In Massachusetts, once the snow and ice melts and the spring weather arrives, motorcycle riders and enthusiasts are ready to dust off their bikes and hit the open road. In the summer and fall months, motorcyclists enjoy the thrill and freedom of riding on the Massachusetts highways and scenic side roads. But, riding a motorcycle is not without risk.
Alarming Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident & Injury Statistics
Motorcycle accidents in Massachusetts are common and often result in very serious injuries and, in some situations, death. It has been reported that motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to be injured and 27 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers and passengers of a car. There were 8.6 million motorcycles on the road in 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motorcycle accidents, which was actually lower than the reported 92,000 injured motorcyclists in 2014. However, the NHTSA reported that in 2015 nearly 5,000 people died in motorcycle crashes, which was an increase from 2014.
These statistics show how common motorcycles accidents are. Accidents and injuries are not always the motorcyclist's fault. If someone suffers injuries and incurs financial losses as a result of another driver’s negligence, they have the legal right in Massachusetts to file a claim and pursue financial compensation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Massachusetts
No one ever thinks they are going to be involved in a motorcycle accident. When riders purchase a motorcycle or take a bike out for a ride, they are usually looking forward to the excitement and fun of the ride. But, with the statistics set forth above, there is always a probability that motorcyclists can be involved and hurt in a crash.
Our office has represented numerous people in Massachusetts, who were injured in motorcycle accidents, and often see how the other vehicles involved in the crash are quick to point their finger and blame the motorcycle driver for causing the accident. This is not always true. Every accident is different and it sometimes can be difficult to determine who caused the accident and injuries. In our experience, the following are common causes of motorcycle crashes:
- Speed. A major factor in motorcycle accidents in Massachusetts is speeding. Motorcycles are built for speed, but, speeding greatly increases the risk of an accident. The NHTSA reported that 34 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding. Likewise, a speeding passenger vehicle (car or truck) can often contribute and cause a motorcycle accident. If a car is driving too fast, the driver may not be able to see a motorcycle in time to stop or avoid the bike.
- Distracted Driving. If the driver of a passenger vehicle is distracted, this often leads to auto accidents, including motorcycle crashes. In our high paced lives, drivers are often on their cell phones texting, emailing or checking the weather, while driving. Other drivers are also eating while driving or putting on their makeup. The next time you are on Route 128 (I-95), I-93, or the Mass Pike (I-90), just take a look at some of the other drivers and see what they are doing while driving.
- Drunk Driving. Of course, intoxicated drivers are also common causes of accidents, including motorcycle crashes. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to safely drive a vehicle by slowing down the motor functions of the central nervous system. This impairs a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, which can lead to causing a crash.
While there are many other factors that contribute and/or cause motorcycle accidents, these are some of the most common. Each crash is different and can involve one other vehicle or multiple vehicles. However, regardless of what caused the accident, if you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Massachusetts, you have a right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses if the other driver was careless and caused the accident.
Common Injuries People Suffer In Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can cause very serious injuries or even death. It is obvious that a motorcyclist can suffer catastrophic injuries because there is not much protection for the motorcycle rider against a car or truck. Some common injuries from motorcycle accidents include:
- Head or Brain Injuries. Massachusetts laws require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. While most riders in Massachusetts wear helmets and they do offer protection, a helmet does not completely protect a person from a head or brain injury in an accident. Motorcyclists can suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), concussions, or even brain damage in accidents.
- Broken Bones. A lot of motorcycle drivers and/or passengers can be thrown from a bike if they are hit by another vehicle. Even at low speeds, being thrown off a bike can result in broken or fractured bones. Arms and legs are often broken in motorcycle accidents.
- Scarring. Similarly, being thrown off a motorcycle during a crash can result in road rash and permanent scarring. If the driver or passenger of a motorcycle is not wearing the appropriate riding gear, being thrown from a bike often causes nasty scars from road rash.
There are many other types of injuries that can occur in motorcycle accidents, such as, torn ligaments, muscle damage, and neck and back injuries. Regardless of the injuries sustained, a person injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else can seek financial compensation for those injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Victims' Rights in Massachusetts
Massachusetts laws allow motorcycle accident victims the legal right to seek financial compensation for their injuries and losses against the at-fault vehicle or driver that caused the accident. The accident victim must establish, however, the other vehicle and driver’s negligence to be successful in their claim. It must be established that the other driver failed to use reasonable care and that this failure caused the crash and the injuries.
If the injured motorcyclist is blamed for causing the accident and an insurance company denies the injury claim, the accident victim has the right to file a lawsuit against the other driver. The motorcycle accident victim will have the burden of proof to prove the other driver was negligent and caused the accident.
If the motorcycle accident victim successfully establishes the other driver was at fault for the accident, and an insurance company accepts liability or the accident victim is successful in Court, they can seek compensation for:
- Medical Bills, including future medical costs;
- Lost Wages and future lost earning capacity;
- Total or Partial Disability, Loss of Function and Disfigurement;
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Damages and changes in quality of life
A passenger of a motorcycle that is injured in a crash caused by the motorcycle operator also has the right to file a claim for bodily injury in Massachusetts against the motorcyclist.
If the operator of the motorcycle or a passenger is killed in a motorcycle accident, then the surviving family members may have the right in Massachusetts to pursue a wrongful death claim.
While it may seem clear in some crashes that a motorcycle accident victim was not at-fault for the accident, they are not automatically paid financial compensation. Insurance companies are notoriously tough on motorcycle accident cases.
Why Motorcycle Accident Victims Should Speak With An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Massachusetts
Insurance companies and their insured will often blame the motorcycle for causing the accident, which can lead to denials of injury claims. Similarly, if they cannot blame them entirely, insurance companies will try to place some blame on the motorcyclists and assert the defense of contributory negligence to try and reduce any financial compensation paid.
A personal injury lawyer, who is experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases, offers motorcycle accident victims an advantage against large national insurance companies. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP understands how a motorcycle accident can change a person’s life and their family’s future. We are not only personal injury attorneys, but trial lawyers that are experienced in handling injury claims and lawsuits. Our legal team thoroughly investigates all accidents and fights for fair and just compensation for accident victims.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation meeting and case evaluation. If you cannot make it to our office in Framingham, we will come to you. Find out how we can help you get the financial compensation you and your family deserve.