Motorcycle Accident

It is no secret that motorcycle accidents are a serious problem on both Pennsylvania’s streets and our nation’s roadways. Contrary to what many believe, they are more often the result of negligent drivers of cars than of reckless motorcyclists. Motorcycles are significantly smaller and less visible than cars or trucks, and other drivers must take all of the necessary precautions to avoid a collision with motorcyclists. There is an undeniable bias among police and insurance companies that often blames motorcyclists for accidents, even when the car driver is clearly at fault. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you deserve compensation, but it may not come easily. You’ll need to have a qualified Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer on your side if you hope to receive fair recovery for your damages.

In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported nearly 4,500 fatalities nationwide as a result of a motorcycle accident and nearly half of the accidents involved a collision with a car. Unfortunately, when involved in a motorcycle accident, the rider is significantly more likely to be seriously injured or die than compared with car accidents. It has been estimated that in any collision, a biker is 35 times more likely to be killed than a passenger in a car.

The toll in human suffering from motorcycle injuries are great, and at Hill & Associates, we know the difference a seasoned Philadelphia personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents can make in receiving the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania

Negligent car and truck drivers on the road cause most accidents that injure motorcyclists in Pennsylvania. Often, drivers will not look carefully or check their blind spots before they change lanes or making turns, violating the biker’s right of way and causing a collision. While these accidents may cause little harm to the car driver, they often do serious harm to the motorcyclist.

Another major cause of motorcycle accidents has to do with uneven lanes and debris on the roadways. These accidents are caused by the negligence of the government entity responsible for road maintenance in failing to keep the highway in a safe condition. Uneven roadways, cracked or littered pavement, and detached tire treads lying in the road place all motor vehicle operators at risk, but this is especially true for motorcycle riders because they can easily be thrown off the bike and severely injured or killed. As dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys in Pennsylvania, PA, we value our clients and want to make sure victims and their families receive the maximum compensation they deserve.

What Is Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Helmet Law?

In 2003, Pennsylvania repealed its mandatory helmet law. Since then, Pennsylvania Law requires that any individual who operates or rides a motorcycle must wear protective headgear if he or she is under the age of 21 or has a motorcycle learner’s permit. Those who are 21 and over and have either two years of riding experience or have completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are not required to wear helmets. Additionally, passengers who are 21 and over are allowed to ride on motorcycles without helmets, provided that the operator is not legally required to wear a helmet. Those riding in a three-wheeled motorcycle or autocycle equipped with an enclosed cab are not required to wear helmets. To comply with the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Law, helmets must meet the standards approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, indicated by a “DOT” sticker on the motorcycle helmet. The helmet must be permanently labeled with the following:

  • Name or identification of manufacturer
  • Precise model designation
  • Month and year helmet was made
  • Size
  • “DOT” sticker, which can be centered on the back of the outer shell of helmet and is the only information that is required on the outside of the helmet (the above information must be legibly labeled so it can be read without removing permanent parts of the helmet or padding)

If you need more information regarding state laws, a knowledgeable Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm would be happy to help.

Pennsylvania Motorcyclist Fatalities by Helmet Use

Motorcycles are less visible and less stable than cars, making them one of the most dangerous forms of motor vehicle transportation. When involved in a motorcycle accident, riders lack the protection that other motorists have when inside an enclosed vehicle, making them more likely to be injured or killed. Because serious head injuries are common among fatally injured motorcyclists, the importance of helmet use cannot be understated. In 2014, a total of 4,295 motorcyclists were killed in crashes according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). While motorcyclist deaths declined in 2014, they accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths that same year and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997. It is estimated that helmets are roughly 37 percent effective in preventing motorcyclist deaths and roughly 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries but only 19 states and D.C. require helmet use by all riders.

In Pennsylvania, the number of motorcyclist fatalities among helmeted riders declined from 2012 to 2014 but increased by 16 percent from 2014 to 2015. While deaths among unhelmeted riders has alternated between increasing and decreasing year to year from 2011 to 2015, there was an 11 percent decrease among these risky riders from 2014 to 2015.



Pennsylvania Motorcyclist Fatalities by Age

According to five-year data collected by NHTSA and the FARS, 178 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania last year, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2014. Despite the fact that fatal motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania have decreased, total motorcycle crashes have increased from 2014 to 2015 by roughly 4 percent, according to crash data gathered by PennDOT. While motorcyclist fatalities among those under 20 years old were the lowest in all five years, this age group saw the largest increase in deaths from 2014 to 2015, at 42.9 percent. Conversely, motorcyclist fatalities among those aged 40-49 have been on the decline since 2012, a trend that continued through 2014 to 2015. During that time, this age group saw a 21.6 percent decrease in motorcycle accident fatalities. Given that the >20 age group saw the lowest fatalities each year from 2011-2015, this group also had the lowest average of deaths at eight per year. Although the 20-29 age group has also experienced a decline in motorcyclist fatalities since 2012 and saw the second largest decrease in deaths at 16.3 percent from 2014 to 2015, this group had the highest average of deaths at a staggering 45 per year.



Available Damages After a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Crash

The Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer representing you in your personal injury case will seek compensation for the money you have lost or will lose as a result of your injury and also for other damages that affect your quality of life, such as pain and suffering, both physical and emotional. After you’ve suffered an injury caused by a negligent driver, your attorney will pursue monetary damages for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Medical care and rehabilitation expenses
  • Psychological counseling
  • Lost current and future wages
  • Funeral costs in fatality cases; medical expenses if death wasn’t immediate

Hill & Associates | Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Philadelphia, PA

Founding attorney Leonard K. Hill and his legal team will thoroughly investigate every detail of your case in order to provide the best representation and protect your rights to a recovery after your accident. In addition to the physical pain and suffering caused by an injury, the loss of income can greatly reduce a person’s quality of life and well-being. A motorcycle can be devastating, not only for the injured rider but also for the family who relied on the support the injured or deceased rider provided the household. The Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Hill & Associates know this and will fight to get the maximum amount of damages possible, in order to cover all of your financial and non-financial losses. We will bring in traffic safety and accident reconstruction experts whenever necessary to prove that the other driver caused the accident, and medical experts to help prove the extent of your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us today for a free initial consultation. The law limits your time to file a claim, so protect your rights by calling (215) 567-7600 now.

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