Montgomery County PA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
A motorcycle accident is perhaps one of the most frightening events a motorist can experience. While car and truck accidents are certainly scary in their own right, in those circumstances you have some protection at a minimum. In contrast, motorcyclists are exposed to the full force of the impact. Because of the speeds and extreme forces involved, many motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes causing more severe injuries.
Motorcycle accidents are caused by a variety of reasons. When another driver is at fault, or if the road condition contributed to the crash, an injured motorcyclist could be entitled to file a personal injury claim. Because of the severity of injuries typically suffered in a motorcycle accident, medical expenses and lost income are often significant.
At the Reiff Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the victims of serious accidents. We work to handle the insurance company, the opposing party or parties, the police and any other third parties that may be involved. With more than three decades of personal injury experience, we handle all aspects of the litigation so that you can focus on your recovery. For a free consultation, call (215) 709-6940.
Motorcycle Crashes Caused by the Other Driver Violating a Montgomery County Traffic Law
Motorcycle accidents occur for various reasons. In many cases, another driver violates a traffic law or otherwise acts recklessly. Speeding contributes to all types of accidents, including those involving motorcyclists. Because a motorcycle is difficult to see, a speeding driver has less time to react after noticing a rider in their path.
A motorcycle’s small profile also is a problem when other drivers are distracted, perhaps changing a radio station or sending a text. If someone changes lanes or turns into oncoming traffic without carefully looking ahead or examining their blind spots, a catastrophic motorcycle accident could occur.
Drunk drivers and people under the influence of drugs present a danger to everyone on the road. However, because of the lack of protection motorcycles afford their riders, even a minor accident could result in serious or fatal injuries. What would have been a drunken fender-bender turns into a life-altering accident for an unsuspecting motorcyclist. After an accident, a police report is helpful in proving another driver violated the law.
Montgomery County Motorcycle Crashes Caused by Poor Road Conditions
Road conditions are rarely perfect. Gravel, uneven pavements, and construction debris present hazards to all vehicles. However, most cars and trucks are stable enough to avoid accidents because of a road surface defect. Motorcyclists are not as fortunate. While turning, a cyclist might lose control if there is gravel on the road. Getting caught in a trolley or train track could prove to be disastrous if someone is on a bike. When roads are not properly maintained or if construction debris is left out, the parties responsible should be held liable for any injuries that occurred.
In some situations, road conditions play a contributing role in a motorcycle accident. A pragmatic attorney will thoroughly investigate the potential causes of an accident to ensure all liable parties are held accountable.
Pennsylvania Law and Montgomery County Motorcycle Accidents
Montgomery County motorcyclists are protected under Pennsylvania law that makes negligent and reckless drivers liable if they cause an accident. A biker who is injured is entitled to seek financial compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. While other drivers have this same right, some laws are specific to motorcyclists.
In Pennsylvania, a rider is not required to wear a helmet if they are over the age of twenty-one and have had a Pennsylvania motorcycle license for at least two years. The two-year requirement is waived if the rider has completed a certified motorcycle safety training course. Passengers are not required to wear helmets if they are twenty-one or over. While a helmet is not required under certain circumstances, every rider must wear protective eye gear.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. Under this law, a motorcyclist is only entitled to sue another person after an accident if their injuries meet a specific threshold. To meet this threshold, your injuries must meet one of the criteria listed below.
- Injuries resulting in death
- Substantial disfigurement
- Substantial scarring
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Displaced bone fracture
- Lost fetus
- Permanent injury
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitation also applies to motorcycle accidents. Accident victims have two years to file a personal injury claim arising from a motorcycle crash. It is critical not to hesitate to call our Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyers if you were hurt in a crash – it takes a considerable amount of time to gather evidence and build a case. Additionally, vital evidence could be lost if you wait too long to contact an attorney.
Comparative Fault in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Comparative fault, or comparative negligence, is a legal theory that states an injured party could be held partially responsible for their injuries if their conduct contributed to the accident. Pennsylvania follows a 51% rule. Under this rule, if a motorcyclist is more than 50% to blame for an accident, they are unable to recover any financial compensation. When a motorcyclist’s percentage of fault is found to be lower than 50%, their award would be reduced by the rider’s percentage of fault. For instance, if a jury awards $100,000 in damages but finds a rider percentage of fault was 40%, the award would be reduced to $60,000.
When it comes to motorcycle accident claims, comparative negligence becomes an important element. Defense attorneys and insurance companies will aggressively attempt to demonstrate that the motorcyclist was a significant contributing factor in an accident. Because of the reputation many motorcyclists have, a jury could be persuaded. It is critical to have an experienced attorney who is familiar with litigation arising out of motorcycle accidents.
What Should I do After an Accident?
Before we go any further, your health and safety are the most important things. While vehicles and property can be replaced, your life cannot, so before all else be sure to get to a safe area following a collision. If the vehicle is smoking, smoldering, or fluid is leaking it is especially important to find a safe location to wait for help. Should the vehicle catch fire, burn injuries or injury due to smoke inhalation can occur.
Seek Medical Attention
Once help arrives, do not try to be a hero and discount or conceal any pain or discomfort you may feel — even a minor pain could indicate that you have an internal injury. If you feel any pain, discomfort, tingling or swelling you should immediately seek medical attention. Submitting to a routine medical exam can rule out any serious conditions following a violent accident including:
- Whiplash – Whiplash symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Following an accident in a car, truck or motorcycle one may experience pain or discomfort in their back or neck, difficulty in concentration, or mood swings.
- Traumatic Brain Injury – TBIs like concussions or other injuries can change how we act and the things that we are able to do. A TBI can be temporary or it can have permanent effects.
- Broken Bones – Believe it or not, due to adrenaline an accident victim may not feel broken bones or fractures after an accident.
- Burns – Severe burns can occur due to motorcycle crashes. Burns are especially painful regardless of whether the burn is due to touching the exhaust or from scraping on the pavement.
Call the Police
You should call the police after a motorcycle accident. Law enforcement will secure the area, ensure medical help arrives, and complete a police report. The accident report could be a vital piece of evidence in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. It is important to document the scene of the accident. Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy series are equipped with high-quality cameras that can take a photo or record a video of the scene. Take pictures of the vehicles, their location, the damage, and the road conditions. You should also document your injuries.
Exchange and Gather Personal Information
Finally, if you and the other driver are okay, you should exchange insurance information and attempt to document the scene of the accident. While this information will be included in the police report, you should still ask for it yourself. Additionally, take the name and contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident. There is no guarantee that this information will be in the accident report, especially if a witness leaves before the police arrive.
Our Montgomery County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help
Simply because it is your insurance company does not mean that they are necessarily looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations and protect their bottom-line by paying out as little money as possible. Many people make the mistake of accepting the first offer because they just want to move on with their life. However, action like this is never advisable as it is rarely in your best interests. People who accept a low initial offer may soon find the funds exhausted, but their injuries unhealed and unable to work. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online.