Elementary School Teacher Killed in Motorcycle Crash

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Car Accidents, Injuries

Counselors were at an area elementary school to help students deal with the sudden loss of one of their teachers. She was a passenger on a bike that slammed head-on into a pickup truck.

The wreck happened on State Highway 175 near Graham. According to investigators, a truck crossed the center line and smacked into the motorcycle. The rider was declared dead at the scene. The passenger was rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. She did not survive. The pickup truck driver, who was not cited, was uninjured.

No other details were available.

Motorcycle Wreck Injuries

Today’s four-wheel vehicles are much safer than the ones that were on the roads twenty-five years ago, mostly due to construction and restraint system innovations. But the motorcycle helmet, which is basically the only protection motorcycle riders have in crashes, has been essentially unchanged for decades. Over that time period, cars and trucks have become much bigger and faster. As a result, motorcycle riders often sustain serious injuries, such as:

  • Head Injuries: Motorcycle helmets do not offer as much trauma protection as they did twenty years ago, when most states passed mandatory helmet laws, due to the aforementioned size and speed changes. Furthermore, helmets offer no protection against motion-related head injuries. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains slam against the inside of their skulls.
  • Broken Bones: Since they have no airbags or seat belts to protect them, motorcycle riders are especially prone to broken bones. The lack of safety restraint systems also makes these injuries much worse. Typically, motorcycle broken bones either never heal entirely, or the recovery period is much longer and more difficult.
  • Biker’s Arm: When we stumble and trip, we naturally extend our arms to break our falls. This reaction prevents serious injury in a fall down a step or two. But it causes serious injury in motorcycle crash falls. The force damages the nerves in the brachial plexus bundle under the arms, causing permanent paralysis.

The medical bills alone in a crash like this often exceed $50,000. Ancillary medical costs, like medevac flights, medical devices, and prescription drugs, could be almost as high. The resulting financial strain often prompts victims to accept whatever paltry settlement the insurance company offers, just to get things over with.

That’s one reason a Lexington personal injury attorney is so important in these situations. Attorneys run interference with insurance companies, so they do not badger victims as they are trying to recover from their injuries. To reduce the stress even more, lawyers connect victims with top-notch doctors who usually charge nothing upfront for their services.

Wrong-Way Wrecks

As far as police officers and insurance adjusters are concerned, responsibility in wrong-way wrecks almost always lies with the wrong-way driver. However, when these cases go to court, these issues are usually not that straightforward.

The last clear chance defense sometimes comes into play in these wrecks. The above story is a good example. If the motorcycle rider saw the truck cross the center line and he had a chance to avoid a collision, perhaps by changing speeds or lanes, the rider is legally responsible for damages, even though the rider did nothing wrong.

Last clear chance is a bit more common in vehicle-on-vehicle collisions than motorcycle-on-vehicle collisions. Two-wheel bikes are so unstable that emergency maneuvers are usually impossible to perform, especially if conditions are less than ideal.

In these situations, insurance company lawyers often try to use the comparative fault defense. This legal doctrine shifts some of the blame from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. For example, a jury might conclude, based on the evidence, that the motorcycle rider was 20 percent at fault for not getting out of the way.

Contributory negligence usually only reduces the amount of compensation in a case. That’s especially true in Kentucky. Even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for a wreck, the tortfeasor is still liable for a proportionate share of damages.

So, it’s not enough for a lawyer to build a prima facie negligence claim. The claim must be strong enough to withstand last clear chance, contributory negligence, and some other common insurance company defenses. Otherwise, the victim might have to settle for less.

Compensation in a vehicle collision claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Home and hospital visits are available. #goodelawyers