Common Moped Accident Injuries in Waipahu, Hawaii
Riding a moped is a popular pastime in Hawaii. Many people choose mopeds because they are convenient: Mopeds are easier to navigate in crowded areas around Oahu. Operators don’t need special licenses to drive. And because drivers of privately-owned mopeds do not need liability insurance, they are an attractive option for people who are denied coverage or can’t afford it.
However, mopeds also come with built-in dangers. Like motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles, riders are exposed directly to the road, cars, or other obstacles in a crash. The chance of severe injuries is high ― and so are any accident-related medical bills.
If you suffered injuries in a moped accident in Waipahu, you could have a valid claim for compensation against the responsible party. The legal team at Recovery Law Center can investigate and prepare a claim demanding maximum compensation for you.
Acting quickly is important. Hawaii law requires victims to file a personal injury claim within two years of the date of an accident. Missing the deadline could prevent you from the money you rightfully deserve.
What Can Cause a Moped Accident?
Waipahu moped accidents happen far too frequently. One report found Hawaii moped, motorcycle, and scooter accidents spiked 250 percent in a single recent year. Many of these collisions happen for the same reasons as other motor vehicle crashes, such as:
- Speeding: Driving too fast is a longstanding problem in The Aloha State. When a vehicle or other object hits a moped driver at high speed, the risk for life-threatening injuries is high.
- Driving under the influence (DUI/OVUII): One recent study from a car insurance company found the state ranked No. 1 for drunk driving. The islands are densely populated, especially in Waipahu and Honolulu. There’s no room for error when mopeds and sober motorists ride close together, let alone drunk ones.
- Distracted driving: Moped drivers should ride single file and in bicycle lanes whenever possible. While riding in a bike lane provides a measure of safety, it doesn’t shield riders from distracted drivers who swerve out of their lanes while texting or talking on the phone.
- Lack of visibility: Mopeds are small and narrow, making them less visible to other motorists. Drivers who fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes can strike moped riders who are riding lawfully beside them.
- Poor road conditions: State and local governments must maintain roads free of potholes and debris that can compromise drivers’ safety. This is especially important for moped operators, whose vehicles will have difficulty navigating safely around or through hazardous areas.
What Are the Most Common Moped Accident Injuries in Waipahu?
Little data exists focusing specifically on moped accident injuries. However, an article recently published in the Hawaii Journal of Health and Social Welfare sheds light on the most common moped accident injuries compared to motorcycle ones.
Researchers studied the different types of motorcycle and moped crash injuries reported at The Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu over a three-year period. Specifically, the study focused on broken bones but also reported on other common injuries among both types of riders.
Over three years, 197 out of 357 moped operators suffered broken bones in the upper and lower extremities. The most common fractures among moped riders included:
- Shoulder blades
- Forearm (radius and ulna)
- Upper arm (humerus)
- Lower legs (tibia and fibula)
- Upper thigh (femur)
Spinal fractures occurred among roughly 18 percent of moped riders in the study. The most frequent injuries were evenly split among the spine’s cervical (neck) and thoracic (middle) regions. Lower spinal fractures were less common, representing five percent of injuries.
The spinal cord ― the nerve network protected by the vertebrae―is also vulnerable in moped accidents. A spinal cord injury (SCI) can also be catastrophic and life-threatening for a moped rider, leading to paralysis like paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIS)
Researchers found that moped riders had a significantly higher incidence of head injuries and facial fractures than motorcyclists. That was attributed to a dramatic lack of helmet use among moped drivers. While nearly half of all motorcyclists in the study were helmeted, just nine percent of moped operators were.
Other common moped accident injuries in Waipahu include:
After a moped accident, skidding along the road can cause deep cuts and abrasions if riders are thrown from the vehicle onto the pavement.
The force of impact in a moped crash may result in whiplash, a soft-tissue injury due to the rapid snap of the neck back and forth in a collision. Though many people recover fully from whiplash, the injury may lead to permanent nerve damage and a limited range of motion.
Can I Recover Any Damages?
Moped riders could be entitled to compensation if negligence by a driver or other at-fault party led to the accident and injuries.
Hawaii is a no-fault state, which means motorists usually turn to their own insurers for compensation after an accident. But mopeds are not classified as vehicles under state law, so the same rules don’t apply. Moped collisions are treated like bicycle accidents, meaning victims seek personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If the crash occurred for another reason, such as road or moped defect, a personal injury lawyer can identify the liable parties in your case.
Compensation for moped accident injuries can include money for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning ability
- Rehabilitation costs, such as physical therapy
- Pain and suffering