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Motorcyclists take to the same roads as cars, trucks and buses. But those drivers often fail to understand the unique road conditions motorcyclists face. Motor vehicle drivers often travel too closely behind motorcyclists or do not provide them extra room to turn at intersections.
While traffic accidents are always scary, motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable in collisions. They are the most exposed on the roads and often suffer the most severe injuries. But motorcyclists are not entitled to the same no fault, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits that are available to injured motorists and bicyclists. These benefits, which are available through your auto insurance policy, pay the first $8,000 worth of medical bills. Without these benefits, motorcyclists may face challenges in paying medical expenses and obtaining prompt reimbursement.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you should be evaluated at the hospital. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is important to make sure that you have not suffered internal injuries or a head injury.
If you are injured in a collision involving another driver or if a loved one died in a motorcycle accident, the next thing you should do is contact a skilled Boston motorcycle accident lawyer. A lawyer can watch out for your best interests as authorities investigate the accident. The result of the investigation will be important if you need to file a negligence claim against another driver.
It is also important to contact a lawyer because you may have large medical expenses. If you need to take time off from your job, you will need to seek compensation for lost wages. You may also be entitled to other damages.
Who is Liable for My Boston Motorcycle Accident?
Whenever someone is injured in an accident, the injured party has the right to hold the parties at fault accountable. This helps victims of motorcycle accidents and other kinds of auto accidents. In order to receive compensation, the victim must prove that the other driver was liable for damages. In order to prove another driver is at fault for the motorcycle crash, the injured party must prove four elements of “negligence”. First, they must prove that the defendant owed a duty to the victim. Second, they must prove that the defendant did not fulfill this duty. Third, they must prove that the plaintiff's injuries were caused by the driver’s breach of duty. Finally, they must prove that the victim suffered losses due to the injuries from the accident. By using these guidelines to prove “negligence”, the injured party does not need to show that the driver intended to cause the crash. They only need to prove that the driver made a mistake behind the wheel, such as speeding, not looking at the road, arguing with a passenger, texting, failing to signal, etc. In most cases, the driver will try to claim that the injured party also played a role in the accident, and that the driver is not the only one at fault. Defendants might try to claim that the injuries are your own fault. In the face of these claims, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. If the defendant can prove that you made mistakes while operating your motorcycle, or that you violated any traffic laws, the court may find you partially at fault. If you are deemed partly at fault, that will reduce the amount of compensation you can receive. Our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys can fight on your behalf, in order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Boston Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Liability for Crashes
The Massachusetts helmet law for motorcyclists was enacted in 1967. Any person that operates a motorcycle, or is a passenger on a motorcycle, must wear protective headgear. This headgear needs to conform to the minimum safety standards established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The helmet law plays an important role in motorcycle accidents, as it can potentially greatly reduce the compensation for sustained injuries. If the plaintiff failed to wear a helmet during the time of the accident, the compensation is limited due to the plaintiff's own contribution to the accident and injury. While failing to wear a helmet does not cause a crash, it does contribute to the severity of your injuries. If a victim suffers a head injury because they did not wear a helmet, they could be found 50% liable for their head injury. Even though the other driver caused the crash, the head injuries were made worse due to the lack of protective headgear. Even if the accident is deemed 50% your fault, you can still recover damages, but these damages are reduced by 50%. If you are found to be more than 50% responsible, recovery would be blocked.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents
There are many different ways in which a motorcycle accident can occur. Liability can be assigned to different drivers, depending on what happened and who can be held responsible. Common types of accidents usually have the same resolutions. Below are some examples to help you understand your own accident, and preview who might be at fault in your motorcycle accident case.
Single Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents
In a crash that only involves one vehicle (other than the motorcycle), the driver is usually at fault. Drivers may be able to recover damages in a first party claim against their insurance company. If you are injured as a passenger, you may have a case against the driver.
When cars change lanes, they risk crashing into another car. However, if a car crashes into a motorcycle, the operator can be knocked over or thrown off the road. These accidents can leave operators seriously injured. Drivers who change lanes or merge into another vehicle are usually at fault in these types of cases.
Impatient drivers will often tailgate cars, especially when a motorcyclist is in front of them. If a driver is tailgating you, and ends up hitting you, they are at fault for the accident due to their tailgating.
Accidents at Intersections
When an accident occurs at an intersection, it is usually very clear who is at fault. The signs and traffic lights determine which vehicles are legally allowed to cross the intersection at any given time. The driver that ran a red light or stop sign is usually at fault in an intersection crash.
Left Turn Accidents
If a car is making a left turn, the car must yield to oncoming traffic. Cars that field to yield and cause a crash while turning left are at fault for the crash. These accidents could become more complicated due to a variety of factors. It is important to speak with a motorcycle accident attorney to best guide you on your case.
Boston Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits - Recovering Damages
Motorcycle accident injuries can be severe, and in some cases, deadly. The most common injuries seen in motorcycle crashes are: lacerations, cuts, bruises, road rash, traumatic brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, fractured bones, broken bones, internal bleeding, organ damage, and punctured lungs. Depending on the severity of the aforementioned injuries, you may have to spend months or perhaps years recovering. The severity of your injuries will greatly help to determine the damages you receive as a result of your case. The expenses necessary for your medical treatment, the severity of your injuries, and how these injuries will affect your everyday life will all factor into the amount of compensation you may receive.
If you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, and you have sustained permanent injuries or disabilities, the damages you claim could be high. Ultimately, financial compensation depends on the individual facts of the case and whether the motorcyclist shared any part of the blame. Recoverable damages include: lost wages during your recovery from the accident, loss of earning capacity such as loss of future wages, medical bills (from emergency treatment, ongoing care needs, rehab, and additional costs), childcare expenses, medical transportation, economic damages, loss of consortium, damages for physical pain, damages for mental suffering, damages for emotional distress, damages for lost enjoyment of life, activities, and hobbies (such as if your injuries keep you from riding a motorcycle again), and finally, other non-economic damages.
The family of a deceased motorcycle accident victim could also be entitled to claim “punitive damages” in cases of a wrongful death. Additional damages are to the family to punish the driver that is at fault, and are not paid to compensate the family for something that happened. The driver who is at fault, or their employer, are punished for repeat or severe negligence. In cases that involve commercial drivers, such as truck drivers and bus drivers, the accident investigation would look into any problems with the commercial driver. These problems could be violations of trucking regulations, overworked drivers, problems with the vehicle, etc. In some instances, the court can award additional damages to punish these drivers, as well as their employers, in order to pay you additional money for the deadly accident. However, these damages are rare, so it is vital that you speak with a motorcycle accident attorney to learn more. The lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. will work tirelessly to help your case and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call 617-225-2100 for a free consultation today.
The Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. have served Greater Boston for over 20 years. We have offices in Cambridge and Quincy. We are experienced in complicated cases involving motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents and wrongful death. Our attorneys provide experienced, skilled and aggressive representation.
We pride ourselves in partnering closely with clients and working to understand their individual concerns and needs. We are accessible throughout your case and advocate for you at every turn.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact Bellotti Law Group, P.C. today for a free legal consultation. You can contact us at 617-225-2100 or use our contact form.