Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney

motorcycle

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 Driving

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:

  • Grooming
  • Eating
  • Texting
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using a GPS device
  • Reading
  • Talking
  • 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.

Defective Motorcycles

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 Violations

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:

  • Speeding
  • 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 Bicycle Accident FAQ

Tens of thousands of Philadelphians ride bicycles for leisure, exercise, and transportation every day. Most of the time, they have safe and enjoyable rides. Unfortunately, sometimes riding a bicycle in the City of Brotherly Love ends in disaster, when a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle and inflicts catastrophic, even fatal, injuries.

Victims of Philadelphia bicycle accidents have lots of questions about their legal rights. Fortunately, the team here at The Levin Firm has answers. Below we respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about these frightening and preventable crashes. To find out more about your rights after suffering injuries in a Philadelphia bicycle accident, contact the experienced bike accident lawyers at the Levin Firm today.

1. Who pays my medical bills after a bicycle accident?

Let’s start with the basics. No matter who caused or contributed to your bicycle accident, the legal obligation for paying your medical bills belongs to you, at least initially. How you pay those medical bills, however, can vary.

  • Your personal injury protection insurance. If you own a registered passenger vehicle in Pennsylvania, then you almost certainly carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers you on a no fault basis for the costs of your own injuries in a motor vehicle accident. Most people think of this insurance as covering them as drivers or passengers in motor vehicles. Believe it or not, however, PIP insurance will also typically cover you against injuries you sustain as a bicyclist if a motor vehicle collides with you.
  • Your medical insurance. If you carry health insurance, chances are it will cover the cost of at least some of your medical treatment after sustaining injuries in a Philadelphia bicycle accident (subject, naturally, to any applicable co-payments, deductibles, and coverage limits).
  • Workers’ compensation insurance. If your bicycle accident happened in the course of your work (which is rare, but not unheard of), then your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may cover your medical expenses resulting from the crash.
  • The at fault party. Depending upon the circumstances, you may have the right to take legal action for compensation (a personal injury claim) against the party at fault for your Philadelphia bicycle accident injuries. Speak with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer today to learn about taking legal action.

2. Who should I file a personal injury claim against if I suffer injuries in a bicycle accident?

It all depends on what happened and who is to blame. In a typical Philadelphia bicycle accident in which a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the driver of the vehicle deserves at least some of the blame and, thus, has a legal liability to the injured cyclist. (The driver’s insurance company usually pays that liability, at least in part.)

However, not all Philadelphia bicycle accidents happen because of a driver’s careless or reckless action, nor is it always the case that the driver, alone, bears all of the legal liability for the cyclist’s injuries. Other individuals and entities might also have made bad decisions or engaged in dangerous actions that led to the collision between a vehicle and bicycle.

For example:

The driver’s employer. The employer of a driver who was on the clock at the time of a collision with a cyclist may share liability for the accident, especially when:

  • The company failed to maintain the vehicle in good working condition, leading to an accident
  • The company knew or had reason to know its employee would drive recklessly
  • The company required the driver to break the law, including requiring delivery drivers to speed or truck drivers to remain behind the wheel for more than the legally-mandated 11 hours per day.
  • The company required the driver to drive in unsafe conditions, including while ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The manufacturer of a vehicle or its component parts. Mechanical failure can make it impossible for a driver to avoid a collision with a cyclist. Mechanical failure that occurs because of defective parts can saddle the manufacturer of the part with legal liability.

A mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle. A mechanic that fails to maintain or repair a vehicle, and sends it out on the road in an unsafe condition that causes an accident with a bicyclist, can have liability for that accident.

These are examples, only. Every Philadelphia bicycle accident has its own unique circumstances. Working with an experienced Philadelphia bicycle accident injury lawyer is the most reliable way to identify all parties who may have legal liability for your injuries.

3. How much compensation should I expect from my bicycle accident?

It depends. The amount of money an injured cyclist can hope to receive as compensation for a crash injury varies based on the answers to two broad questions:

  • How severe are the cyclist’s injuries? Severe injuries can mean substantial medical bills, lots of time away from work, and diminished quality of life. For example, a spinal cord injury that results in high tetraplegia can cost as much as $1 million for the first year of care, to mention lost wages and the extreme difficulty of adapting to life in a wheelchair. As a general matter, the more severe the injury, the longer the recovery, the more profound the disability, and the greater the impact on quality of life, the more money a bicycle accident victim can hope to receive.
  • Who has a legal liability? As a practical matter, the number of parties who have a legal liability for a Philadelphia bicycle accident, and the financial resources of those parties, plays a large role in the value of a cyclist’s injury claim. For instance, in Pennsylvania, drivers who carry minimum auto insurance can carry as little as $15,000 of bodily injury protection for a single individual injured in an accident. On the other hand, a large business that employs a driver who collides with a cyclist may carry millions in liability coverage.

Work with our experienced Philadelphia bicycle accident injury attorney to determine how much money you might receive for your injuries.

4. I wasn’t wearing a helmet and I suffered a traumatic brain injury. Do I still have a claim?

Yes, you may still have a claim.

To be clear, we encourage all Philadelphia bicyclists to wear a helmet when they ride. Wearing a helmet substantially reduces the risk of suffering a severe traumatic brain injury. In some cases, a bicycle helmet can reduce the odds of severe injury by as much as 70 percent. Adults and children should always take care to wear proper safety gear when riding a bicycle, especially when riding around traffic.

However, Pennsylvania law only requires helmet use for cyclists under age 12. Everyone else has the right to cycle without a helmet. So, not having worn a helmet does not necessarily disqualify you from seeking compensation after a Philadelphia bicycle accident. It could, however, reduce the value of your claim, making it all-the-more important to hire an experienced Philadelphia bicycle accident injury attorney to represent your interests.

5. Does the person who doored me have a legal liability?

According to Pennsylvania law, drivers and passengers may only open a vehicle door when safe to do so, and can only open a door into a lane of traffic, including bicycle traffic, long enough for passengers to exit the vehicle.

Dooring a cyclist (opening the door into the cyclist’s path, causing a crash) likely constitutes a violation of these rules, and definitely puts the cyclist’s health and safety at extreme risk. So, those vehicle occupants would likely have a legal liability for causing the cyclist’s injuries.

6. What should I do to protect my legal rights after a bicycle accident?

The actions you take immediately after a bicycle accident can help protect your rights. Take these precautions, if possible.

  • Report the accident immediately. Unless you must leave the scene of the accident to seek medical attention, wait there until the police arrive. Report the accident and allow the police to take your statement. Failure to report the accident may make it difficult to recover the compensation you deserve.
  • Avoid accepting liability. Make no statement that someone could misconstrue as you accepting responsibility for causing the accident, such as statements that might let the motorist who struck you off-the-hook. Do not, for example, apologize or say “I should have seen you.” Stick to the facts or say nothing at all.
  • Seek medical attention promptly. Some cyclists may try to shake off a minor case of road rash or presumed minor injuries. Some may even wear that road rash with pride. Unfortunately, failure to seek medical attention after a Philadelphia cycling accident could result in your injuries worsening, and could impair your ability to recover compensation for them. Road rash, for example, could become infected, leaving you with serious scarring and other complications. You may also fail to realize the full extent of your injuries at the scene of the accident, since you may suffer from disorientation, or adrenaline may mask your pain. Do not gamble with your health and safety. See a doctor right away.
  • Keep track of all medical records and bills. You may need to produce this information as evidence in a personal injury claim. Keep it close at hand so you can produce it easily after the accident.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice. Many cyclists, including athletes who ride for fitness or competition, not just leisure, may try to ignore their doctors’ instructions and get back on their bicycle again before they fully recover from their injuries. If you ignore your doctor, it could make your injuries worse and even prevent you from receiving the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
  • Contact our Philadelphia bike accident attorneys as soon as possible. Do not wait to seek advice from our experienced Philadelphia bicycle accident injury lawyers. The sooner you have a lawyer working for you, the better your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

7. The driver’s insurance company offered me a settlement for my injuries. Should I take it?

Never agree to or accept any compensation for accident injuries without first speaking with our knowledgeable legal counsel.

Insurance companies will sometimes try to limit their financial exposure to an accident by trying to get the victim to agree to a quick settlement “without getting lawyers involved.” That kind of offer will almost never account for the full measure of a cyclist’s accident injuries and financial needs. Let a skilled bicycle accident injury attorney negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf instead.

8. How soon do I need to contact an attorney after my accident?

Ideally, as soon as humanly possible. An attorney, once hired, can:

  • Collect evidence. Much evidence gets lost quickly after a bicycle accident. Security footage can grow much more difficult to acquire as time passes. Witness memories also begin to fade. The sooner you start working with an attorney, the easier your attorney will find it to collect important evidence to show how the accident happened and who should have a legal liability to you for it.
  • Negotiate on your behalf. A lawyer can help keep you safe from unscrupulous insurance companies, evaluate the full measure of compensation you deserve, and open negotiations with insurance companies and defense attorneys in pursuit of a fair and reasonable settlement.
  • Go to court, if needed. Lawyers for Philadelphia bicycle accident victims also commonly file legal actions in Pennsylvania court, seeking to force parties with a legal liability to pay damages required by law.

Contacting an attorney immediately does not mean that your case will necessarily end up in a trial, or even that you will ever even need to go to court. It merely gives you the best possible chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Do not wait to protect your legal rights. You have only a limited amount of time to act on your rights after a Philadelphia bicycle accident leaves you badly injured. With the right lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that someone will look after your legal interests while you put your energies into healing and getting your life back on track.

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“I don’t think words can express how thankful my husband and I are for James Stinsman. He is an honest man who will fight for you until the very end. I highly recommend him and levin law firm. They were awesome throughout our whole process. Explained everything very well and always kept us informed.” -Francis M.

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