Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating form of travel. However, a motorcyclist knows the risk of a serious accident is always present. An accident can leave a rider with severe injuries. All too often an accident is caused by a negligent motorist who either fails to see a motorcycle or does not share the road.
Motorcyclists are fully exposed in any crash. Motorcycle accidents can leave riders with life-altering injuries. The very worst crashes result in fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Massachusetts had 257 motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2018.
When a motorcycle accident is caused by someone else’s negligence, the injured rider deserves to be compensated for any injuries and damages. If a motorcycle accident was not your fault, you should not have to bear the financial burden it causes.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan have helped countless motorcycle victims get the maximum compensation they need. We have represented injured clients for more than three decades, and we know how to secure a positive outcome.
Contact The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan and talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer in Brockton about your rights and options. You will learn how our firm can help you seek the financial award and justice you deserve.
Why You Need a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer After a Crash in Brockton
After you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you do not have to pursue financial recovery on your own. Let an experienced Brockton motorcycle accident lawyer from The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers can help by:
- Conducting a thorough, independent investigation of the accident to secure the evidence we can use to build your case.
- Working with experts to help us develop a reconstruction of your accident. The reconstruction can help show how the crash occurred and who may have been at fault.
- Obtaining medical, vocational and financial expert opinions to help us establish the extent of your financial damages.
- Filing claims with at-fault motorists’ insurance companies and as well as your own insurer to recover the maximum compensation available.
- Aggressively negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers for fair settlement offers.
- Preparing your case for court and for trial, if necessary, to seek the financial recovery you deserve if a settlement is not possible.
Demanding Full Compensation for Your Injuries
Motorcyclists should know that compensation for a motorcycle accident is treated very differently under Massachusetts law than compensation in a car accident case. Car owners are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Under Massachusetts no-fault laws, PIP insurance pays car accident victims for injuries, property damage, lost wages from work, and pain and suffering.
However, PIP does not extend to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists injured in an accident must file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to seek compensation. A personal injury lawsuit can pursue damages for the treatment of injuries, property damage, lost wages from work, and pain and suffering.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may recover three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
- Economic damages are intended to reimburse your financial costs associated with the accident, such as medical bills and property repairs.
- Non-economic damages are awarded for those damages that you can’t put an exact price on, such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages are rare. Courts only award punitive damages if a defendant’s actions qualify as grossly negligent or if a defendant acted with malicious intent.
Following a motorcycle accident, a court may award you economic damages. Those damages often include:
- Current medical costs
- Future medical costs, including additional surgeries, future doctors’ appointments, and physical, occupational and psychological therapies
- Prescription medication, including medications for psychological issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Current loss of wages
- Future loss of wages if you cannot work because of long-term or permanent injuries
- Replacement or repair of your property, including the bike and anything on the bike or in the saddlebags
Courts award non-economic damages for losses that do not have specific costs attached to them. Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering, if you have long-term injuries that continue to cause pain, such as spinal injuries or traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of comfort, if you can no longer engage in activities that you normally participated in, such as cooking, cleaning, hiking and other activities that you enjoyed doing with your family
- Loss of consortium, if you are unable to enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse
- Loss of a limb. A court may compensate you for the loss of a limb, especially if the loss prevents you from enjoying life or forces you to change careers.
Proving Fault for a Brockton Motorcycle Accident
Even if it is clear to you that another motorist caused your motorcycle accident, any successful claim requires a thorough investigation of the accident. The more evidence you collect from your accident, the stronger your legal claim will be.
Evidence frequently used in motorcycle accident cases includes:
- Police accident reports
- Accident scene photos
- Vehicle damage/repair reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance camera or dash cam/helmet cam footage
- Medical reports from the treatment of your injuries
All too often, at-fault drivers will try to claim that a motorcycle rider caused the accident. The motorist may allege that the rider was speeding, failed to stop at a stop sign or red light, or weaved through traffic. Under Massachusetts’ comparative negligence rule, successfully arguing a motorcycle rider shares some of the fault for an accident can reduce an at-fault driver’s financial liability.
Under the comparative negligence system, a motorcycle rider who is less than 51 percent at fault for their crash can recover financial compensation for their damages. However, the total compensation will be reduced to reflect the motorcyclist’s share of fault. For example, a rider found to be 20 percent at fault for an accident will have the total compensation reduced by 20 percent.
Massachusetts Statute of Limitations for a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
In Massachusetts, you have three years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit for compensation from the at-fault driver. In addition, if you are struck by a motor vehicle driven by a state or municipal government employee, you must provide the government with notice of your claim within two years of your accident. Once you have filed the notice, you will be eligible to file a lawsuit against the state or a municipal government.
If you fail to timely file your lawsuit, the court will likely permanently dismiss your case.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Brockton
Several possible forms of proof exist in any vehicle accident, including motorcycle accidents. Follow these steps to acquire and preserve evidence from the accident.
- First, call the police or 911 after any accident in which someone is injured or killed. If you are injured, seek emergency care. The officer who responds will examine the vehicles and speak with all parties involved. The officers will file a formal police report. Request a copy of the police report because it may be valuable evidence.
- Second, if you are able, use your smartphone to take multiple pictures of the accident scene. Capture photos of every vehicle, any damaged road areas or obstacles, and the area itself. Anything that could establish how the accident happened may be helpful.
- Third, if any eyewitnesses observed the accident, speak with them about what they saw. If possible, obtain their contact information. If they do not want to be contacted later, take notes on what they observed.
- Fourth, if you are able, take pictures of your injuries.
- Fifth, even if you do not believe you were injured, seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries do not immediately display symptoms. Keep all records of your visits and treatment. Those records show the nature and severity of your injuries.
- Sixth, talk with our Brockton motorcycle accident attorneys. Our lawyers regularly fight for the rights of injured victims and seek the compensation they deserve. When appropriate, our attorneys may work with crash scene investigators and forensic analysts to determine the cause of an accident. Once we know the cause, we can identify and seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accident injuries are usually more serious than accidents that involve passenger cars. The reason: motorcyclists do not have the protection of a car’s safety equipment, such as airbags and seatbelts. When accidents happen, motorcyclists can be hurled into traffic or hit the pavement and other objects at a high velocity. Because of all these issues, 80 percent of motorcycle crashes end in either injury or death.
Motorcyclist deaths in crashes occur nearly 27 times more often than deaths in car crashes per vehicle miles traveled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nationally, more than 4,980 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in one recent year. In Massachusetts, 59 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred.
Injuries from motorcycle accidents may require medical treatment, physical therapy and other types of rehabilitation. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash (skin abrasions, cuts, scrapes, and bruises, ranging from mild to severe).
- Strains, sprains, and dislocations
- Pulled or torn muscles
- Fractured bones
- Compound fractures
- Internal injuries, including injured organs
- Head injuries (including traumatic brain injury, or TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Damage to extremities, such as knees, feet, and hands