Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
A motorcycle accident can upend a motorcyclist’s life. It can cause traumatic personal injuries, permanent disabilities, and both physical and emotional scars. It may also lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. In 2017, 185 Pennsylvania motorcyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents. Thousands more suffered serious personal injuries.
If you suffered injuries such as broken bones or a traumatic brain injury, or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, a qualified Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney at Rosenbaum & Associates can help.
Philadelphia Motorcycle Legal Resources
- Why Choose Us for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
- How Can a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
- What Economic Damages Can Be Recovered After a Motorcycle Accident?
- How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?
- What Is The Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania?
- Motorcycle Laws in Pennsylvania
- What are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
- Can Poor Roads Lead to Motorcycle Accidents?
- Who Can Be Held Liable For a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania?
- Hit & Run Motorcycle Accidents
- How Do You Prove Negligence After a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania?
- Why is Proving Negligence Important in a Motorcycle Case?
- Contact Us
Why Choose Us for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
When Philadelphia residents suffer injuries in motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers, the right Philadelphia personal injury attorney can make all the difference in recovering fair compensation. You should trust Rosenbaum & Associates with handling your motorcycle accident case for several reasons:
- We have successfully settled and litigated personal injury and wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania for over 25 years.
- We have a staff of over 40 people for full case coverage. Lead attorney Jeff Rosenbaum maintains a close relationship with all his clients.
- We are dedicated to helping injured motorcycle accident victims. We promise to give personal care and attention to each case.
- We have secured millions of dollars for clients in insurance settlements and jury verdicts over the years.
- We operate on a contingency-fee basis. We only charge for our services if we secure a settlement or verdict for the client.
Call (215) 569-0200 today to schedule a free consultation. A knowledgeable Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer will review the specifics of your case and let you know what options you have for recovering compensation.
How Can a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
Insurance companies often refuse to pay fair compensation to injured riders, and adjusters commonly pressure them into accepting less than fair settlement offers. An experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney will aggressively protect your rights by handling all communication with the insurer and will not settle for less than you deserve. Their resources will also significantly increase your chances of success. Your attorney will take care of any task related to the case, including the necessary paperwork, meeting deadlines, and gathering critical evidence to strengthen your claim and ensure the at-fault party is held accountable. The types of evidence your attorney will collect can include:
- Photos of the scene and damage to the vehicles
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Physical evidence from the motorcycle
- Video surveillance footage of the accident
- Cell phone records if necessary
- Toxicology reports of the other driver(s), when applicable
- Motorcycle maintenance records
- Copies of your medical records
- Requesting copies of insurance policies for the other parties involved
- Hiring experts to testify, such as an accident reconstruction expert to prove the cause of the accident or a medical expert to establish the extent of your injuries
Acquiring the evidence necessary to be successful is not a simple task. A motorcycle accident attorney will have the resources to help you establish your claim’s validity and significantly increase your chances of success.
What Economic Damages Can Be Recovered After a Motorcycle Accident?
Economic damages can be recovered to reimburse measurable financial losses that directly result from a motorcycle accident, such as:
- Medical Expenses: Costs for care and treatment related to the injuries caused by the other party’s negligence.
- Anticipated Future Medical Expenses: Any costs related to the medical care you are anticipating to require for your injuries after the conclusion of litigation.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for the time missed from work while recovering, both up until now and income that will be lost in the future.
- Diminished Earning Capacity: If your injuries interfere with your ability to earn wages in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for the difference in income. For example, if you cannot go back to work or are forced into a different line of work.
What Non-Economic Damages Can Be Recovered After a Motorcycle Accident?
Non-economic damages compensate accident victims for incalculable or subjective losses. The most common examples are:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the amount of physical pain you have had to endure and will in the future,
- Emotional Distress: If the accident or injury has caused symptoms of depression, insomnia, anxiety, terror, PTSD, or other psychological conditions.
- Disability or Disfigurement: If you now have a permanent disability that leaves you unable to care for yourself independently. Disfigurement and scarring may cause physical pain and emotional pain that can last a lifetime.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If your quality of life has been affected—for example, being unable to do things that you could do before the collision.
- Loss of Consortium: A spouse can recover this type of compensation for the loss of marital benefits, such as affection, companionship, or sexual relations.
In some motorcycle accident claims, the court awards punitive damages. However, this type of compensation is rare and reserved for cases involving a defendant (at-fault party) who acted with an extreme reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from committing similar harmful acts.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?
Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries to motorcycle riders and their passengers. Many of these injuries are catastrophic or permanently disabling. Catastrophic injuries can include brain or spinal cord injuries, traumatic tattooing from road rash, loss of limb, or multiple bone fractures. When an injured motorcycle rider seeks restitution for an accident, the list can include many different damages:
- Medical expenses. Payments for past and future hospitals stays, emergency care, surgeries, rehabilitation, therapies, medical devices, and prescriptions.
- Past and future pain and suffering. Compensation for the physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental duress the victim may have experienced because of the accident.
- Lost wages. An award to recover lost income and lost earning opportunities from a temporary or permanent injury.
- Property damages. Reimbursement for the expense of repairing a damaged motorcycle or replacing a totaled vehicle.
A motorcycle accident injury claim’s value will depend on the severity of injuries, the amount of losses, the actions of the defendant, the insurance companies response and many other factors. Reviewing our past case results at Rosenbaum & Associates can help give you an idea of the recoveries we can achieve.
What Is The Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania?
A statute of limitations is a law providing a time limit by which claimants must file their personal injury claims. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state. In Pennsylvania, injured motorcycle accident victims have two years from the date of their accidents to bring their claim against a negligent party. The courts will only overlook a missed statute of limitations in rare circumstances, so victims should try to act quickly. A wrongful death lawsuit has a limit of two years from the date of the individual’s death to file a claim.
Pennsylvania is a choice car insurance state. This means drivers can choose whether to pay for fault or no-fault auto insurance. Fault insurance means you will not receive money for crash damages until you prove someone’s fault. No-fault insurance will give you benefits right away, but they may not be enough to cover your damages completely. You may only have the right to file a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident with fault-based insurance, unless you suffered serious injuries.
Motorcycle Laws in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania has over 850,000 licensed motorcyclists. With so many motorcyclists on the roads, safety is one of the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT)’s priorities. Many tips can help reduce the risk of a motorcyclist getting into an accident, but one of the best ways to stay safe is to obey the law. Both drivers and motorcyclists should obey applicable laws and rules to help prevent deadly collisions.
- Rules of the road. Motorcyclists have every right to the road other motorists have. They must also obey all traffic laws, rules, and regulations. Motorcyclists must obey posted speed limits and stop signs, and yield the right-of-way when applicable. They may ride two abreast of one another, but not with a motor vehicle. Motorcyclists cannot lane split in Pennsylvania.
- Class M license. An individual must obtain a Class M (Motorcycle) license to lawfully operate a motorcycle. This requires the person to pass a knowledge test and ride with a learner’s permit for one year. Riders under the age of 18 must have learner’s permits for at least six months, and have 65 supervised hours of riding time, before the skills test.
- Seating safety. Motorcyclists and their passengers must sit on permanently attached seats, and each has footrests. Passengers may only sit behind the operator while the vehicle is in motion. Riders must be able to use both hands to control the motorcycle, and cannot be holding anything that compromises this ability.
- Equipment requirements. Handlebars cannot exceed shoulder height. The motorcycle must have a red light to the rear and a working headlight. All motorcycle equipment must be in proper working condition. Motorcycles must undergo safety inspections annually, based on the month of vehicle registration.
Obeying the state’s motorcycle laws can help you prevent a collision. It can also keep you out of legal trouble, avoiding traffic citations and fines. Following the rules makes Philadelphia’s roads safer for everyone. If a driver infringes upon a motorcyclist’s rights to the road and causes an accident, that driver could be liable for damages. Learn more by speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Philadelphia.
Does Pennsylvania Require Motorcyclists To Wear a Helmet?
Pennsylvania law requires all motorcyclists under the age of 21 to wear helmets. This includes both operators and riders. If the person is over 21 years of age, he or she must still wear a helmet until the rider has at least two years of riding experience or completes an approved motorcycle safety course. The only type of rider exempt from the state’s helmet law is someone riding in an enclosed cab of a three-wheeled motorcycle. To meet the guidelines of a federally approved helmet, the helmet must have a DOT sticker.
What are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
The main cause of motorcycle accidents in Philadelphia is human error. Mistakes and negligence from a driver, motorcyclist, part manufacturer, construction zone manager, and other parties can cause deadly collisions. It is up to the injured motorcyclist in a case (or his or her Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney) to identify the at-fault party and prove fault during a claim. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are as follows.
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Failing to yield right-of-way
- Unsafe lane changing
- Cars making left-hand turns
- Defective vehicles
- Dangerous roadways
- Bad weather
Many cases involve more than one injury cause and potential defendants and insurance companies. For example, a vehicle driver may have caused a motorcycle accident through an act of negligence, but a part manufacturer could share the blame for creating defective motorcycle brakes. In these cases, all parties at-fault for the crash could be jointly and severally liable for damages. This could result in greater compensation for the victim. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer like those at the law firm of Rosenbaum & Associates can help navigate tasks with insurance companies and other parties involved.
Can Poor Roads Lead to Motorcycle Accidents?
Under maintained roads can lead to a higher risk of motorcycle accidents and injuries. When roads are poorly maintained, potholes, missing signage, diminished paint, faulty streetlights and other under maintained services can contribute to unsafe driving conditions.
If a motorcycle accident occurs as a result of poor maintenance, a public entity may be held responsible for the injuries and damages sustained as a result of maintenance issues. However, if a plaintiff files suit against a public entity, there are different regulations that outline time limits when a defendant is a government entity. Pennsylvania has passed the Sovereign Immunity Act, which limits the liability of most cases against the State of Pennsylvania. However, there are certain conditions – including potholes and other hazardous road conditions – that can allow an injured victim to pursue damages relating to a personal injury.
It is important to discuss the options available with a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident occurs. If any potential party is a government entity, it is essential to consult with a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Who Can Be Held Liable For a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania?
After a motorcycle accident occurs, several parties may be held liable for the injuries suffered by an accident victim. If there are any passengers on a motorcycle, passengers may choose to file a claim against the motorcycle operator if that individual operated the vehicle in a negligent fashion. Other parties that can be included in an accident claim may include negligent drivers, construction companies or local and state governments.
Hit & Run Motorcycle Accidents in Philadelphia
In Pennsylvania, all motorists have an affirmative duty to stop their vehicle after being involved in an accident with a person, occupied vehicle, or unattended vehicle. If someone keeps on driving after hitting you, or stops and then drives away without exchanging information or offering help, they can be charged with a crime. This crime of fleeing the scene of an accident is called a hit and run. Hit and runs are among the worst types of motorcycle accidents for victims, as tracking down the at-fault party to hold them accountable for injuries and other losses can be very challenging.
What Should I Do After a Hit & Run Motorcycle Accident?
If you are hit while on your motorcycle, and the driver does not stop, you may be left in a state of shock. However, what you do next is critical and can impact your claim for compensation.
Call the Police
Notify law enforcement immediately. They will arrive on the scene to create a report, start an investigation, and utilize their resources to locate the fleeing driver as quickly as possible.
Document the Scene
Unless you are taken to the hospital, try to remain at the scene and take photos or videos of as many details as possible. For example, the position of your motorcycle after impact, the damage, your resulting injuries, any road signs, skid marks, and the scene as a whole. Write down your memory of how the accident occurred and as much information as possible about the vehicle and its driver.
Speak to Witnesses
Witnesses can be crucial to a hit and run case. If anyone saw the crash, ask for their contact information, whether they remember anything about the vehicle or driver that hit you, and if they are willing to make a recorded statement that can be taken on your phone. Your insurance company and your attorney will likely contact them in the future.
Seek Medical Attention
If you were not taken to the hospital, seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor, some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms. In addition to your health being the top priority, medical records linking any injuries and potential injuries to the accident are vital.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
In Pennsylvania, you may be able to file an accident claim under your own auto insurance policy. However, it will depend on your coverage and whether you carry no-fault, fault-based, or uninsured motorist coverage.
Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Consult an attorney right away. They will know how to work with the police to locate the driver responsible for your hit and run accident. They can also advise you on your options for obtaining compensation.
What Are Common Issues After a Hit & Run Motorcycle Accident?
Every hit and run motorcycle accident case brings with it a unique set of legal issues. A common problem is that victims face not only the pain and difficulty of an injury but also the frightening uncertainty of not knowing who owes them compensation or even if they can collect. Unfortunately, it can take years until the driver is found, and in some cases, they are never found. In addition, if a victim does not have no-fault insurance or collision coverage, their insurance policy may not cover a hit and run accident. As a result, they can be left paying for their expenses out-of-pocket. An attorney can help motorcycle accident victims avoid common pitfalls of the claim process and fight for maximum compensation.
How Do You Prove Negligence After a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania?
The first step to holding someone accountable after a motorcycle accident is identifying which parties took part in causing your injury, then gathering evidence to prove their negligence. This can be done by your motorcycle accident lawyer, who will launch an independent investigation into your accident. To establish another party’s negligence, you must have proof of the following elements:
The defendant (at-fault party) owed you a duty of care to reasonably prevent harm to others. (e.g., drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to follow traffic laws and drive safely)
Breach of Duty
The at-fault party breached their duty of care. In other words, they acted negligently by failing to do what another reasonable person would have done in a similar situation. (e.g., texting and driving, driving under the influence, excessive speeding, abrupt lane change, etc.)
Proof that the defendant’s breach of duty is directly linked to your injuries, and you would not have been injured if not for their actions. (e.g., medical records of your injuries immediately after the crash)
Evidence of financial and personal losses resulting from the defendant’s actions, such as medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, etc., for which you are entitled to compensation.
To ensure you have a solid case, an attorney will collect evidence, such as:
- Photos or videos of the accident scene, skid marks, damage to the vehicles, and of your injuries
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Physical evidence from the motorcycle
- Motorcycle maintenance records
- Video surveillance footage of the accident, if available
- Copies of your medical records
- Cell phone records if necessary
- Toxicology reports of the other driver(s) (when appropriate)
- Expert testimony, such as accident reconstruction experts who can prove the cause of the accident or medical experts who can testify to the extent of your injuries
Your attorney will initiate an accident investigation immediately to preserve this critical evidence of fault, which can quickly disappear.
Why is Proving Negligence Important in a Motorcycle Case?
In order to win a motorcycle injury case, you must be able to prove each of the four elements of negligence. In many motorcycle accident cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will fight to make sure they pay out as little money as possible, which means placing the blame onto you. If you are found to have contributed to the accident, some of your awarded compensation may be reduced or eliminated altogether. Pennsylvania operates under a modified comparative fault system which means that you can still claim damages even if you are partially responsible for your own injuries. However, if it is ruled that you were at least 51 percent responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to recover any compensation.
For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but found 15% responsible for the collision, your award will be reduced by 15%, leaving you with $85,000. If you are found 51% or more at fault, you will not receive an award.
What Injuries are Commonly Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents often cause severe injuries since other vehicles are typically much larger and heavier, inflicting substantial damage. Some of the most common injuries suffered by motorcyclists include:
Since motorcyclists have little to no protection, they commonly suffer severe bone fractures from coming into contact with another vehicle or hitting the pavement. Depending on the severity, the break might require surgery.
The force of a collision can result in a head injury, such as skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or brain damage, even if a rider is wearing a helmet. A moderate or severe brain injury can have a permanent physical, cognitive, and/or psychological impact.
Lower Extremity Injuries
The lower extremities are particularly vulnerable to injury, and motorcyclists often suffer pelvic fractures, hip injuries, knee injuries, leg injuries, and foot, ankle, and toe injuries.
Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries
Whiplash is caused by the neck vertebrae being fiercely whipped back and forth. Whiplash can damage the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or vertebrae in the neck, leading to severe and long-lasting pain and stiffness, headaches, vision and hearing problems, and possibly emotional issues.
Back and Spine Injuries
The back is entirely exposed when riding a motorcycle, which is why back and spinal cord injuries are common. A severe back injury can cause paralysis or a loss of feeling from the injury site downward.
When internal organs are slammed against one another, into other structures of the body, or are penetrated by foreign objects, they can be damaged, perforated, or lacerated in an accident. Internal injuries can be life-threatening and typically require surgery.
Road Rash, Scarring, and Disfigurement
Motorcyclists can easily suffer road rash, scarring, or disfigurement if their skin makes continued contact with the pavement or gravel. In severe cases, skin graft surgery may be necessary, and there is also a risk of infection.
When a victim suffers a life-changing injury or permanent disability, it is often referred to as catastrophic—for example, a loss of limb or organ function.
When a victim loses their life in a motorcycle accident due to another’s negligent actions or willful misconduct, it is considered a wrongful death. Surviving loved ones have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Will My Motorcycle Accident Go to Trial?
Most motorcycle accident claims settle before they reach court. Therefore, it is unlikely that your case will go to trial. Whether it does end up before a judge is ultimately your choice, but there are a couple of factors that can lead you to that decision:
The Insurance Company Refuses to Settle
The most common reason motorcycle accident cases go to trial is when the at-fault party’s insurance company disputes liability and refuses to offer a fair settlement. Insurers are for-profit businesses whose primary goal is to limit payouts on claims. As a result, if there is evidence against you and they believe they will win in court, they may refuse to negotiate. At that point, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit. However, even if you do, many cases still settle before reaching the trial date or before a verdict is given.
The At-Fault Party is Uninsured
If the individual who caused your collision is uninsured, you may have to sue if you suffered a severe injury. In these cases, it is best to seek advice from an attorney regarding your legal options. Uninsured drivers typically do not have the financial means to pay for an accident, so taking them to court may be a waste of time and money.
Contact a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer Today
Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney can simplify complex legal processes in Philadelphia. Identifying the at-fault party, choosing which legal route to take, finding high-quality medical care, paying medical bills, and fighting for fair compensation can all become easier with help from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Philadelphia. Rosenbaum & Associates cares about Pennsylvania’s motorcyclist community. We want to help injured accident victims protect their rights and stand up against negligent drivers. Learn more about your injury case with a free consultation from our experienced legal counsel. Contact us today to request yours.