Stoughton, MA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle riders in Stoughton have a right to enjoy the road but must always caution against negligent drivers. When they are wrongfully injured, they can file a claim against the responsible party.

Our attorneys appreciate the challenging nature of motorcycle accident claims and know how to fight accusations that you were the cause of your accident. Insurance companies almost always try to place the blame on the rider, hoping that people’s biases against motorcyclists will carry them through court. However, we know that evidence wins cases. No matter how your accident was caused, our lawyers will gather evidence that shows how the other driver’s actions led to your injuries. Even if you did play a role in causing the crash, that will not prevent you from pursuing compensation for the defendant’s share of damages.

Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free review of your case with our motorcycle accident attorneys.

Common Causes of Stoughton, MA Motorcycle Accidents

Despite the unfair biases many riders face, most motorcycle accidents in Stoughton are caused by other drivers’ negligence. Drivers can make several common mistakes that leave motorcyclists with massive medical expenses and other damages. If one injures you, our motorcycle accident attorneys will help you fight negative stereotypes so you get the compensation you deserve. Our team has seen a few typical scenarios in our experience with these cases.

Many motorcyclists are injured when a driver turns left in front of them at an intersection. Drivers usually have several distractions in front of them these days, making it easy not to notice a motorcycle, especially given its smaller size.

In other cases, a driver will mistakenly change lanes into a rider, either because they did not see them or because the driver misjudged the rider’s speed. Regardless, a driver who illegally changes lanes should be held accountable. Every driver needs to check their blind spots before changing lanes. If they fail to, they can cause devastating, if not deadly, accidents.

Also, some drivers simply do not give motorcycles the respect and space they deserve on the road. Aggressive drivers might injure a rider because they were tailgating or did not give the motorcycle enough space while attempting to pass. If the driver in your case acted recklessly, we can pursue additional damages meant to punish them.

In rarer cases, a faulty or repaired motorcycle might have caused the accident. For instance, if you were thrown from your bike because of defective brakes, we might file a claim against the motorcycle’s manufacturer or a repair shop if they were worked on before your accident. We could also sue the manufacturer of a specific part if it was responsible for your injuries. These cases can be challenging, but nothing our team cannot handle.

How Contributory Negligence Can Impact Your Motorcycle Accident Claim in Stoughton, MA

The concept of “contributory negligence” is an important issue in Stoughton motorcycle accident cases. As mentioned, motorcyclists sometimes have to fight against negative stereotypes about riders in court, even when it is clear the other party is at fault. Defense attorneys and insurance companies almost always try to take advantage of this by arguing that the plaintiff contributed to their own injuries.

Contributory Negligence Laws

Fortunately, contributory negligence will not totally prevent victims from recovering compensation even if they did partially contribute to causing the accident. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231 § 85, contributing to your accident will not bar you from filing a lawsuit or recovering damages as long as your negligence was not greater than the other party’s negligence. If so, the plaintiff will still recover damages, but the award will be diminished by the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff. The court will assess negligence between the plaintiff and the defendant on a scale of 100%.

Put simply, you cannot recover any money for your motorcycle injuries if the court finds you to be more than 50% at fault for the accident.  If you are found to have contributed 50% or less, you will recover damages, albeit reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

Take, for example, a motorcycle accident lawsuit in which, at the end of the trial, the plaintiff was found 25% at fault for the accident and the defendant 75% to blame. If the court awarded the injured rider $100,000, they would actually receive $75,000. This would make them responsible for the remaining $25,000 of their damages.

Considering all this, it is crucial to follow all motorcycle laws when riding in Stoughton or anywhere else in Massachusetts. While some states have relatively lax motorcycle laws, Massachusetts takes rider safety seriously.

Helmet Laws

Helmet laws are stringent throughout the state. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 90 § 7, all motorcycle riders must wear a helmet. This includes the operator and any passengers they are carrying. Even if your motorcycle is equipped with a sidecar, passengers must wear a helmet. Not only will wearing a helmet help reduce the chances of suffering a life-threatening head injury but it can also not be used against you to deny your compensation.

While it will not prevent you from pursuing a claim, it will be strong evidence for the defense to argue your injuries would have been far less severe if you had followed the law. However, your injuries might have nothing to do with the fact that you were not wearing a helmet, like if you sustained broken legs in the accident. In other cases, we might argue that the driver’s negligence was such that wearing a helmet would not have helped even if you were wearing one.

Still, we recommend always following the law and wearing your helmet. Remember, you only have to be found over half responsible for your accident to lose out on compensation. Even if you win your claim, you are likely to sacrifice some of the money you need for your recovery.

Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is a dangerous practice in which some motorcyclists pass between two cars going in the same direction. This commonly happens in rush hour traffic on highways, where cars are stopped but there is enough room for a rider to get by. While this is permitted in some states, it is illegal in Stoughton, as per Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 89 § 49A.

When riding on multi-lane roads, pass drivers like you were any other vehicle. If there is evidence of lane splitting in your case, it will likely be used to reduce or deny your claim. However, some drivers might accuse a rider of lane splitting when, in fact, the driver illegally changed lanes. Our team will get the evidence that shows you did not violate the law.

Our Stoughton, MA Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help Get the Justice You Deserve in Your Case

For a free case analysis with our motorcycle accident lawyers, contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.