Boston is home to a thriving community of motorcycle riders who use their bikes for both pleasure and commuting to work. However, they also face inherent risks every time they hit the road, simply because of the nature of the activity and the unpredictability of other drivers.
Motorcycle accident injuries are often devastating for victims and their families. They may involve lengthy rehabilitation periods, numerous medical procedures, and a great deal of pain and suffering. In many cases, serious injuries and fatalities after a motorcycle accident can be attributed to another driver’s negligence and reckless behavior.
Pursuant to Massachusetts state law, you could work to hold at-fault drivers liable for injuries they cause you with an experienced Boston motorcycle accident lawyer’s help. A dedicated personal injury attorney could discuss your legal rights and determine whether you have a claim worth pursuing.
Liability and Elements of Negligence in Motorcycle Accidents
Under Massachusetts law, there are standard rules of the road that motorists are obligated to adhere to. Should anyone violate those rules, they can be held liable if their negligence caused the accident.
Claimants may be tasked with proving four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed a duty to the other driver to act reasonably careful
- The other driver did not fulfill this duty
- The plaintiff’s injuries were directly caused by the driver’s negligence
- The victim suffered losses from injuries sustained
Enacted in 1967, the helmet law for motorcyclists in Massachusetts is one of the strictest in the country. According to this law, any person who operates a motorcycle or is a passenger on one must wear protective head gear that conforms to the minimum safety requirements established by the state.
One major role that this helmet law plays in motorcycle accident cases is the potential for reduced compensation for injuries. The modified comparative fault standard, also referred to as comparative negligence, can limit the amount of monetary compensation an injured plaintiff receives based on their contribution to the accident.
Motorcycle accidents may not be caused by a rider’s decision to wear a helmet, but financial recovery could be affected by this decision. For instance, if an injured plaintiff’s injury claim does not pertain to the neck or head, then the issue of comparative fault as it relates to a helmet may be considered irrelevant.
Conversely, if the motorcycle rider suffers head or neck injuries and was not wearing a helmet, this violation of state law may prompt a judge to assign a percentage of fault for the accident’s damages to the motorcyclist. Their final damage award would then be reduced by that same percentage. Under comparative negligence law, injured plaintiffs may be entitled to receive compensation only if the other party was more than 50 percent at fault.
Common Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
The injuries that result from motorcycle accidents can be severe. Injuries most commonly seen in motorcycle crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe lacerations, contusions, and cuts
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fracture/broken bones
Actual recovery may depend on the individual facts of the case, and whether the motorcyclist shared any percentage of the blame. Some common recoverable damages may include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Loss of consortium
Let a Boston Motorcycle Accident Attorney Provide Assistance
Any driver who contributed to the cause of your motorcycle accident may be held liable for damages. In other words, that person might be responsible for financially compensating you for any expenses associated with your accident.
A skilled Boston motorcycle accident lawyer could evaluate your case and help you explore your legal rights and options. To get started on your case, call today to schedule a consultation.