Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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

Motorcycle accidents can lead to devastating, even deadly injuries. Not all motorcycle crashes involve colliding with another vehicle. Instead, some motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle accidents. If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident, you shouldn’t assume you can’t recover compensation. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. , our Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorneys can examine the facts of your accident and identify each and every potentially liable party.Last month, a Massachusetts man was killed during a single-vehicle motorcycle crash. The 20-year-old Medfield man was taken to Norwood Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police say town emergency personnel responded to reports of a crash in Walpole – a place 27 miles south of Boston – late in the evening.

Unfortunately, incidents like this are quite common. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, 40 percent of motorcyclist deaths in 2016 occurred in single-vehicle crashes, and 60 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes. This has remained largely unchanged since the 1980s. It is important to note that alcohol played a role in 37 percent of deaths in single-vehicle crashes in 2016.

Continue reading

Drivers often fail to see motorcycles on the road, especially at left turns. This leads to many accidents being the result of improper left turns. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another’s drivers’ negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. , our seasoned Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorneys are committed to providing practical and cost-effective legal advice for your case.

Sadly, left turn accidents are quite commonplace. Data collected from Arbella Insurance highlights that 31 percent of serious wrecks in 2013 involved an automobile turning left. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the total 5.8 million car accidents that take place in the country every year are intersection-related and the majority of those involve making an improper left turn. In fact, a 2010 NHTSA report found that in the case of 22.2 percent of crashes, the critical pre-crash event (i.e., an event that made the crash imminent) was turning left.

Motor vehicles making left turns can pose a danger to motorcycles if they are not careful. Left turn accidents with motorcycles can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • A motorist cutting off a motorcyclist while making a left turn;
  • A motorist running a red light;
  • A motorist ignoring stop sign, not coming to a complete stop and prematurely making a left turn;
  • A motorist making a left turn at a yellow light without scanning the surrounding area for a motorcycle.

Continue reading

Motorcycles provide an enjoyable and often thrilling mode of transportation. Motorcycle accidents, however, can have catastrophic consequences for the rider, given his or her relative vulnerability in a collision involving a larger vehicle. Some accidents, like rollover accidents, are even more dangerous than others. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motorcycle rollover accident, you need the help of a skilled Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorney who can assess the merits of your case and determine the viability of your legal claim.

A motorcycle rollover accident occurs when the motorcycle overturns. Put another way, motorcycle rollover accidents take place when the motorcycle flips over. These accidents can be categorized as “tripped” or “untripped.” Rollover accidents caused by external objects such as a car, truck, or other vehicle are known as “tripped,” since the motorcycle is tripped by the object causing it to flip over. Untripped rollovers generally are not caused by contact with an external object. Instead, they may be caused by the behavior of others on the road, such as an aggressive driver who is veering in and out of lanes, causing a motorcycle rollover accident. Sometimes a motorcycle rollover accident is a result of a defective part. And in other cases, a rollover accident may be caused by a road defect, such as a pothole.

If another person or party’s negligence caused your rollover accident, you can likely file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Almost all personal injury cases are rooted in negligence. In Massachusetts, negligence occurs when an individual or entity fails to exercise the level of care required under the circumstances and, as a result, causes injuries or harm to someone else. It is important to note that Massachusetts follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, under which a plaintiff’s total damages award is reduced by his or her degree of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist is deemed to be 20 percent at fault for the rollover accident, his or her recovery will be reduced by that amount. The only exception to this rule is if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault, in which case that plaintiff is barred from recovering any damages at all.

Contact Information