Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Representing Injured Victims Of Motorcycle Accidents
At The Levin Firm, we understand that representing motorcycle accident victims requires particular skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to understand the rights of motorcyclists, who are often taken for granted. Our Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys fight to recover the many types of damages and compensation to which our clients are entitled, including medical expenses, hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost earnings, future wage losses, lost earnings capacity, physical disabilities, scars, losses of limbs, brain and head injuries, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, grief, and pain and suffering. We understand these issues and work with our clients, their friends and families, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others, to ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation but also the finest support and medical care.
Motorcycle Accidents: Common Causes
Distracted drivers are less aware of their surroundings and often do not see motorcyclists until it is too late. While many of use tend to immediately think about smartphones when we think about distracted driving,1 distractions can take be much less high-tech. Some examples of the kinds of things that drivers can do and distract themselves include the following:
- Adjusting the radio
- Using a GPS device
- Looking at scenery
- Looking for objects in the car
- Tending to children
- Drunk Driving
Despite public education campaigns aimed at educating people about the dangers of drunk driving and harsh penalties for even first-time offenders, people continue to drive drunk on a daily basis in the Philadelphia area. Drunk drivers pose a significant safety risk to motorcyclists as alcohol intoxication can affect a person’s spatial awareness, reaction time, and judgment. If you suspect that the driver who caused your accident was drunk, you should be sure to call the police.
Poor Road Maintenance
Poor road maintenance is a significant factor in many accidents, especially those involving just one vehicle. Issues like potholes, overgrown vegetation, inadequate signage, faded paint, broken stoplights, poor drainage, and excessive grade can very easily cause a serious motorcycle crash.
It is important for the victim to be aware of the fact that when accidents caused by poor road maintenance occur on public property, claims arising from them are subject to a special set of legal rules that govern legal actions against public entities. These kinds of claims are subject to significant time limits, so victims should be certain to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Defective Road Conditions
Motorcycle operators must take care to appreciate the road conditions and operate their motorcycles accordingly. Common examples of dangerous road conditions that can lead to serious motorcycle accidents include potholes, sharp curves, and steep hills.
Defectively manufactured, designed, or marketed motorcycles can cause extremely serious accidents, often with little to no warning. Some examples of the kinds of defects that often lead to crashes include brake failures, steering mechanism problems, defective tires, and fuel system defects. Victims of these kinds of incidents can often recover compensation from the manufacturer of the motorcycle.
Traffic laws exist to keep us all safe, and motorists who violate them can cause extremely serious injury-causing accidents. Some examples of the kinds of traffic violations that often lead to accidents involving motorcycles include the following:
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Improper turns
- Running stop signs or stop lights
Fortunately for victims, evidence that a driver violated a traffic law is often sufficient to establish liability. For this reason, it is important to contact law enforcement after an accident where a traffic violation may have occurred.
What To Do If You’re Injured In A Motorcycle Accident
In order to recover compensation, victims need to be able to establish that their accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.2 There are certain steps that you can take after involvement in an accident, the most important of which are detailed below.
Collect Information – After an accident, you should collect as much information as you can about your accident. Examples of the kinds of facts of which should make not include the names of the other motorists involved, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, the license plate numbers of the other vehicles involved, and the other driver’s insurance information. If you can, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident, especially if you believe that a hazardous road condition caused or contributed to your accident.
Seek Medical Attention – You should always undergo a thorough medical evaluation after involvement in an accident. Doing so will ensure that your injuries are identified, treated, and documented.
Talk to a Lawyer – You should talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after you are hurt in a motorcycle accident. A lawyer will analyze your accident, determine whether you have a claim, and protect your rights throughout the process of obtaining compensation for your losses.
Potential Defendants In Motorcycle Accident Cases
More than one defendant may face legal liabilities in a motorcycle accident that a roadway hazard or negligent driver caused. First and foremost, motorcycle passengers may sue the motorcycle operator for driving in a negligent manner, such as driving too fast through a construction site or on a roadway filled with potholes. Motorcycle passengers may also sue the driver of another motor vehicle who negligently caused an accident or collision.
In motorcycle accidents involving construction sites and defective road conditions, the injured motorcycle operator or passenger may sue the construction company or responsible government for negligent or defective road repair work or for creating (or failing to properly maintain or correct) a hazardous condition on the roadway. In lawsuits involving governmental entities, such as cities, counties, townships, or municipalities, however, special limitation periods and filing deadlines may apply.
A knowledgeable Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer may make claims against all potential defendants and can meet all filing and notice requirements in a timely manner.
Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident FAQ:
The Information You Want to Get the Help That You Need
The freedom of riding on an open road makes many motorcyclists feel invincible. However, no matter how exhilarating riding a motorcycle can feel, Philadelphia-area motorcyclists nevertheless rely on other motorists to exercise caution and to keep them safe. Unfortunately, when those motorists ignore motorcyclist safety, devastating accidents can often result.
A motorcycle crash can leave a rider struggling with catastrophic injuries, emotional trauma, and financial ruin. Victims of these accidents often have questions about their legal rights to compensation. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked of those questions. For answers to questions specific to your Philly motorcycle accident injuries, contact our experienced motorcycle crash attorneys today.
1. What should I do after a Philadelphia motorcycle accident?
Every motorcycle accident has its own unique circumstances, so we cannot give advice specific to your situation without talking to you directly.
However, in general, motorcyclists injured in a crash can protect their health and rights by doing the following:
- Seek medical treatment. After any motorcycle crash, seek medical assistance as quickly as you can. Even if you think that you did not suffer any critical injuries, head to a medical professional to get looked over. Some life-threatening injuries may not develop symptoms right away, but a doctor can spot and treat them, and take steps to prevent further harm. In addition, seeking medical care can help you recover compensation for your injuries later-on, by generating important medical records that show the connection between an accident and your injuries.
- Call an attorney as soon as possible. Contacting an attorney as soon as you can after a Philadelphia motorcycle accident gives you the best possible chance of recovering compensation for your injuries. The sooner an attorney with experience representing motorcycle accident victims gets to work, the more opportunity the attorney will have to gather potentially crucial evidence and to advise you about the steps to take, and not take, to protect your rights. Do not leave yourself vulnerable to losing important rights by going another minute without legal representation.
- Beware of quick settlement offers. If someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused the motorcycle accident that injured you, then defense lawyers and insurance companies representing the at-fault party might try to trick you into settling your potential legal claims for pennies-on-the-dollar. Do not fall for that tactic. It is designed to get you to give up valuable legal rights on the cheap. Instead, refuse to negotiate any settlement directly and refer anyone who reaches out to your attorney.
2. Will an insurance company take care of me?
Most individuals who have experienced a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident often assume that their own or someone else’s insurance company will help them through the ordeal by paying benefits that cover medical costs and other expenses. After all, isn’t that what insurance is for?
Maybe so, but the fact of the matter is that insurance companies have every incentive not to pay the full value of motorcycle accident claims and the like. Instead, they look for any reason at all to nickel-and-dime claimants, or to deny claims altogether, so that they can keep a little extra money in their own pockets.
Hiring an experienced attorney who has handled insurance claims and has experience in insurance negotiations helps ensure that any insurance company that should pay you for your injuries and losses pays the highest possible value of your claim.
3. Who owes me damages for my motorcycle accident?
Every motorcycle crash case we handle has its own unique circumstances that determine who might have legal liability to you for the harm you suffered. Generally speaking, anyone who made a dangerous decision or took a careless or reckless action that led to your Philadelphia motorcycle accident could owe you money damages as compensation for your injuries.
In a typical motorcycle accident, those parties might include:
- Another motorist. Most Philly motorcycle wrecks result from the careless or reckless actions of someone behind the wheel of a car or truck. Drivers make a variety of mistakes that can put motorcyclists at serious risk of an accident, from turning left into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, merging into a biker’s lane without checking blind spots, to opening a car or truck door in front of a motorcycle. Any of these dangerous, preventable actions could make the motorists legally-liable to the motorcyclist for damages.
- A business that employed the motorist who caused the accident while working, or that operated a vehicle involved in the accident in a manner that contributed to it happening;
- A car, truck, or motorcycle maker if the accident happened because of a defective vehicle or vehicle part that company made; and
- A local government entity if the accident involved a city vehicle, or resulted from a preventable and unreasonably dangerous road condition the government should have fixed or warned about.
These are just a few examples, of course. Every Philadelphia motorcycle accident is different. The best way to determine who may have legal liability to you for injuries you suffered in a crash is to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney right away.
4. What is my motorcycle accident worth?
One of the most popular questions many motorcycle accident victims have is: How much is my case worth? Unfortunately, we can never give a cut-and-dried answer to that question, because many factors affect the overall worth of a legal claim for damages, and (as we’ve said) every case is different.
As a general matter, the money damages a Philadelphia motorcycle accident victim may seek consist of two broad categories of compensation: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages, also referred to as special damages, consist of the real and tangible financial losses that a motorcycle accident victim suffers because of an injury, such as:
- Medical expenses, including current medical bills, rehab services, hospital stay, nursing care services, at-home care, and any future medical costs;
- Property damages, including repairs or the replacement costs to a motorcycle and any other personal property that was damaged as a result of the accident; and
- Lost wages and income, including any current and future, lost wages, as well as a crash victim’s reduced earning capacity.
Non-economic damages, also called general damages, reflect the subjective harm done by an accident and its resulting injuries, which can vary widely from person-to-person depending on the victim’s injuries, age, and general state of health, among other factors. These include:
- A victim’s physical pain and emotional suffering stemming from the injuries;
- A victim’s diminished quality of life resulting from the injuries, such as an inability to engage in favorite activities; and
- Harm done to a victim’s important personal relationships by the accident and injuries, such as how the injuries interfere with intimacy with a spouse.
In rare cases, victims of Philadelphia motorcycle crashes may also have the legal right to pursue so-called punitive damages, which a court may award when the conduct that led to a crash was particularly outrageous or reckless. Speak with an experienced Philly motorcycle accident injury lawyer to find out if you may seek punitive damages in your case.
5. How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations, which means that Philadelphia motorcycle accident victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action against the parties at fault. If this deadline passes without legal action, a victim generally loses the right to seek compensation for crash injuries.
In some cases, however, victims have more or less than two years to file a lawsuit, so consult our experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers as soon as possible after an accident to make sure you meet any applicable deadline. The sooner a lawyer starts working on behalf of an injured Philly motorcycle crash victim, the better that lawyer’s chances of securing important evidence and of building the strongest possible case against any parties who caused harm.
6. How long will it take to get paid?
To begin, you should always keep in mind that there is no guarantee of payment for your injuries. Hiring an experienced Philadelphia motorcycle crash lawyer gives you the best chance, however, of achieving a favorable result.
The timeline for resolving a legal claim and getting money for motorcycle accident injuries depends on lots of factors, only some of which lie within your or your lawyer’s ability to control. We have represented clients in Philadelphia motorcycle accident injury cases that concluded in just a few months, and in others that have taken more than a year.
Some of the factors that influence that timeline include:
- How soon after an accident you seek legal advice;
- The amount of money at stake;
- The degree of dispute over legal and factual issues;
- The number of parties with legal interests in your claim; and
- The willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement.
You can speed things along principally by hiring a lawyer with experience representing motorcycle crash victims like you as soon as possible, and taking care of yourself by seeking and following medical advice.
7. How can a motorcycle accident attorney help me?
Motorcycle accident victims come to our firm for legal help during an intensely stressful and challenging time in their lives. Oftentimes, they have sustained severe injuries that cause them significant physical, emotional, and financial pain. They may even feel confused and overwhelmed by the prospect of taking legal action.
Hiring an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney helps these victims and their families make sense of the decisions they need to make, and often reduces the stress they feel about their predicament.
Every case is different, but often knowledgeable motorcycle crash injury lawyers serve their clients’ interests by:
- Identifying parties with legal liability: A seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer has the resources and experience to investigate the facts and circumstances of a crash to determine who may have legal liability to a client for damages. Conducting this investigation may involve gathering a wide range of evidence from various sources, including photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and opinions from forensic and medical experts. Experienced lawyers know that the more individuals and entities who may have legal liability for damages, the better a client’s chances of recovering maximum compensation.
- Calculating damages: Philadelphia motorcycle accident injury lawyers also know the critical importance of assessing the full measure of damages a client deserves to recover from legally-liable parties. These may include medical costs, lost present and future wages, and an amount to compensate for the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life a crash victim has suffered. By paying close attention to the details of a case, a seasoned lawyer can ensure that a client seeks enough money as damages to meet current and future financial needs.
- Negotiating settlements: Attorneys for Philly motorcycle crash victims frequently engage in negotiations with insurance companies and defense lawyers, hoping to convince them to pay an injured client money as a settlement of a claim. Most any case can settle for some amount, but experienced motorcycle accident attorneys have the skill and know-how to push for the maximum possible settlement for an injured client.
- Going to trial: If the settlement negotiations fail, a skilled Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney has the resources and experience to take a case to trial in Pennsylvania courts, to present the strongest possible case for damages to a judge and jury.
Victims of Philadelphia motorcycle accidents often have important questions and understandable worries about the future, not only for themselves but for their families as well. These victims want to understand their rights and to feel confident that someone will fight for the compensation they deserve.
If a motorcycle accident left you or a family member injured, contact the experienced motorcycle accident injury attorneys at the Levin Firm today for a free evaluation of your rights to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses. Do not delay. The sooner you have an attorney working for you, the better your chances of receiving the money you need to heal and rebuild from this difficult time.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most scenic motorcycle routes in the country. Motorcyclists can follow the Lake Erie coastline, travel one of the federal or state-designated Scenic Byways, roll through the hills and valleys of the Pocono Mountains, visit one of the charming country towns in Amish country, or travel to the cradle of American independence in Philadelphia.
But no matter how enjoyable, traveling by motorcycle also comes with serious risks. Motorcycle riders have virtually no protection from the impact of a collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,985 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2018 on U.S. roads.
Although this number represents a welcome decrease of almost 5 percent from the previous year, motorcycle riders still account for 14 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Based on 2018 statistics, in Pennsylvania, there were 164 motorcycle fatalities. Of these, 153 (93.3 percent) were riders, and 11 (6.7 percent) were passengers.
Before you hit the open road, get to know the answers to the following important questions about motorcycle accidents.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney as soon as possible.
Burden Of Proving Injuries And Damages
In motorcycle accident cases, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant—individual, company, or municipality—did something that a reasonable person or entity would not have done, or failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done. The plaintiff must also show that this breach resulted in personal injuries and damages. Philadelphia’s defective and hazardous roadway conditions can result in serious, and sometimes catastrophic, motorcycle injuries.
Common Injuries Sustained In Motorcycle Accidents Include:
- Cuts, lacerations, and abrasions
- Permanent scarring—especially facial scarring
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions and comas
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Permanent damages
In cases where a motorcycle accident results in a motorcycle operator or passenger’s death, the law may entitle an injured plaintiff’s surviving family members to wrongful death benefits. The purpose of wrongful death benefits is to compensate the injured plaintiff’s surviving family members for mental anguish, emotional distress, and psychological or psychiatric harm associated with the untimely death of their loved one.
In other cases, motorcycle accident victims may recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional distress, among other damages.
Where Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur?
Intersections are inherently dangerous places for all motorists, particularly when those intersections are busy. At an intersection, vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists are traveling across one another’s paths, often perpendicularly. In addition, while a two-way intersection is dangerous enough, many urban areas have five-way or even six-way intersections, often resulting in extremely complex traffic patterns that are difficult to anticipate.
While intersections put everyone at risk, motorcyclists are at a particularly high risk of involvement in an accident at intersections because their smaller size makes them harder for motorists to spot. As a result, anyone riding a motorcycle should be extra careful when entering or approaching an intersection and make sure to follow the rules of the road.
Another situation in which motorcyclists are at an increased risk of involvement in a wreck is when they find themselves on a congested road. When vehicles are close to one another, motorcyclists tend to get boxed into areas where there is little room to maneuver. As a motorcyclist, it may be tempting to use your smaller size to zoom through traffic and between cars that are stopped or moving slowly because of heavy traffic. This practice, known as “lane splitting,” is not only illegal in the state of Florida but also extremely dangerous. Many drivers do not expect a motorcyclist to suddenly be beside them and may try and switch lanes without any warning. In addition, any error that you make could cause you to slam into the back of a slower moving or stopped vehicle, potentially throwing you off your bike and into traffic.
Roads With Low Sight Distance
Being able to see what is ahead of you is essential to avoiding collisions with other vehicles, objects, or avoiding road hazards. While the idea of taking your motorcycle out on a curvy road and seeing what it can do may be appealing, it also significantly increases your risk of involvement in an accident.
There are many ways that accidents on roads with low sight distance can occur. For example, motorists may not see that you are coming around a turn or over a hill and veer into your lane, causing a serious head-on collision. Similarly, if you are traveling at a high rate of speed, you may not be able to see a stopped vehicle or road hazard around a sharp turn until it is too late to avoid it.
Motorcyclists Injured In High-Risk Areas Can Often Recover Compensation
The fact that a particular situation is inherently riskier than others does not relieve other drivers of the duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner. For example, drivers should still stop at red lights at a confusing intersection, and the fact that a road has sharp curves does not mean that it is okay for a vehicle to weave out of its lane. For this reason, motorcyclists who are injured in accidents that occur in high-risk situations should always have their crash reviewed by an attorney in order to determine whether they can recover compensation.
National And State Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The number of deaths and injuries from motorcycle accidents is frightening. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 125,000 motorcycle riders died in traffic crashes between 1966 and 2006. A more recent NHTSA report indicated that in 2017, 5,172 motorcycle riders died in traffic accidents in the United States. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2017, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.
In addition, NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017 and that 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
Many Different Parties Could Face Responsibility for Motorcycle Accidents
After a Pennsylvania or New Jersey motorcycle accident, a motorcycle passenger may sue the motorcycle operator for driving in a negligent manner, such as by speeding or erratically operating the motorcycle. Motorcycle passengers may also sue other motor vehicle drivers whose negligence caused or contributed to the collision.
If a defective road condition caused the accident, the injured motorcycle operator or passenger may sue the construction company, city, or county for failing to properly maintain or correct a hazardous roadway condition or defect. However, in cases where governmental entities, such as cities, counties, townships, or municipalities, are potential defendants, special notice periods may apply, and you must comply with them before filing any lawsuits.
All Pennsylvania and New Jersey drivers owe affirmative duties to other drivers to operate their vehicles in reasonably safe and prudent ways at all times. They must drive their vehicles in careful manners and must always take into account current weather and traffic conditions. Finally, they must obey all state traffic laws and rules of the road while operating their vehicles.
To prove that a motor vehicle driver caused a serious accident, the injured plaintiff motorcyclist must show that the at-fault driver operated a vehicle in a reckless, careless, or negligent manner—and that this negligence resulted in serious injuries and damages. These potential injuries and damages may take the form of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries (including tears, sprains, and strains), fractures, broken bones, paralysis and spinal cord injuries, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
Call A Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today To Schedule A Free Consultation
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to significant compensation under Pennsylvania law.
Examples of the kinds of losses for which accident victims often recover include medical expenses, property damage, loss of quality of life, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.
To schedule a free consultation with attorney Gabriel Levin, call our office today at 215-825-5184 or contact us online.