Chester County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Overview with Specific Issues and Injuries
Being involved in any type of accident can be traumatic, however victims of motorcycle accidents are more likely to suffer severe, even fatal injuries, particularly when hit by a car or truck. Between 4,000 and 5,000 motorcyclists lose their lives each year in collisions, while another 80,000-100,000 suffer severe injuries. In 2013, there was a slight decrease in motorcycle fatalities, however, when taken as a whole, the past couple of decades have seen a large spike in motorcycle deaths, doubling from 1997 to 2008. If you have been injured in Chester County PA, speak to one of our experienced Chester County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices.
In the state of Pennsylvania alone, there were 3,284 motorcycle accidents in 2014, with 186 fatalities and 2,921 motorcyclist injuries. Of the 2014 motorcycle deaths across the nation, 53.2 percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet. The NHTSA estimates more than 1,500 lives were saved in 2013 through the use of motorcycle helmets, and, that if every motorcyclist on the road who was involved in an accident, another 700-plus lives could potentially have been saved.
Today’s “typical” motorcyclist is married, over the age of forty, and is likely to be in a professional, technical or managerial career. This is in stark contrast to the “typical” motorcyclist of the 70’s, who was between 20-24 years old, earned less than $20,000 per year, and was unmarried. As the baby boomers age, more and more are purchasing motorcycles and taking to the roadways. These middle-aged, largely middle-class Americans, find themselves with no mortgage, children who are out of the house, and some spare cash to spend on youth’s last hurrah. While it would seem this older group of motorcyclists might have a lower accident rate, this does not seem to be the case.
Responsibility for Motorcycle Accidents
In a significant number of motorcycle collisions, a violation of the motorcyclist’s right-of-way, or a motorist who failed to see the motorcyclist are to blame. Nearly two-thirds of motorcyclists are struck from the front, primarily when an automobile driver underestimates the speed of a motorcycle—or doesn’t see it at all—and makes a left-hand turn. Other reasons for motorcycle accidents include failure to yield to a motorcyclist, changing lanes without looking or seeing a motorcyclist, failing to leave a safe distance between the vehicle and a motorcycle, driving at unsafe speeds, backing out of a parking space or driveway into a motorcyclist, or opening a car door directly in the past of an oncoming motorcyclist. Nearly 100 percent of motorcyclists who are involved in an accident will suffer at least some degree of injury, with the majority suffering severe injury.
Most Common Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Collisions
The most common injuries following a motorcycle accident are head trauma and traumatic brain injuries. Motorcyclists simply have none of the safety protections afforded drivers inside a vehicle such as airbags and seatbelts. Brain injuries can irrevocably change the life and the future of the motorcyclist as well as that of his or her family members. Personal and professional relationships can be altered as a result of traumatic brain injury, leaving victims unable to complete even the simplest day-to-day tasks. From all types of accidents, more than 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Concussions, while less serious than traumatic brain injuries, can nonetheless cause serious problems, sometimes for years to come. Other common injuries sustained by motorcyclists during a collision include spinal cord injuries, limb amputation, severe road rash, burns, disfigurement, injury to internal organs, neck and back injuries and bone fractures.
The Complexities of Presenting a Motorcycle Claim to a Jury
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can be especially difficult to present to a jury, since a significant number of people still believe the stereotype of the wild, out-of-control motorcyclist. Even before hearing the facts of the case, jurors may have decided the motorcyclist was likely at fault, due to speeding, acting in an irresponsible, careless manner or driving while impaired. Further, police officers may also blame the motorcyclist as a result of preconceived notions about motorcyclists, which can get in the way of an accurate, fair police report. The officer may rely on the automobile driver to estimate the motorcyclist’s speed, and the driver may significantly overestimate that speed. In order to prove a case of negligence, and secure a fair settlement for the motorcyclist, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable Pennsylvania personal injury attorney by your side.
You need an attorney who is skilled at deciphering police reports and who will immediately gather witness statements, photograph the scene and reconstruct the scene, with the help of experts, when necessary. The driving history of the negligent automobile driver will be investigated, and your medical records will be examined in order to determine what your future looks like as far as ongoing medical procedures and returning to work. Your Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, allowing you time to heal without the additional stress of attempting to receive a fair compensation.
How Your Claim May Progress
If the other driver was negligent, therefore responsible for your injuries, your lawsuit may be based on that driver’s failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care. Perhaps the other driver failed to obey traffic laws or traffic signs, or was driving recklessly or while distracted. In some cases, a defective motorcycle or motorcycle part could have been responsible for your accident. If this is the case, your attorney may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. If faulty design, manufacturing or labeling played a part in your accident, your attorney will have to show the specific defect occurred during the manufacturing process and contributed to the injury. If the motorcycle or motorcycle part was unreasonably dangerous, and you were operating the motorcycle as it was intended to be operated, you may have a strong product liability case.
Potential Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to medical expenses (past, present and future), including expenses for emergency room visits, surgical procedures, hospital care, assistive devices and rehabilitative services. You may be entitled to lost wages for the time you have been unable to work and support yourself and your family or, if you will never be able to return to work, you could receive compensation for what you would have earned if you had not been so seriously injured. You could be eligible for pain and suffering, depending on the specific nature of your injuries, the level of pain you are now enduring, as well as how long you are expected to remain in pain. If you suffered a severe injury such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burns or permanent disfigurement, you could be entitled to compensation for the emotional and mental pain and anguish.
Contact Our Experienced Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
It is important you never sign anything without first consulting your Pennsylvania motorcycle attorney. Insurance companies—no matter how compassionate they may act—have no interest in your health or well-being. Insurance adjusters are trained to use any tactic possible to persuade you to settle for less than you deserve, so before you sign away important rights, speak to your attorney first.
The motorcycle accident attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been injured in motorcycle accidents. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.