Motorcycles are not usually to blame for accidents

There is a common misconception that motorcycle riders are usually at fault for car accidents.  The author has often felt this way, admittedly, when faced with motorcycles swerving in and out of traffic on a highway.  However, the evidence shows that, usually, riders are not to blame when an accident occurs.  The evidence also shows that riders are at significant risk of injury in the summer months of heavy traffic. 

Downtown Vancouver Motorcycle Accident Lawyers (ICBC injury claims lawyers)
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ICBC data shows that from 2009 to 2013, six riders are injured every day on average in July and August.  In these cases, the evidence also indicates that a) most injuries to riders are caused by people driving cars, and b) in 80% of these cases, the driver of the car caused the accident.  One of the main causes of injury to motorcyclists is because driver’s fail to give the right of way.

The issue of who had the right of way was discussed in the recent Supreme Court decision of Ranahan v. Shane Douglas Nimrichter.  In this case, a judge had to determine who was liable for a motorcycle accident.   Mr. Ranahan was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle.  Here, Mr. Ranahan was driving straight through an intersection when a large semi-truck, hauling two trailers, turned left in front of him.  Mr. Ranahan collided with the truck and trailer, and was knocked from his motorcycle and landed on the ground unconscious. 

The judge found that the Mr. Ranahan had the right of way in the intersection and truck driver did not.  As such, the driver of the truck was responsible for the accident.  Mr. Ranahan suffered three fractured ribs, a fractured collarbone, a fractured wrist, and collapsed lungs.  He also suffered a ruptured spleen, that required surgery to correct. 

Prior to the accident, Mr. Ranahan was a fit and healthy man.  He worked a very physical job as a tree faller.  The medical evidence in this case indicated that he would not be able to return to this line of work as a result of the accident.

In this case, due to the serious and debilitating injuries suffered by Mr. Ranahan, the court awarded him pain and suffering damages in the amount of $145,000. He was awarded $175,000 in past wage loss.  Because of his injuries, for the remainder of his life he would only be able to work in a supervisory role and only at about half capacity when he returned to work.   Because of these limitations, the judge gave him a large award for future loss of earnings.  He was 47 at the time of the accident and  the evidence presented at trial indicates he would have worked until he was at least 67 years old.  For loss of future earnings, Mr. Ranahan was awarded $475,000. 

In total, Mr. Ranahan was awarded around $838,000 in damages as a result of this accident.  This case highlights the serious injuries that can result from motorcycle accidents.  With increased motorcyclists on the road, it is important to be mindful of them and be vigilant while sharing the road with them.  

Vancouver Motorcycle Accident Lawyers (ICBC injury claims lawyers)
Call us today for a free consultation, 24 hours – 7 days a week 604-684-4300  

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