Each year millions of Americans jump on their motorcycles to enjoy the freedom and fun that only a bike can provide. This includes Boston, which has a thriving community of riders who use their motorcycles for both pleasure and commuting to work. However, motorcycle riders are at risk from a greater number of hazards, and suffer a higher rate of injuries and fatalities, than drivers of other vehicles. Motorcyclists simply aren’t as visible or as well-protected as passengers in cars and trucks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents
- How do motorcycle accidents compare with other vehicle accidents?
- What is the Massachusetts helmet law?
- If I was not wearing a helmet, can I still pursue a motorcycle accident claim?
- What is lane splitting and how does Massachusetts law regard it?
- Why is prompt investigation of a motorcycle accident case important?
- Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accident Statistics And Facts
- Types Of Injuries In Motorcycle Accidents
- What To Do If You’ve Been In A Motorcycle Accident
- What To Do If You’ve Been Injured
How do motorcycle accidents compare with other vehicle accidents?
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,462 motorcycle accident fatalities occurred in 2009, and an additional 90,000 motorcyclists were injured. The NHTSA 2008 data analysis showed motorcycle riders were 39 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than motor vehicle passengers and nine times more likely to be injured.
What is the Massachusetts helmet law?
Under Massachusetts law, both motorcycle operators and passengers in attached sidecars are required to wear protective head gear or helmets. The fine for not wearing a helmet is $35.
If I was not wearing a helmet, can I still pursue a motorcycle accident claim?
If another driver’s negligence caused your motorcycle accident, you can pursue a claim regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet. Massachusetts comparative negligence law entitles you to receive compensation if the other party was more than 50 percent at fault.
What is lane splitting and how does Massachusetts law regard it?
Lane splitting refers to a motorcycle passing other vehicles while remaining in the same lane. NHTSA reports that lane splitting offers motorcycle riders the option of escape when under threat of being struck from behind and slightly reduces crash frequency compared with staying within the lane and moving with traffic.
Massachusetts law provides that motorcycle operators cannot pass another motor vehicle within the same lane, except another motorcycle.
Why is prompt investigation of a motorcycle accident case important?
Evidence can be lost and witnesses may become difficult to locate if an accident scene is not promptly investigated. Insurance companies oppose motorcycle claims, so the sooner investigation begins, the better chance your Boston personal injury attorney has to devise effective strategy and build a strong case.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics And Facts
According to annual statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there were 4,976 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2015, an 8.3% increase over the previous year. There were also more than 88,000 injuries, many of them serious. Motorcycle riders were 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident per miles traveled than occupants in a car.
In Massachusetts in the same year, 46 motorcyclists were killed, the majority of them wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Other facts about motorcycle crashes:
- Most victims are between the age of 20 and 24
- Males are the victims in 83% of accidents
- Crashes usually happen at 30 to 39 miles per hour
- Fridays and weekends are the most dangerous days, between 4-6 PM
- 50% of riders involved in an accident aren’t wearing a helmet
Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Alcohol and drug impairment is a major cause of motorcycle accidents. Riding in a major city like Boston, with its heavy traffic and frequent stops, is more hazardous than riding on the highway or in rural areas.
Simply not paying attention is probably the greatest contributor to motorcycle accidents, coupled with the lower visibility of motorcycles.
And although most accidents happen at relatively low speeds, there’s no doubt that speeding and reckless driving leads to a lot of crashes.
Wearing a helmet with eye protection and protective clothing, using reflective tape and bright clothing to increase visibility to other drivers, not drinking and driving, and obeying the rules of the road are the best precautions against accidents.
Types Of Injuries In Motorcycle Accidents
The most common types of injuries seen in motorcycle accidents include:
- Skin maceration, also called road rash
- Severe cuts, lacerations, and bruises
- Face, head, and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries and broken bones
These types of serious injuries usually require extensive and lengthy medical care, often requiring a hospital stay, surgeries, rehabilitation, and medication. In many cases they can lead to permanent disability. If you’ve experienced any of these injuries in an accident you may be entitled to significant compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical bills, and other damages.
What To Do If You’ve Been In A Motorcycle Accident
The actions you take immediately after a crash can make a big difference if you decide to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
- If you’re able, check the condition of everybody involved and immediately call 911.
- Secure the scene with flashers and reflectors to prevent further accidents, and move the vehicles out of the road if practicable.
- Share contact and insurance information with the other driver, and note the license plate number and the make and model of their vehicle.
- If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and any injuries and damage to the vehicles.
- File an accurate and detailed accident report with the police officer on the scene.
- Seek medical care, even if you don’t have any apparent injuries. Symptoms may not become apparent immediately.
- Do not admit fault and do not sign any type of insurance form until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Doing so might prevent you from receiving compensation for damages.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured
Compensation for injuries in motorcycle accidents depends upon whom the court finds was the most liable for it. These types of cases can be very complicated and insurance companies will do their best to deny compensation. It’s vital to retain the services of a personal injury attorney who has specific experience in motorcycle accident lawsuits.
An Experienced Boston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
John J. Sheehan recently recovered $150,000 for a motorcycle rider who suffered a cervical disk herniation. In another motorcycle accident case his client was awarded $70,000 to treat complications from a torn meniscus.
You’re entitled to just compensation for your damages. Make sure your rights are protected. Contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling 877-762-9510 or by online form for a free and confidential consultation.