Statistics bear it out — motorcycles are no match for other vehicles. In Pennsylvania crashes of passenger vehicles in 2020, .4% of the people involved died. On the other hand, fatalities in accidents involving motorcycles exceeded 6%. The freedom that comes with enjoying the open road on a motorcycle often comes with a heavy price.
Even with special training and care, motorcycle operators may not be able to escape the consequences of some else’s negligence. If someone else caused a crash that injured you while you were riding a motorcycle in Pennsylvania, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against them. If someone in your family was killed in such an accident, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death action.
For more than a decade, our team at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC has been helping clients and their families in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania pursue justice for personal injury and wrongful death claims. We will work diligently for each of our clients, pay close attention to detail, negotiate from a position of strength, and present a compelling case to a jury.
There are four steps you should take immediately after a motorcycle crash:
Take care of your health. Seek medical examination and treatment immediately so you can get the intervention you need to save your life or mitigate the long-term effects of your injuries. Even if you are not sure you are injured, see a doctor right away. Some injuries are not immediately apparent but may be discovered under examination.
Gather documents and information you will need to substantiate a personal injury claim. This would include contact and insurance information of the at-fault driver, contact information for witnesses, a copy of the law enforcement agency’s crash report, and copies of your medical records. It is also smart to write down your recollection of events as soon as possible and keep notes about your injuries and how they affect you throughout the claims process.
Contact your insurance company so they can assign a claim number and give them the other driver’s insurance information. You can make a claim against the medical payment benefits you have under your insurance policy to help pay immediate medical expenses.
Call an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Getting them on board right away helps preserve evidence, provide you with guidance, and prohibit the other party’s insurance company from speaking with you directly.
There are three important Pennsylvania motorcycle laws you should know about:
Helmets must be worn by all operators and passengers except while operating a three-wheel motorcycle with an enclosed cab. Operators 21 years of age and older who have had their motorcycle license for at least two years or have completed an approved motorcycle safety course are also not required to wear a helmet.
Lane splitting (operating a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or adjacent rows of vehicles) is prohibited.
Passengers may ride only if the motorcycle is designed to transport more than one person.
Operators of any kind of vehicle on Pennsylvania roadways owe a duty of care to all others. Manufacturers of vehicles, parts, and gear owe the same duty of care. Anyone who fails to uphold that duty is negligent and can be held legally liable for the damages incurred by accident victims.
Pennsylvania is a “modified comparative fault” state. Fault for a crash may be assigned to more than one person. As long as you were less than 51% at fault for a crash, you can pursue a personal injury claim. If you are assigned a percentage of fault, any settlement or jury reward would be reduced by that percentage.
Because injuries sustained by motorcyclists tend to be severe, a victim may be incapacitated and unable to pursue their own personal injury claim. In that case, a person named in the victim’s durable power of attorney may be able to file a claim for them. If there is no durable power of attorney, the court can appoint a conservator to act on their behalf.
If your loved one was killed, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent had no will at the time of death, the court will appoint someone to serve as their personal representative. Any settlement or jury award would go to the estate to benefit its heirs.
As with personal injury claims, a wrongful death claim requires proof that another party’s negligence caused their death.
Injuries and death in motorcycle accidents are far too common. Medical and funeral expenses and lost income cause extreme stress. Pain and suffering, loss, and grief can be overwhelming. There is no need to try to go through the pursuit of a personal injury or wrongful death claim alone. We have guided others through all of this before, and we are ready to stand by you.
Our team at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC is dedicated to helping motorcycle accident injury victims and their families in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Let us help shoulder some of your stress by helping you pursue your claim. It is your right to pursue fair compensation. All you have to do is call our office for help today.