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Motorcycle Accidents

How to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Blind Spots

Motorcycle crashes are among the most serious, devastating types of collisions that can occur. Because motorcyclists aren’t protected from the force of an accident like someone inside the metal frame of a car or truck, they are often critically injured or killed in a crash.

Blind spots are something that every vehicle has, and each driver should be aware and cautious of. Here’s what you need to know about blind spots on motorcycles and what you can do to prevent blind spot motorcycle accidents either as a motorcyclist or as the driver of a car or truck.

Where Blind Spots Are Located on Motorcycles

Different types of motorcycles generally have different blind spots depending on their design and build. However, the most common blind spots for motorcyclists are directly behind the motorcycle and the left and right rear.

Cars share the left and rear blind spots, but do not have a blind spot straight behind them as motorcyclists do. In comparison, trucks have both as well as additional areas around them with reduced visibility due to their size and shape. While on the road, pay attention to both where your blind spots are on your motorcycle and the potential blind spots of other vehicles.

Tips to Prevent Accidents for Vehicle Drivers

Car and truck drivers can prevent motorcycle collisions by:

  • Being prepared for the presence of motorcyclists on the road
  • Keeping your vehicle’s rearview mirror positioned properly so as to see behind you at all times
  • Keeping your vehicle’s side view mirrors positioned towards your blind spots
  • Physically looking around your vehicle before changing lanes or merging instead of just checking your mirrors
  • Using your lights and turn signals to let other drivers know what to expect
  • Driving within the posted speed limit
  • Driving cautiously in poor road conditions or inclement weather
  • Never operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol

It is your responsibility as a driver to not only drive defensively to avoid accidents with other cars and trucks, but also to avoid collisions with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Tips to Prevent Accidents for Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists can help prevent crashes by:

  • Driving at a safe and legal speed
  • Avoiding riding in the blind spots of other vehicles
  • Giving extra space between your motorcycle and the vehicle in front of you, allowing you more time to react
  • Anticipating the actions of other drivers on the road
  • Using your headlights at all times, even during the day
  • Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing to improve your visibility to other drivers
  • Avoiding weaving in and out of traffic
  • Passing other vehicles quickly so as not to remain in their blind spot for more time than necessary

As a motorcyclist, it’s important to maintain awareness of the larger, heavier, and faster vehicles around you that could pose a bigger threat to your life in the event of an accident. Practice good motorcycle safety and do your best to stay visible to others on the road.

When to Involve an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you were hurt in a motorcycle collision or a loved one was killed, it’s in your best interests to reach out to a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney as soon as you can to protect your rights and your family’s rights to compensation. Call Mazow | McCullough, PC today for a consultation at (855) 693-9084.

Motorcycle Safety Series: Speeding & Driver Behavior Debunked

SpeedingA favorite pastime for both New Hampshire and Massachusetts residents is riding their motorcycle and enjoying the beautiful New England scenery on the go. As much fun as this can be, motorcycles are unfortunately more dangerous than other types of motor vehicles in terms of motorcycle collision injuries and death.

We’re looking at four of the top motorcycle safety factors – helmets, driver behavior, riding clothes, and road conditions.

Let’s talk about driver behavior.

Myths About Motorcycle Training

Learning how to ride a motorcycle is much more challenging than riding a bicycle, however, a surprising amount of motorcycle owners have never had any type of operation or safety guidance. How you learn to operate your motorcycle plays a significant role in your overall driver behavior, even years after the fact.

Some myths about motorcycle classes include:

Formal Training Doesn’t Exist for Motorcycles

Many people think that it’s not possible to be formally trained on how to ride a motorcycle. After all, driver’s education for traditional motor vehicles is arguably lacking. However, quite the opposite is true. You are likely to find motorcycle training courses through your local motorcycle dealership, and some classes may even be free and operated by volunteers.

Formal Training Isn’t Necessary to Ride a Motorcycle

By far the most common myth about motorcycle training is that it’s not necessary. Formal training is rarely provided to motorcyclists if they know how to drive a car, although the two do not operate in the same way at all. Specific training on how to safely operate a motorcycle and avoid the common causes of a motorcycle accident is incredibly important.

Motorcycle Riding Do’s and Don’ts

These do’s and don’ts when you’re on your bike can help you avoid a catastrophic and even deadly motorcycle accident:

Do’s

  • Suit up. Make sure you’re wearing the proper protective gear before riding, including a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Obey traffic laws. Be aware of the traffic laws in the area you’re riding in and follow them.
  • Drive cautiously. Many car and truck drivers don’t look for motorcycles when operating their vehicles. It’s never a bad idea to be extra cautious when on your bike.

Don’ts

  • Drink and drive. Drinking and operating a motorcycle is equally or even more dangerous than driving a car while intoxicated.
  • The faster you’re traveling at the time of your motorcycle accident, the more likely you are to sustain serious or even fatal injuries.
  • Drive recklessly. Motorcycle riders will often try to weave in and out of traffic to get by because their vehicle is small, or they may pass someone going slowly on the right if the left lane is full. However, these actions are highly likely to cause an accident.

I Was in a Motorcycle Collision and Was Partly at Fault. Can I Still Get Compensation?

If you are considered partially at fault for your motorcycle accident, you may be subject to comparative negligence laws. This means that the amount of your settlement award may be reduced by a percentage related to how much you contributed to the collision.

Are You or a Loved One a Motorcycle Accident Victim? Mazow | McCullough, PC Are Here for You

Don’t wait to get legal help in Massachusetts or New Hampshire if you or a family member were involved in a motorcycle collision through no fault of your own.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have a track record of success representing motorcycle accident victims and their families. Contact us now for your consultation at 855-693-9084 or locally in Salem, MA at (978) 744-8000.

Motorcycle Safety Series: Road Conditions Debunked

Motorcycle SafetyRiding a motorcycle can be a great way to unwind and enjoy an entirely new driving experience. That said, motorcycles tend to be more dangerous than cars and trucks because they expose their riders to not only the elements, but the full force of a motorcycle accident should one occur.

We’re looking at four of the top motorcycle safety factors – helmets, riding clothes, road conditions, and driver behavior.

Let’s talk about road conditions.

Myths About Road Conditions

Road conditions play an important role in the safety of all motor vehicle drivers. Poor road conditions, either caused by rain and ice or construction, can easily cause a motorcycle rider to lose control over their bike.

Unfortunately, not as many motorcyclists take road conditions as seriously as they should. People often believe:

The Only Problem with Inclement Weather is Getting Wet

There’s more to riding a motorcycle in inclement weather than the inconvenience of getting wet. The truth is, how well a motorcyclist is able to operate their bike in bad weather has less to do with how skilled the motorcyclist is and more to do with how poorly a motorcycle is suited to rain, snow, ice, and sleet.

Their Motorcycle Can Handle Roads Under Construction

Even the most souped-up bike won’t function as well as a traditional vehicle when it comes to rough roads. Loose gravel, for example, can easily cause a motorcycle to lose traction and skid. If road construction forces you to stop suddenly, you could lose control over the vehicle and fishtail, be forced to lay your bike down, or even be thrown from it.

Common Ways Road Conditions Cause Motorcycle Accidents

Here are some of the most common ways road conditions cause motorcycle collisions:

  • Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires lose their grip on a wet road and ride on top of the water instead.
  • Road construction. Road construction often causes unexpected rough terrain, which a motorcycle or its operator may not be prepared for.
  • Debris on the road. If a utility truck, for example, spills debris like dirt or gravel on the road, this could cause a motorcycle rider to skid.

How to Avoid Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions

Here are some ways to avoid motorcycle collisions caused by road conditions:

  • Watch the weather in your area. Plan for riding days when inclement weather is not in the forecast.
  • Cancel rides and use another form of transportation when the weather is bad. Ride the bus, use a ridesharing service, or get a ride from a friend if the weather is bad and you don’t have access to another vehicle other than your motorcycle.
  • Avoid areas you know are under construction. Make a point to ride around areas of your city or town that are under construction and may have uneven pavement or other road defects that could cause a wreck.

Who Is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

Some people make the mistake of believing that no one can be held liable for a motorcycle collision caused by road conditions. While this may be true in cases where inclement weather was the only factor, there may be a liable party in cases where an accident was caused or exacerbated by poor road conditions related to city or state maintenance.

Were You the Victim of a Motorcycle Accident? Mazow | McCullough, PC Are Ready to Assist You

If you or someone you love were injured in a motorcycle accident, experienced attorneys Mazow | McCullough, PC can help. Contact us now for your consultation at 855-693-9084 or locally in Salem, MA at (978) 744-8000.

Motorcycle Safety Series: Riding Clothes Debunked

Riding ClothesMotorcycles can be a lot of fun to ride, but they’re also one of the riskiest vehicles to operate. A motorcycle lacks the same protective metal cage as a car or truck, meaning the motorcycle rider’s body is exposed to the force of a collision should one occur.

It’s critical for motorcycle riders to take safety into their own hands and be proactive about decreasing the risk of life-threatening injuries in the event of a motorcycle accident.

We’re looking at four of the top motorcycle safety factors – helmets, riding clothes, road conditions, and driver behavior.

Let’s talk about motorcycle riding clothes.

Myths About Riding Clothes

Many people have misconceptions about the value of protective clothing when riding a motorcycle. They may assume:

Protective Clothing Is Only Necessary in the Rain

While waterproof protective motorcycle gear can help you stay dry, its primary purpose is to offer a layer of protection between your body and an accident and should be worn every time you ride.

It Doesn’t Matter What You Wear When You Ride

Science Direct published a study in Accident Analysis & Prevention that compared the medical records of accident victims who were and were not wearing protective motorcycle safety gear.

The results showed that motorcyclists who were wearing protective clothing at the time of their accident were less likely to be admitted to the hospital, and that specially-designed body armor is more effective at reducing injury severity than traditional leather jackets and pants.

There Aren’t Any Good Options for Summer Motorcycle Safety Gear

Thick jackets, gloves, and pants can be hard to wear in the summer months. Many people mistakenly assume that the same type of riding gear exists for all seasons and choose not to wear protective clothing as much or at all when it’s hot outside.

However, many manufacturers of protective clothing for motorcyclists offer breathable, lightweight jackets and other clothing options with armor in just the right places.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries That Can Be Prevented with Riding Clothes

  • Friction burns on exposed skin (also known as road rash)
  • Hand and foot injuries
  • Bleeding
  • Limb injuries
  • Other soft tissue injuries
  • Wrongful death

How to Choose Quality Riding Clothes

Riding clothes can be stylish and fun to wear, but the most important aspect is how well they protect you in the event of a motorcycle crash. Look for these safety features when selecting quality riding clothes:

  • Armored protection, particularly at the knees, elbows, and hips
  • A proper fit; clothing should not be too loose but should allow you to move comfortably
  • Reflective features that help other drivers on the road see you, especially at night
  • Water resistance
  • Good breathability

Remember that the first and most important part of your motorcycle safety gear is a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet.

I Was in a Motorcycle Collision and Wasn’t Wearing Protective Clothing. Will My Lawsuit Be Affected?

If you weren’t wearing protective clothing at the time of your motorcycle collision, the other side’s lawyers are likely to try to place blame on you for injuries that clothing may have helped prevent, like road rash and hand injuries.

However, if the other driver was determined to be responsible for causing the accident, you should still be able to pursue compensation for the full amount of the damages you incurred. Only if you are also partially responsible for the accident would your settlement award be reduced.

Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident? Mazow | McCullough, PC Can Help You & Your Family

Mazow | McCullough, PC are seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers who practice in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us now for your consultation at 855-693-9084 or locally in Salem, MA at (978) 744-8000.

Motorcycle Safety Series: Motorcycle Helmets Debunked

Motorcycle HelmetsMotorcycles are among the most dangerous types of vehicles to drive, but also one of the most enjoyable. They offer little to no protection from outside forces, leaving drivers extremely vulnerable in accidents.

It’s up to the driver to take as many safety precautions as possible to reduce their risk of being seriously hurt or killed in a motorcycle accident.

We’re looking at four of the top motorcycle safety factors – helmets, riding clothes, road conditions, and driver behavior.

Let’s talk about motorcycle helmets.

Myths About Motorcycle Helmets

Not all motorcycle riders are enthusiastic about wearing a helmet. They might think:

It’s Harder to See When Wearing a Helmet

If you’re wearing a motorcycle helmet approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT), your visual field should not be impacted. You may need more time to become accustomed to a new helmet, or you may have problems with your vision unrelated to your helmet.

It’s Harder to Hear When Wearing a Helmet

Three-quarter and full-face motorcycle helmets reduce wind noise, meaning they can actually improve your hearing on the road.

It’s Not Necessary to Wear a Helmet in Massachusetts or New Hampshire

Massachusetts law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a state-approved helmet when riding a motorcycle.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire has yet to pass progressive helmet safety laws and does not require helmet use by motorcyclists or their passengers.

Motorcycle Helmet Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Motorcycle helmets reduce the chances of a motorcycle accident being fatal by 37%.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) by 69%.
  • In 2016, helmets saved approximately 1,859 lives.
  • If all motorcyclists chose to wear a DOT-approved helmet that year, 802 additional lives would have been saved.
  • If all motorcyclists chose to wear a DOT approved helmet, the U.S. would save roughly $1 billion annually.

How to Choose a Good Motorcycle Helmet

Selecting a motorcycle helmet tends to be more involved than shopping for a bicycle helmet. Ideally, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes and someone will be able to help you take measurements or answer questions.

What to Look For

  • A high DOT rating
  • A good fit
  • Comfort over time

After you find the right helmet, be sure to look at options for quality riding clothes – another often overlooked type of motorcycle safety gear.

I Was in a Motorcycle Crash and Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet. Will My Lawsuit Be Affected?

If you were in a motorcycle collision and were not wearing a helmet, the other side’s attorneys will likely try to pin any head, face, and neck injuries on you.

However, if the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, they can be usually be held legally responsible for all the damages that arose from it. If you are determined to also be partially at fault for the cause of the accident though, your settlement may be reduced by the percentage of your fault.

Involved in a Motorcycle Accident? Mazow | McCullough, PC Are the Experienced Injury Attorneys You Need

Mazow, McCullough, PC are experienced motorcycle accident attorneys who are committed to serving injured victims and their families in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Contact us now for your consultation at 855-693-9084 or locally in Salem, MA at (978) 744-8000.

How Riding Without a Helmet Could Compromise a Future Motorcycle Accident Case

Motorcycle HelmetMotorcycle accidents can be absolutely devastating and life-changing for both the accident victim and their family. Recovering physically, financially, and emotionally from a motorcycle accident is challenging enough without the other side trying to accuse you of bearing fault for your own injuries if you weren’t wearing a helmet.

Here’s how choosing not to wear a helmet could compromise a future lawsuit if you get into an accident and what to do if you or a loved one were in a motorcycle accident without a helmet.

Massachusetts Helmet Laws

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has imposed a law that requires all motorcyclists to wear protective headgear when riding. However, not all motorcycle helmets are created equally. You should have a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet that is manufactured specifically to protect against the most common head injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet If Stopped

If you are stopped in Massachusetts while riding a motorcycle without a helmet, you could face the following penalties:

  • A $35 fine for a first offense
  • A $75 to $100 fine for a second offense
  • An increase in motorcycle and/or vehicle insurance rates
  • The cost of having your motorcycle towed
  • A nonmoving violation added to your driving record

Other Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet

Wearing a motorcycle helmet does more than just protect you from legal consequences and fines — it can save your life. Unhelmeted riders are:

  • Twice as likely to sustain cervical spine injuries
  • 42% more likely to die in a motorcycle accident
  • 69% more likely to sustain a serious head or brain injury

Wearing a helmet is an economically sound choice too, for both you and the Commonwealth. In 2010, it was reported that the annual cost of motorcycle collisions in the U.S. was $12.9B in economic damages and $66B in harm to society. Motorcycle riders who survive accidents without helmets are also more likely to need costly surgery, extended hospital stays, and extensive rehabilitation. They may be partially or permanently disabled and unable to return to work.

Can the Other Side Blame You for Your Own Injuries?

The other driver’s attorneys will look for any reason they can to either prove their client wasn’t at fault at all for the accident or your injuries, or that the victim was at least partially responsible. Not wearing a helmet makes this easy for them and they’ll more than likely try to argue that if you suffered head injuries in the accident, that you bear full responsibility because you decided to ride your motorcycle without a helmet.

However, not wearing a helmet does not absolve the other driver from negligence. If their carelessness on the road caused your accident, they should be held accountable for the damages they caused. Helmet or not, if the other driver wasn’t negligent, the accident would not have happened.

Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. for Help Now

After being injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s critical that you take steps right away to protect your rights and best interests. The other side is already building a case against you and if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, they may try to suggest you are at fault for your own injuries.

You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your corner. Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. today for a consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.

No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents: Is the Other Driver Responsible If There’s No Collision?

No Contact Motorcycle AccidentMotorcycle accidents often result in dangerous, debilitating, and even deadly injuries. But does a collision with another vehicle have to happen for this to occur? Not necessarily. No-contact motorcycle accidents are equally capable of inflicting as much damage as an accident that involves a collision with another motor vehicle.

What Is a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?

A no-contact motorcycle accident occurs when a driver causes a motorcyclist to crash without coming into contact with them. No actual collision between the two vehicles occurs, however, the motorcyclist is still involved in a wreck.

Examples of No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

Here are some examples of no-contact motorcycle crashes:

  • A motor vehicle driver changes lanes without paying attention to the motorcyclist, cutting them off in traffic. The motorcyclist swerves out of the road and collides with the guardrail.
  • A motorcyclist is following a safe distance from the car in front of them, but the vehicle “brake checks” the motorcycle driver, causing them to swerve or lay their bike down to avoid a crash.
  • A truck driver runs a red light and the motorcyclist attempts to maneuver out of their way, crashing into a road sign or stoplight.

Any action that a car or truck driver takes that causes a motorcyclist to react in defense could result in a no-contact motorcycle accident. This also includes passing a motorcyclist in a dangerous manner, merging over a motorcycle, weaving in and out of traffic, and sideswiping a motorcycle.

Assigning Fault After a No-Contact Motorcycle Crash

Typically, assigning fault after a no-contact accident works the same way as assigning fault in a traditional collision. What matters most in an accident case is not whether two vehicles collide, but whether one or both parties were acting negligently and whether or not the negligence directly resulted in the accident.

If the driver of the car or truck that caused your motorcycle accident wasn’t aware of their surroundings, was in violation of traffic laws, failed to act in a reasonable manner in a traffic situation, or was otherwise negligent, you may be able to hold them responsible.

In cases of a hit and run, it may be more difficult to obtain information about the driver that caused you to wreck, although not necessarily impossible.

Can You Collect Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?

A few things need to exist for you to be able to successfully collect compensation in a no-contact motorcycle accident lawsuit. First, you must be able to prove that the other driver was acting negligently. Perhaps they were speeding or driving recklessly just prior to the crash.

Second, you must be able to prove that those negligent actions directly caused you to either lay your bike down or collide with a nearby object like a guardrail or tree to try to avoid an imminent crash, and you were injured as a result. Then, you must be able to show that your injuries directly caused you to incur damages, including but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional anguish.

Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. Today

If you or a loved one were hurt in a no-contact motorcycle accident, another driver may be legally responsible for the incident. You may have the right to collect financial compensation, even if your motorcycle and their vehicle didn’t come into contact.

You need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. today for a consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle AccidentsYou may be wondering what would happen if you are involved in a motorcycle wreck in New Hampshire or Massachusetts during this unprecedented time. If you are hurt, it may be harder to receive medical care. Fortunately, the following advice from Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you prevent motorcycle accidents.

Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

What can you do to protect yourself, your loved ones and those you share the road with from the dangers of motorcycle accidents? There are a few safety provisions that you should remember:

  • Maintain your motorcycle and make sure that it is always in good working condition. Do regular check-ups to ensure that nothing needs a tune-up. Get professional repair help if needed.
  • Avoid riding with passengers if you know that they may distract you on the road, especially during this unusual time.
  • Do not ride your bike in inclement weather or when other hazardous conditions are present. Checking weather and traffic conditions before you head out on the road can help you safely prepare for your ride – you can do so online.
  • Stay alert when riding your motorcycle. Scan your surroundings for hazards and always stay aware of what your fellow motorists are doing on the road.
  • Avoid using a cell phone or any other electronic device while riding, which is now illegal in the state of Massachusetts. GPS devices and other necessities should be set in order before you begin your ride.
  • Take a motorcycle safety training course. Education can truly save a life, especially if you are a new rider or have not brushed up on your safety knowledge for a long time.

These tips are important to remember – not only during this challenging time, but forever. Making a note of them now and taking them seriously for the rest of your life can help you make the roads safer for everyone, including yourself.

A Word on Drinking and Biking

It is also important to remember that you must never drink before riding your motorcycle, which is illegal as well as extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, many motorists are involved in alcohol-related crashes each year in the United States.

If you know you will be drinking, plan ahead. Enlist the aid of a trusted friend or family member to transport you or allow you to spend a night at their home as needed.

Motorcycle Accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire: Where to Get Help

Knowing how to help protect yourself and others during this challenging period can help you feel greater control over your life and safety. However, if you or a loved one has already faced a motorcycle accident, contact Mazow | McCullough, PC. We are still here to help you find justice for pain and suffering as a result of motorcycle accidents.

Wrongful Death in Motorcycle Accidents (Podcast)

From helmets to obeying the rules of the road, there are many factors that could contribute to a wrongful death in a motorcycle accident. Personal injury attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough discuss what to do if a loved one dies as a result of a motorcycle accident. Listen or read more to learn more.

John Maher: Hey, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow McCullough, the personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re talking about wrongful death involving motorcycle accidents. Robert and Kevin, welcome.

Robert Mazow: Thanks, John.

Kevin McCullough: Thank you, John.

John: So, what causes a motorcycle accident? What are some of the most common causes, and why are so many of them fatal?

Kevin: We see a number of different reasons that motorcycle collisions occur or causes for motorcycle collisions, ranging from drivers of motorcycles and/or motor vehicles just simply not paying attention to speed issues or going beyond the speed limit, not paying attention to traffic signals, not being aware of their surroundings or how close they are to other vehicles, whether it’s on a highway and a car is changing lanes and they just don’t see that motorcycle in the blind spot. But, here in the northeast part of the country, there are so many other reasons why we see them. In the winter months when the roads are slippery and we’re seeing salt and sand placed on the roadways to make the road safe, that’s a very dangerous hazardous condition for someone driving a motorcycle, whether they pull it out on a nice a winter day when it’s not too cold out or those early rides in the spring season when there’s still a lot of sand and debris on the roadway, it can be very dangerous out there.

So, in addition to the typical reasons that somebody might think about for motorcycle collisions, we also have some extra hazards and factors here in this part of the country that we have to deal with.

John: Okay. And then of course, with a motorcycle as compared to a car or a truck, you just have so much less protection as a driver, that you’re bound to get thrown onto the road, and that’s going to be potentially fatal.

Robert: Right. Well, we certainly see a lot more likelihood of a death if a motorcycle is involved than if two cars are involved. Motorcyclists clearly are not protected with steel barriers like a person in a car is protected. I mean, a motorcyclist — a smart motorcyclist — will wear their leathers, they’ll wear their helmet. But we know that many motorcyclists — certainly, New Hampshire motorcyclists — there’s no requirement that they wear a helmet. Unfortunately, we see some pretty terrible injuries when a motorcycle is struck by a vehicle, and sometimes, it leads to death.

Helmet Laws in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

John: You bring up a good point, which is that in New Hampshire, there is no helmet law, but in Massachusetts there is. How does that make things different in terms of how you approach the case, you know, involving somebody who has been killed, maybe in Massachusetts when maybe they haven’t been wearing their helmet like they’re required to?

Robert: I think as far as the liability part of the case, the what happened, who was at fault, whether a person was wearing a helmet or not, it doesn’t make a difference. If a driver of the vehicle is texting and they strike a motorcyclist and the motorcyclist has done nothing wrong, yet the motorcyclist isn’t wearing his helmet, it doesn’t mean it’s the motorcyclists fault. Now, if the motorcyclist dies as a result, strictly of a head injury, the smart defense attorney, the person defending the vehicle that was at fault, will certainly raise, and we’ll get an expert to say, “Had the motorcyclist been wearing a helmet, they would not have died.” Of course, there may be another expert on the other side that will possibly say, “It doesn’t matter if they were wearing a helmet or not. The severity of the impact was large enough that would have caused death anyway.”

So, if the law says to wear a helmet, we certainly encourage you to wear a helmet, but it’s not necessarily going to be a deciding factor if there’s a crash.

Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident

John: Okay. How do you determine fault in a motorcycle accident? Is it different than a normal car accident?

Kevin: It’s pretty similar, John, in that there are rules of the roadway, there are traffic signals, traffic signs, speed limits. The driver of a motorcycle and a motor vehicle are both obligated to follow those rules of the road to obey the traffic signals, to obey the speed limit. Those are the typical reasons that collisions may occur, whether someone’s speeding or just not paying attention. But, as I mentioned earlier, when you’re driving a motorcycle, there are so many different factors involved. Being exposed to the elements, whether it’s weather or the roads being slick, but just, you know, not being seen by people driving a motor vehicle. Those are a number of different reasons of why these things occur and going to the extent of the damages of when you’re exposed.

John: Are there any other aspects of motorcycle accident wrongful death lawsuits that make them different from other types of lawsuits?

Robert: As far as the lawsuit is concerned, they’re pretty straight-forward. If it’s determined that a motor vehicle causes a crash that leads to the death of a motorcyclist, a lawsuit would be filed. It would include claims for negligence. It would include claims for possibly reckless driving, gross negligence. But they’re fairly similar to other types of motor vehicle lawsuits.

John: Okay. That’s great information. Rob and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thanks, John.

Kevin: Thank you, John.

John: For more information on personal injury cases, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.

Motorcycle Accidents and Insurance Coverage (Podcast)

There are many ins and outs when dealing with motorcycle insurance coverage. Attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of Mazow McCullough law offices discuss what motorcyclists need to know to stay fully insured. Listen or read more to find out what you need to know.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law office of Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today we’re talking about motorcycle accidents and insurance coverage. Rob and Kevin, welcome.

Robert Mazow: Thank you.

Kevin McCullough: Thank you, John.

John: How is insurance coverage different in a motorcycle accident versus a car accident?

Kevin: John, the coverages that come into play for a motorcycle collision or incident or injury can be much different than the coverages that come into play for a car accident. Just like when you’re insuring your motor vehicle, you want to sit down with your insurance agent and go over the different potential scenarios to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place. You certainly want to do that with a motorcycle.

And the reason why it’s so important to do that with a motorcycle is, here in Massachusetts, when you insure your car, you are required to have a certain line of coverage to have your car lawfully on the road. And that coverage is called personal injury protection benefits. Those benefits will protect you if you’re injured in a car accident and provide some coverage to you for medical bills and lost wages. But, that personal injury protection coverage is just not available to you as a motorcyclist. Whether you want it or not, you just can’t get it.

When you are an owner of a motorcycle and you go to insure the motorcycle, step one, you want to make sure you get the right coverage and you let your insurance agent know that. And what we suggest or recommend to our clients who operate or drive motorcycles is to be sure to get what’s called medical payments coverage. And that will protect you as a motorcyclist if you’re injured in a motorcycle collision, whether it’s with a motor vehicle or some other object. It’s a layer of coverage that’s there for you to provide coverage to you for medical bills or medical treatment.

And, oftentimes, clients may not know that unless they’re involved in an incident or a collision and they start to have medical bills adding up and they’re just not sure what to do, and they assumed that certain coverage was in place. So, we have health insurance requirements and even if you have health insurance, it’s great to have a benefit of protection to pay for medical bills and treatment. But, here in Massachusetts it’s heavily regulated and you’re obligated to have medical bills from a car accident processed a certain way. And just like with a motorcycle, you’re obligated to have medical bills processed a certain way.

Those coverages — and how they interplay with each other — can be tricky and you want to make sure you start to answer those questions before there’s an incident.

Motorcycle vs. Auto Insurance in an Accident

John: Okay. And then how does the motorcyclists own insurance and the car driver’s insurance, if there’s an accident between them come into play in the relationship between those two different insurance companies?

Robert: Well, I think to answer that question, let’s assume that the motorcycle was not at-fault for the crash . . . that it was the fault of the car. Let’s say it struck the motorcyclist. Kevin said there’s no personal injury protection available to the motorcyclist, so the motorcyclist’s medical bills have to be taken care of, hopefully by their own health insurance. The insurance of the vehicle that struck them would be responsible for compensation for pain and suffering and loss of future earning capacity — the sort of special damages that we see in those instances.

Now, just to drill down a little bit about what Kevin said. Sometimes a motorcyclist might be struck by a vehicle that doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to cover for what could be a very substantial injury or a death. Among the other coverages that would be important for motorcyclists to have would be a high option of bodily injury coverage, which would allow them to have a high under insurance motorist coverage, which would provide an extra layer of protection if the vehicle that strikes them does not have enough insurance coverage.

John: Okay. That’s all really great information Rob and Kevin thanks again for speaking with me today.

Kevin: Thank you, John.

Robert: Thanks, John.

John: And for more information on personal injury cases and motorcycle accidents, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.

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