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Motorcycle Accidents

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Attorneys: Representing Injured Victims of Motorcycle Accidents

The Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys at The Levin Firm understand that motorcycle accidents are usually seriousoften causing head and brain injuriesand numerous legal issues surround them. Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey injury lawyers know that insurance coverage is different, and motorcyclists are not required to have the same types and amounts of insurance as automobile drivers. The Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys at The Levin Firm, also understand that judges, juries, and insurance companies view these cases differently from traditional auto accidents, requiring an attorney to understand these realities when representing 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. We 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.

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 2008, 5,290 motorcycle riders died in traffic accidents in the United States and an additional 96,000 were injured. Pennsylvania, with 227 deaths in 2008, is the fourth deadliest state (trailing only California, Florida, and Texas) for motorcycle riders in the country.

Motorcycle riders accounted for 5.3 percent of total traffic fatalities in 1995, with that number increasing to 9.4 percent in 2004. Per 100,000 registered vehicles, the fatality rate for motorcycle riders in 2004 was 4.6 times the death rate for passenger car occupants. Per vehicle mile traveled in 2004, motorcycle riders were about 34 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This is primarily because motorcyclists have little, if any, protectionwith the possible exception of their helmetswhile operating their motorcycles.

Hazardous Road Conditions Can Lead to Serious Motorcycle Accidents

Thanks to busy Pennsylvania and New Jersey roadways and aggressive drivers, motorcycle accidents are unfortunately all too common. When motor vehicle drivers engage in aggressive, reckless, or careless driving, they pose serious risks to the motorcycle operators and passengers with whom they share the road.

While the list of motorcycle accident causes is potentially unlimited, common causes of Pennsylvania and New Jersey motorcycle accidents include:

  • Negligent drivers Rules of the road, speed limits, warning signs, and other traffic laws are in place for a reason. When motor vehicle drivers choose to disregard these laws by speeding or driving in careless, reckless, or distracted ways—especially around motorcyclesserious accidents can occur.
  • Dangerous construction sitesHazards oftentimes abound at construction sites, including uneven or grooved pavement, construction equipment, and potholes, which can cause motorcycle operators and motorcycle passengers to fall from their vehicles, sustaining serious injuries.
  • DUIs and DUIDsDrugs, alcohol, and driving never go hand-in-hand. Drugs and alcohol can seriously alter a persons mindset, vision, and perception. When a drunk driver negligently collides with a motorcyclist at a high rate of speed, serious injuries and deaths can occur.
  • Hazardous road conditions – Hazardous road conditions like potholes, sharp curves, and steep hills can present extreme problems for motorcyclists, and can result in serious injuries and damages for everyone involved.

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.

Negligent Drivers

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 mannerand 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.

Proving Non-Economic Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Non-economic injuries and damages, including emotional injuries and mental distress damages, can be speculative and difficult to prove in some motorcycle accident cases. However, for many motorcycle accident victims, the reality is that their lives are forever changed following their accident. Some accident victims even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorderor PTSDfollowing their accident.

You may have a hard time proving the existence of mental injuries and damages following a motorcycle accident. Moreover, insurance companies and their adjusters oftentimes try to limit the injured accident victims right to monetary compensation for those types of injuries and damages. For example, the insurance company may allege that the accident victim previously suffered from mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, before the motorcycle accident. The insurance company may also look to instances of psychological or psychiatric treatments that predated the motorcycle accident.

To relate these non-economic damages to the motorcycle accident, the injured accident victim will need to seek mental health treatments or counseling. Afterward, a victim may submit the medical records and bills, which constitute medical evidence, to the at-fault partys insurance company to verify the nature and extent of the treatments and link the treatments to the motorcycle accident.

In addition to introducing medical evidence, the injured accident victim will likely need to introduce the medical testimony of a qualified mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can testify about the extent of the accident victims treatmentsas well as the cost thereof. If the injured accident victim suffered from a preexisting medical condition or mental health disorder, the expert may allege that the accident victims condition worsened as a result of the motorcycle accident.

In cases where the injured motorcyclist suffered mental anguish, emotional distress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions following injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, the at-fault drivers insurance company then has a legal right to explore other potential causes of these conditions. This becomes especially problematic in cases where the injured plaintiff has a history of pill popping or illicit drug use, which could be evident in medical records.

The knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers at The Levin Firm can retain the necessary medical experts and mental health providers to connect your non-economic injuries and damages to your motorcycle accident, helping to increase the potential compensation you may receive from your case.

Contact a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

Representing motorcycle accident victims requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers, all devoting their maximum efforts to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or a friend who has suffered a motorcycle accident injury, call The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online.

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