Injured in a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident? Choose a Boston Law Firm with a Solid Record of Outstanding Recoveries
Massachusetts, like many other states, unfortunately, maintains a continuing statutory bias against motorcyclists injured in connection with a motor vehicle-related incident. That bias is best exemplified by the statutory denial of medical treatment and wage reimbursement to motorcyclists injured or killed as a result of a motor vehicle-related accident.
In Massachusetts, an operator of a motorcycle who suffers injuries as a result of a collision with a fellow cyclist or automobile operator is legally ineligible to receive “Personal Injury Protection” benefits, also known as “no fault” benefits, as a result of the incident. In simple terms, this means that an innocent motorcycle operator, who suffers injuries on account of the negligence of another motor vehicle operator, does not receive the otherwise immediate reimbursement of medical expenses and lost earnings that a similarly situated automobile operator would receive under like circumstances.
At Parker Scheer, we realize this unfair bias and will fight to get you the results that you deserve for injuries caused by another driver’s negligence. We know that motorcycle accidents are still common, as are related injuries, despite recently increased safety efforts and initiatives. The most common types of injuries caused by motorcycle accidents include:
- Head Injury- Concussions and brain damage often occurs upon impact. The risk of serious injury and death is greatly reduced by wearing a helmet, especially one with a faceguard for added protection.
- Broken & Fractured Bones- These are very common, especially at the joints, including the shoulder and pelvis.
- Damage to Soft Tissue: Although this can be prevented or minimized by protective clothing and a helmet with a faceguard, without it there can be a lot of damage from sliding across the road following the crash.
- Death: Motorcycle accidents in the United States resulted in 3,615 deaths in 2010, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration. This includes deaths both at the scene of the crash and from complications resulting from the accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycles made up nearly 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States but accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities. The NHTSA data reported that motorcyclists are an astonishing 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic accident; they are 8 times as likely to be injured.
In 2007, the NHTSA recorded 5,154 fatalities and 103,000 people injured in motorcycle accidents. By comparison, in the same year, there were 28,933 fatalities and 2,220,632 people injured in accidents involving passenger cars and light trucks.
Half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle, and 40 percent of those fatal accidents occurred while the rider was going straight, passing, or overtaking the other vehicle. More than three-quarters of the fatalities resulted from an impact to the front of the motorcycle.
The NHTSA found that helmets saved 1,784 lives in 2007, and it claims that 800 more people would have survived a fatal motorcycle accident if they had been wearing a helmet. This estimate is based on the administration’s calculation that for every 100 motorcyclists who have died while not wearing a helmet, 37 could have lived if they had been wearing helmets.
Massachusetts is one of 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which require motorcycle operators and their passengers to wear helmets. New Hampshire residents can live free or die without the Granite State requiring them to wear protective headgear unless they are under 18 years of age.
The American Motorcyclist Association, a motorcycle advocacy organization, encourages voluntary helmet use, but it generally disfavors mandatory helmet laws, except in the case of minors. Instead, the AMA emphasizes motorcyclist education, improved licensing and testing, and increased public awareness.
In fact, the federal government’s research reveals that one-quarter of motorcyclists involved in fatal motorcycle accidents had an invalid license, compared to 13% for passenger cars. More than a third of all motorcycle riders that were involved in fatal crashes were speeding, a higher percentage than any other type of vehicle on the road. Further, motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents are more likely than any other type of driver to have a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent, the legal limit in most states.
An independent analysis of federal government crash data from 1997 through 2006 revealed that the most common types of injuries in motorcycle accidents were to the upper and lower extremities, followed by the head, chest, spine, and abdominal area. The study’s authors noted that while there were more overall lower extremity injuries, those types of injuries tended to be less severe than injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen. Additionally, they calculated that bikers who sustained lower extremity injuries had median hospital charges of between $21,000 (single injury) and $39,000 (multiple injuries).
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. To speak with an experienced Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyer, contact Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll-free. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential.
Parker Scheer LLP has successfully represented numerous motorcycle operators injured or killed on account of the negligence of another motor vehicle operator.
THE BIAS AGAINST BIKERS
Like it or not, juries hate motorcyclists. They hate the way they sound, the way they speak, the way they dress, and most importantly, the way they drive. For that matter, they also hate bicyclists, roller-bladers, and people who drive ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles). While I was unable to locate any reliable studies that would help explain the specific cause for this bias, to those of us who regularly represent persons injured or killed while operating motorcycles and bicycles, the reason is obvious: almost everyone who drives a car has almost hit one.
To suggest that jury bias against motorcyclists and bicyclists is based solely on the number of “near misses” experienced by automobile operators is to grossly understate the class struggle between two- and four-wheel vehicles, and the dramatic cultural differences that dictate their use and operation.
Because motorcycles and bicycles are, by design, more adept at abrupt maneuvering, motorcyclists and bicyclists tend to push the envelope of that maneuverability in order to gain a competitive advantage over the cars and trucks with which they share the road. For example, despite laws that strictly forbid passing on the left, riding without mufflers, and failing to signal before changing lanes, anyone who has ever operated a car on a public roadway knows that these rules are often ignored by bikers. In their defense, however, the motorcycle community – particularly those with significant experience in motorcycle operation and safety – know that automobile operators routinely treat cyclists as second-class citizens, as though they have no legal right to use the road. Needless to say, the combination of these two misconceptions accounts for much of the bad blood between cars and bikes, and no doubt contributes to the number of motorcycle and bicycle collisions that occur each year.
One fact that highlights the relative safety differences between automobile and motorcycle operators can be found in the standard Massachusetts Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.), or “no fault” statute. Under the statute, motorcycle operators are barred from purchasing “no fault” benefits to cover the cost of medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the use or operation of a motorcycle. The statute provides no express reason for excluding motorcycle operators, but the nature and severity of the injuries suffered annually in motorcycle-related accidents may explain much.
All too often, motorcycle operators who suffer serious injuries as a result of collisions with cars and trucks are regarded by juries as guilty until proven innocent. While the problem may be due to a cultural bias against bikers, it is nevertheless incumbent upon lawyers who represent injured cyclists to overcome that bias by educating jurors about the culture of safety and responsible riding that serious motorcyclists, bicyclists and other two- and three-wheel vehicle operators embrace.
Eric Parker is a Boston motorcycle injury lawyer with considerable experience in motorcycle-related claims. He can be reached here.
Persons who have suffered injuries on account of motorcycle-related incidents are encouraged to contact the firm to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Boston motorcycle accident lawyer. No firm is rated higher than Parker Scheer LLP for professional skill and legal ethics.
Contact Us To Learn If You Have A Motorcycle Accident Case
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us for a free case review by an expert motorcycle accident lawyer at (617) 886-0500. For a motorcycle accident attorney outside of the state of Massachusetts, contact us for a referral.
Motorcycle Accident Related Articles
- Motorcycle Accident Data
- What to expect if you’ve been injured in a car accident
- Selecting a Boston, Massachusetts motorcycle injury lawyer
- Bias against bikers
Other Motorcycle Accident Resources
- Parker Scheer motorcycle accident case reports
- Massachusetts legal links
- Glossary of common traumatic medical injuries
Contact us Now or See a full List of cases we handle