Motorcycles offer a sense of freedom, but they can be dangerous to drive no matter the experience and caution of the rider. Because they’re relatively small, other drivers have difficulty seeing them in heavy traffic or bad weather. The center of balance is also different from four-wheeled vehicles, making it more difficult for riders to recover from a collision or skid. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Massachusetts, a local motorcycle accident lawyer can help you win compensation for property damage and injuries.
You’ve Been Injured, Where Do You Go from Here?
Traffic accident injuries and accidental deaths are traumatic for all parties. After an accident, you’re naturally shaken and scared. As much as you’re able, you should do the following after a motorcycle accident:
- Move to a safe place that’s off the road
- Call the police to file a report
- Share information with the other driver(s) involved
- Wait for an ambulance or seek medical treatment as soon as possible
- File an insurance claim
- Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer
Motorcycle Rider Responsibilities
One of the determining factors in personal injuries cases is deciding who’s at fault. Although a large percentage of collisions are due to bad road conditions or other drivers, motorcycle riders have certain responsibilities as well. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you to determine if you have a case.
Massachusetts is a proportional comparative fault state. That means that, under the state law, you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit if you’re determined to be at least 51 percent at fault for the accident. As a motorcycle operator, you have a duty to keep your bike in good repair, use proper safety equipment as required by law, and to obey traffic rules.
The main causes of traffic accidents are:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to maintain a safe distance
Who Determines Fault in a Traffic Accident?
Insurance adjusters investigate accidents and make claim decisions based on the facts surrounding the case. They’ll look at things like road conditions, victim and witness statements, and police reports to determine fault and insurance payouts.
An example of the 51 percent rule would be if driver A hits motorcycle rider B while making a lane change, but the other driver was distracted or speeding. An investigation would determine if speed was more of a factor or if the driver changing lanes was careless. The driver determined to be more than 50 percent at fault would be liable for damages.
When Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve sustained injuries or a loved one was killed, and you believe someone else was at fault for the accident, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. You should also meet with a lawyer if:
- You’ve lost time from work or incurred high medical bills due to your injuries
- You’ve been contacted by the other party’s insurance company and been offered a settlement
An accident lawyer can talk to you about motorcycle rider responsibilities, where you stand under Massachusetts traffic laws, and help you decide how to proceed if you have a case.
When you meet with a motorcycle accident lawyer, bring:
- Copies of the police report and any witness statements
- Copies of your medical bills and other related expenses
- Any correspondence with the other party or their insurance company
- Statements regarding your fitness to work or proof of lost wages
Once you’ve engaged a motorcycle accident lawyer, don’t talk to anyone else about the accident or your case. Refer any further contact to your lawyer right away.
An accident can be life changing, but there is hope and help available. The first step toward protecting your rights is to know what they are. The second is to get a motorcycle accident attorney who will fight for you.