Motorcycle crashes often cause serious injuries – even in relatively minor collisions. After an injury, you need to get the right kind of medical care and ensure that your bills and expenses are covered. It’s easy to assume that the insurance companies will take care of those costs, but in many cases, people are surprised to find out that the insurance companies are only looking out for themselves. They often deny claims for motorcyclists. So, it’s important to work with a Cambridge motorcycle accident lawyer who will protect your rights.
At Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers, we will fight for the maximum amount for you. We know what it takes to get results in an injury case, and we will give you and your case our full attention, from start to finish. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you after a Cambridge motorcycle crash.
- 1 Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
- 2 Other Considerations When Injured in a Motorcycle Crash
- 3 Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts
- 4 How to File a Claim After a Cambridge Motorcycle Accident
- 5 How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
- 6 Types of Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
- 7 Motorcycle Safety in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- 8 Get Help from an Experienced Cambridge Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
One of the toughest things for injury victims to understand is when there is a case and when there is not. At Kelly & Associates, it’s our goal to make sure you understand your rights and options as early as possible in the process.
To recover compensation from someone else in Massachusetts, you must prove that they were negligent. In other words, you will need to establish that:
- The other driver owed you a duty. This just means the other driver owed a duty to operate their vehicle safely. This almost always exists when people get behind the wheel to drive.
- The other driver breached or violated their duty. This is a bit more complicated. It means that you must prove that the defendant driver did something wrong. Maybe they broke a traffic law or violated the right-of-way and, in turn, crashed into your motorcycle.
- The other driver caused your injuries. It’s not enough to show that the other driver caused a crash. You must also prove that the crash directly resulted in physical injuries to you.
- You suffered damages. Finally, you must establish that you lost money, suffered physically or incurred some measurable damage.
Other Considerations When Injured in a Motorcycle Crash
In addition to proving negligence, here are two other considerations to keep in mind about filing an accident claim after a motorcycle crash in Cambridge or elsewhere in Massachusetts:
- Motorcycle exception to no-fault Law. Massachusetts is a no-fault state. This means that most motorists can file a claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits after a crash – regardless of who was at fault. However, the no-fault law does not apply to motorcyclists. So, after a crash, you would typically seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
- Both parties may share responsibility. You may share some responsibility for causing the motorcycle crash. If so, Massachusetts law provides for compensation even though you may have “comparative fault.” If your share of the blame is 51 percent or more, then you are totally barred from a recovery. However, otherwise, your recovery would simply be reduced according to the degree of fault assigned to you.
At Kelly & Associates, a Cambridge, Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyer will oppose any attempt to reduce your award. If you did share responsibility, we will work hard to minimize the effect on your final recovery.
Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts
When you are injured by someone else’s negligence in Massachusetts, you have a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit to seek compensation. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In Massachusetts, you have only three years from the date of your accident to bring your lawsuit. If your loved one died in a crash, you must bring a wrongful death lawsuit within three years from the date of the death.
These are strict deadlines. If you miss them, you will likely be unable to recover anything for your injuries and losses after a Cambridge motorcycle accident. So, don’t wait too long to talk to a lawyer at Kelly & Associates about your case.
How to File a Claim After a Cambridge Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle crash, you should remember these simple steps to make sure you protect your rights:
- Get emergency medical attention. Do not wait to get medical care. Go to the hospital and get evaluated as soon as possible. Many injuries don’t show up for weeks after a crash. Still, the longer you wait, the easier it will be for the insurance company to claim that your injuries did not arise from your crash.
- Don’t talk to insurance adjusters. It is always best to speak to a lawyer before talking to anyone from the insurance company. Adjusters will try to get you to say things or get recorded statements, which they will try to use to deny or minimize your claim. By talking to a lawyer first, you will protect your rights.
- Call (800) LAW-GUYS. Get in touch with Kelly & Associates right away to get a free, private consultation. We can answer many of your questions right up front to help you understand your options before dealing with the insurance company. We can meet with you at our office or at your home or the hospital. We go to you because we want to make getting legal help as convenient as possible for you.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Many motorcycle crashes happen because a driver simply ignored the motorcyclist. Here are some common examples of motorcycle accidents that we have encountered over the years in Cambridge and surrounding communities:
- Rear-end crashes. When drivers follow motorcycles too closely, what would normally be a fender bender can quickly turn into a serious or even fatal collision.
- Lane-splitting. When drivers fail to recognize that motorcycles have the same rights as cars, they may attempt to pass within the same lane. This would normally be unthinkable. However, because some drivers in Cambridge do not regard motorcyclists as having the same rights, it happens all the time.
- Left-turn crashes. These accidents happen when a driver is preparing to turn left at an intersection but is not expecting to see a small vehicle like a motorcycle approaching from the opposite direction and going straight. These crashes can be fatal.
- Alcohol and drugs. Perhaps the single most deadly combination on the road is an intoxicated driver. With poor response times and terrible judgment, impaired drivers can cause horrible collisions with motorcyclists.
- Whether it’s a passenger, a phone call, texting, or some other distraction, when a driver is not paying full attention to the road, it can cause serious accidents.
Types of Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
People who are injured in motorcycle crashes often suffer many of the same types of injuries, including:
- Road rash. These painful and disfiguring burns are typically caused by sliding across pavement after being thrown from the motorcycle.
- Broken bones. Among the more common injuries, many motorcyclists experience severe fractures to their legs, feet and ankles.
- Fingers and toes can easily be crushed and even amputated by the weight of a bike or automobile.
- Lacerations and bruises. Without the structural protection of a vehicle, riders often suffer internal bleeding and have cuts all over their bodies. Even the best gear cannot prevent some injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. It is not uncommon for riders and their passengers to suffer spinal cord trauma, paralysis and other life-long injuries.
- Head and brain injuries. While wearing a helmet is required by law in Massachusetts — and always a good idea – serious head trauma can occur even if you wear one. Mild impacts may cause concussions, headaches, fatigue and mild discomfort. However, more significant impacts can result in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that leads to sensory impairment, motor function problems or worse.
For those who suffer catastrophic injuries, we are fortunate to be located near many excellent healthcare options. Injured motorcyclists can get Level-1 Trauma services at Mass General or for less serious injuries, CHA Cambridge Hospital offers a local option.
Motorcycle Safety in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Motorcyclists face a greater risk of injury than drivers of other vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that fatalities are 28 times more likely in a motorcycle crash than in any other type of collision. Riders in Cambridge should take the following measures to protect themselves and reduce the risk of injury:
- Get trained. Just because you have ridden elsewhere or rode years ago, it is always a good idea to get updated training. Even experienced riders can benefit from extra training. All riders must take and pass a Commonwealth approved Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) in order to receive their endorsement.
- Wear the right gear. Always wear pants (not shorts). Never ride with flip-flops or other inappropriate footwear. Boots, leather and other properly manufactured clothing should be non-synthetic and resistant to burning or melting.
- Helmets are a must. In addition to helmets being legally required in Massachusetts, they greatly reduce your risk of being fatally injured in a crash. A helmet ultimately can decrease the chance of suffering a severe brain injury.
- Be familiar with your ride. Each bike is a bit different. Get to know your motorcycle before pushing its limits.
- Ride within your experience level. Some routes and areas in Cambridge and the greater Boston area may be suitable for an experienced rider but not for a novice. If you feel uncomfortable navigating busy traffic, don’t push your own limits.
- Ride with friends. There is safety in numbers. The more motorcycles that ride together, the easier they are to see, and the less chance you will suffer a collision with a driver.
For more key pointers and tips on riding safely, all riders should familiarize themselves with the Massachusetts Motorcycle Rider Manual.
Get Help from an Experienced Cambridge Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
While it is a great idea to ride safely, wear the right gear and always wear a helmet, there is only so much you can do. Even the best riders can still suffer injuries in an accident that is caused by another. When drivers disregard the law or ignore motorcyclists, they deserve to be held accountable for the harm they cause. Call Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers today at 1-800-LAW-GUYS for a free case evaluation.