Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson to learn how we can help you on your road to recovery.
Very few things provide the relaxation and simultaneous exhilaration equal to a ride on a motorcycle. The state of Pennsylvania boasts many popular motorcycle routes, and thousands of motorcyclists travel these roads every year. But despite all the precautions motorcyclists take, an accident can happen in a split second, throwing your life into turmoil.
You may find yourself missing work due to your injuries, and trying to navigate talking to insurance companies to figure out what in the world you are supposed to do next. We know you are likely overwhelmed with information and a to-do list you don’t quite understand, when all you want to do is recover so you can get back on the road. Our Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania
There is nothing quite like the thrill of a ride along Pennsylvania roadways. But it’s a high-risk thrill, and a motorcycle accident can result in life-changing experiences for the rider. Understanding the common causes of motorcycle accidents can help you stay safe while you’re out on the road.
Reckless driving is dangerous for anyone on the road, especially for motorcyclists, since they don’t benefit from a seatbelt or the protection of a car surrounding them. Reckless behavior can include:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Sudden lane changes
- Ignoring traffic lights and signs
Driving Under the Influence
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and is responsible for thousands of deaths a year, with 43% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involving alcohol. In Pennsylvania, anyone driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher can face fines or even jail time. The threshold is lowered to .04% for commercial drivers and .02% for bus drivers and drivers under the age of 21.
If your BAC is lower than the threshold but it has still impaired your driving ability, you may still be subject to penalties.
Sometimes accidents happen simply because a motorcyclist has not yet gained the skills needed to avoid compromising situations. They may not have the knowledge to navigate dangerous routes or road conditions or how to respond to the actions of other drivers properly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHST),3,522 people were killed in accidents involving distracted driving in 2021. This behavior might include:
- Texting while driving
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
If any of these factors contributed to your motorcycle accident, contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson to learn about your rights.
The Reality of Motorcycle Injuries
Motorcyclists are at a huge risk of catastrophic injuries if they are involved in an accident. Motorcycles leave their riders incredibly vulnerable to injury, as there is very little to protect them in the event of an accident. The NHTSA states that in 2020, approximately 82,528 motorcyclists suffered injuries due to an accident.
The most common injuries motorcyclists face are:
- Road Rash: This happens when skin contacts asphalt or other rough surfaces. Injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to severe lacerations that require immediate medical attention.
- Head and Neck Injuries: These include things like concussions, skull fractures, whiplash, or damage to the spine. Traumatic brain injuries claimed 64,362 lives in 2020.
- Broken or Fractured Bones: Broken bones are usually the result of a rider being thrown from their motorcycle or colliding with another vehicle or object. These injuries can range from minor fractures to serious breaks involving extensive medical treatment, surgery, and physical therapy.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists face a sobering risk of death while on the road. In any given year since 2007, around 5,000 lives have been claimed in motorcycle accidents. If you have recently lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims seek to compensate the family for their pain and suffering after losing their loved one. You can call our office if you want more information on whether or not you should pursue a wrongful death claim.
Who Can be Held Responsible?
In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, someone must be found liable for the crash before you can seek compensation. The fault can lie with one party or numerous parties, and figuring out who is responsible will help you file your claim.
There are a few parties that may be liable for your accident:
- Negligent Drivers: Most motorcycle accidents are caused by another driver’s negligence. This might include speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, drunk driving, or the failure to yield the right-of-way.
- Motorcycle Manufacturers: Sometimes the accident is caused by a defect in the design or manufacturing of the motorcycle. If a defect caused the accident (such as faulty brakes, defective tires, or faulty electrical systems), you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer or motorcycle dealer.
- Service Providers: If a mechanic performed poor repairs or maintenance on your motorcycle, and this led to an accident, they may be held liable for the crash.
- The Motorcyclists: There are times when a crash happens because of your own negligence. If you were driving recklessly and caused a collision or lost control of your bike, then you may be at least partially responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Pennsylvania
Even if you are partially liable for the accident, you can still file a claim under Pennsylvania law. Pennsylvania follows a 51% comparative negligence rule, meaning you can recover damages as long as you were less than 51% responsible for the accident. However, if you were found to be more than 50% responsible, you cannot seek compensation for the damages.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations
Maybe your accident happened a year ago and you’re just now realizing the massive expenses that have accumulated. Maybe you thought the accident was minor, but you’re now dealing with an internal injury you weren’t aware of. Can you still file a claim?
Pennsylvania has a 2 year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This means that you have two years from the time of the accident to file a claim if you want compensation. We don’t recommend waiting this long, however, because the process can take time and evidence can fade with time. Even if you believe the accident was minor, we recommend filing a claim as soon as you can, and speaking with one of our attorneys for further legal guidance on your rights.
What is My Case Worth?
There are many factors that go into determining how much you might receive in a settlement or verdict. It will depend on the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical bills, your lost wages, if your accident will affect your ability to work in the future, whether or not you share any liability for the accident, and the available insurance coverage.
The attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson can give you a good idea on what your case is likely worth once we have been able to thoroughly investigate the accident and calculate your claim. You can learn more about what compensation you might receive below.
Types of Compensation
If your life has been flipped upside down by a motorcycle accident, one ray of hope may be that you can pursue damages for your injuries. Most people know that they can file a claim for their medical bills, but the list of damages doesn’t end there. You may be entitled to compensation for all of the following:
- Medical Expenses: This includes ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, surgery, prescriptions, and outpatient care. It can also include the cost of ongoing treatment like physical therapy or those required for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations.
- Loss of Income: One of the more significant losses, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, can be the loss of income. If you are suffering from broken bones and facing surgery and physical therapy, not only will you have medical bills to pay, you won’t be able to work in order to pay them. Fortunately, you can include any lost wages in your claim and may be compensated for any time you were forced to take off work.
- Property Damage: It doesn’t take a major accident to render your motorcycle useless. You can include your motorcycle or any other personal property that was damaged in the accident in your claim.
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical and emotional distress you experienced due to your accident, which may not have a monetary value attached to it. Physical pain can range from bruises and broken bones to the loss in quality of life. Emotional distress includes things like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, mood swings, phobias, nightmares, and social withdrawal. If you plan to pursue pain and suffering damages, consult your attorney, as these can be a little more difficult to prove than other damages.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident can be a traumatic experience, and in the moments following a crash, you will likely be full of adrenaline and unsure of what to do. It is crucial to remain calm and take action to protect yourself and the others involved in the accident. If you ever find yourself in this position, try to keep these steps in mind:
Report the Accident
The first thing you should do following an accident is contact emergency services. They will send a police officer and a medical team to the scene. After that is done, focus on:
- Exchanging information: Get the name of any other drivers involved in the accident, their contact information, and insurance details. You should also take down the contact information of any eyewitnesses in case you need them later.
- Taking pictures: Document the accident scene by taking pictures or video of any damage to property or injuries you sustained.
- Filing a police report: You can file this with an officer on the scene. They will ask what happened, and you will provide them with the relevant information.
- Call your attorney: The sooner you give us a call, the sooner we can guide you on what to do next.
How A Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Motorcycle accidents can cause riders immense physical, emotional, and financial distress. Having a skilled lawyer can make navigating the complex legal process much easier. By helping you understand your rights and options, we can be the deciding factor in whether or not you secure a favorable outcome following your accident.
Investigate the Motorcycle Accident
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson have the knowledge and skills to investigate the cause of your accident and who might be at fault. We will gather evidence such as eyewitness statements and photographs, and hold onto any copies of police reports, hospital bills, or any other receipts or documentation you have that will help secure your settlement.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are notorious for attempting to minimize their payout, leaving injured people without the compensation they deserve. Many people don’t fully grasp how much money it takes to pay off medical debt, supplement lost wages, and any lifelong effects of the accident, which is why having a lawyer on your side is so important. We will negotiate with the insurance companies for you so you know you are getting the maximum payout as compensation for your injuries.
Represent Your Claim in Court
Not every motorcycle accident claim needs to go to court. But sometimes, insurance companies will not bend on their miniscule settlement offer, and they might even attempt to deny your claim altogether. In these instances, it may be necessary to retain legal counsel in order to get what you are entitled to. Our attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company or go to trial on your behalf if necessary.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
A motorcycle accident case can be resolved in two ways: settlement or civil court. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which avenue you wish to take. No matter what, Edelstein Martin & Nelson is here to support you and guide you on your best option. Below we will explain a bit more about each of the two potential outcomes to a civil lawsuit.
Settlement for a Motorcycle Accident
Most motorcycle accident claims are settled out of court between you and the insurance company of the at-fault party. The process involves calculating the damages and injuries and negotiating for compensation based on these numbers. An attorney can help you ensure that all losses are factored into the negotiations, like lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and any property damage.
Negotiating on your own can be difficult, as insurance companies will minimize your injuries so they don’t have to pay as much. They can try to trick you into agreeing to a small settlement, especially if you are eager to get it all over with. Having an attorney will remove the chances of this happening, as we are very aware of the games insurance companies play.
The process takes patience and the ability to assert your rights and expectations to insurance companies. An attorney can help you by continuing to fight until every loss has been accounted for in the negotiations.
Civil Court for Motorcycle Accidents
Sometimes insurance companies don’t want to budge. Or, they might try to deny your claim altogether. When this happens, the only other avenue to receive compensation is to seek justice within a civil trial. This involves presenting your case in court and the many expenses that come along with it. If your case is strong enough, the judge or jury will compel the defendant (whether it be an insurance company, a manufacturer, or an individual) to pay your damages.
During your trial, your motorcycle accident attorney will produce evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine any opposing witnesses to argue why you deserve fair compensation for the injuries you endured because of your accident. Edelstein Martin & Nelson can make all the difference when it comes to presenting your case to a judge.
Though going to court isn’t always necessary, having a confident lawyer on your side improves your chances of receiving the justice you deserve.
Should I speak to another party’s insurance company myself?
Consulting your attorney before speaking with another insurance company is advised. Insurance adjusters may attempt to manipulate you into making statements that can hurt your claim by making you seem at fault for the accident. Do not speak to them at all before retaining a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer.
How long will it take to settle my motorcycle accident claim?
This can vary greatly depending on your injuries and the other party’s willingness to negotiate. It can take anywhere from a few months to years before a settlement is reached.
How are motorcycle accident cases different from other accident claims?
Motorcycle accidents are different from other motor vehicle accidents due to the vulnerability of motorcyclists, which often leads to more severe injuries. There are also specific motorcycle laws and regulations that can add additional obstacles not seen in car accident claims. These cases definitely require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer who has experience with motorcycle accident claims.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle accident, we know that your life has likely been turned upside down. The attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson are here to help you seek justice for your injuries so that you can begin on the road to recovery. Call 888-208-1810 for your free consultation. Let us do the fighting for you, so you can focus on healing.