What Types of Injuries Are Generally Sustained In A Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accidents are typically more traumatic in comparison to motor vehicle accidents due to the lack of protection of the steel chassis around somebody. The types of injuries also depend upon the equipment or protective gear that motorcyclists wear. Almost every single motorcycle injury case that I’ve seen results in skin abrasion or road rash, as it’s commonly called. In a car crash, you don’t have skin abrasions or road rash. You may see a chemical burn from an airbag in a car crash, but you would not see that in motorcycle cases. A motorcyclist can also sustain broken bones, internal injuries, or amputation if the accident is severe. Unfortunately, sometimes motorcycle accidents end in death. If the outcome was death, the situation needs to be thoroughly investigated. For instance, was it a wrongful death based on the actions of the driver of the other vehicle or the passenger of the motorcycle?
As soon as your skin hits the pavement, regardless of the type of gear that you’re wearing, there’s going to be some type of abrasion and perhaps broken bones that hopefully do not lead to an amputation. These types of injuries happen in extreme situations. Emotional damage can also occur. A client may have a hard time trying to get back on a motorcycle and going through that type of road condition, geographic area, or driving scenario again. Sometimes the subtlety of the accident has a greater long-lasting impact than some of the physical conditions.
What Factors Determine The Viability Of A Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Regardless of whether it’s a motorcycle or a motor vehicle, we look for the liability. Who is at-fault for the accident? I’ve been riding motorcycles for 30 years. So, I have a sense of where that line of sight is going to be. I can put myself on that motorcycle with the driver when they’re describing the situation. I can picture what they reacted to, how they reacted, their reaction time, and their escape route. I can see where they could maneuver the bike and the best course of action. Sometimes laying a bike down and sliding into another car is the better course of action than trying to stay on the bike and absorb a direct impact. A direct impact with a car would launch you in the air and over the car into other potential hazards including traffic, trees, and telephone poles.
Other times, you need to take a course of action to get off of the road. Are you down into the embankment? Are you in the woods? In the trees? Being an avid motorcycle rider myself, I can assess the case differently compared to most lawyers who do not have the experience of riding motorcycles and how the road conditions and weather affect riding. For example, there is sand and salt in the northeast springtime weather, and wet leaves during the autumn season. Was the roadway recently paved or have freshly painted lines? Thus, all of those factors are not going to be taken into account by a lawyer who is not a motorcycle rider. He or she would not be able to put those circumstances into perspective in the conference room or courtroom if they have never been in the motorcycle seat.
Am I Required To Wear A Helmet Or Other Safety Gear When Riding A Motorcycle In New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is a Live Free or Die state! There is no requirement to have insurance, a helmet, or any type of protective gear. Instead, New Hampshire relies on the comparative negligence law. What level of liability did you contribute to the accident? What percentage of liability did the other driver contribute to the accident? That will determine the amount of damages that are paid. For example, if the other driver is 100% liable, then you’re going to recover 100% of the proceeds for that damage. If you are 25% liable or the jury thinks that you could have mitigated your damages by 25%, then the monetary award would be reduced by 25%.
For example, if wear a helmet, leather chaps, overalls or suit, gloves, and boots and you get in an accident, the jury is going to take into account that you took all the means necessary to protect yourself as opposed to someone who wore jeans, a T-shirt, and maybe gloves and/or a helmet. The jury is going to look at the injuries sustained and whether protective gear could have prevented those injuries. The insurance company is going to beat that drum all day long and argue that the accident could have been prevented if the client took protective measures. The pushback, however, is that there is no obligation to wear any of that gear. The fact is that they’re trying to dissuade you from going after the other driver and give the appearance that you caused or contributed to the accident. Their goal is for you to take a reduced settlement amount.
Thus, the fact that you do not wear gear is entirely up to your choosing, but at the end of the day, yes, the jury could take into account that you didn’t take all measures necessary to protect yourself.
What Is The Value In Hiring An Experienced Attorney Who Is A Motorcycle Rider To Handle My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Having an attorney who rides a motorcycle can better assess a motorcycle accident claim. By having the experience of being on the open road, knowing the line of sight, knowing how those tires are going to interact with the pavement, and knowing that you can panic brake in a car and keep the car on all four wheels but you do not have the same luxury on a motorcycle. That knowledge is beneficial to motorcycle cases. If you panic brake on a motorcycle, you’re more than likely going to slide it, you’re more than likely going to lay the bike down. You do not have the same stopping distance ability that you have on a motorcycle compared to a car. So, being able to empathize with the driver, and putting yourself in a situation where you understand why the driver took certain actions and the options that were available to the driver, is going to be crucial to evaluate the case.
Also, if you have a motorcyclist on the jury, they can appreciate the actions that you took, but at the same time, if you do not, you need to educate the jury. Accordingly, having an attorney who understands motorcycle laws, physics and mannerism in riding a motorcycle to convey that situation and to paint that picture to a non-motorcyclist is crucial, and that puts a motorcycle attorney above a general injury attorney.
For more information on Injuries Sustained In a Motorcycle Accident, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 880-1300 today.
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