Are Senior Motorcycle Riders at a Greater Risk of Injury?
Regardless of the age of the rider, any person who decides to ride a motorcycle is at an increased risk of accident and fatal injury than is the driver of a motor vehicle. To be sure, data from a single year reflects that motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to die in a crash than were passenger car occupants, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
While motorcycle riding may be dangerous for all, senior motorcycle riders may have an even greater risk of being involved in a crash. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, a motorcycle accident attorney from the office of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd. can help.
Studies Show that Older Motorcycle Riders Are at an Increased Risk of Injury
Data has long held that while elderly drivers (passenger car drivers) are safe drivers compared to other age groups, in the event that a crash does occur, senior drivers are at an increased risk of injury. For example, the fatality rate for senior drivers involved in car accidents is a startling 17 times higher than it is for other age groups. This is because older drivers are usually much more fragile than are younger drivers, tend to suffer from more serious health conditions, and have reduced resiliency and ability to recover in the event that they are involved in an accident.
And it’s not just older drivers of standard motor vehicles who are at an increased risk; motorcycle riders who are older are at an increased risk of severe injury and death as well. There are several reasons for this, including the following cited in an article provided by Consumer Reports:
- Older riders may be newer to motorcycle riding as they have more time during retirement to pursue a new hobby. This means that they are less experienced. They may also be returning to riding after several years or decades and their skills are a bit rusty;
- Injury risk increases with age, which means that even if the chances of merely being involved in an accident are the same, the risk of death or serious injury may be much greater for older riders.
Another article, this one published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains that elderly persons bring “a lot more medical baggage with them,” and that treating a 21-year-old is a lot different than treating a 60-year-old.
Injuries Suffered by Older Riders
Older motorcyclists may be more at risk of certain injury types than are younger riders, especially bone fracture injuries (people tend to lose bone mass and density as they age). While many of the injuries suffered by older motorcyclists will be the same as those suffered by younger motorcyclists, including head injuries, internal injuries, road rash, and more, the fact is that most older bodies simply do not recover to the same extent that younger bodies do.
How to Stay Safe as an Older Motorcyclist
Older motorcyclists, especially those who are less familiar with riding or who haven’t ridden for years, should exercise extra caution to reduce the risk of an accident and to prevent injuries. Some steps they should take include:
- Enrolling in a motorcycle safety course;
- Riding in less-trafficked areas;
- Wearing clothes that enhance visibility (such as fluorescent yellow); and
- Always wearing a helmet.
Your Rights if You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, it’s important that you understand your rights and your options. If the other driver was at fault for the crash, you maintain the right to file a claim against the driver’s liability insurance, or even to file a lawsuit directly against the driver. You may seek compensation for the full extent of your damages, including compensation for your medical expenses, property damage losses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
To maintain your right to damages, you must file your claim within the required amount of time. It is also recommended that you file a police report and notify your insurer of the accident as soon as possible.
If you have lost a senior loved in a motorcycle accident, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim for damages.
How Our Motorcycle Lawyers Can Help
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be tragic and terrifying at any age; for elderly riders who are at a greater risk of severe injury or death, a crash can be purely devastating. To learn more about motorcycle accident laws in our state, what to do if you’re in a crash, and how our lawyers can help you recover maximum compensation, please call the office of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd. today for your free, no-obligation consultation. Reach us online or by phone at 434-977-7977 to get started.