Boston Motorcycle Accident Attorney | Call Our Experienced Injury Lawyers
Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Boston area? Let our accident attorneys at Rubenstein Law help you figure out your legal options for compensation.
Boston is home to a large community of motorcyclists who ride for both day-to-day travel and for fun. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with hazards that are inherent risks to motorcyclists every time they ride, due to the negligence of other drivers on the road.
Massachusetts law entitles motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident to hold the at-fault driver liable for their injuries and other damages. An experienced Boston motorcycle accident attorney from Rubenstein Law can review your potential case during a free consultation. Give us a call to find out what your rights are and whether or not you have a valid claim.
Motorcycle Accident Injury Data
Motorcycle accidents are often devastating since riders are completely exposed to the world around them. A quick look at motorcycle crash statistics reveals some sobering facts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in one recent year:
- More than 5,000 motorcycle riders were killed in traffic accidents nationwide, representing an 8% increase from the year before.
- 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents, 3% fewer than the previous year.
- Motorcycle riders made up 14% of all fatal traffic accidents, 4% of all injured victims, 17% of all occupant deaths, and 4% of all occupant injuries.
- The fatality rate for someone who rides a motorcycle is 27 times higher than for passenger car occupants.
- More than 40% of motorcycle fatalities were single-vehicle accidents. Almost 60% involved at least one other vehicle.
- The rate of fatal motorcycle accidents has risen consistently over the past two decades.
Additional statistics provided by the Insurance Information Institute show that:
- Those who operate supersport motorcycles have a death rate that is four times higher than those who operate other kinds of motorcycles.
- Motorcycle helmets are legally required in fewer than half of the states, including Massachusetts.
Older riders are much more susceptible to serious injuries than younger riders. The severity of the injuries often sustained by motorcyclists makes it imperative that you contact a dedicated Boston motorcycle accident attorney immediately after your crash. You could be facing a major financial setback from medical bills and lost wages if you don’t have strong legal representation ensuring you get the compensation you are entitled to.
What Causes Boston Motorcycle Accidents?
The majority of Boston motorcycle accidents involve a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle. Drivers are used to keeping an eye out for other trucks and cars on the roadway, but, whether due to inattentional blindness, distraction, or plain old negligence, they are not always watching out for motorcyclists. Accidents are often the result when a driver speeds, overcrowds a person on a motorcycle, or changes lanes without checking their blind spots.
Drivers can easily injure a rider by hitting their bike or by driving in a negligent manner that causes a rider to crash or fall, even if no contact was made with the motorcycle. Distracted drivers, such as drivers sending text messages and making phone calls, is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents in the United States.
Although motorcyclists use the same streets and highways as other drivers and are beholden to the same driving laws, they fall victim to a disproportionate number of traffic accidents in Boston and across the country. In 2020, 52 people were killed in Boston motorcycle collisions. These accidents are both physically and mentally traumatizing. Many suffer severe injuries. Those who sustain injuries often face lengthy hospital stays and months of physical therapy and medical care.
Common Types of Motorcycle Crashes
Although there are many different kinds of motorcycle accidents, some take place more than others. Those most commonly seen in the Boston area are:
Single Motorcycle Accidents
When a collision doesn’t involve another vehicle, it is usually obvious that the only driver involved is at fault. If you were the driver in a single-motorcycle accident, you could be able to recover compensation through a first-party injury claim against your insurance company. If you were injured as a passenger, you could have a valid case against the driver.
Sideswipe collisions happen when a driver changes lanes without properly checking their blind spots, and the side of their vehicle makes contact with the side of another vehicle. In this scenario, a motorcyclist could easily be knocked down, ejected from their bike, or pushed off the roadway, potentially causing severe injuries to the rider. The driver who improperly merged or changed lanes into another vehicle is most likely at fault in this scenario.
Many drivers tend to underestimate the importance of keeping a safe following distance on the highway, particularly where motorcycles are involved. If a driver rear-ended you because they were following you too closely, they would likely be liable for your motorcycle accident injuries and other damages.
When a motorcycle accident takes place at an intersection, it is sometimes easy to pinpoint the at-fault driver since traffic lights and signs dictate who is allowed to enter the intersection and when. The driver that ran a stop sign or red light is presumably at fault for the accident.
Left Hand Turn Accidents
Anytime an oncoming vehicle is making a left hand turn, they are required to yield to any vehicles, including motorcycles, that are going straight. If the driver fails to yield the right-of-way before making a left hand turn and, in doing so, causes an accident, they would likely be held liable for the crash.
Other Motorcycle Accidents
While far from exhaustive, this list covers the five most common kinds of Boston motorcycle accidents. If another driver’s negligence caused you to be injured in any kind of motorcycle crash, contact our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys for help in proving liability and getting the compensation you deserve.
Who is Liable for My Boston Motorcycle Accident?
When someone is injured in a motorcycle accident, they are entitled to pursue compensation and hold the at-fault party accountable. Motorcycle accident victims can collect financial compensation for their injuries by proving liability. Most of these cases resolve by settlement negotiations prior to going to trial, but trial is an option if the insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement. Before you are eligible to recover compensation, you will have to show who was liable.
To show that the other driver was at fault for your motorcycle accident, you are tasked with proving the four elements of negligence, which are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim
- The defendant breached this duty
- The breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries and damages
- The victim incurred losses due to their injuries
Proving negligence in a civil case does not mean that you have to show that the driver purposefully caused your motorcycle accident. Instead, you only have to prove that they committed negligence while driving, such as texting, speeding, or failing to signal when turning. Other forms of negligence that are not themselves traffic violations can also reflect a violation of duty, such as dealing with rowdy kids in the backseat or reaching for an item you dropped on the floor.
In most cases, the driver of the striking vehicle will try to argue that they were not the only ones to blame and that you contributed to your own injuries. Sometimes a defendant will be so bold as to claim that since you were riding a motorcycle rather than driving a car, it is your own fault that something happened to you. These assertions are, of course, entirely without merit, and our motorcycle accident lawyers will defend your right to ride a motorcycle by shifting the blame where it belongs.
Massachusetts follows comparative negligence laws. This means that if the defendant is able to show that you did violate driving laws or commit negligence while riding your motorcycle, the court can assign you partial liability. This will lower your compensation in direct proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found 20% at fault for your motorcycle accident injuries, your award of $100,000 will be reduced by 20%, leaving you with $80,000. Our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into your motorcycle crash and work to show that the other driver was responsible for your injuries.
Boston Helmet Laws and Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
Passed in 1967, Massachusetts helmet laws are some of the toughest in the United States. They state that any person who is operating a motorcycle or is a passenger on one is required to wear protective headgear that complies with the minimum safety requirements as laid out by the Commonwealth.
Where helmet laws play a major role in motorcycle accident cases is the potential for diminished financial compensation for damages. The modified comparative fault standard mentioned earlier can limit the compensation awarded to injured riders based on how much they contributed to the accident and their own injuries. Of course, not wearing an appropriate helmet won’t cause you to have an accident, but it could quite possibly contribute to the severity of your injuries.
A rider’s decision not to wear a helmet could influence their financial recovery. For example, a rider who sustained a traumatic brain injury because they were not wearing a helmet might be found 40% liable for their own injuries. Even though the other driver caused the accident, the rider’s head injuries are only as severe as they are due to the absence of a helmet. If their injuries were in an area unrelated to wearing a helmet, such as a broken leg, our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers will fight to keep their lack of a helmet from affecting the outcome of their case.
Even with 40% liability, you would still be able to recover damages, but they would be reduced by 40%.
If you are assigned 51% or more of the liability for a motorcycle accident, you would be barred from any financial recovery whatsoever. In order to make sure you collect the maximum amount of compensation possible, speak to a Boston motorcycle accident lawyer from Rubenstein Law as soon as possible.
Does Massachusetts Allow Lane-Splitting?
Lane splitting is when motorcycle riders ride in between two lanes of traffic that are heading in the same direction. Instead of riding in one lane or the other, the biker rides directly on the yellow or white pavement marking that separates the two lanes of traffic.
Why do they do this? Well, the logic is as follows: a motorcycle rider will often split lanes in order to pass slow-moving or stopped traffic instead of having to sit and wait behind a long row of other stopped vehicles. It is also much easier for motorcyclists to drive this way. Trying to drive in stop-and-go traffic is a lot more work for a person on a motorcycle than for someone driving a car. It is faster and easier for them to keep moving as opposed to constantly throttling down, stopping, putting their feet down, and starting the whole process all over again.
As preferable as bypassing stopped or slowed traffic may be for a motorcycle enthusiast, it is absolutely illegal in the state of Massachusetts. State law expressly forbids lane splitting and states that motorcycle operators are required to remain in a single lane on any roadway with two lanes or more. Riders may not deviate from their lanes anymore than a regular car can.
Motorcyclists are also not allowed to use the same lane or split a lane to pass another vehicle. The only time they can legally share a lane with another vehicle is if they are riding next to another motorcycle.
Massachusetts motorcycle accidents frequently result in considerable damage. After being involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you act quickly to protect your rights. The personal injury lawyers at Rubenstein Law will work tirelessly to get you the full amount of recovery that you are entitled to. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website.
Damages Recoverable After a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident
When motorcycle accidents happen, the resulting injuries are often severe. The injuries most commonly involved in motorcycle crashes include multiple kinds of traumatic injuries, ranging from fairly minor to extremely serious, such as:
- Contusions and lacerations
- Avulsion injuries (road rash) and other abrasions
- Head injuries/Traumatic brain injury
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Internal organ injuries/Internal bleeding
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your full recovery could take months or even years. The damages you incur will be based primarily on your recovery time, what ongoing medical care and treatment is required, and how your injuries will affect the rest of your life. For most crash victims who endure long-term or permanent disabilities or injuries, the damages they claim are very high.
Your actual recovery will depend on the unique facts of your motorcycle accident case and whether or not you shared any percentage of the liability. Some damages that are commonly recovered after a Boston motorcycle accident are:
- Lost wages and other earnings
- Future lost wages or diminished wages
- Medical expenses for emergency transportation, physical therapy, ongoing care, and other medical costs
- Childcare costs
- Loss of fellowship
- Additional economic damages
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Reduced quality of life
- Additional non-economic damages
If the motorcycle resulted in a wrongful death, certain surviving family members of the deceased person might be entitled to claim damages as well. This could include things like hospital costs, funeral and burial costs, and loss of familial relations.
In an accident involving a commercial driver, like a bus driver or a tractor-trailer driver, the initial accident investigation could reveal internal infractions such as a violation of federal trucking regulations or Hours of Service violations. In some instances, the court might order punitive damages to be paid to the victim as a form of punishment for these drivers as well as their employers. Punitive damages are extremely rare, so talk to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more.
Calculating Damages for Your Boston Motorcycle Accident Injury
It is important to have a Boston motorcycle accident lawyer review your case and go over what damages you may be eligible to claim. Each case is unique, and you should never depend on a basic description of common damages to estimate what your personal injury claim may or may not be worth. You should also never rely on the at-fault driver or their insurance company to tell you how much your claim is worth. Instead, work with a reputable Boston motorcycle accident lawyer who has more than three decades of experience and your best interests in mind.
Let a Qualified Boston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help
Any driver who caused or contributed to your motorcycle accident could be held accountable for damages. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer from Rubenstein Law can analyze your personal injury case and ensure that you understand your rights and options moving forward. To get started on your case today, call Rubenstein Law at (800) FL-LEGAL and schedule your free consultation with our experienced Boston motorcycle accident attorneys.