Motorcycles are a big part of many people’s lives in Massachusetts. Bikers love the freedom of the open road and the peace that comes with it. That does not mean riding does not have its share of risks, though. Motorcycle accidents are very different from car accidents. They can be painful and challenge your way of life.
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, call Kiley Law Group today. As a rider himself, Tom Kiley, Sr., understands both the thrill and the dangers that are a part of that lifestyle. His team of experienced personal injury attorneys stands ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call Kiley Law Group today at (888) 435-1321 for a free case evaluation. There is no fee unless you win.
Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Fatality Statistics
According to the Mass.gov website, there were 257 motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2018 in the state. In 2018 alone, there were 59 fatal accidents, which accounted for 16 percent of all vehicle deaths that year. In 2017, 1,872 lives were saved thanks to the state’s mandatory helmet law. The use of helmets has saved the state $3.5 billion in economic costs, while $21 billion was saved in comprehensive costs.
How Much is a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?
If you have been involved in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, you may be suffering from multiple injuries. These injuries can have hefty medical costs and require time off work to recover. The first thing you will want to know is how much a motorcycle claim could be worth. Various factors go into determining the amount you can receive in compensation.
One of the first steps in winning a compensation case is proving who caused the accident. You may strongly believe that the other party is responsible, but their liability must be proven. There may even be multiple parties at fault.
For example, suppose you are hit by a car. Yes, the other driver might be liable. It is also possible that the driver just had his brakes fixed and the product he bought was faulty. The repairman could have installed the brakes incorrectly.
There can a wide variety of possible responsible parties, including:
- The other driver
- A parts manufacturer
- A repair company
- Local and state municipalities
- A designer
- A tire shop
- A parts dealer
- An employer (such as a transportation company)
Proving the other party’s negligence
Proving the other party caused the motorcycle accident can be difficult. All motorists in Massachusetts are required to exercise reasonable care when on the road. By failing to provide reasonable care, a driver is considered negligent.
Proving negligence is only one part of the process. The second part is proving the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries. For example, suppose someone was texting and driving, ran a red light, and smashed into your motorcycle, breaking your leg. The other driver’s negligence led to hitting you and your leg was broken as a result, so the connection is clear.
Massachusetts is a modified no-fault insurance state
Massachusetts is a modified no-fault insurance state. This means that, in most cases, you would approach your insurance company to pay for damages.
To sue the other party, non-monetary damages must exceed $2,000. Non-monetary damages include things like pain and suffering.
To be considered liable, the defendant must also be at least 51 percent at fault for causing the accident. The burden is on you, the plaintiff, to prove all of this qualifies you to be able to claim compensation.
Another part of this is how much you contributed to the accident. For example, if you were found to be 10 percent at fault, then the amount you receive will be reduced by 10 percent. A $10,000 settlement will be reduced by $1,000.
Determining the compensation amount
The amount you can receive in compensation depends on the types of damages the other party caused. There are two types of compensation: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are easily proven financial losses you had after the motorcycle accident. For example, you racked up $60,000 in medical bills.
Economic damages can include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation costs
Non-economic damages, though, are much more difficult to calculate. It is hard to put a price on things like pain and suffering or mental anguish.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Another consideration of how much your claim is worth is your future earning capacity. If your injuries were severe enough, you may be out of work for a very long time. In some cases, you may never be able to work again. If you were away from work for several months, you will be reimbursed for that time.
Losing all working capacity is another story completely. You can receive the full amount you would have been paid for your entire working capacity. On top of that, it may be acknowledged that you might have lost out on raises or cost of living increases. All those considerations are factored in to determine how much your injuries have cost you.
After being involved in a motorcycle accident, you may experience several non-economic hardships. Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. For example, motorcycles are different from other forms of transportation. They do not provide advanced protection features, like airbags or seat belts.
If you collide with an object, you will probably fly off your bike. This can result in injuries such as broken bones and head injuries. This leads to pain and suffering. You may also miss out on many big events in your life or suffer from mental anguish.
Most insurance companies will determine non-economic damages by coming up with a specific number they use as a general guide. They will then take that number and multiply it by a number between 1 and 5. The multiplier depends on the severity of the injury.
Other companies might use a per diem approach. This number is calculated by determining how many days you struggled with pain and suffering. For example, your injury is worth $1,000, but you suffered for 200 days. You would be paid $1,000 for each day you suffered until you reached your maximum recovery point. Other insurance companies might plug your injuries into a computer to determine what you are owed.
Call Kiley Law Group today to learn more about how damages are calculated.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you decide to claim compensation, the burden of proof will be on you to prove your case. To do this, you must prove liability in three key areas, including:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached his duty of care
- Your injuries and economic hardships were caused by the defendant breaching his duty of care
There are steps you must take that can help your motorcycle accident case, as listed below.
Get medical attention
After a motorcycle accident occurs, you should call 911 right away. The paramedics will come to check out any potential injuries. Even if you feel fine at the moment, allow the paramedics to take you to the hospital. You must be fully checked out for injuries. You cannot prove you were injured without a record of injuries sustained during the crash.
While you are waiting for emergency services to arrive, you can use that time wisely, by gathering information. Of course, if your injuries are severe, then you may not be able to follow this step. If you can, gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every eyewitness. Get the insurance information from the other party. This information will come in handy later.
If you are unable to do so, that’s okay. The police will likely do this as part of their investigation. Your lawyer will be able to secure the police report, but it is helpful to have this information for yourself.
Take photographs of the crash site
Take as many photographs as possible. Most people have a good camera on their smartphones. If you are able, take pictures of your motorcycle, including the damage. Be sure to document the other vehicle’s damage as well. Do not forget other relevant areas as well, like skid marks on the road or proof of the weather conditions that day. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Report the accident to your insurance company
Your insurance company will want to know of the incident as soon as possible. There may even be a time limit to give them notice, so be sure to check your insurance policy. They may deny you benefits if you fail to file your claim on time. Due to Massachusetts’ no-fault law, they may cover your economic damages up to your coverage’s limit.
Call Kiley Law Group Before Time Runs Out
Figuring out what your Massachusetts motorcycle injury claim is worth can be complicated. Many moving parts must be taken into consideration. But you don’t have time to waste – the statute of limitations restricts the time you have to settle a case.
That is why you should call Kiley Law Group right away. Our experienced attorneys can help determine what you are owed and fight hard to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Call Kiley Law Group today at (888) 435-1321. Our team is available 24/7 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless you win.