Riding a motorcycle is a favorite New England pastime, especially during the warm summer months. Some choose to explore Massachusetts on their bikes with the occasional joyride, while others rely on their motorcycles for their primary mode of transportation. Although motorcyclists love to spend time on their bikes, it is not the safest way to get around. The safest bikers who wear a helmet, suit up in the right gear, and follow the rules of the road, still face the risk of dangerous motorcycle accidents. Motorists who are aggressive or careless might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tired, or distracted and strike a motorcycle with their vehicle.
Proper riding gear is the only thing that separates a biker's body from the road or another vehicle when an accident occurs. This often results in more severe injuries for bikers and a higher chance of death. Compounding the matter is the fact that almost all motorcycle accidents are preventable. When motorists drive safely and watch for bikers, they can stop most motorcycle crashes from occurring.
If you live in Massachusetts and have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident or a loved one has died from fatal motorcycle accident injuries, you need a skilled motorcycle accident attorney to advocate for you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact the Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online or at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your motorcycle accident, your injuries, and learn about your next steps.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Fight for Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Victims
The skilled legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has more than a decade of experience advocating for motorcycle accident victims and others who have suffered injuries due to negligence. The firm's dedication to excellent client service and seeking justice has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in damages from settlements and jury awards. We cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your motorcycle accident claim.
A wide range of factors affect the value of a claim, and each case is different. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will diligently pursue the best outcome possible for your situation. We have the experience and resources to investigate your accident and build the strongest case possible against the party that caused your motorcycle accident.
Bikers Suffer Serious Injuries When Massachusetts Crashes Occur
The open nature of riding a motorcycle puts bikers at risk for severe and fatal injuries. They do not have the protection that those in cars or trucks have when a crash occurs. Motorcycle accident victims often need to spend weeks or months recovering from their injuries. Those who make a full recovery are lucky. Injuries commonly associated with motorcycle accidents include:
People can suffer road rash from various accidents, but this painful injury is typically associated with motorcycles. Road rash occurs when a biker falls off the bike during a motorcycle accident. Their body slides across the road. Accidents that occur at slow speeds can cause road rash, but road rash can be deadly when a motorcycle accident occurs at high speeds.
The friction between the body and the road causes the skin to peel off in layers, sometimes all the way to the bone. Fortunately, leather and other protective clothing can lessen the severity of the injury. Bikers who aren't wearing protective gear risk life-threatening road rash.
Massachusetts law requires all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear a helmet regardless of their riding experience and age. Helmets save lives and prevent head and brain injuries. Yet, bikers still face the risk of a brain injury even when they comply with the helmet law. The impact of a crash or the impact of a biker's head hitting the pavement sometimes causes the brain to move inside the head, leading to a traumatic brain injury.
In some cases, bikers might suffer a mild concussion that heals quickly without issues. Other times concussions or more severe brain injuries can cause permanent damage, leading to lifelong struggles with memory, cognition, motor skills, and more.
Motorcycle riders who get thrown from their bikes or pinned against a truck or car during an accident risk suffering painful back injuries. Depending on the speed upon impact and the exact circumstances of a motorcycle accident, back injuries include fractured vertebrae and herniated discs. In the most severe cases, bone fragments from fractured vertebrae can damage the spinal cord, leading to permanent disability.
Back injuries are among the most painful of all accident injuries, and victims must often undergo surgery. Many back injury victims deal with pain for their entire life and need to rely on pills, shots, and various other pain management techniques, some of which lead to other health issues.
Motorcycle accidents that are head-on collisions can lead to dangerous thorax, or chest, injuries when the impact pushes the front of a motorcycle into the chest area of a biker. Chest injuries are the most dangerous and most likely to be fatal because of the vital organs in the area. Chest trauma can lead to heart injuries, lung injuries, chest wall injuries, diaphragm injuries, broken ribs, and more.
Bikers' legs and arms are exposed during a motorcycle accident, putting them at risk for getting pinned under their motorcycle, under a vehicle, or in between their bike and a vehicle. When limbs get crushed, they lose blood flow. Infection sets in, spreads through the body, and ultimately leads to death. Doctors do their best to restore lost blood flow, but sometimes the damage is too severe. To save lives, doctors sometimes must amputate a limb as a last resort. Amputees need to spend months recovering and learning how to use a prosthetic device. They must also cope with the emotional trauma that comes with losing a limb.
Recouping Losses After a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident
Massachusetts motorcycle accidents fall outside the state's no-fault insurance system, so you must file a claim under the at-fault driver's policy and possibly file a Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawsuit.
If you prevail in your claim and reach a settlement agreement or go to trial and the court rules in your favor, you could recover the following losses associated with motorcycle accidents.
- Medical expenses including ambulance service, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, diagnostic testing, surgery, aftercare, medication, and travel expenses to and from the doctor
- Estimated future medical costs when motorcycle accident injuries require extensive recovery or when injuries lead to a permanent disability or condition that requires ongoing care and treatment
- Rehabilitation costs including specialized treatment such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and any other treatment to help accident victims cope with the physical and emotional trauma of a motorcycle accident
- Lost wages for missing work because of a motorcycle accident
- Estimated lost future wages when a motorcycle accident victim cannot return to their job or work in the future
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with a souse
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages in rare cases when a motorcycle accident is a result of willful harm or gross negligence
If you have tragically lost a loved one due to fatal injuries from a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, you might be eligible for compensation for the loss of your loved one. Surviving family members sometimes recover some damages listed above. They also typically receive compensation for funeral expenses and burial costs, and non-economic damages such as loss of companionship or loss of parental guidance. Your truck accident lawyer can answer your questions about filing a wrongful death suit after losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident.
Next Steps After a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident
If you have recently sustained injuries during a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, we assume you have spoken to the police and been examined by a doctor. The choices you make in the coming weeks can impact the value of your claim and whether you prevail in your case. These guidelines give you a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for your motorcycle accident injuries.
Keep Records of Economic Loss
Motorcycle accident injuries can be expensive, and you need to prove your loss to recover damages. Ensure you keep each medical bill you receive and any receipts for travel to and from the hospital. You should also keep receives for over-the-counter medication and prescription medication you use due to your injuries. If you work outside the home, obtain your most recent payroll information to prove your income. If motorcycle accident injuries require you to miss a significant amount of work, you might also need your tax records to prove your income.
This information helps your lawyer to accurately value your claim. You should also keep any receipts for money spent to make home modifications, hire outside help, or anything else you need to spend because of your motorcycle accident injuries.
Let Your Lawyer Handle Communications
Soon after a motorcycle accident, it's likely an insurance adjuster from the at-fault driver's carrier will want to speak with you as they investigate the accident. Claims adjusters will ask to record you and hang on your every word to find something they can use to shift the blame to you or deny your claim. Lawyers are used to tricky insurance company tactics and can protect you from saying anything that might hurt your motorcycle accident claim.
Additionally, your attorney can field settlement offers and often negotiate a much better outcome than you would get without a lawyer. It's best to let your lawyer handle all communications with the insurance company and the defense legal team.
Don't Speak With Others About Your Claim
Insurance companies sometimes talked to friends and family members when they investigate an injury claim. Your well-meaning loved ones could accidentally say something that hurts your case. You can avoid these issues by keeping details about your motorcycle accident injury claim under wraps. Once your case is settled or resolved in court, you can share the details about your accident and injuries without fear of devaluing your claim. Until that happens, only discuss the details of your case with your truck accident lawyer.
Don't Post on Social Media
Many insurance companies have begun to extend the scope of investigating injuries to social media. They specifically look for evidence that an accident victim is engaging in activities that suggest their injuries are not as severe or that recovery is occurring faster than the victim claims. The best way to avoid dealing with these issues is to avoid posting on social media.
Insurance investigators will use anything they find on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and use it to deny or devalue your motorcycle accident injury claim. You do not have to delete your social media accounts, but you should avoid posting any pictures or personal information until you have settled or litigated your case.
Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident FAQ
If you sustained injuries in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, you need a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and accompanying losses.
You may feel some level of uncertainty about what's to come concerning your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Consulting an attorney will allow you to learn about your legal options after a motorcycle accident. Unite you have that opportunity, we have provided answers to the following frequently asked questions about seeking compensation after a Massachusetts motorcycle accident.
Does my mandatory Massachusetts PIP insurance apply to my motorcycle accident injuries?
No. Massachusetts personal injury protection (PIP) insurance does not apply to motorcycle accidents. Those who suffer injuries while riding their motorcycle must step outside the state's no-fault insurance system and file a claim with the allegedly at-fault driver's insurance carrier and potentially bring a Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawsuit against the driver.
Do I have to file a report after my Massachusetts motorcycle accident?
It depends, but most likely, yes. You will need to file a report. Massachusetts law requires anyone who has been involved in a traffic accident to fill out a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report within five days unless they physically can't. This is not the same as the official accident report that law enforcement completes when they arrive at the scene of a motorcycle accident.
Even if the police arrive, you must fill out the operator report under these circumstances:
- Someone involved in the motorcycle accident died from fatal injuries.
- Someone involved in the motorcycle accident sustained injuries.
- You estimate that at least $1,000 worth of property damage occurred as a result of the motorcycle accident.
Once you complete the report, you need to provide a copy to your local police department or the state police. You should also send a copy to your insurance company, so they have legal documentation of the accident.
How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident injury claim in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts law provides three years for motorcycle accident victims to bring a lawsuit against the driver who allegedly caused the accident and their injuries. Even if it has been longer than three years, you should consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Exceptions are rare, but the law does allow the court to pause the statute of limitations time clock in certain situations.
Motorcycle accidents can lead to severe injuries that leave victims in the hospital for an extended length of time. If you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, or any other injury resulting in a lack of consciousness or the inability to take legal action, a Massachusetts court might toll, or pause the statute of limitations time clock.
These situations are not the norm, so contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will ensure you meet all applicable deadlines. If you are worried about the statute of limitations, your attorney can also advise you on whether your particular circumstances warrant an exception.
Can I afford a Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorney to represent me?
Sometimes motorcycle accident victims choose not to contact an attorney after suffering severe injuries because they assume they cannot afford a lawyer. Whenever you suffer injuries, you can always afford a lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve. It's also in your best interest because in most cases, an attorney can get you more compensation than you would otherwise get on your own.
Our Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyers offer free case evaluations for potential clients and take cases on a contingent fee basis. This is true of traffic accident cases, including those involving motorcycles. When you consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer, he or she will review the facts of your accident and determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit. If you have a viable case and choose to hire the attorney, you will enter a contingent fee agreement.
Instead of paying an upfront retainer, you agree that your lawyer can deduct attorney fees from any compensation you receive as a result of his or her effort. Compensation often comes in the form of an insurance settlement, but can also be court-ordered damages after a jury ruled in your favor.
The driver's insurance company offered me a settlement after my Massachusetts motorcycle accident. Now what?
Insurance companies do not like to pay large claims, so they sometimes make an early settlement offer to an accident victim. By getting an accident victim to settle early, they can avoid a larger settlement or jury award later on. If an insurance company has made you a settlement offer soon after your motorcycle accident, you will be tempted to accept the offer. You need to let an attorney review the offer to make sure, but you should not accept it for two reasons.
First, these early settlement offers serve to entice accident victims and their families to resolve a claim. The offers are typically just enough money to sound tempting, but they are rarely close to the true value of your claim or fair compensation for your injuries and related losses you have incurred. Instead, consider the first offer as the beginning of negotiations.
Second, it's likely you do not know the full extent and long-term impact of your motorcycle injuries at the time you receive an early settlement offer. When you accept a settlement offer, you must also sign a waiver that states you will not file a lawsuit against the driver or insurance company for the same accident. If you accept a settlement and later find that you need more medical treatment or surgery, you will have to absorb the costs.
How much compensation will I receive for my Massachusetts motorcycle accident claim?
Many factors affect the value of your claim, and if you reach a settlement agreement you might agree to less than the full value of your claim. Your motorcycle accident attorney will add up quantifiable economic losses related to your accident and place a value on the non-economic losses you've incurred, which compensate you for the negative ways your motorcycle accident injuries have impacted your life.
Examples of specific factors that impact how much compensation you could receive include:
- Scope of injury. The nature and severity of your motorcycle accident impact the value of your claim. All things being equal, those with more severe injuries typically have higher value claims. For example, a broken arm that heals in a couple of months is worth less than one or two fractured vertebrae that require surgery and hospitalization. Motorcycle accident injuries that cause permanent disabilities or lifelong struggles also increase the value of a claim.
- Amount of economic loss. Those who suffer motorcycle accident injuries often face financial stress and sometimes economic hardship in the wake of an accident. Medical expenses continue to build up and victims sometimes cannot work. Although health insurance might cover some treatment costs, severe injuries easily meet or exceed policy limits. The more expenses you incur as a result of treatment and recovery increase the value of your motorcycle accident claim.
- Long-term prognosis. Motorcycle accident victims who expect a full recovery will have a lower value claim than victims who have a grim long-term prognosis. Some motorcycle accident injuries require ongoing nursing care at home or in a long-term care facility. If your loved one suffered catastrophic motorcycle accident injuries, such as permanent paralysis, permanent vegetative state, or a debilitating brain injury, full recovery is unlikely. Severe damage like this greatly increases the value of your claim and the amount of compensation you could receive.
- Non-economic loss. Motorcycle accident injuries cause economic challenges, but victims also must cope with non-economic losses and challenges as a result of their injuries. When your motorcycle accident lawyer places a value on your case, he or she will include the non-economic damages you have suffered, which can increase the value of your claim. Some examples include physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, diminished quality of life, and scarring and disfigurement.
- Insurance policy limit. The size of the insurance policy of the driver who caused your motorcycle accident will impact how much compensation you receive for your accident injuries. It's often difficult to receive money beyond the driver's liability policy limit unless he or she has massive financial resources or high-dollar assets. Massachusetts does require minimum amounts of insurance and if the driver who hit you has a loan on their vehicle, he or she probably has full coverage with a higher liability limit. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will seek compensation for damages up to the insurance policy limit, and more, if possible.
- Liability. The extent to which the driver who hit your motorcycle disputes liability and the extent to which you contributed to the accident will play a role in how much compensation you receive from your motorcycle accident claim. If you were partially at-fault for the accident, the insurance company and the court will reduce the compensation you receive by your percentage portion of the fault in an accident. When no disputes over liability exist, accident victims typically receive more money.
How long do I have to wait for the settlement or litigation of my Massachusetts motorcycle accident claim?
Like the amount of your claim, many factors impact how long you will have to wait for a resolution. First, settlement occurs before going to court, so you will wait less time when you settle. Yet, sometimes settlement negotiations can take months or years. Disputes over liability, trouble with obtaining evidence, severe injuries that require more time to heal, and uncooperative insurance companies increase the amount of time you will have to wait. If your case goes to trial, the administrative issues that come with litigation can easily add an extra six months, a year, or longer to your timeline.
Do I have to go to court for my Massachusetts motorcycle accident case?
Most Massachusetts motorcycle accidents settle before going to trial. Litigation is a costly endeavor that neither side wants to do. Oftentimes, both sides do their best to come to a settlement and resolve a claim. Yet, sometimes insurance companies refuse to offer a reasonable amount, dispute liability for their policyholder, and make it impossible to settle. When this happens, your lawyer will advocate for you in court and you will likely have to testify. You probably will not have to go to court, but you should remain prepared for the possibility. Your Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyers can discuss any challenges or obstacles in your class that might require going to trial.
How can a Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyer help?
You might think about going it alone to seek compensation for your injuries after a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, but then you would miss out on all the benefits you get from hiring an attorney to represent you. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney engages in a wide range of activities that help out your case from the moment you meet.
- Reviewing your claim. An attorney evaluates the facts of your case to determine the viability of your claim and whether you are eligible for compensation.
- Handling communication. Experienced attorneys deal with insurance companies all the time, so they know how to communicate. This ultimately protects you from saying anything to them that could hurt your chances of receiving compensation.
- Investigating your accident. Lawyers investigate accidents to uncover any valuable evidence to support their clients' accident injury claims.
- Placing a value on your claim. Determining the value of a claim is not easy, especially when it comes to pain and suffering and other things difficult to quantify. Hiring a lawyer ensures you get it right.
- Handling negotiation. Many insurance companies take negotiations more seriously when a lawyer is involved. Additionally, there is a good chance that your attorney can negotiate a better settlement for you than you could do yourself.
- Litigation, when necessary. When you have to go to court, your lawyer is there to fight for you.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we know the tactics insurance carriers use to blame victims and avoid financial responsibility for their policyholders. Our personal injury lawyers investigate our clients' accidents to learn all the facts and make it difficult for insurance companies to play their games.
Motorcycle accidents are traumatic life events that cause injury, emotional stress, and financial hardship. Not only do victims suffer, but families also face challenges when a loved one suffered severe injuries. You and your family should not have to suffer because a careless driver caused an accident. You deserve compensation to cover the losses related to the accident and your injuries.
If you have sustained injuries in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, we are here to help. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online or call us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) for a free consultation so one of our attorneys can evaluate your claim and you can learn about the best way forward for your circumstances.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114