Boston Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents can happen in an instant. In a matter of moments, a calm ride can take a tragic turn that leaves a rider with serious injuries or that has fatal consequences. A motorcycle collision can have far-reaching impacts on your health and your finances. These impacts can leave you in a difficult situation that places a strain on your relationships and your future. If you sustain an injury while on a motorcycle, you should contact a Boston motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Your Boston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers: Jacoby & Meyers LLP
Jacoby & Meyers LLP has an experienced team of legal professionals that helps accident victims fight for compensation after they sustain injuries due to the negligence of another individual. With over 40 years of experience in personal injury cases, our lawyers know what it takes to protect your rights in a personal injury claim and lawsuit. We go the extra mile to ensure that our clients get the help and guidance they need.
The Results of Our Clients at Jacoby & Meyers LLP
We understand the needs of our clients after a motorcycle crash and how much they want to secure a positive resolution in their case. We always strive to get the compensation that our clients need to cover their costs after a serious motorcycle accident. The choice to hire a lawyer in your case can make a significant impact on the amount of money you could recover for your injuries and losses.
Examples of the winning cases we have achieved for our clients include:
- $536,000 verdict for a motorcycle driver that suffered multiple broken bones after an accident with a parked vehicle.
- $525,000 settlement for a motorcyclist that sustained serious injuries when another vehicle in an intersection struck the motorcyclist.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Represent You After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident, motorcyclists commonly face extra scrutiny from law enforcement, insurance companies, and other interested parties. In many cases, insurers will try to pin the blame on a motorcycle rider to eliminate or reduce the compensation available to you for the damages you have suffered. More often than not, the motorcyclist doesn’t cause the accident. You have certain rights under the law to file claims for your injuries and damages when a negligent party causes your damages. A motorcycle accident attorney will protect those rights throughout the claims process and in a lawsuit if necessary. Do not attempt to represent yourself against insurers and at-fault parties that have only their own interests in mind. Without legal representation, you may risk missing out on potential compensation.
Motorcycle Accidents in Boston and Surrounding Areas
Massachusetts and in turn Boston enforce strict motorcycle helmet laws. Every rider and passenger in Massachusetts must wear head protection at all times when riding or risk fines and other penalties enforced by the police. Researchers estimate that over 90 percent of motorcyclists, in fact, wear their helmets as they travel the roadways in Massachusetts. However, motorcyclists still account for over 16 percent of fatalities throughout the state in traffic-related incidents. In these fatal outcomes, most riders wore a helmet at the time of the accident. This astonishing number shows that even when a motorcyclist makes every effort to stay safe, things can go terribly wrong on the road.
Over 84,000 motorcyclists sustain injuries in motorcycle collisions across the U.S. each year, and more than 5,000 motorcyclists will suffer a fatality. A portion of these riders lives in Massachusetts and the Boston metropolitan area. Approximately 150,000 motorcycle owners live across Massachusetts. Although the number of motorcyclists pales in comparison to the drivers of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists’ safety remains a serious concern, and all too often accidents end in a preventable fatality for the riders.
Why Do Motorcyclists Face an Increased Risk of Sustaining Injuries in an Accident?
Motorcycles drive quite differently than passenger vehicles. The nature of motorcycles can increase the risk of injury if and when a collision occurs. Unlike the driving of a vehicle that can at times seem like a passive activity requiring little physical effort of the driver, a motorcycle demands much more physical effort and focus from the driver to operate. Motorcyclists must maintain balance and remain mentally engaged at all times as they ride their motorbikes.
These compact and swift modes of transportation prove attractive to riders because of the feeling of freedom they experience while traveling. However, that freedom comes at a cost. Unlike a vehicle that provides protective elements, a motorcycle leaves riders and passengers exposed at all times. Riders only have clothing and other personal gear to provide physical protection in the event of an accident. Helmets, jackets, gloves, vests, boots, and reflective gear constitute a rider’s only protection against the elements around them, including other vehicles and debris on the road.
As a motorcycle rider, you must stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Your safety depends greatly on the actions of the other drivers of cars and commercial vehicles. Most motorcyclists understand the danger that surrounds them each day on the roadways; as a result, riders constantly evaluate their next moves and positioning on the road. Unfortunately, the risk of death and injury to a motorcyclist doesn’t often correlate to the rider’s actions, but rather to the decisions made by the other motorists on the road.
Major Threats to Motorcyclists on the Road
Motorcyclists face a high risk of injury or death each time they take to the road. Any mistake or error on the part of another driver can have tragic results for a nearby motorcycle rider. Beyond the threat of negligent drivers, motorcyclists must contend with road hazards and weather, which can make riders more prone to injury and wrecks. Several threats may increase the risk of accidents for motorcyclists.
Roadwork can prove an inconvenience to any traveler on the road, but motorcyclists face particular risks.
- As they navigate their motorcycles through these areas, riders must take care to avoid road debris or gravel that could blow out a tire or otherwise cause them to lose control of their bikes.
- Second, motorcyclists must stay aware of other drivers in the vicinity and the actions they will take. When riders approach closed lanes or traffic jams, motorists may weave in and out without warning and pose a danger to the motorcyclist of being struck or pushed into other vehicles.
Motorcycles and hazardous weather together prove a bad combination. For the most part, motorcycle riders avoid traveling when dangerous weather looms, but sometimes the weather may come in unexpectedly and prove unavoidable.
One of the most obvious dangers to motorcyclists on wet roads is the high risk of losing traction. Loss of traction can make it difficult for a rider to slow down quickly or to avoid obstacles that arise ahead.
Limited visibility, however, can also increase the risk of injury or death. It can prove troublesome for everyday motorists to identify a motorcyclist on the road, and when bad weather approaches, those problems may worsen drastically.
But other drivers have a responsibility to drive appropriately in bad weather—not too fast for condition, not following motorcycles too closely, and generally seeing and sharing the road. When they fail in that duty and hurt a motorcyclist, you can hold them accountable.
Metropolitan areas commonly experience heavy traffic. This congestion on the roads increases the risk of a collision for a motorcyclist. Impatient and aggressive drivers that weave in and out of traffic, combined with distracted motorists that stop and go while engaged in other activities, create a scary situation for motorcyclists on their commutes.
Regardless of the conditions on the road, the weather, or the ebbs and flow of traffic, negligent drivers constitute the main driving force behind most motorcycle accidents. In fact, negligent drivers pose the most risk to motorcyclists on their daily commutes. Drivers that interfere with a motorcyclist’s right of way pose the biggest risk to motorcycle riders to suffer injuries and fatalities.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents rarely involve minor injuries and damages. An accident that would result in nothing more than a scratch or dent on a vehicle can result in serious injury or death to the rider on a motorcycle. Certain types of motorist maneuvers and other situations on the road pose an especially high risk of accident to motorcyclists.
Common types of motorcycle accidents include:
- Rear-end motorcycle crash – A dangerous collision where a motorcyclist can’t adequately brace for the impact of or avoid a collision. These accidents can happen while stopped at a traffic light or in stop-and-go traffic situations.
- Sideswipe motorcycle collision – One of the more common impacts to motorcycles occurs in flowing traffic as a vehicle attempts to change lanes. Many times, drivers do not check their blind spots or simply do not identify a motorcyclist in a nearby lane and will encroach upon the right of way of the rider, which can cause the motorcyclist to lose control and be struck by another vehicle or be thrown from their bikes.
- Head-on motorcycle collision – Riders involved in these types of accidents rarely survive, and unfortunately, many of these incidents end tragically with the death of the motorcyclist. These collisions occur commonly when a vehicle driver operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, asleep, or making a reckless maneuver.
- Left-hand turns – Motorists in the process of turning left at an intersection have difficulties in gauging the distance of a motorcyclist or identifying one in traffic. This can cause a motorist to make a left into the path of an oncoming rider that has the right of way.
The Cause of Most Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycles often get a bad rap, and when people hear of a motorcycle crash, they often quickly blame the rider. However, this assumption often proves wrong. The majority of motorcycle accidents result from the actions of the other driver, not the motorcyclist. In more instances than not, a motorcycle accident occurs due to the actions of another driver on the road. Driver negligence constitutes the main reason that many accidents with motorcycles happen. With more drivers on the road than ever before and increases in distractions, the frequency of accidents continues to rise, and thousands of people each year suffer injury or lose their lives on the roadways in the U.S.
Examples of negligent causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Driver distraction
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Inexperienced drivers
Serious and Fatal Injuries Faced by Motorcyclists
The injuries associated with a motorcycle crash rarely prove minor. Even a small crash can have lifelong impacts when riders fly off of their bikes onto the pavement. Speed and the location of the accident can greatly influence the severity of the injuries suffered. Many motorcyclists will not survive a crash with a motor vehicle. Some may die on impact, while others will succumb to their injuries in the days and weeks that follow.
Those that survive a motorcycle accident do not come out unscathed and often face immense hardships as they recover from their injuries. In many cases, these injuries can result in extreme pain, suffering, and permanent disability or conditions. From extensive medical treatments to impacts on riders’ ability to work and fulfill everyday tasks, the life of a victim of a motorcycle accident can change forever.
Injuries common in motorcycle collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Burn injuries
- Amputations or loss of limbs
- Internal injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- Cuts, lacerations, and bruises
As the victim of a motorcycle accident, you may have questions about your rights and the process to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. An experienced attorney can advise you on your rights and your best course of action. Read through some of the most commonly asked questions of motorcycle accident victims to better understand the options available to you and the steps you should take after an accident. If you have more specific questions regarding your motorcycle accident, reach out to an attorney today.
How Do You Determine Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, several different parties can make a fault determination, and each plays a different role in your case. Determining fault in a motorcycle accident will not only influence the type of damages available to you, but also the amount of compensation that you could pursue.
Determination of Fault by the Police
Police officers that arrive at the scene of the crash will likely make the first fault determination. When law enforcement arrives at the scene of an accident, officers will prioritize the safety of all involved and call for medical assistance and backup if necessary.
Once the help has arrived and victims receive any needed treatment, the officers will proceed to process the scene. This will include gathering the information of all parties involved, as well as analyzing the crash scene, talking to witnesses, and gathering any other evidence available. In most cases, police officers will issue a citation to the driver that they believe violated the traffic laws that led to the accident. This citation constitutes evidence of the other driver’s liability and could prove important down the road.
It is important to understand that while the determination made by a police officer holds great weight in a case, it doesn’t constitute the final determination. Certain circumstances exist in which an officer may have not had all the available evidence, and the determination of fault in a citation may not hold in a damages claim.
Determination of Fault by an Insurer
Every insurer that has an interest in your case will determine fault for liability purposes. Insurers will use police reports, statements by the parties involved, and other pieces of evidence to determine the percentage of fault attributed to each party. Insurers base their determinations on the definitions of negligence and its application to the facts of the accident.
The vast majority of accident cases reach a resolution during this stage with the negotiation of a settlement between you, the insurer, and your attorney. In some cases, an insurer may outright deny a claim or fail to offer a reasonable amount of compensation for the damages you have suffered. In these instances, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit.
In most cases that involve more than one insurance company, the companies will ultimately agree as to the fault determination; however, some situations may arise where insurance companies disagree, and you may need to file a lawsuit to successfully recover compensation.
Determination of Fault by a Court
If the parties cannot reach a settlement and the injured individual chooses to pursue legal action, then a court will likely make the final determination of fault. The court will not only make a final decision as to the fault in the case, but will also enter a damages award against the at-fault party if that party acted negligently.
What Is Negligence?
Courts and insurers use the definition of negligence to determine who caused an accident and who bears liability for the damages sustained. Negligence involves several different elements, and injured individuals must present evidence that proves each element to succeed.
To establish negligence, injured individuals must prove the following:
- The other driver or party owed you a duty of care.
- The at-fault party violated that duty of care, either through that party’s actions or lack of action.
- The at-fault party’s breach caused your accident.
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident.
What Is the Difference Between an Accident Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When you look into your options after a motorcycle accident, you will likely read a lot about injury claims and lawsuits. While these terms generally describe the legal options available to you after an accident, they involve very different processes. Each of these options constitutes a different method to seek compensation for the damages sustained after a motorcycle accident.
In most cases where a victim sustains an injury in a motorcycle accident, the first approach to seek compensation will involve an injury claim filed with the insurers involved. This is often the fastest path to compensation for your losses. You will work alongside your attorney to calculate your damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurers.
Most of the time, a case will reach a settlement agreement at this stage. While negotiations may swing back and forth, you will likely settle if the other party’s negligence appears clear. You can also reach a settlement in complicated cases or those that don’t involve a clear at-fault party. But you may have to take your case to court in some of these situations.
If you can’t reach a settlement agreement with the at-fault insurance party, then your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf in civil court. In a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will prepare for a trial and gather all the evidence necessary to prove that the at-fault party caused your accident as well as the injuries and damages that you’ve suffered. The court will then determine who caused the accident, whether that party bears all of the liability for the accident, and what compensation, if any, the court may award to you.
What Compensation Can You Seek If You Sustain Injuries in a Boston Motorcycle Accident?
The compensation that you seek in your injury claim can help you recover compensation for the losses you suffered. The damages available to you will depend on your injuries, their impact on your daily life and routine, as well as other impacts and losses you have sustained due to the accident and its aftermath. Personal injury cases involve certain damages as defined by the laws of your state. Most personal injury cases involve two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate you for the financial losses that you’ve suffered as a result of your accident. Economic damages involve expenses and costs that you can assign a monetary value and have an economic value. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, involve a slightly more subjective determination. These damages often prove difficult to assign a monetary value due to the personal nature of these losses.
Many times, courts determine the amount of non-economic damages by looking at the severity of your injuries and the extent of the impacts on your life. Not every motorcycle accident victim will suffer every type of damage available. To claim certain damage, you will need to show evidence of the loss to the insurer or court.
Motorcycle accident damages can include:
- Medical bills – May include emergency treatment, surgeries, rehabilitation, and any expense related to care for your injuries or complications currently and in the future.
- Income losses – Examples include lost wages for missed work in the days and weeks after an accident as well as the impacts of an injury on your ability to earn an income now and in the future.
- Property losses – This often includes the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle as well as any other property that sustained damage in the accident.
- Pain and suffering – The accident, injuries, and recovery that you may experience can greatly affect your life. You may face pain and suffering from your injuries well into the future. The impacts on your physical health, your emotions, and your mental health can prove significant, and many accident victims have to deal with major challenges for the remainder of their lives.
- Quality and enjoyment of life – An injury can impact many aspects of your life, from mundane everyday tasks to your favorite hobbies and pastimes. The loss of your ability to function and live your life to its fullest constitutes a very real consequence for many victims of motorcycle accidents. These types of losses may stick with you well into the future and possibly forever.
- Loss of companionship – Injuries will not only affect your wellbeing but can also affect your relationships and how you interact with those closest to you. You may qualify to pursue compensation for these losses.
- Wrongful death – The loss of a loved one in a motorcycle accident can prove tragic and unexpected. If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, you may qualify to recover for losses, including the costs for the funeral, burial, and other damages.
Should You Speak to the Insurance Company After a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident victim must proceed with caution after an accident. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, you should not speak with any insurance representatives until you have hired an attorney to represent you.
The insurance company will attempt at every opportunity to have you give a recorded statement and reveal information about your injuries and the events leading up to the accident. An insurance company will use anything you say to an as part of its investigation. These companies will attempt to use your statements to reduce the amount of money that they will offer to you for your damages.
Speak to a lawyer before making any contact with another party’s insurer. You can and should notify your own insurance company that an accident has occurred. Even when you deal with your own insurer, you should limit your communications to only the basic information of the accident and offer no statements, opinions, or commentary on the events, your injuries, or the impact on your job and life.
Can You Seek Compensation for a Family Member That Has Died In a Motorcycle Accident?
If you lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence, you may qualify to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries and losses. Your loved one’s preventable death can serve as the grounds for a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Discuss the facts of the case with a motorcycle accident attorney that can help you understand the losses you can seek compensation for and guide you to the best options for you and your family.
How Much Time Do You Have To File a Lawsuit for Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, you have a statutory time limit in which you can file a suit for damages in a civil court. The statute of limitations in your state will specify how long you have to start this action.
If you do not file a lawsuit within this deadline, you will likely miss out on your opportunity to seek recovery for your losses in court. In Massachusetts, a motorcycle accident victim has just three years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In addition, the family of a loved one that has died as a result of a motorcycle accident also has three years from the date of an accident to file a wrongful death action.
When Should You Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Your Case?
After a motorcycle accident, you must act quickly to best protect your rights. Insurance companies and at-fault parties will move quickly to try to close and resolve your case with as little damage to their pocketbooks as possible. If you don’t act quickly, you may miss out on potential compensation. If you require treatment at a hospital, you can ask a friend or family member to contact a Boston motorcycle accident lawyer on your behalf.
Otherwise, you should contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP as soon as possible. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you can protect your rights and begin your claim for damages. Retaining an attorney early will also help ensure that you have the strongest case possible, while all of the information about your accident remains fresh and available.
If you sustain injuries in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one in a tragic motorcycle collision, contact a personal injury attorney in Boston at Jacoby & Meyers LLP at (877) 472-3061, or open a live webchat for a free evaluation of your case. During your initial evaluation, you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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