Anyone who rides a motorcycle will undoubtely tell you about the feeling of freedom and exhilaration it brings riding in the open air, to experience the elements and to appreciate the landscape, whether urban or rural. Motorcycles are fast and flexible since they can travel in and out of traffic jams, not to mention that parking is rarely a problem. But riding comes at a considerable risk for sustaining serious if not fatal injuries.

Although motorcycles account for less than 4% of registered vehicles and under 1% of total road miles travelled each year, riders and their passengers are involved in around 15% of all roadway accidents. As a rider or passenger, you are up to 28 times more likely to be a casualty in an accident than in a passenger vehicle and 5 times more likely to suffer some injury. In 2016, riders and passengers were involved in 90,000 serious injury accidents nationwide since anytime you are ejected from a moving bike you risk serious head trauma, broken bones, or worse. In Massachusetts, we have about 960 motorcycle injuries annually and average around 51 fatalities.

Because of the high percentage of serious injuries, having a knowledgeable Boston personal injury lawyer handling your motorcycle accident claim is essential to your obtaining the most compensation.

How to Avoid Accidents and Injuries

Experienced riders can offer valuable advice to anyone planning to become a motorcycle rider on how to avoid accidents and serious injuries. These recommendations include:

  • Take a rider safety or refresher course, regardless of your level of experience
  • Ride a bike you are comfortable with and can handle
  • That riding in groups increases visibility
  • Avoid or use extra caution on roadways with gravel, potholes, or metal plates
  • Have the proper gear—full faced helmet, gloves, boots, pants, leather jacket (wearing a helmet reduces the risk of fatal head injury by 40%)
  • Check brakes, lights, and tires before each ride
  • Ride defensively—assume that other motorists do not see you
  • Be cautious when approaching intersections or where cars are making turns across your path of travel
  • Watch for cars pulling out of driveways or parking spots
  • Lane splitting is illegal in Massachusetts
  • Do not ride in rain or snow—wait at least 30-minutes after rainfall before riding
  • Never drink and drive or ride high on any drugs

Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Although the perception of motorcycle riders as outlaws or extreme risk takers has softened somewhat, it has not entirely been erased. Whenever a motorcycle is involved in an accident with another motor vehicle, there is a strong suspicion that the rider was at least partially at fault.

In many accidents, a claims adjuster handling your claim will look at several possible factors in determining liability or if you should be held comparatively liable:

  • Were you lane splitting at the time
  • What was the speed of each vehicle
  • If at an intersection, who had the light or right of way
  • If a lane change, was it made safely
  • Did weather play a factor
  • Was either driver under the influence

Your Boston personal injury lawyer can investigate the facts and circumstances of your accident to support liability by the other motorists. Besides eyewitness accounts from other motorists or passengers, your attorney might locate surveillance camera footage at an intersection if it had a camera or even from adjoining businesses. Skidmarks and the location of the damage on the bike and other vehicle can sometimes offer clues as well.

If the adjuster or defense attorney asserts that you were comparatively negligent (speeding, lane splitting, possible traffic light violation), then you will need your Boston personal injury lawyer to advocate for you or you could lose out on receiving substantial compensation.

Proof of Damages

Damages is an element in any personal injury claim. Because so many motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries, you need an aggressive attorney to support your damages claim. One argument made by defense lawyers or insurance adjusters is that you had a preexisting condition that was not caused by the subject accident or which was only minimally aggravated. And if you were not wearing a helmet and suffered head trauma, you can be found comparatively at fault and have the amount of your claim diminished.

Massachusetts is a modified comparative fault state whereby your own degree of fault cannot be more than 50% or your claim will be denied. For instance, if your damages are $100,000 but your degree of causal responsibility is 40%, you will receive $60,000. However, this would only apply to your head trauma if you were not wearing a helmet and not to other injuries sustained.

Your personal injury lawyer can support your damages claim by providing:

  • All medical bills
  • Reports by medical provides including the treating physician, orthopedist or neurologist, outlining the severity of your injury, disability, if your impairment is permanent, your physical or cognitive restrictions, possible future complications, probable future medical treatment, and if you can resume your work or need to train for another vocation, or are 100% disabled
  • Statements from family and friends on how your injuries have impacted your life
  • Employment records to support loss of earnings
  • Expert forensic economist to calculate future loss of income or earning capacity
  • Vocational expert to assess your ability to train for another job and expected income

Consult the Lawyers at Lovenberg & Associates

Motorcycle accidents are different from typical car accident claims and demand that you have a knowledgeable Boston personal injury lawyer handling your claim. Our attorneys have handled numerous motorcycle accident cases and have obtained substantial compensation for our clients. Call our offices at (617) 973-9950 for a free consultation.