Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney after being involved in a collision can have significant benefits for you and your family, and may afford you compensation for damages you incurred.
John: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today, our topic is “why do I need a motorcycle accident attorney?” Welcome, Robert and Kevin.
Kevin: Thank you John.
Robert: Thank you John.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
John: What are the most common reasons that motorcycle collisions occur?
Kevin: Similar to motor vehicle collisions, the most common reasons that motorcycle collisions occur – in my experience, John – involve lack of driver attention, speeding, texting, [and] not paying attention to the roadway. However, having been involved in numerous lawsuits and cases involving motorcycle collisions, there’s also the extra element of sometimes, even when people are trying to pay attention when they’re driving a motor vehicle, [accidents still occur]. It’s hard to see a motorcyclist at certain angles as they’re driving on the roadway or driving on the highway.
Often times, a driver may be paying attention and may be looking in the side mirror or the rear-view mirror. Based upon the size of the motorcycle, they just genuinely don’t see the motorcyclist. Only if they turn ahead to the left or to the right, would they actually see the motorcyclist. Another thing that comes up in those types of cases is, again, a driver who’s driving a car [and] paying attention, it’s harder to judge speed if you’re pulling away from stop sign and you looked to your left and you see a motorcyclist that you estimate to be a few hundred feet away and you try to pull out. [It may be closer]. It’s harder for a motorist or anyone in general to have that depth perception when you’re on the roadway.
In addition to the common reasons that collisions occur are lack of attention [or] failure to pay attention. There are people who are driving motor vehicles who are not doing anything wrong, but they’re not taking the extra steps and the extra precautions that are necessary to see motorcyclist on the roadway, especially highways.
John: Right. Because we see so many more cars on the road, we get used to looking out for other cars. Like you said, you’re looking in the side mirror of your vehicle and you’re looking for another car, you’re not really thinking, “Oh, there might be a motorcycle next to me.” When you don’t see in your normal vision where you would normally see a car, you just assume, “Oh, there’s nothing there,” rather than taking that extra time to turn around and look to make sure there’s nothing smaller like a motorcycle.
Kevin: We see that on highways. A driver could be driving a vehicle and looks in their rear-view mirror [and] they don’t see anyone behind them. A few moments later, they go to get in the left lane or the right lane and there is a collision with a motorcyclist. They just didn’t see the motorcyclist approaching from the rear. They didn’t know that they were passing on either the left or the right. Again, the driver who thinks that they’re doing everything that they need to do to be safe causes that collision and may ultimately be responsible for the injuries that result from that motorcycle collision.
Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident
John: Right. Robert, is it harder to prove negligence in a motorcycle accident?
Robert: We see a bias against motorcyclists, the bias coming from the insurance company and also from juries. You could have a motorcyclist who’s got 20 [or] 30 years of experience, who is an excellent and safe driver. Never been in an accident before, [and is doing] everything absolutely right. The jury might feel based upon their own experience in dealing with motorcyclists that this person must have been negligent. This person must have been reckless. They drive a motorcycle for Lord’s sake, they have to want to drive fast.
The truth of the matter is the motorcyclists that we’ve represented are some of the safest drivers that are out on the road. But initially when we present a claim to an insurance company for medical bills and payment for pain and suffering, their first reaction is, “Well, wait a minute, the motorcyclist must have some comparative fault [or] must have some comparative negligence.” The insurance company tries to reduce the payment.
Motorcyclists are faced with insurance bias in that they can’t even get Personal Injury Protection coverage on their policies in Massachusetts. Because the legislature has been convinced by the insurance industry that there are just too many accidents involved with motorcyclists and they’re not going to pay for their medical bills through the PIP coverage.
Motorcycle Accidents and Fatalities
John: Interesting. Kevin, are fatalities more common in motorcycle accidents?
Kevin: Unfortunately, John, they are. What we see in our practice handling motorcycle collisions in Massachusetts and Hampshire, [is] that yes, statistically those sorts of incidents in collisions do involve fatalities at a higher frequency. It’s based upon just the lack of the protection to the rider or passenger. In New Hampshire, you’re not required to wear helmet while driving the motorcycle. Even if you’re the safest motorcyclist in the world, traveling on a beautiful sunny day on Route 16 in New Hampshire, within the speed limit, within your designated lane, you never know when someone’s going to pull from a side street or hit you as an oncoming motorist.
When incidents like that occur when you’re driving a motorcycle with or without a helmet, often times, those head injuries or those internal injuries are severe enough that the motorcyclists won’t survive that collision.
Motorcycle Insurance vs. Motor Vehicle Insurance
John: Robert, you started talking a little bit about insurance coverage and then the insurance bias against motorcycle drivers. What is the difference in motorcycle insurance coverage versus car insurance?
Robert: I think the most significant difference is that when you have a car in Massachusetts on the road, you are required to have Personal Injury Protection coverage, which pays for yourself and your passengers’ medical bills up to a certain amount. It could be $2,000 or it could be $8,000. Motorcyclists aren’t even allowed that option, they are not allowed to have that Personal Injury Protection. Now, the smart motorcyclists will buy additional coverage to protect themselves because they know that they can’t get Personal Injury Protection.
They might buy medical payments coverage, although, some of them make sure that they have some form of health insurance to pay for any potential injury. They’ll hopefully increase the limits of their motorcycle liability under an uninsured motor’s protection, in case they’re hurt by an at-fault driver that does not have enough insurance coverage.
John: Okay. That’s really good information. Robert and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.
Robert: Thank you John.
Kevin: Thank you John.
John: For more information, visit helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744-8000.