ohio motorcycle wreck attorney.
Free Resources For Motorcycle Crash Victims And Families
Because Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima routinely helps injured Ohio motorcyclists, we assembled a variety of resources to educate bikers after an accident:
- What to do after a motorcycle accident
- Guiding you through an Ohio motorcycle accident
- Failure to yield motorcycle accidents
- Motorcycle road hazards
- Motorcycle accident injuries
- Head injuries caused by motorcycle accidents
- Motorcycle passenger injuries
*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.