When motorcyclists merge onto an interstate highway, such as I-90 or I-495, they may not expect the challenges they will face. Will other motorists drive carefully or take risks? Unfortunately, many motorcycle riders encounter impatient, distracted drivers on the road. Some of these encounters result in serious rear-end accidents.
If you were involved in a rear-end motorcycle collision, you might be in a tough financial situation now. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Why jeopardize your recovery by stressing about medical bills, lost wages, and legal hassle?
One call to Kiley Law Group at 888-437-2584 can make a difference. Schedule your free consultation to learn about your rights to recover compensation.
Understanding How Rear-End Motorcycle Collisions Occur
A rear-end accident is when one vehicle strikes another from behind. Rear-end collisions accounted for about 18 percent of all collisions in 2020. Some crashes occur because other drivers don’t understand how to share the road with motorcycles safely.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides these guidelines:
- Exercise caution when you see a motorcycle with its turn signal activated; some motorcycle signals are non-canceling, and other drivers can misunderstand the motorcyclist’s intentions if a motorcyclist forgets to turn the signal off
- Signal intentions with a turn signal even if no one is behind you
- Pay attention to hand signals
- Check your mirrors and blind spots for bikes before changing lanes or merging into traffic, particularly at intersections
- Leave an appropriate distance, at least 3 or 4 seconds of stopping time, between you and a motorcycle to give its rider more time to move or stop when necessary
- Always allow motorcycles the entire width of their lane; driving in the middle makes them more visible to other motorists
Besides disregarding these suggestions, rear-end accidents could occur because of some common bad habits, such as the following.
Drivers should not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including over-the-counter or prescription medication. In particular, opioids and benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and reduced cognitive functioning. Recent studies show that marijuana has adverse effects including an altered attention span and an increased likelihood of weaving between lanes.
Despite these sobering facts, one 2018 study revealed that more than 33 million people drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol within one year.
The Massachusetts crash database does not specify BAC levels or drug types involved in fatal crashes. However, the number of incidents involving alcohol or drugs as a suspected contributing factor has been counted. Preliminary data from 2020 and 2021 indicated that drugs and alcohol played a role in at least 108 deaths during a 1-year period.
Some driver distractions compiled from Massachusetts crash reports between 2018 and 2022 include:
- Manually operating an electronic device
- Talking on a hands-free device
- Speaking or texting on a handheld device
- Performing personal hygiene
- Searching for an object
- Paying attention to something outside the vehicle
- Interacting with passengers
Drowsy driving contributes to more than 6,400 fatalities every year. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Note these similarities between the two:
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased situational awareness
- Impaired judgment
- Increased risk of injury
The conclusion? Drivers must be alert. Operating a motor vehicle while sleepy could lead to:
- Drifting between lanes
- Running off the road
- Missing signs or exits
- Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive
Determining the role of fatigue in an accident is not easy. Unlike drugs or alcohol, there are no breathalyzers that confirm tiredness. Yet, you can rely on the experienced legal team at Kiley Law Group to investigate the causes of your rear-end accident.
Mass.gov reports that “higher speeds increase the likelihood that a crash will result in serious injury or death.” High speeds not only increase the time and distance required to come to a complete stop but also reduce the drivers’ ability to observe their surroundings.
Posted limit signs regulate speed on highways and local streets. However, Massachusetts law states: “No person operating a motor vehicle on any way shall run it at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper, having regard to traffic and the use of the way and the safety of the public.”
Therefore, certain road and weather conditions make it prudent for cars to travel slower than the posted speed limit:
- Ice, hail, sleet, snow
- High winds
- Work zones
- Speed bumps
- Curves and hills
- Entrance or exit ramps
- While hauling a loaded trailer
- Under conditions of reduced visibility
- Uneven roads
- Gravel roads
- Heavy traffic
At times, responsible drivers slowly and cautiously pull off the road if they cannot safely operate their vehicles.
Disobeying traffic laws
Traffic laws and etiquette maintain order and keep people safe. Yet, some people disregard essential rules and may not:
- Indicate turns and lane changes with blinkers or hand signals
- Use headlights properly for nighttime driving or in bad weather
- Keep from using headphones or handheld devices while driving
- Observe red lights and stop signs
- Respect the right-of-way rules at intersections
- Follow at an appropriate distance
- Drive patiently
- Obey the speed limit
Please report any behavior that seemed strange or dangerous to local authorities at the scene of the accident. During your free consultation at our law firm, you can learn how reckless driving relates to your potential compensation.
Injuries Rear-End Accident Victims Face
When a motorbike is hit from behind, riders often suffer life-threatening injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Even with a helmet on, motorcyclists can suffer head injuries from falling or being struck by a car or by their own bike
- Whiplash: A sudden back-and-forth movement of the neck, causing strain, headaches, pain, dizziness, fatigue, and other symptoms
- Burns: Hot mechanical parts like the exhaust or friction from contact with the road can burn riders
- Road rash: Painful skin abrasion caused by friction against road surfaces, glass, rocks, or metal, susceptible to scarring or infection if left untreated
- Broken bones: Fractures, often accompanied by swelling and bruising, could result in deformities
- Disfigurement: Loss of limbs or eyes, extreme scarring
- Internal bleeding: Damage to internal organs or blood vessels
- Biker’s arm: Nerve damage could result in partial or complete paralysis of the motorcyclist’s hand and arm
Unlike cars, motorcycles do not have certain safety features like protective frames, seatbelts, or airbags. You might be wondering what your options are if you sustained severe injuries.
Suing for a Rear-End Accident
Under Massachusetts personal injury law, anyone injured in a preventable collision can sue those responsible for the accident. If the motorcycle driver was killed in the crash, close family members could pursue wrongful death damages.
In many cases, hitting another from behind is a result of one of the avoidable causes mentioned above (e.g. following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, and so on). Therefore, the person who caused the accident must pay for damages, including:
- Motorcycle damage repair or the replacement value of totaled bikes
- Medical bills for past and future accident-related injury treatment, rehabilitation, and aftercare
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
- Loss of companionship (or consortium for marriage mates)
- Seeking compensation
Lawyers must investigate your accident to determine who is liable for the damages. Our law firm offers free case reviews to Massachusetts motor vehicle accident victims. Click “Text Us” on your screen or the live chat icon for immediate attention from one of our knowledgeable representatives.
Filing a claim
Once your attorney establishes liability, he or she can file a lawsuit if necessary. Strong cases include evidence that:
- Someone else’s negligence caused your rear-end accident
- That person’s negligence resulted in injuries or property damage
- You suffered losses as a result of the accident
Insurance companies representing at-fault parties often try to reduce the amount they have to pay victims. Lawyers familiar with their antics can help ensure you get what you deserve. If we cannot maximize your compensation through negotiation, our attorneys might pursue your interests in a court of law.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and other US territories, lawsuits are subject to deadlines called statutes of limitations. These time constraints mean you must take legal action promptly after a rear-end collision.
If you wait too long, the court will likely dismiss your claim without hearing your case. You will not be able to get financial compensation, no matter how much you deserve it.
Kiley Law Group’s phone lines and live chat are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, to make sure you can get in touch with us when you need us. Call us at 888-437-2584 or fill out our contact form to find out how much time you have remaining to sue.
The Kiley Law Group Attorneys Get Results
Would you like to learn more about how the Massachusetts personal injury attorneys of the Kiley Law Group win millions of dollars in financial compensation for our clients? Check out our motorcycle accident case results and client testimonials.
As a fellow motorcycle rider, Tom Kiley wishes you safe travels every time you get on your bike. If someone rear-ends you, however, we are ready to help you file a lawsuit for your losses. Contact us today without obligation at 888-437-2584 to learn how to qualify.