Motorcycles provide riders with a less expensive and more environmentally conscious way to get around. Not surprisingly, given the increasing gas prices over the past decade, as well as the heightened focus on protecting the environment, more people are selling their cars and opting to hop on a motorcycle instead. However, along with more motorcyclists on the road comes a corresponding increase in the number of Philadelphia motorcycle accidents. While Pennsylvania law allows motorcyclists to file a claim against those responsible for causing an accident, the unfortunate reality is that motorcyclists often face significant hurdles when pursuing a claim.
At the Philadelphia personal injury law firm of Console & Associates, we help motorcycle accident victims get the money they deserve after a major accident. Our Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers possess the skill, dedication, and experience necessary to handle any type of Philly motorcycle accident claim successfully, from investigating your claim to negotiating with the insurance company or litigating your case in front of the jury. We will work closely with you, your family, and your doctors to fully understand the effect the accident had on your life.
Since 1994, Console & Associates has served over 6,000 clients, recovering over $100 million in total compensation. We attribute our success to our commitment to each of our clients and the unique client-centered approach we take to each case.
Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported. They’re also five times more likely to suffer non-fatal injuries.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)keeps detailed records of all traffic accidents in the state. Historically, motorcyclists have comprised only a small fraction of the total number of vehicles on Pennsylvania roads; however, these accidents disproportionately result in severe injury or death. For example, according to PennDOT, in 2016, there were about 4.6 million vehicles registered in the state, only 396,000 of which were motorcycles. However, that year there were 192 people killed in Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents and another 3,321 injured. Thus, while motorcyclists only represented 8.6 percent of all vehicles on the road, they represented over 17 percent of all fatalities.
In recent years, the number of Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents are as follows:
Other Pennsylvania motorcycle accident statistics from PennDot include:
Driving a motorcycle carries inherent risks, especially in a city like Philadelphia. Philly roads are full of hazards for motorcyclists, such as aggressive drivers and the seemingly constant road construction on I-95. Console & Associates has been handling motorcycle accident cases in and around Philadelphia for almost two decades. During that time, we’ve seen all types of motorcycle crashes.
In our experience, most motorcycle accidents are caused by one or more of the following:
Motorcycle accidents don’t “just happen,” and almost all Philadelphia motorcycle accidents are preventable. When another motorist’s negligence causes a motorcycle crash, the driver and any passengers may be able to recover monetary compensation for their injuries. Additionally, family members who tragically had a loved one killed in a motorcycle accident can pursue a Philadelphia wrongful death claim.
It should almost go without saying that motorcycle accidents are among the most serious types of traffic accidents. Motorcycles offer riders little protection in the event of an accident, and riders are frequently thrown to the pavement or into fixed objects at high speeds. As a result, most motorcycle accident victims suffer severe injuries – and many of these accidents are fatal.
Below are some of the most common injuries in a Philadelphia motorcycle accident:
Regardless of the seriousness of your injuries, chances are that the accident drastically changed your life. You may have spent days, weeks, or months recovering in the hospital. Even after your release, you will likely still be in pain and may be experiencing significant limitations in the activities you used to perform with ease.
At Console & Associates, we can help you get back on your feet after a serious Philly motorcycle wreck. Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys has successfully handled thousands of cases. So many, in fact, that we’ve likely represented a client in a similar situation to the one you find yourself in right now. We also represent families who lost a loved one in a fatal Philadelphia motorcycle crash.
In Pennsylvania, the state’s personal injury laws allow those injured in a motorcycle accident to pursue a variety of types of monetary damages. In the broadest sense, there are two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages. As the name implies, compensatory damages are designed to compensate an accident victim for the injuries they suffered in the accident. On the other hand, the intent behind punitive damages is to punish the defendant for their reckless or intentional actions.
When it comes to compensatory damages, Pennsylvania law further divides these damages into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. These are also referred to as special and general damages.
These damages compensate an accident victim for the economic costs they incurred as a result of the accident. The following are a few types of economic damages that are available in a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident case:
Often, economic damages are proven by presenting receipts and expert witness testimony forecasting future accident-related costs.
Non-economic damages, or general damages, are designed to compensate an accident victim for those injuries that are harder to quantify. As a result, assigning a monetary value to these damages requires a certain element of subjectivity. A few of the most common examples of non-economic damages include:
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages cannot be readily determined by presenting receipts or forecasting future costs. Instead, these damages are typically established by telling the accident victim’s story in a way that effectively conveys the full impact the accident had on the victim’s life. As experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys, the attorneys at Console & Associates do just that.
We begin each case by getting to know our clients—their job, their family life, and their injuries. We use this knowledge to create a compelling story to ensure that you receive the correct amount of compensation for what you have been through.
In some Philadelphia motor vehicle accidents, only one of the parties involved is at fault. However, it is not unusual for one person to be primarily at fault, but for one or more others to share some level of responsibility for causing the accident. In motorcycle accidents, especially, this issue is likely to come up. Naturally, one of the most common questions motorcyclists have is whether they can still recover if they were partially at fault.
In Pennsylvania, courts use a doctrine called “modified comparative negligence” to determine which parties in an accident are entitled to pursue a claim for financial recovery. Significantly, under a modified comparative negligence analysis, accident victims who are partially at-fault can still recover compensation for their injuries from other negligent parties, provided they are less than 51 percent at fault. However, an accident victim’s total damages award will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Consider the following example: Assume Jack is driving from South Philly to Fairmount Park. He takes I-95 northbound onto the Vine Street Expressway. Jack is pretty comfortable on a motorcycle and is going about 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. As he’s about to get off at the Ben Franklin Parkway exit, another motorist clips Jack’s motorcycle, sending him flying off the bike. Jack suffers serious injuries but is, thankfully, able to make a full recovery. However, due to his medical bills, lost wages, and other non-economic losses, he accrued over $250,000 in damages. If the case went to trial, and the jury found Jack to be 10 percent at fault because he was speeding, Jack would recover a total of $225,000 (the total of his damages, less 10 percent due to his own fault).
Now, assume the facts were different, and Jack had been weaving in and out of traffic when another car struck his bike. In this situation, the jury may find that he was more than 51 percent responsible for causing the accident. If so, Jack would not recover anything for his injuries, as the doctrine of modified comparative negligence would prevent him from doing so.
Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence rules are favorable to accident victims. However, an accident victim’s negligence will be used by the defense to reduce their overall recovery. Thus, it is crucial that anyone injured in a Philadelphia motorcycle accident reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure they recover full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Study after study has shown that helmets effectively prevent serious injury or death in some motorcycle accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are approximately 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and nearly 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.
In almost every state, at least some motorcyclists must wear a helmet. Pennsylvania is no exception. Under state law, every motorcyclist is legally required to wear an approved helmet unless each of the following applies:
Approved helmets will have a “DOT” sticker placed on the rear of the helmet. In addition, approved helmets must also contain the following information (most often, on the inside of the helmet):
In addition to a helmet, all riders, regardless of their experience level, must wear protective eyewear to protect their eyes from dirt, dust, debris, rain, bugs, rocks, or other potential hazards they may encounter.
A motorcyclist’s decision not to wear a helmet may become relevant in a subsequent personal injury case against another driver. This is because, through what has been called the “helmet defense,” defendants may argue that a motorcyclist was negligent in failing to wear a helmet. Under the state’s modified comparative negligence analysis, a motorcyclist’s negligence can be used to reduce or eliminate their ability to recover compensation for their accident-related injuries.
However, Pennsylvania does not have a statute addressing the admissibility of helmet non-use evidence. Thus, whether this evidence is admissible will likely be decided on a case-by-case basis. That said, a few points are worth noting. First, most motorcyclists over the age of 21 are under no legal obligation to wear a helmet. Thus, their decision not to wear a helmet is within their legal rights and should not be used against them. This conclusion is supported by the fact that a motorcyclist’s decision not to wear a helmet has no bearing on the other party’s negligence. In other words, wearing a helmet will not prevent an accident.
However, some courts allow evidence of a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet in both the liability and damages phase of the trial. In these courts, a motorcycle accident victim may be precluded from bringing a case against an at-fault party solely because they were not wearing a helmet. This approach, however, is relatively rare.
Courts that allow helmet non-use evidence typically do so during the damages portion of the trial. For example, the fact that a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet will not be admissible to help the jury determine if the motorcyclist shared responsibility for the accident, but it could be used to lessen their available damages. However, the defendant would need to show that the motorcyclist’s injuries were of the type that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. This likely requires expert testimony.
Those involved in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet may face an uphill battle when seeking compensation for their injuries. Of course, this does not mean that they cannot be successful, only that it will be more difficult. It is critical that anyone injured in a Philadelphia motorcycle accident reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney for assistance with their case—particularly if the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a Philadelphia motorcycle crash, contact the respected injury lawyers at Console & Associates. Our Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys have decades of experience helping individuals and clients recover after a serious accident and move on with their lives.
The process of recovering from a major motorcycle accident can be a lengthy one, but is it not one that you need to navigate alone. With Console & Associates in your corner, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. In addition to representing motorcycle accident victims, we also handle Philadelphia wrongful death claims on behalf of surviving family members who lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident.
To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case, call Console & Associates today at 215-225-2040. You can also reach us through our online form. Calling is free, as is the initial consultation. And because we work on a contingency model, we will never send you a bill for our services unless we successfully recover compensation for you.
Console and Associates, P.C.
100 S Broad St #1523 Suite B
Philadelphia, PA 19110
I whole-heartedly recommend him to anyone searching for results and compassion throughout the process. There are so many attorneys out there who don’t care about their clients or don’t really understand personal injury matters. Choosing one of them can really be a huge life-changing mistake. Do yourself a favor and just call and talk to him, and you will see what I am talking about.
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