If you've been hurt in a motorcycle accident, our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers understand Pennsylvania's motorcycle laws and have the experience to build a strong case to get you the compensation you deserve.
Motor vehicle drivers have a responsibility to exercise a reasonable level of care and share the road with motorcyclists. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Motorcyclists represent one percent of traffic but account for 19 percent of motor vehicle deaths and serious injuries. Due to the high level of exposure motorcyclists endure, accidents are often devastating.
The period after a motorcycle accident is chaotic. There is a flood of insurance forms, police reports, and medical bills. Serious motorcycle accidents can end your riding days or alter the rest of your life. Drivers and passengers of a car are shielded by the car’s exterior, but riders do not have anything protecting them from the car or the road. The Travis Law Firm represents motor vehicle accident victims and will hold careless or reckless drivers responsible for their actions.
Frequently Asked Questions For Motorcycle Accidents
In some ways, yes, they are different. All traffic accidents can result in traumatic injuries. However, because a rider does not have the safety equipment and steel frame of a car to protect him, even minor motorcycle crashes can cause traumatic injuries. Therefore, damages in a motorcycle accident claim can be substantial because of the medical cost, lost wages, and pain & suffering damages associated with traumatic and catastrophic injuries.
Yes, you can still file an injury claim even though you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of the crash. However, the insurance company could argue that you are partially at fault for the severity of your injuries and should not receive full compensation because you did not wear a helmet. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney understands how to fight these arguments.
Our law firm accepts most injury cases on a contingency fee basis. We will not ask you for any money up front to handle your claim. Our attorney fees are an agreed-upon percentage of the money we recover for your claim. Therefore, you do not need to worry about paying attorney fees unless we recover money in your case.
In most cases, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are some exceptions to that general rule. It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The quicker an attorney can begin working on your case, the sooner you might receive money for your claim. Also, your attorney can protect you from making costly mistakes that could hurt your chance of recovery.
It is impossible to put a dollar figure on a claim until a thorough investigation is complete. If an attorney values a claim too early, it could mean a lower recovery for the accident victim. We investigate every aspect of the case to ensure we include all amounts to arrive at maximum compensation for a client.
Some of the factors that will impact the value of your claim include:
- The cost to repair or replace your motorcycle;
- Medical bills, including physical therapy, surgery, prescription drugs, medical supply, personal care, over-the-counter medications, etc.;
- Loss of income while you are unable to work because of the injury;
- The amount of any future damages (e. ongoing medical care, future lost wages, etc.);
- Whether there are any permanent disabilities, scarring, or disfigurement; and,
- Pain and suffering damages.
Look For The Travis Law Firm at PA Motorcycle Events
The Travis Law Firm is committed to motorcycle riders. We support their efforts by attending events throughout Northwestern PA, including Erie County, Warren County, McKean County and Crawford County. For those who don’t already know, when you see a group of riders on a rally or a ride, they are usually raising money for a good cause. Fundraisers are held to collect donations for local charities like the Injured Motorcycle Riders Foundation (IMRF).
The Travis Law Firm connects these generous riders by providing a free guide of Pennsylvania Motorcycle Events each year. The PA Motorcycle Events Guide has become a valued resource for riders. Each guide features a mix of sample rides throughout the state, event listings and fundraisers in Pennsylvania, and helpful tips for riders of every skill level. Get a printed copy at the Erie Harley Davidson Bikefest and the Roar On The Shore events, among others.
Seven Tips For Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents in Erie, PA
The NHTSA reported that motorcycle fatalities increased 5.1 percent from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, 5,286 riders lost their lives in motorcycle accidents. In addition, roughly 88,000 people are injured each year in motorcycle crashes. PennDOT reports that 185 riders lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in 2017. From 2013 through 2017, a total of 923 riders died in crashes. In addition, thousands of riders are injured on our roads each year.
Because even one death is one too many, below are seven important safety tips to keep in mind
Motorcycle helmets save lives. You may not like wearing a helmet, but the evidence cannot be denied. Wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death in a crash by over one-third and reduce the risk of head injuries by nearly seventy percent.
A common cause of motorcycle accidents is negligent motorists. Other drivers do not pay enough attention to look for motorcyclists. Because your motorcycle is smaller than other vehicles on the road, it is important to increase your visibility. Wear brightly colored clothing and helmets, use hand signals with turn signals, make sure your lights are working properly, and consider aftermarket additions to your motorcycle that can increase the chance a motorist does not miss seeing you on the road.
A good way to avoid motorcycle accidents is to know and obey Pennsylvania traffic laws, especially specific motorcycle laws. Also, being familiar with the roads you are riding on in northwestern Pennsylvania can reduce your risk of being in a motorcycle accident. Whenever possible, map out your route before leaving and check the route for any dangerous conditions, such as sharp curves, blind spots, and road construction areas. With Google maps, you can get a good idea of the general terrain where you will be riding before you leave home.
Alcohol and motor vehicles do not mix. Even if your blood alcohol level is not above the legal limit, any amount of alcohol in your system can slow your response time when you are riding. You need to be alert to avoid motorcycle accidents. If you intend to consume alcohol, leave the driving to someone else. In addition to being dangerous, a motorcycle DUI conviction could mean you won’t be riding your motorcycle for a long time.
We have some of the most beautiful natural areas in Pennsylvania. As you enjoy the festival, slow down and take time to enjoy the beautiful rides. Speed is often a contributing factor to motorcycle accidents.
When riding avoid:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Riding on the shoulder of the road
- Driving under the influence
In addition, always use caution when approaching intersections and avoid a car or truck’s blind spots. You should also wear protective gear on all rides, including a helmet, gloves, eye protection, boots, and jackets. In an accident, the protective gear can reduce the severity of your injuries and could save your life.
When you are riding a motorcycle, it is better to err on the side of caution. Using defensive driving skills, such as allowing more space between your vehicle and other vehicles, driving slower, and closely watching others around you to see what they are doing, can save your life when you are riding in northwestern Pennsylvania. You may want to consider taking a defensive driving course, especially if you do not have very much experience riding a motorcycle.
The road conditions in and around Erie can change quickly. Some of our roads can post challenges for motorcyclists. Even when the roads are in near-perfect condition, the wildlife in our area can dart across roads and cause accidents. As you enjoy the beauty of Erie, remember to watch for road hazards by remaining alert during each ride.
All motorists need to be aware of the increased presence of motorcyclists in Eire. Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly driving behavior that must be avoided at all times. However, as bike week approaches, make a concerted effort to block out all distractions so that you can give your full focus to the road ahead of you. Be mindful of motorcyclists and share our roads with riders so everyone can have a safe week.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one is the victim of a motorcycle accident and has suffered serious injuries, contact our motorcycle accident injury lawyers today. Serving Erie, Crawford, McKean and Warren Counties, as well as all of Northwestern Pennsylvania, our trustworthy legal team will represent your best interests. We will provide aggressive, knowledgeable representation. For additional information, contact The Travis Law Firm today.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries:
Motorcycle crashes are not all that uncommon – particularly among beginning riders. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to riders.
- Severe road rash
- Multiple broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Traumatic amputation
- Neck and back injuries
- Paralysis (paraplegia and quadriplegia)
- Wrongful Death
Motorcycle accident injuries can be caused by a number of factors, including defective roadway designs, poor weather conditions, product defects (recalled tires or defective helmets), and the recklessness or negligence of other drivers. If you or a family member has suffered motorcycle accident injuries, contact the Travis Law Firm today. Our motorcycle accident lawyers have offices in Erie, Edinboro, and Warren, Pennsylvania to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Facts and Statistics:
- In 2012, there were 4,957 people killed in a motorcycle accident.
- Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle riders were over 26 times more likely to die in an accident than passenger car occupants.
- One out of every five motorcycle crashes result in head or neck injuries.
- Motorcyclists represent one percent of traffic but account for 19 percent of motor vehicle deaths and serious injuries.
- Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long), just a few minutes after starting out.
- Helmeted motorcyclists are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets.
- Helmets reduce the number and severity of head injuries by 50 percent.
- Most motorcycle accidents occur at speeds slower than 30 mph.
[Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2012 Data]
Motorcyclists love Pennsylvania. We have some of the most beautiful motorcycle routes in the country. In 2017, there were over 845,000 licensed motorcyclists in Pennsylvania and over 377,800 registered motorcycles.
The NHTSA reports that motorcycle fatalities increased by 5.1 percent from 2015 to 2016. They accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. Even though motorcycle fatalities decreased in Pennsylvania during 2017, motorcycle crashes accounted for approximately 16 percent of the total fatalities statewide that year. In 2017, we lost 185 individuals in motorcycle accidents, and another 3,052 people were injured in crashes.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists will always be at risk of an accident because they cannot control all conditions and factors when they ride. However, state laws do allow motorcyclists to seek compensation for damages when another party is responsible for the accident.
Pennsylvania is considered a no-fault insurance state for automobile insurance. However, Pennsylvania drivers can choose to purchase full tort insurance coverage or limited tort insurance coverage. With limited tort insurance, accident victims are restricted in their ability to pursue damages from another party even if that party is completely responsible for causing the traffic accident. Many people purchase limited tort insurance because the premiums are less expensive compared to the premiums for full tort insurance.
However, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to serious and life-threatening injuries in an accident because of a lack of protection. Occupants in cars and trucks are protected by the metal frame of the vehicle, seat belts, airbags, and other safety measures.
Therefore, an exception for motorcyclists exists that allows a person injured while riding a motorcycle to seek and recover full tort damages even if the person has limited tort insurance coverage. An insurance adjuster may try to convince you that you are not entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania’s insurance laws. Do not rely on the information provided by an insurance company. Always consult with an experienced Erie motorcycle accident attorney to determine your legal rights after a motorcycle crash.
This is a tricky question and an issue that many insurance companies try to use in their favor.
Pennsylvania requires all riders under the age of 21 years to wear a motorcycle helmet. However, riders 21 years of age and older can choose not to wear a motorcycle helmet if they take and pass an approved motorcycle safety course or if they have at least two years of motorcycling experience.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, that fact could impact your insurance claim depending on the facts in your case. If you are under 21 years old or you do not meet the requirements for opting out of wearing a helmet, you are breaking the law. The insurance company may allege that you were negligent by breaking the law. Under the state’s comparative negligence laws, your compensation should be reduced or denied outright because of your negligence.
Insurance companies will use any argument they believe might be successful in reducing their liability for an accident. If you suffered a head injury, the company might argue that had you been wearing a helmet, you may not have been injured or the injury may not be as severe. Because you were breaking the law, you do not deserve compensation.
If you were not breaking the law or you suffered an injury that wearing a helmet would not impact, the insurance company will have a difficult and uphill battle trying to argue negligence based on these grounds. Consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is strongly suggested in these situations.
If you have no-fault insurance, you may receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages after you provide proof of the financial loss to your insurance provider. No-fault insurance pays claims without requiring proof of fault for the accident.
However, if you are pursuing a claim against another party, you will not receive compensation until your case is settled. The factors in your case determine how long your case may take to resolve. Factors that impact the length of a case include:
- How long it takes for you to recover from your injuries?
- Whether you suffered permanent disabilities or impairments.
- Disputes related to fault and liability.
- The need for expert witnesses to evaluate the accident to determine the cause of the crash and identify the party responsible for causing the crash.
- Whether you need to file a lawsuit to resolve your claim.
Our Erie motorcycle accident attorneys work diligently to settle your insurance claim as quickly as possible while protecting your right to recover full compensation for your claim.
Pennsylvania uses a modified comparative fault standard when apportioning compensation for a motor vehicle accident. According to the modified comparative fault rules, if you are partially at fault for the cause of the motorcycle crash, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the crash. If you are 51 percent or more at fault for the crash, you receive no compensation for your claim.
Therefore, insurance companies often try to blame motorcyclists for the crash to avoid paying the claim or reduce the amount of compensation they must pay for the claim. Some companies may use unfair stereotypes of riders to convince a jury that the motorcyclist was reckless or careless, so the rider must be partially at fault for the crash.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is familiar with these insurance tactics and how to develop a defense against these allegations.
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Laws:
Pennsylvania state law requires helmets except for motorcyclists who are 21 and over who have had their motorcycle license at least two years, or who have completed an approved rider safety course. Additionally, motorcyclists are required to use their headlights in the daytime. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,699 motorcycle riders’ lives in 2012, and that 781 more may have been saved had they been wearing a helmet.
Proving Fault After a Motorcycle Accident
Often motorcycle accident victims have to overcome bias or mistrust that an accident between a motorcycle and another motor vehicle is likely the fault of an inexperienced, careless, or reckless motorcyclist. The fact is, more often than not, the accident is not the fault of the rider. Most drivers underestimate the speed of a motorcycle, or simply aren’t looking for anything smaller than a car – so the never even see the motorcycle until it’s too late (sound familiar?). Our motorcycle accident lawyers at the Travis Law Firm will build a strong case for injured riders. We know Pennsylvania traffic regulations. We have delivered financial compensation to our injured clients.
Contact our Erie, Edinboro, or Warren offices if you need an experienced PA motorcycle accident lawyer.
What to do at the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, follow these general guidelines of what to do at the scene:
- Remain at the scene of the motorcycle accident.
- Call the police immediately or have someone call the police for you
- File a police report as soon as the officers arrive.
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you are not injured. You may have injuries that will come to light later.
- Get the license number, personal and insurance details, and name of the other driver involved.
- Ask for the details of any witnesses present at the motorcycle accident scene.
- Contact the Travis Law Firm.
Four Tips to Help You Recover Maximum Compensation for an Erie Motorcycle Accident
The key to winning a motorcycle accident case is proving fault. The insurance company for the other driver will likely work aggressively to prove that you caused the accident or you contributed to the cause of the accident. The insurance company can reduce its liability if it can prove you were partially responsible for causing the crash.
An accident attorney investigates the cause of the crash and gathers evidence to prove liability. Evidence that can help prove that you were not responsible for causing the crash includes:
- Eyewitness statements
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Videos from traffic cameras and other sources
- Expert testimony from accident reconstructionists and other experts
- Physical evidence from the vehicles
- Cell phone data
- Data from onboard systems
The quicker your attorney begins an investigation, the better chance there is of preserving crucial evidence to prove fault. Liable parties in a motorcycle accident claim include other drivers, motorcycle manufacturers, government entities, road construction companies, parts manufacturers, and repair shops.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, see a doctor as quickly as possible. Any delays in medical treatment can hurt an injury claim. You need documentation of your injuries and the severity of your injuries by a medical provider.
Motorcyclists can sustain catastrophic injuries because of the lack of protection during a collision. Common motorcycle injuries include traumatic brain injury (TBI), back injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, crushed bones, damage to internal organs, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries.
Careful documentation of damages increases the value of an Erie motorcycle accident claim. Keep copies of all receipts and evidence of payment of medical bills, over-the-counter medication, medical equipment, loss of income, assistance with household chores, and travel expenses. Keep a detailed log of all mileage to and from doctors’ offices. Also, keep a list of all medical providers, even medical providers you might only see one time.
It can also be helpful to keep a journal notating your daily pain levels, activities you cannot perform, flashbacks, and other information that explains how your motorcycle injuries impacted your daily life.
Don’t discuss your motorcycle accident or your injuries online or through electronic means. Avoid talking about the accident with family and friends. Anyone you speak with could be a potential witness in a trial. Also, set all social media accounts to private with the highest security settings. Don’t accept new friend requests. It is best to stop using social media until your claim is settled. Defense attorneys may gain access to your online accounts, which could be used against you during a jury trial.
Who Is Responsible For Injuries Sustained By A Motorcycle Passenger?
Motorcycle passengers are often seriously injured in a motorcycle crash. Most passengers in traffic accidents have no control over the circumstances that led to the crash. Therefore, passengers should receive compensation for their injuries from the party or parties responsible for causing the crash. However, it can be difficult to determine who caused a motorcycle accident in some cases. An Erie motorcycle accident can help a passenger seek compensation for injuries, losses, and damages after an accident.
If the motorcyclist is responsible for causing the motorcycle accident, the passenger needs to file an accident claim with the motorcyclist’s insurance provider. The passenger should receive compensation for the passenger’s medical bills, loss of income, and other financial damages. Additionally, the passenger can receive compensation for his or her physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages.
Many passengers feel guilty about filing an accident claim against they were riding with because that person is often a family member or friend. It is important to remember that the purpose of liability insurance is to compensate accident victims for their injuries and losses after an accident. It is also important to consider your best interests and needs. You may not like filing an insurance claim against your family member or friend’s insurance policy, but you also should not suffer any further loss for an accident that was not your fault. If the insurance company does not pay the claim, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the accident.
When another driver causes the motorcycle accident, the accident claim is filed against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. The motorcycle passenger is entitled to receive compensation for the same financial and noneconomic damages. If the insurance company denies the claim or undervalues the insurance claim, the passenger may want to contact an Erie motorcycle accident attorney to discuss filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Insurance companies may place blame on other parties to avoid paying an accident claim. In some cases, multiple parties could be at fault for causing the motorcycle accident. If so, a motorcycle passenger could have claims against multiple parties. A motorcycle accident lawyer can initiate an independent accident investigation to determine how the crash occurred and who is liable for damages.
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Contact an Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Help
Don’t wait any longer to get the advice you need about insurance claims from a trusted attorney in your area.
Call The Travis Law Firm at (814) 277-2222 to schedule your free legal consultation with our Erie accident attorney.