Montgomery County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Every year, thousands of Pennsylvania residents are injured in motorcycle crashes. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as many as 3,284 motorcyclists were injured in 2014 alone. Tragically, 184 of those accidents involved a fatality. Because of their lack of access to seat belts, air bags, and thousands of pounds of protective steel between themselves and the road, motorcyclists are especially at risk of sustaining serious injuries in collisions. Unfortunately, even the most cautious motorcyclist can be involved in an accident if another driver fails to check his or her blind spot or isn’t paying attention to the road. These actions can have devastating consequences for unsuspecting motorcyclists, so if you or a loved one were recently injured in a motorcycle crash, it is critical to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
Like collisions between standard vehicles, motorcycle accidents can occur in any number of ways. However, in the majority of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the collisions are head-on. This is because many accidents occur when a car is making a left hand turn and strikes a motorcycle that is:
- Traveling through the intersection; or
- Passing the car.
Motorcycles are much smaller than standard vehicles. For this reason, many drivers fail to see them until it is too late to avoid a collision. As a result, motorcycle accidents also often involve a driver who failed to adequately check his or her blind spot before changing lanes and subsequently collided with an approaching motorcyclist. Other common accident causes include:
- Following too closely and rear ending a motorcyclist; and
- The existence of a dangerous road defect, such as a pothole, cracked pavement, or poor road surface conditions.
Unfortunately, many car accidents could have been avoided, but for a driver’s decision to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, fatigued, or distracted. Alternatively, city workers or construction crews that knew of a dangerous road condition and failed to correct it can also be held accountable for any resulting injuries. Filing a claim against a municipality or the state government for a failure to maintain the roads can be difficult, so if you were injured as a result of poor road conditions, it is critical to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can walk you through the filing process.
With no access to seat belts and air bags, motorcyclists are much more likely to suffer serious injuries in accidents than are other motorists. Even minor accidents can have serious results when a motorcycle is involved, some of which could include:
- Spinal cord damage;
- Compound bone fractures;
- Organ damage and internal bleeding;
- Severe lacerations and road rash;
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Treating an injury sustained in a motorcycle accident is often prohibitively expensive as it usually requires some or all of the following procedures or forms of treatment:
- Multiple reconstructive surgeries;
- Physical therapy;
- Prescription medications;
- Multiple hospital stays;
- The purchase of special medical equipment;
- Appointments with specialists; and
- At-home nursing care.
Unfortunately, the costs of being involved in a motorcycle crash do not end here as many injured parties must take weeks or months off from work to fully heal. In some tragic cases, a victim may lose his or her life, leaving family members to not only come to terms with their loss, but also to find a way to cover funeral expenses. In other situations, an injured party may never be able to return to work, which can make it almost impossible to stay on top of mounting medical bills and other expenses. Fortunately, accident victims who can demonstrate that another party’s negligence was the cause of their crash can collect compensation for their losses, which could include:
- Past and future medical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income;
- Property damage;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Emotional distress.
Furthermore, even if a motorcyclist contributed to the accident, he or she can still recover damages. This is because Pennsylvania follows the legal theory of modified comparative negligence, which allows injured parties who were partially at fault for their accidents to collect damages as long as they were less than 51 percent responsible. However, the amount that they are able to recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Wearing a Helmet
In many states, motorcyclists are always required to wear a helmet. In Pennsylvania, however, only certain riders must wear a helmet, including those who are under the age of 21 years old. Even riders over the age of 21 years old are required to wear a helmet unless they have proof that they have:
- Accumulated at least two years of motorcycle riding experience; or
- Finished an approved motorcycle safety course.
Although not legally required for everyone, wearing a helmet is one of the best ways that motorcyclists can protect themselves from injury. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that wearing a helmet reduces a rider’s risk of death by as much as 37 percent and the risk of head injury by 69 percent. Other research published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), confirms that wearing helmets can significantly decrease a person’s chances of sustaining both facial injuries and traumatic brain injury.
While wearing a helmet may not guarantee a rider’s safety, it can go a long way towards preventing serious and even deadly injuries. Furthermore, failing to wear a helmet can affect how much an injured party is able to collect from the at-fault party. This is because some judges or juries may consider a failure to wear a helmet as contributing to the severity of an injury.
Call an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents tend to be particularly painful and difficult to treat, making it especially important for injured parties to seek compensation for their medical bills. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Norristown, please contact The Levin Firm today by calling (215) 825-5183, by initiating a live chat with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, or by submitting one of our standard contact forms.