Motorcycle accident claims are vert different than car accident claims? They are different simply because there’s a motorcycle involved. When we’re talking about crash analysis and finding out who’s at fault for a motorcycle vs motor vehicle crash, that fact of a motorcycle being involved plays a part in determining the speed of the collision, braking distances, effects of the impact, and also when it comes to fault, the ability of a motorcycle to brake and take defensive action vs a motor vehicle, whether it be a sedan, a van or tractor trailer. These are all factors that come into play when a motorcycle is involved. Unfortunately, when a motorcycle is involved, we generally see very serious and most times catastrophic injuries. And that increases the severity of the handling of the claim and also it intensifies the long term ramifications of what may result from a motorcycle crash.
Unfortunately we see a lot of motorcycle riders that are inexperienced or make poor decisions and can all too often be the cause of their own crashes. They sometimes make poor decisions, as driving too fast for conditions, weaving in and out of traffic and not making the types of choices that will keep them safe. On the flip side, motorcycle crashes generally happen because the other driver just doesn’t see them. We also see a lot of left turns in front of motorcycle crashes. It leaves a motorcycle rider very vulnerable and forced to take defensive actions that may require sudden braking. A motorcycle has a tendency to slide in these situations and they have no other option but to lay the bike down which puts a motorcycle rider in a very perilous position.
Generally speaking, insurance laws are different for motorcycle accidents vs car accidents? In Pennsylvania, under the financial responsibility law, motorcycle insurance policies are considered full tort policies. There’s no option to choose limited tort when you have a motorcycle insurance policy in Pennsylvania. That allows the motorcycle rider to be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages for a crash. The other aspect, is that there are no first party benefits provided for under a motorcycle policy of insurance in Pennsylvania. That means that medical bills are not paid through your motorcycle policy, wage loss is not paid, these are things that the motorcycle driver needs to be aware of because they need to have enough insurance from other sources to pay for any medical bills they may incur or any wage loss they may incur as a result of being involved in a motorcycle crash.
There can also be complications if a biker sustains a head injury in a crash and was not wearing a helmet. Pennsylvania is an optional state for helmets for motorcycle riders so long as the operator is at least 21 years of age and has either held a motorcycle license for 2 calendar years or has taken a motorcycle rider safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Dept of Transportation. If a motorcycle rider has met those criteria, it’s their option whether or not to wear a helmet. However, if they do sustain a head injury and were not wearing a helmet, their may be a question as to if the injury would have been less severe if the biker had been wearing a helmet. The point is it makes things more difficult, either dealing with the insurance adjuster or dealing with a jury. You don’t want to have that presentation or have that fact against you because it makes things much more difficult.
Motorcycle accident claims can also be quite complex. We see claims that are life altering, many death claims unfortunately. In some instances the individual was earning a good dollar before the accident and is now no longer able to get back into the workforce. We have to take a look at future medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, we sometimes need to put together a life care plan to provide life care for the rest of his life. It can be very expensive. It really comes down to a full analysis of every possible factor in a significant injury and it also comes down to how much insurance coverage is available. The reality is there are a lot of motorcycle crashes where the driver at fault does not have adequate coverage to make up for all the losses and pay for losses sustained by the not at fault motorcycle rider. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance but an experienced attorney will do the best they can with the facts and the coverages available to put that motorcycle rider in the best possible position.