An electric motorcycle is a relatively new product that works in the same basic way as a gas-powered motorcycle. The difference is a battery or fuel cell is used to power the engine instead of gasoline. Similar to other hybrid or electric vehicles, an electric motorcycle is designed with certain goals in mind, such as reducing carbon emissions and lessening dependence on petroleum-based fuel products.
The electric motorcycle is beginning to match the conventional motorcycle in terms of power, speed, and performance. Because of this, it is possible to suffer the same or similar crash and accident issues as any gas-powered motorcycle or motorbike.
There are, however, some unique aspects and issues that arise due to the electric components of the bike. These may include:
- Issues with the motorcycle’s engine overheating due to the reliance on electrical power, which may include a battery, rather than fuel and combustion power;
- Variations in acceleration and speed when the motorcycle is in operation, which can cause confusion for other drivers on the road; and
- Less noise. An electric motorcycle can be much quieter than a conventional motorcycle, which can make it difficult for the motorcycle to be heard or detected on the road.
An accident involving an electric motorcycle involves aspects that are distinct from conventional motorcycle crashes. However, a motorcycle driver can suffer serious injuries no matter which type of bike they are driving. These may include:
- Broken bones;
- Injuries to the spine, head, and/or neck; and
- Other serious conditions.
What are Some Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Accidents involving motorcycles occur as frequently as any other type of vehicle accident. Injuries in a motorcycle accident, however, may be more severe due to the construction and lack of protection provided by a motorcycle. These types of vehicles travel at high speeds and provide no exterior protection to the driver.
Common types of motorcycle accidents include:
- A head-on collision, which occurs when a car and a motorcycle crash front-to-front against each other. Due to the nature of the collision, it often results in a fatality. In those cases, the family members of the deceased may sue for wrongful death in those incidents;
- A left turn accident, which occurs when a car is attempting to make a left turn and runs into the car proceeding straight. In most cases, the driver who is making the left turn is at fault. However, if the driver who was going straight was speeding or doing some other dangerous activity, then the driver turning may be less at fault.
- Lane splitting crashes, which occur when a motorcycle drives in between two lanes. When an accident occurs and a driver was lane splitting, fault will be determined by whether lane splitting is permissible in that state.
- Speeding and DUI crashes. Similar to cars, motorcyclists are not allowed to speed or drive under the influence. When a motorcycle driver is speeding and has an accident, they are at a much higher risk for a fatality than if they were driving a car; and
- Road hazard accidents. A motorcyclist can have an accident when there are potholes, uneven lanes, or even when objects are present on the road. When these types of accidents occur, the entity responsible for maintaining the roadway may be responsible for any injuries. Liability will depend on whether the entity had notice of the hazardous condition and whether they took any actions to prevent or repair it.
Who May be Held Liable for an Electric Motorcycle Accident or Crash?
There are a number of parties that may potentially be held liable for an electric motorcycle accident or crash. The parties may include:
- Other drivers of any type of vehicle on the road;
- The driver of the electric motorcycle, such as in cases of contributory negligence; or
- The manufacturer of the electric motorcycle, for example, if there is a defect with the motorcycle.
An electric motorcycle defect may be different from a defect associated with a conventional gas-powered motorcycle. The main concern with an electric motorcycle would be overheating of the engine. This applies especially to older model electric motorcycles where the engine capacity was not on par with conventional motorcycle power.
Additionally, as with any electric powered vehicle, there is a risk of electrical fire caused by the electric components of the vehicle. Any of these issues may result in legal action against the manufacturer if an injury results from these types of defects.
Are There any Legal Remedies Available for an Electric Motorcycle Accident?
As with any accident involving vehicles, there may be legal remedies available for the injured party. Remedies will depend on several factors, including:
- State laws;
- The amount of damage that occurred; and
- The severity of the injuries that occurred.
In accidents or crashes involving electric motorcycles, legal remedies typically include an award of monetary damages to compensate the injured party. These are generally sufficient to cover costs and losses such as medical expenses and property damages, as well as other costs.
A claim involving a product defect or recall may be filed as a class action lawsuit. This type of lawsuit may cover losses experienced by large sectors of the consumer population who may have been injured or affected by the defect at issue.
What are the Usual Remedies in Vehicle Accidents?
Motor vehicle accident laws are those laws that govern how vehicle accidents are litigated. They provide guidelines for determining fault and outline the legal remedies that can be provided. Each state has their own traffic laws, which may differ by jurisdiction.
The majority of motor vehicle accident lawsuits are based on negligence, unless they involve intentional and/or severely reckless behavior. Motor vehicle accidents can include:
What If I Have Been Involved in an Electric Motorcycle Crash?
A motorcycle crash, especially an electric motorcycle crash, may be very different from a typical vehicle accident. Because the electric motorcycle driver is exposed and usually driving at a high speed, these types of crashes can result in very serious injuries to the driver.
If an individual in involved in an accident while driving an electric motorcycle, they should:
- File a police report. This report may be used as evidence in the event of a lawsuit;
- Father information from other parties involved and witnesses to the accident, if possible. This may include names, driver’s license information, license plate numbers, and contact information;
- Keep records of medical costs and expenses. If an individual is treated for injuries, they should keep records and receipts from hospital and doctor visits;
- Make a written account of the accident. This will help an individual remember what occurred prior to, during, and after the accident. This should be done as soon as possible after the accident to ensure the details are accurate.
Taking these steps can also assist the driver when making insurance claims.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Need Assistance with an Electric Motorcycle Crash Lawsuit?
Yes, it is essential to have the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer for an electric motorcycle crash lawsuit. As with any motorcycle accidents, an electric motorcycle crash may lead to very serious, even life-threatening injuries. Your lawyer can review your case, determine what remedies and damages may be available to you, and represent you in court, if necessary.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will be with you every step of the way and fight for compensation for your injuries. If your claim involves a defective motorcycle, your attorney will help you if a class action lawsuit is necessary.