Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Most bikers understand the inherent risks that they face when traveling on their motorcycles. These risks often stem from the inherent design, in contrast to other vehicles, and not towards their propensity for reckless or negligent driving. Most motorcyclists appreciate the risk they are taking and strive to operate their bikes safely. However, Massachusetts bikers often face biases and prejudices when they are involved in an accident. While bias and prejudice are unfortunate yet common factors in life, these biases often drastically impact an accident victim’s medical and financial recovery.

Motorcycle bias can impact every stage of a Massachusetts motorcycle crash lawsuit. These bikers are immediately at a disadvantage simply because of the preconceived notion that bikers are fundamentally reckless. While there are some instances where bikers engage in unsafe behavior, accidents often result because of another driver’s failure, a defective motorcycle part, or an unsafe roadway. However, the cases that show apparent negligence often make the headlines.

For example, a recent Massachusetts news source described a fatal motorcycle crash. The case is still under investigation; however, the manner of reporting and word usage imputes liability on the motorcyclist. The report explains that the motorcyclist was traveling in the passing lane and passing traffic while a tractor-trailer was making “a legal right turn.” The motorcycle was unable to stop and slammed into the tractor-trailer. Sadly, the motorcycle operator suffered fatal injuries from the incident. While all of those events might be accurate, the wording and depiction of an accident that is still under investigation is just one example of the biases many bikers face.

Every year various safety agencies analyze traffic reports and compile research regarding accident data. While the pandemic brought a reduction in daily traffic and road congestion, reports indicate that there were over 330 fatal crashes in Massachusetts in 2020; the same number as in 2019. Although there were fewer fatal pedestrian accidents in 2020, all other modes of transportation saw increased fatal accidents. In regards to motorcycle accidents, there were 47 fatal accidents in 2019 and 51 in 2020. As summer progresses and more people take to the roads, this number will likely increase.

Motorcycle riding is a popular mode of transportation, but it leaves passengers and operators vulnerable to severe accidents. Motorcycle passengers tend to be in an even more defenseless position because they are at the mercy of the motorcycle operator. When a passenger suffers injuries in an accident, the law provides them with recourse for their damages. Depending on the case’s unique circumstances, the passenger or their representative may have a valid claim for damages against multiple parties.

A Massachusetts motorcycle passenger may recover damages from the bike’s operator, another at-fault driver, both the operator and the other driver, or even the motorcycle manufacturer. Available compensation depends on the extent of the passenger’s injuries or whether they experienced fatal injuries. For instance, Massachusetts police are investigating a double fatal motorcycle crash. According to reports, a motorcycle operator and his passenger wife were traveling north when they collide with a southbound sedan. Tragically the couple did not survive the accident and died upon impact. Emergency responders transported the sedan’s driver to a local hospital. While no charges have been placed at this time, police are still investigating the incident.

Massachusetts is among the growing number of jurisdictions that require bicyclists and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Policymakers designed these laws to increase road safety and protect vulnerable road users from serious injuries. In addition to traffic citations, those that violate Massachusetts’ helmet laws may suffer serious brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets save nearly 2,000 lives every year. Additionally, helmets reduce the likelihood of head injuries by nearly 70%. However, it is essential to note that bicycle injury victims who failed to wear a helmet may still hold a negligent motorist liable for their injuries and damages.

Under Massachusetts law, bicyclists and bike passengers 16 years old and younger must wear an approved helmet. Approved helmets are those that meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standards. Additionally, cyclists should ensure that they wear their helmets correctly. A narrow exception to this rule applies if the passenger rides in a trailer or sidecar that protects the rider’s head.

Bike injury victims must understand that not wearing a helmet does not automatically preclude a biker from holding other parties responsible for the injuries they suffeed in an accident. Specifically, the law states that the other party cannot use a biker’s helmet usage as evidence of contributory negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. However, a rider’s failure to wear a helmet may result in a reduction in the amount of damages they are able to obtain, if the defendant can prove that the motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet contributed to their injuries.

Massachusetts car accidents, especially those involving motorcycles, can have long-lasting and potentially fatal consequences. After an accident, victims and their families must understand how Massachusetts procedural and substantive rules will impact their claim to recovery. One of the most critical rules that may affect an injury victim’s claim to compensation is the state’s comparative negligence statute.

Historically, most states followed the contributory negligence theory, which acts as a defense to liability in a car accident or other injury lawsuit. Under the original theory, plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation if the defendant in the case could prove that the plaintiff contributed in any way to their own injuries. In addressing the inherent unfairness of this statute, Massachusetts lawmakers moved towards comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a modern alternative to contributory negligence.

Comparative negligence allows the trier of fact to evaluate all evidence that each party presents and assign fault on a percentage basis. Massachusetts’s modified comparative negligence rule allows plaintiffs to recover as long as their portion of responsibility was less than 51 percent. In situations where a plaintiff is more than 51 percent responsible, they generally cannot recover. Further, it is important to note that under this rule, a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault.

A Boston news report recently provided an update on the New Hampshire crash that killed seven bikers on a north woods highway. The report indicates the lengths that defense attorneys will go to in hopes of shifting liability away from their client. Last year, a Massachusetts truck driver was traveling west when he crossed over the center line and slammed into a group of bikers that were part of a veterans group. When the police arrived at the scene, the truck driver explained that he was reaching for a drink when the accident occurred. The police let him go. However, he was arrested three days later after he tested positive for narcotics and amphetamines. Additionally, federal investigators discovered that his truck had over 20 safety violations. He was subsequently charged with seven counts of negligent homicide to which he pled not guilty.

According to the State Police investigation, the trailer the truck driver was hauling was about 1.5 feet over the center line when the accident occurred. In a disturbing — yet not all that surprising — move, the truck driver’s defense attorney recently challenged the police report by referring to a report prepared by an “independent” accident reconstructionist. The report claims that one of the victim’s motorcycle was in the centerline at the time of the collision. Additionally, the defendant’s motion claims that the motorcyclist was not looking at the road in front of him, and turned around to look at the group of riders right before the collision. Further, the defense motion includes the biker’s autopsy reports, which show that his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit. The State acknowledged receipt of the motion and stated that they would be filing an objection with the court.

Under Massachusetts law, defendants in personal injury and wrongful death actions will often come up with creative arguments as to why they are not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Often, defendants rely on the state’s contributory negligence laws to avoid liability for their actions. Under the contributory negligence laws, a plaintiff’s total recovery amount can be reduced if they are found partially at fault for causing the accident. And, if the defendant is able to convince the jury that the plaintiff was 51 percent at fault or more, the plaintiff will not be able to recover for their injuries at all.

Every fatal Massachusetts motorcycle accident is tragic. However, the New Hampshire motorcycle accident that occurred this year was among the worst in history. Earlier this year, a 23-year-old man was driving a pickup truck westbound when he inexplicably crossed over the center median, crashing into a group of motorcyclists. The tragic accident claimed the lives of seven of those motorcyclists, many of which were former Marines. Additionally, several others were seriously injured.

After the accident, detail after detail came to light, showing just how preventable the accident was. For example, shortly after the crash, authorities determined that the driver was under the influence of an unspecified substance that may have contributed to the accident. The driver later admitted to reaching for a drink in the moments immediately before the crash.

Then, a subsequent investigation revealed that the driver had been convicted of several offenses that should have raised questions about whether he should have been able to keep a driver’s license. Finally, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) revealed that the man’s license should have been suspended based on an out-of-state DUI conviction, but, due to an oversight, it had not been. In fact, MDOT explained that there were likely hundreds of drivers with out-of-state convictions that went under the radar and were able to keep their licenses. It seems that the accident was the tragic culmination of systemwide failures. According to a news report from earlier this month, the driver was indicted on 23 counts, including reckless manslaughter, negligent homicide, and driving under the influence. Each of the manslaughter counts carries a potential sentence of 30 years.

Motorcycles lack the protective features that are readily available in most cars, leaving riders more prone to serious injury, even death. If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, our Massachusetts motorcycle accident advocates are here to help. We are dedicated to representing you for injuries sustained from a motorcycle wreck. We understand the serious emotional, physical and financial toll a motorcycle crash can have on a person and his or her entire family, which is why we will fight for your rights at each stage of the legal process.

A Bedford man was critically injured when his motorcycle was rear-ended by a car earlier this month. He died from his injuries. According to law enforcement, the 59-year-old army veteran was heading west on a Massachusetts highway when a sedan struck him from behind. The motorcyclist was thrown off the vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries and was immediately taken to the hospital. The driver of sedan refused medical treatment at the crash scene.

Sadly, motorcycle collisions are a common occurrence in Massachusetts and across the United States. There are over 160,000 registered motorcycles in Massachusetts and these vehicles are much more likely to be on the road during warmer months. Data from the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights that motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly crash on the road than those in passenger cars. In Massachusetts, there were 2,017 motorcycle accidents in 2016 resulting in 1,635 injuries and 42 deaths. In addition, motorcyclists in the state account for 1 out of every 7 traffic deaths.

Continue reading

Compared to the occupants of cars, trucks, and buses, motorcycle riders have little protection to shield them from the impact of colliding with another vehicle. Sadly, this means that injuries suffered by motorcyclists are often significant and even life threatening. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a motorcycle crash, call us for a free consultation about your legal options. Our Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorneys understand how to handle even the most complex personal injury cases. We can help value your claim and help you seek the maximum compensation possible in your case.

A recent study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights that most motorcyclists do not wear any reflective clothing such as jackets, pants, boots, gloves or helmets that would make them more visible on the road. Those who wore visibility gear said their decision to do so was based on a rider they personally knew being killed or seriously injured in a wreck. This is a huge problem as motorcycle riders are significantly over-represented in traffic deaths. In fact, the NHTSA found that more than 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in accidents every year, and many of these accidents are attributed to the rider not being seen by motor vehicle drivers. In every group, participants said that drivers do not look for motorcycles and are frequently distracted by cell phones.

In order to obtain compensation for a motorcycle injury, the rider must establish the elements of negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This requires convincing the jury that a plaintiff’s version of events is more likely than unlikely. Put another way, there is greater than a 50 percent likelihood that the plaintiff’s assertions are true. Each of the following four elements of negligence must be established before any compensation can be recovered:

Motorcycle crashes are often especially severe due to the physical vulnerability of riders compared to those in cars around them. These wrecks can cause serious injuries such as broken bones, paralysis or brain injuries. If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, our skilled Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyers will assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve following a crash. We will focus on the legalities so you can focus on healing.

A 25-year-old Massachusetts man recently died in a tragic motorcycle wreck in Portsmouth. Police officers were dispatched to the area around 4:45 p.m. after receiving calls about a serious accident. According to law enforcement, the man was on the on-ramp to the northbound side of the highway at the time of the crash. He was immediately transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, where he was pronounced dead. The police did not release the victim’s name. No other vehicles or individuals were involved in the accident

If a motorcycle crash is caused by someone else’s negligence, the victim can potentially file a personal injury lawsuit to recoup compensation for his or her injuries and losses. While the damages will vary in every case, an injured rider can generally seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.

Continue reading

Lane splitting can lead to serious, even fatal, crashes. Motorcycle riders are particularly vulnerable being injured in an accident, which is even more reason for these motorists to follow the rules of the road and drive in a safe manner. If you have been injured in an accident involving lane splitting, you may have the right to financial recovery. With years of experience, The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C. is a diligent Massachusetts motorcycle accident law firm that will tirelessly advocate for your rights to maximize your chances of obtaining full and fair damages in your case.

Lane Splitting Accidents

Lane splitting, also known as lane sharing or white-lining, involves a motorcyclist driving between lanes of traffic. In other words, lane splitting is when a motorcycle does not stay in the right or left lane, but rather rides in the middle of the two lanes. Many times, drivers engage in this practice to pass other vehicles on the road. While lane splitting is legal in some states, it is prohibited under Massachusetts law, as it can significantly increase the risk of accidents on the road.

Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases

When an accident takes place while a motorcycle is lane splitting, the fault of the accident may lie with the motorcycle rider himself or with the other driver. As mentioned above, Massachusetts’ law forbids lane splitting so the fact that the motorcycle was engaged in the practice may serve as evidence of negligence in a particular case. Negligence takes place when a person causes an accident and resulting injury by failing to use reasonable care behind the wheel. Reasonable care refers to the level of care and caution that a prudent person would have used under the same or similar circumstances.

Continue reading

Contact Information