Because of Pennsylvania’s beautiful landscapes, varying terrain, and popular riding routes motorcycle accidents are frequent in the state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) annual crash statistics, 3,284 motorcycle accidents occurred in 2014. Of these accidents, 184 were fatal.
If you were injured in an accident with a motorcycle along Pennsylvania’s many popular riding routes, including PA 944 and PA 997, The Loop through Kennett Square, or 32 North along the Delaware River, it is imperative to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately.
Depending on the circumstances, an individual injured may be entitled to damages, including loss wages, past medical costs, future medical expenses, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and long-term rehabilitation costs. Obtaining damages can be a complex process. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
Common Reasons for Motorcycle Injury
Motorcycle accidents occur for various reasons, including the design of the motorcycle, Pennsylvania’s helmet law, road conditions, and fault of the rider and/or other drivers.
Motorcycle Design: The two-wheel, open compartment design makes motorcycles attractive vehicles for open road and recreational driving. This same design is the reason for increased injury. A motorcycle can weigh hundreds of pounds. For example, the Honda CBR1000RR weighs 439 pounds. The open design affords no protection in the event of a crash.
Pennsylvania Helmet Law: Pennsylvania law does not require drivers over the age of 21 to wear a helmet. Specifically, any person that operates a motorcycle must wear a helmet unless over 21 and has two years of riding experience or completes an approved driving course.
Helmets can provide considerable protection from injury. Research shows a helmet can reduce the chances of head injury, traumatic brain injury, and neck injury. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from 2009 to 2014, 53 percent of the 186 deaths involving motorcyclists involved a driver not wearing a helmet. 36 percent of the 3,207 motorcycles injured involved a rider not wearing a helmet.
Intoxication: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 4,769 motorcycles were involved in a fatal accident in 2014. Of those fatal accidents, 1,295 or 27 percent involved intoxication or a BAC over 0.08.
The number of fatal accidents involving motorcycles and alcohol was higher than passenger vehicles and considerably higher than large trucks. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, approximately 9 percent of accidents involving motorcycles are considered alcohol-related.
Distracted Driving: Distracted driving encompasses any activity that causes the driver from losing focus on the operation of the vehicle. Common causes for distracted driving, includes texting, eating and drinking, operating a radio or GPS, and using headphones while driving.
According to Pennsylvania Courts 1, 410 people were cited for texting while driving. Another 711 were cited for operating or wearing headphones while driving. Federal data shows 3, 154 persons died in crashes involving distracted drivers. Another 424,000 were injured.
Lack of Proper Training: The state of Pennsylvania does require operators of a motorcycle to have a Class M motorcycle license. However, sources, including the Alliance of Bikers Aimed toward Education (ABATE of PA) assert many motorcycle drivers do not have the proper training to avoid accidents involving serious injury or death. According to ABATE of PA, 90 percent of motorcycles crashes involved riders who have not taken a motorcycle safety training course. 33 percent of riders are not properly licensed.
Vehicle Defects: Vehicle defects or malfunction are a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. The most common types of vehicle defects, including brake malfunctions, defective tires, and defective engines. According to PennDot over four percent of accidents involving accidents were caused by either a motorcycle defect or road conditions.
Does the Cause of the Motorcycle Accident Matter?
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident. The cause of the accident is very crucial when determining party liability and damages. For example, if the cause of the accident was a vehicle defect, the liable parties could include the motorcycle driver, motorcycle manufacturer, and/or the person or company that performed the repair or maintenance.
Also, if the liable party knew or should have known or such defect or risk of injury to others the injured party may be entitled to more damages. Pennsylvania law prohibits a limitation or cap of damages involving injury or death. The injured party may also be entitled to punitive damages (additional damages intended to punish the liable party) in certain circumstances.
The Ciccarelli Law Offices are experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients in all types of motorcycle accidents, including those involving DUI, distracted driving, and reckless driving.
The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices use the team approach to obtain the best results their clients based on their unique circumstances. The Ciccarelli Law Offices proudly represents clients throughout the Pennsylvania, including West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, and Kennett Square.