In many places, authorities label left-turn motorcycle crashes as SMIDSY (for sorry, mate, I didn’t see you) crashes. Another acronym, TBFTL for turned but failed to look, does not have the same panache. Additionally, SMIDSY captures the cavalier attitude that many drivers have in these situations. More on that below.
Left-turn motorcycle crashes usually occur when a driver is waiting to make an unprotected left turn against traffic. These drivers suddenly accelerate to shoot through what they believe is a gap in traffic. But they do not see an oncoming motorcycle, so they turn directly into the rider’s path.
Because the driver is usually callous and the victim is usually seriously injured, a Kansas City personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation in these cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes SMIDSY Crashes?
Most riders who have gone down probably heard the other driver say something like “I never saw you” or “You came out of nowhere.” In other words, the driver admits s/he failed to maintain a proper lookout. That’s the root cause of most SMIDSY crashes.
Motorcycle visibility issues are worse than ever. Many people drive large vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks, which are difficult to see around. That fact doesn’t excuse negligence. In fact, the opposite is true. If visibility is limited, drivers have a duty to pay even more attention to the road.
Speed exacerbates SMIDSY crashes. As mentioned, most drivers are accelerating when they hit motorcycles in these situations. Motorcycles do not have steel cages, seat belts, airbags, or other protective devices. The riders are completely exposed to the danger of an onrushing vehicle.
Excessive speed, even if it’s only for a moment, clearly violates the duty of reasonable care. The same thing is true of failing to maintain a proper lookout. Driving defensively and avoiding accidents is the essence of the duty of reasonable care. Such driving behaviors flaunt this duty, which is one reason compensation is usually high in these cases.
The Sudden Emergency Defense
All this being said, a SMIDSY crash is not a slam-dunk affair. There is often a difference between fault for the accident and liability for damages. Fault is a fact question and liability is a legal question. So, legal defenses, like the sudden emergency defense, sometimes come into play. This legal loophole excuses negligent operation if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):
- Reasonably reacted to
- A sudden emergency.
Most people react reasonably to vehicle collisions. They pull over and wait for emergency responders. But an unseen motorcycle is not a “sudden emergency” in this context. This label only applies to hood fly-ups, lightning strikes, and other completely unexpected situations.
Motorcycle crash victims might be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Jackson County and nearby jurisdictions.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.