Immediately after a motorcycle accident, when you brush yourself off and stand to your feet, you may find yourself in an altered emotional state. While gathering your thoughts, remaining calm, and making sense of what just happened may be challenging, the steps you take right after the accident may have significant repercussions in regard to insurance coverage and any subsequent legal disputes. Do your best to approach the experience logically, and avoid saying anything - or acting in any way - that may be interpreted as admitting guilt. For your best chance at claiming damages and proving your innocence, adhere to the following five guidelines:
1. Check Yourself and Others for Injury.
The first thing you should do after an accident is check yourself and the others involved for injuries. Immediately call 911 whether you, passengers, other drivers, or everyone is hurt. You will not be held responsible for the accident simply because you placed the call for help.
2. Take Photos First.
Ensure the scene is safe enough to take pictures, so you do not cause further damage, or risk the safety of yourself or others. If you have technology on hand, such as a cell phone or a camera, take pictures from a variety of angles. Documenting the motorcycle, other involved vehicles, and the surrounding environment may prove helpful with insurance or during a court case.
3. Move Your Bike Off of the Road.
Whether or not you can successfully take pictures, move your bike off the road as soon as it is safe. Leaving your vehicle on the road is hazard to oncoming traffic. Approaching drivers do not know there has been an accident. Debris and unexpected vehicles in the road, particularly at night, may result in additional accidents and injury, for which you may be held responsible.
4. Gather Information.
If you did not call 911 for emergency assistance, contact your local police department. A police officer will arrive at the scene of the accident to draw up a police report. This will act as an important official document when proving details of your case. Protect your legal rights and potential compensation for your damages by gathering important information. Speak with witnesses, passengers, other drivers, and the police officer. Gather the following, so you have everything you need:
Contact information, including the names and phone numbers or email addresses, of all witnesses
Vehicle information of involved vehicles, including: make and model of the vehicles, and license plate numbers
The name and badge number of the officer
The police report number
Contact information for other drivers, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses
The vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for any involved vehicles
Insurance company name and contact information for involved vehicles
5. Call Your Insurance Agent.
Call your insurance agent as soon as you can after your motorcycle accident. Be prepared to offer them all of the information you have gathered for a streamlined experience. Remember, do not admit fault to anyone, including your insurance company. If your agent asks about your injury or motorcycle damage, insist that you will wait to offer this information until you have visited a doctor and brought your car to a professional mechanic. Underestimating your damages (pain and injuries often appear days after your accident) can reduce your rightful compensation.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
You may need a motorcycle accident attorney for a variety of reasons after your accident. If you are innocent, but the other parties claim the accident was your fault, if your insurance company denies your claim, your damages exceed the limits of your policy, or you have incurred severe physical injuries and associated costs, an attorney can help. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your area today to obtain your rightful compensation for damages.
Auto accident cases in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Utah resulted in millions of dollars worth of personal injury settlements in the past few weeks.
$4 Million Settlement in Connecticut Police Cruiser Accident
A $4 million settlement has been obtained in a Connecticut auto accident case that resulted in the death of a teenage couple after the car they were driving was hit by a police officer.
Ashlie M. Krakowski, who was 19 when she died, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by David Servin,19, who was also killed in the collision. A Milford police car going more than 90 miles per hour broadsided their car.
Jason Anderson, the police officer who was driving the police cruiser, was returning from a disturbance call when the accident occurred. The police department fired him six months after the incident occurred.
On November 7, Anderson was found guilty of misconduct with a motor vehicle and reckless driving, and not guilty of two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He will be sentenced on January 16, and could receive up to 10 years in prison.
Krakowski's estate will receive $2.8 million, while $1.2 million will go to legal fees. The city's insurance carrier will pay $3.5 million.
The insurance carrier for the parent's of David Servin will pay the remaining $500,000. During Anderson's trial, his lawyer intended to show evidence that Servin and Krakowski had been drinking, and that Servin was in possession of marijuana.
In March, the Servins obtained a $2.5 million settlement in their suit against the city and Anderson.
New Jersey Family of Quadriplegic Man Obtains $2 Million Settlement
A New Jersey family has obtained a $2 million settlement for an accident that left a young man paralyzed. The case was settled while the jury was deliberating on the case after a lengthy, weeks' long trial.
The family and attorneys of James Griffin, 26, claimed that an improperly maintained county road caused the car accident that left Griffin quadriplegic. The suit says that Griffin lost control of his car and was hit by an oncoming vehicle due to a pool of water that had formed in the road as a result of poor drainage.
County attorneys say there is a lack of evidence showing that a large puddle of water had developed in the road, and that the county regularly inspects and maintains the roadways.
The settlement does not indicate any admission of fault for the county.
Motorcycle Accident Victim Obtains Settlement from the State
The state of Utah agreed to a $648,700 settlement for a college student who was struck by a maintenance vehicle while riding his motorcycle on the Utah Valley University campus.
Parker Eads was injured when a driver of a maintenance truck made an improper turn, hitting Eads and throwing him under another vehicle. The accident resulted in serious injuries to Eads' right leg. He underwent several surgeries before the leg was amputated below the knee.
The settlement, which is the maximum under Utah's liability caps, was awarded to cover the costs of Eads' medical expenses relating to the crash. According to state law, legislators must approve settlements over $500,000; in this case, the approval vote was unanimous.
In this personal injury news round-up, we examine a motorcycle case that reaped a settlement of almost $2 million, a police chase auto accident case that resulted in a $1.3 million settlement, and a bicycle accident hit-and-run case that led to a $635,000 settlement.
Motorcycle Accident Victim Wins $1.9 Million Settlement
The Catholic Diocese of Joliet was found liable for a $1.9 million settlement, which was awarded to an Illinois man who was injured in a 2006 motorcycle accident.
Father Raymond Garbin was driving a car owned by the Catholic Diocese of Joliet when he hit the back of the motorcycle driven by Bill Egbert, a former police officer. At the time, Egbert was stopped at a red light. Though Egbert was wearing a helmet, he sustained a closed head injury and other injuries when the impact caused him to slam into the car's windshield.
Garbin was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
The settlement between the two parties was reached when the case was pending before Judge Susan O'Leary in the Circuit Court of Will County.
Police Chase Accident Results in $1.36 Million Settlement
Taxpayers in Chicago will pay $1.36 million to a man who suffered serious injuries when a driver who was being chased by police hit his car.
William Kurtz' vehicle was hit head-on when Pablo Mendoza drifted across the center line while the police were pursuing him. Kurtz suffered major injuries to the feet and legs, which affect his ability to walk and cause chronic pain. As a result of his injuries, Kurtz was no longer able to keep his job as a towing company maintenance supervisor.
According to testimony on the case, the police officers involved in the police chase did not notify their supervisor that they believed Mendoza was intoxicated. The supervisor told the police officers to stop the pursuit, but the officers said they never heard the request because they were not tuned into dispatch radio communications.
A previous accident involving a 1999 police chase resulted in the establishment of a policy that requires police officers to obtain approval from a supervisor before engaging in a pursuit, and to stop the chase when the offender does not obey traffic signals.
Upon review of the case, a City Council committee approved the settlement in Kurtz' favor.
Family Receives $635,000 Settlement in Hit-and-Run Case
A $635,000 settlement has been awarded to a 13-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was riding his bike when he was struck by a car that fled the scene.
Richard Hollawell was injured in 2009 when Suzanne Lammers hit him, and then left the scene without checking on his welfare. She later told police that she thought she hit a deer, but her car revealed front-end damage consistent with the case.
Lammers was subsequently charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing injury and sentenced to 90 days in prison, which she served.
If you have been injured in an auto accident of any kind, it is important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
In this personal injury news round up, we feature two wrongful death cases that involve auto accidents with a police vehicle.
The Family of LAPD Crash Victim Reaches $6.6 Million Settlement with the City
The city of Los Angeles will pay $6.6 million to settle a case in which a speeding police car killed a woman.
Jovanna Lugo, 27, was pulling out of her driveway in April of 2010 when a police car driven by Officer Richard Brubaker broadsided her vehicle. Brubaker and his partner were responding to a report of a possible stolen car, they were not using their emergency lights, and therefore were not allowed to exceed the speed limit.
According to Lugo's attorneys and a confidential city report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, other drivers and the crash reconstruction estimated that the police car was speeding, going about 70 miles per hour.
Further, according to the report, witnesses claim that the police vehicle's headlights were turned off. Investigators found the headlight switch in the off position. When Brubaker was asked about the headlights being off, he said that he turned them off after the accident. However, investigators found that the airbag powder and debris on the headlight switch was undisturbed, leading authorities to believe that the headlight switch was not used after the accident.
The officers involved in the accident alleged that Lugo tried to make an illegal U-turn, contributing to the crash. However, no evidence was found to support this claim.
An attorney for the city asked the LA city council to approve the $6.6 million settlement, as additional court costs and a jury verdict could exceed that amount.
"If the jury finds the defendants liable for wrongful death, the jury will award a figure in the multiple millions of dollars," Deputy City Atty. John Wright wrote in the report.
Indiana Family Settles with City for $1.55 Million in Motorcycle Accident Case
The family of a motorcyclist who was killed when he was hit by a police cruiser has reached a settlement with the city of Indianapolis; the city will pay $1.55 million to the victim's widow and his parents.
Eric Wells, 30, was waiting at an intersection with other motorcyclists in August of 2010 when a police vehicle driven by Officer David Bisard struck the group. Wells died and the two other victims, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly, suffered injuries; Mills and Weekly's suits against the city are pending.
In Wells' civil lawsuit, attorneys state that the city and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department are liable for damages because Bisard was "grossly negligent" in causing the accident and the victim's death.
According to Wells' attorneys, Bisard was grossly negligent because he was intoxicated, speeding, driving recklessly, using a police vehicle that was not dispatched to him, and using the in-car computer for personal business. They also allege that police officers that arrived on the scene failed to follow proper procedures because they did not require Bisard to submit to a breath test at the scene of the accident.
Two hours after the accident, a blood test that was taken in which Bisard reported a blood-alcohol level of 0.19. However, a judge ruled the test inadmissible because an unauthorized individual took the sample. A second vial of blood was taken, but it was left out of the refrigerator for about 22 weeks.
Although Bisard's civil case is moving through the settlement process, he still faces criminal charges, including reckless homicide, as a result of the accident.
Read about recent multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts that have been awarded in car accident, motorcycle accident, and trucking accident cases.
School Bus Accident Victim Awarded $14 Million
A Bucks County jury awarded a Pennsylvania woman $14 million for the serious injuries she sustained after being hit by a school bus in January of 2007.
Ashley Zauflik, now 21, was exiting Pennsbury High School when a school bus jumped the curb and crashed into a group of students. Zauflik suffered the most severe injuries, including the loss of her left leg above the knee, internal bleeding, a shattered pelvis, and multiple bone fractures. An additional 16 students were injured in the accident.
An investigation that was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and Falls Township police concluded that the accident was caused by driver error; according to both agencies, the bus driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes. The bus driver maintains that mechanical problems were to blame.
After a four-hour deliberation, the jury awarded Zauflik almost $3 million for past and future medical expenses, as well as $11.1 million for pain and suffering.
However, a state law limits local government, including school districts, liability in civil suits. According to the 30-year-old law, $500,000 is the maximum that can be awarded.
Attorneys for the school district say they intend to file a motion to modify the award so that it is in line with the cap set by the state; Zauflik's attorney plans to oppose that motion.
Missouri Family Awarded $7 Million in Semi-Truck Accident Case
A $7 million verdict has been awarded to the family of a truck driver who died after the commercial vehicle he was driving was struck by a semi-truck.
Roger Reagan was killed when a semi-truck driver for Dunaway Timber Company went across the center line and clipped a Jeep Cherokee, hit a Kia head-on, and crashed into the cab of Reagan's truck.
After the collision, Reagan was trapped in the truck; during his escape, he fell from the truck and was caught in fiery conditions beneath. Reagan died about an hour later.
The defense focused on Dunaway Timber Company's driver screening practices, as well as the qualifications of their driver. According to evidence presented by the defense, the driver had lied on his job application and previously received two license revocations.
Buffalo Motorcyclist Obtains $5 Million Settlement
A Buffalo man will receive a $5 million settlement for a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
William Hardy, 24, was riding his motorcycle when it hit a car that was making a U-turn in front of him. Hardy was thrown off of the bike, flew about 50 feet into the air, and struck a parked car. At the time of the accident, he was on the job, running errands for the Bailey Prescription Center.
The insurance company of the driver of the other car and the Bailey Prescription Center will cover the costs of the settlement.
If you have been injured in an accident, consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for a review of your case. You may be entitled to damages.
A former Marine that was seriously injured when a flatbed truck hit the motorcycle that he was riding has been awarded a $3.85 million accident settlement, the majority of which will be paid by the national restaurant chain Applebee's.
David M. Combs, 51, was riding his motorcycle when a flatbed truck came around a corner and struck his Harley Davidson. Combs suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of his right leg, severe internal injuries, and fractured bones. He has since undergone several surgeries to repair the damage caused by the accident.
"I was a power lifter and body builder before this happened," Combs, who mostly relies on a wheelchair to get around, said. "Now my arms are pretty much useless. What I used to do with 50- or 60-pound dumbbells, I now do with five or 10 pounds."
The driver of the truck, Michael C. Clark, was found to have a .19 blood alcohol level after the crash occurred. According to court documents, he had consumed three whiskey and 7-Ups in one hour at a nearby Applebee's prior to the crash.
After the accident, Combs filed suit against Clark, Applebee's, and the owner of the flatbed truck, Kimberly Ward. Last month, the parties named in the suit agreed to the $3.85 million settlement.
In affidavits for the case, Kimberly Ward maintained that she was not aware that Clark was driving her truck at the time of the accident. Nevertheless, her insurance policy will cover $100,000 of Comb's settlement.
Applebee's is responsible for $3.75 million, the vast majority of the damages in the lawsuit. Because the restaurant chain elected to settle the case, they will avoid a potentially costly trial in which the plaintiff's attorneys would try to show that Clark was clearly intoxicated while being served alcohol. The attorney that handled the case for Applebee's had no comment on the settlement.
Clark's Testimony and Punishment
Clark said in a sworn deposition testimony that he had not been drinking prior to consuming alcohol at Applebee's.
However, Heather Long, the director of Medical Toxicology for Albany Medical Center, found that Clark registered the .19 blood alcohol content (BAC) more than two-and-a-half hours after leaving the restaurant. She calculated that his BAC was probably between .23 and .296 percent when he left Applebee's. This indicates that Clark had more than three drinks.
"If you serve a visibly intoxicated person and that person injures a third person, you are legally responsible for their actions," said David Everett, Combs' attorney.
Although Clark is not responsible for covering any portion of the monetary settlement, he is serving a one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half year sentence for the felonies he committed: first-degree vehicular assault, second-degree vehicular assault, and aggravated vehicular assault.
But Clark's jail time and the monetary settlement do not provide Combs with closure.
"The guy that ran me over is going to get out, and he is probably going to kill someone next time," Combs said. "What the money means is that I will not lose my house. I'll never be the person I was before this."
If you have been injured in an accident, it is in your best interest to consult an injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review your case and determine if you should move forward with legal action.
A settlement has been reached in a motorcycle accident lawsuit that was filed on behalf of a police officer against the city of Montgomery, Alabama.
Corporal David Brown was on his motorcycle providing traffic control for a funeral procession in September of 2010 when he was hit and seriously injured by a car that pulled out of the motorcade. Shortly after, the ambulance that was transporting Brown to the hospital was involved in an accident and overturned.
Brown has since undergone extensive medical treatment and numerous surgeries, including the amputation of his left arm at the elbow and right leg at the knee.
In October of 2010, the Brown family filed a lawsuit against the city of Montgomery to obtain workers' compensation benefits. In the suit, Brown acknowledged that he was working as an off-duty officer on the day of the accident, but claims that he had the "permission, knowledge and approval of the City of Montgomery Police Department," and that he was providing service for the "benefit of the department and citizens of Montgomery."
That same month, the city denied Brown's workers' compensation claim, saying that he was working on a private job with the funeral company, and that Brown was not actually on-duty when the accident occurred.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey overturned the city's ruling in March, saying that Brown was entitled to benefits and that a hearing would be scheduled to work out the details. City officials responded by saying that they would fight the ruling.
Now, court documents show that Brown has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed; Judge Tracy McCooey granted the dismissal last Wednesday.
The mayor of Montgomery, Todd Strange, and Brown's brother announced on Thursday that a settlement had been reached between the two parties.
"Once we got around the table and were able to have free and open discussion, it became clear that workers' compensation may not have been the best option for David," Strange said.
Brown will receive retirement benefits instead of workers' compensation benefits. According Strange, the differences between the two plans are nominal. However, the retirement package will offer more of a benefit to Brown's family. Brown, his wife, and his daughters will receive health and life insurance through the plan. Additionally, all of Brown's medical costs relating to the accident will be covered by the city.
Brown is set to officially retire on August 8; he is a 19-year veteran of the Montgomery Police Department.
This motorcycle accident lawsuit illustrates how difficult it can be to successfully litigate a claim. If you have been injured while on the job, or in any accident that was caused by another person's negligence, it is in your best interest to consult a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will reconstruct your case to determine who is at fault and liable for the accident; they will also deal with workers' compensation and insurance investigators to ensure that you receive the damages that you deserve. Contact an injury lawyer today for a review of your case.
With many auto and motorcycle accidents occurring each year, it is extremely important that drivers exercise safe driving habits. A clear understanding of the rules of the road, experience, and caution while driving can go a long way toward keeping drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe. Unfortunately, many drivers break the rules because they are in a hurry or not paying attention to what they are doing. Here is a list of some of the most common traffic violations.
Although many people deliberately speed, some are unaware that they are committing the offense, either because they are lost in their thoughts or do not know the speed limit of the area. Whatever the reasons, speeding can have dangerous consequences. According to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association, speeding almost triples a driver's chances of being involved in an auto accident.
Running Red Lights
Accidents that are caused when a person runs a red light tend to result in more serious injuries and deaths. The high speed of the vehicle that runs the red light puts pedestrians and other vehicles at serious risk. City officials have even taken to installing red light cameras at certain intersections to catch and punish drivers that run red lights.
Following Too Closely
The vast majority of rear-end accidents are caused when drivers follow another vehicle too closely. In general, it is a good idea to follow the three-second rule while driving; make sure that there is enough space between your car and the vehicle in front of you so that you have at least three seconds to slow down in case you need to come to a sudden stop. This time span should increase when you are driving at faster speeds or in poor weather.
Driving Under the Influence
The use of alcohol or drugs can affect a person's information-processing skills and hand-to-eye coordination, severely impairing their ability to drive. Driving under the influence greatly increases a person's chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. If you have had anything to drink, do not drive. Arrange for a cab or a friend to drive you home.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, a personal injury may be able to help you obtain compensation for medical bills and other expenses related to your injury. Find a lawyer in your area today.
A Connecticut woman will receive $500,000 to settle a motorcycle crash lawsuit in which her husband, who was driving the motorcycle at the time of the crash, was a co-defendant.
Kim Fenske, of Waterbury, Conn., will receive $400,000 from Frank Maratta, driver of the pickup truck involved in the crash, and $100,000 from her husband, Gary Fenske. The husband was named as a co-defendant so that the plaintiff could recover the full amount demanded in her personal injury lawsuit if a jury ruled her husband shared fault with Maratta for the crash.
On Nov. 1, 2008, the Fenskes were riding their 2005 Suzuki C90 motorcycle in the town of Essex, when they were struck by Maratta's 2001 GMC Sonoma pickup in front of a roadside market. Maratta had stopped in the street to wait for a parking place in front of the market.
Plaintiff Thrown from Motorcycle By Impact
Gary Fenske attempted to pass the pickup on the right as Maratta began a right turn into a parking place. The right front tire of the pickup struck the motorcycle, throwing Kim Fenske off and pinning Gary Fenske's leg under it as it skidded on its side.
Maratta claimed his right turn signal was on, although there was evidence that the signal may not have been working. Maratta claimed he had no way of knowing that.
Ankle Surgery Requires Screws, Metal Plate
Kim Fenske suffered a broken ankle, as well as skin and tissue abrasions to her forehead that required skin grafts and reconstructive surgery. Her ankle required five screws and a metal plate to repair. Gary Fenske suffered scrapes on his leg, as well as burns from the motorcycle's tailpipes.
The plaintiff's attorneys said their client's forehead is permanently disfigured and that her ankle is 11 percent impaired. They said her medical bills total more than $99,000, so far, and that she will need another $8,000 to $15,000 to have surgical hardware removed from her ankle.
If you've been injured in a motorcycle crash that wasn't your fault, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. You may be able to receive financial compensation for medical bills, repair bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
A couple seriously injured when their motorcycle was struck by a vehicle pulling out of a driveway in Sullivan County, New York, has received a $3.5 million settlement in a personal injury lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court.
John S. Bell, 44, and Jacqueline A. Pinnix, 45, received the settlement from Crystal Run Villages, an organization that provides treatment for the disabled at facilities in New York's Catskills/Hudson Valley region.
Plaintiffs Say Driver Pulled into their Path
Bell and Pinnix were injured May 25, 2009, while motorcycling in the town of Neversink, in Sullivan County. They were struck by a Crystal Run Village vehicle driven by employee Laura Skinger, then 19, who pulled into the path of the motorcycle, according to court records.
Attorneys for Bell and Pinnix said the couple was thrown 50 feet and that Bell suffered severe injuries to his back and Pinnix to her leg and pelvis. According to the motorcycle accident lawsuit, filed in the 3rd Judicial District of the Supreme Court in Monticello, both plaintiffs required extensive surgery. Skinger admitted that she was at fault.
Insurance Carrier Agrees to Settlement
According to plaintiffs' attorney Joseph E. O'Connor, Philadelphia Indemnity, Crystal Run Village's insurer, agreed to a settlement in the case, avoiding a trial.
At the time of the crash, the injured couple lived in Ellenville, in nearby Ulster County. They now live in New Jersey.
If you've been injured in a motorcycle crash that wasn't your fault, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. In order to receive the financial assistance you deserve to deal with medical bills, repair bills, and loss of income, you may have to overcome the general prejudice against motorcyclists. Many people feel that motorcyclists are daredevils bound to have an accident. If the judge or jury in your case is so inclined, you'll need an attorney who will fight the prejudice and get you the fair, impartial treatment to which you're entitled.
The commissioners of an Oregon county board approved a $500,000 settlement for a motorcycle accident claim brought by a motorcyclist severely injured in a crash with a county-owned motorized brush cutter. According to police, the county employee operating the brush cutter made an illegal turn into the path of the motorcycle.
Thomas Joseph Fennell, 58, of Colton, Oregon, suffered injuries to his head, ribs, leg, shoulder, and spleen in the Feb. 26 collision near Mulino, about 25 south of Portland. Emergency responders from the Molalla Fire District say Fennell was thrown from his motorcycle and that the force of the collision ripped his helmet from his head. Fennell was airlifted to a Portland hospital and spent several days in intensive care.
County Worker Cited for Illegal Turn That Caused Crash
After an investigation of the crash, Clackamas County sheriff's deputies cited Randy Miller for making an illegal turn into the path of Fennell's motorcycle while operating a brush cutter on a rural road south of Mulino.
Attorney Steven A. Kahn filed a tort claim against Clackamas County April 12. In December, the five-member board of county commissioners directed county counsel to negotiate a settlement of the claim. The settlement was approved at the board's Jan. 6 meeting.
Government Agencies Accountable for Public Safety
Local, state, and federal agencies have a responsibility to guarantee public safety. That includes ensuring that workers are properly screened before hiring, are properly trained, and are monitored to ensure safe work habits. When those responsibilities are not met, the agency involved should be held accountable for damages.
If you've been injured because of the negligent behavior of a government worker, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You deserve to receive financial compensation for medical costs, loss of past and future wages, and other expenses. If you've lost a loved one, you should be compensated for the loss of financial support and of companionship.
If you're an experienced motorcyclist, you know that motorcycles seldom collide with other motorcycles. Usually, motorcycles collide with cars. Often, it's because the driver of the car overlooked the motorcycle. That's when you need an attorney experienced in proving the other driver's liability.
Many people view motorcyclists as risk-takers and assume that, in a crash between a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist must be at fault. Police motorcycle accident reports often tell a quite different story, but prejudice against motorcyclist still remains, and can go against you when dealing with insurance companies or having your day in court.
Driver Actions Can Demonstrate Liability
Your attorney's first task may be to show that the other driver was not aware of you and your motorcycle until it was too late to avoid a crash. If the driver forced you into another lane, into oncoming traffic, or off the road, the driver was not properly compensating for blind spots.
In some cases, a driver following a motorcycle may not take into account the shorter stopping distance of the lighter vehicle and may rear-end a motorcycle.
For some drivers, motorcycles - and even smaller cars - just don't register in their awareness, even when in plain sight. The best evidence of this is when a motorist turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Similarly, a motorist may pull out of a driveway into the street in front of a motorcycle, another clear case of liability.
Experienced Investigator May Strengthen Case
Your attorney may recommend hiring an investigator with experience in motorcycle accidents. Careful observations and measurements at the scene of the accident, and expert analysis of police reports and witness statements, may help prove your case.
If you're a motorcyclist who's been involved in a crash with another vehicle, don't talk to an insurance company representative or go to court without the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Other personal injury attorneys may not understand the unique nature of motorcycles, their riders, or the circumstances of a motorcycle accident. To get the financial compensation you deserve for medical bills, repair bills, lost income, and other expenses, you need an expert on your side.
The family of a Massachusetts state trooper who bled to death when a guardrail in a Boston underground traffic tunnel severed his arm and broke his neck in a motorcycle crash will receive $9 million, as the result of a settlement reached with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and other defendants.
State Trooper Vincent Cila's family blamed the design of the guardrails in the six miles of tunnels under Boston, known as the Big Dig, for contributing to his death, when he lost control of his police motorcycle and slammed into the railing on July 22, 2005.
The guardrails, previously criticized by federal officials, were also cited as a contributing factor in the deaths of six other people involved in tunnel crashes between 2005 and 2008.
Railing Meant to Protect Tunnel Workers
The railing is made of flat metal stock and was designed to keep workers from falling from a three-foot high maintenance walkway onto the roadway.
In their complaint, Cila's family echoed other critics of the railing design who say the square edges of its components make it extremely sharp and its placement at about the height of a motorcycle seat or a car window guarantees serious injury or death by dismemberment in a crash.
The complaint said that Cila might have survived the crash if the railings were made of standard round metal stock. Cila family attorney Annette Gonthier-Kiely said Cila's widow hoped the state would remove or modify the railings, to prevent others from being seriously injured or killed.
U.S. DOT Issued Warning in 1992
Court documents in the case show that the U.S. Department of Transportation warned the director of the Big Dig project in 1992 that the guardrails might be dangerous. The director responded that they were safe and rejected the DOT's suggestion that crash tests be conducted.
The settlement did not address safety issues, nor were they acknowledged in a statement from the Massachusetts Transportation Department expressing regret over Cila's death.
If you or someone you know has been killed or injured because of faulty design or construction of a public project, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, or loss of companionship.
The National Transportation Safety Board is urging states to require all motorcycle riders to wear federally approved helmets. The agency has added stronger helmet laws to its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety, measures it says will increase traffic safety if enacted by the states.
According to the NTSB, while motorcycles make up only three percent of vehicles on the road, they account for 13 percent of traffic fatalities. Nationwide statistics show 4,462 motorcycle fatalities in 2009. The agency said 65 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2008, the latest year for which data are available, were not wearing helmets.
Official Calls Motorcycle Death Public Health Issue
"Too many lives are lost in motorcycle accidents," said Christopher A. Hart, NTSB vice chairman. "It's a public health issue."
Although motorcycle fatalities in 2009 were down from 2008, the NTSB says they doubled in the 10 years prior to 2009, while fatalities for all vehicles combined went down.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia currently require helmet use by all motorcyclists, specifying helmets that meet Department of Transportation standards. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire have no helmet requirement. The remaining states have partial helmet use laws, most of those requiring helmets on minors and/or passengers, but not adult operators.
Federal Helmet Law Attempt Thwarted By Motorcycle Lobby
Congress tried to force nationwide mandatory helmet laws in 1967, by threatening to withhold federal highway funds from states not complying. Lobbyists for motorcyclist groups that consider mandatory helmet use an infringement on individual rights prevailed in 1976, when Congress granted states the exclusive right to legislate helmet laws.
Some motorcycling groups promote rider safety education as an alternative to mandatory helmet use, arguing that preventing accidents from happening is the best way to protect motorcyclists.
If you're a motorcyclist who's been involved in an accident, you need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. You may be a victim of the prejudice many people feel toward motorcyclists when you're dealing with insurance companies or when you have your day in court. Having an attorney on your side who understands the special circumstances of motorcycle accidents can make a difference in your future.
With its short motorcycle-riding season essentially finished, North Dakota has recorded 15 motorcycle deaths this year, exceeding the previous annual record of 13, set in 2008. In commenting on the grim statistic, proponents and opponents of helmet use renewed their debate.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Jody Skogen said nearly two-thirds of those killed in motorcycle accidents this year were not wearing helmets.
"Motorcycles rarely give you second chances, and that helmet is a crucial element of increasing your chances of surviving a crash," Skogen said.
Motorcycle Group Director Cites Human Error
Michael Jay, executive director of ABATE of North Dakota, a motorcyclists' group formed to oppose mandatory helmet laws, said that the number of fatal solo crashes this year is "a disturbing trend." He said such accidents are often caused by human error, including speeding or alcohol use.
Jay echoed the ABATE position that rider education and safe practices are more important in preventing motorcycle fatalities than wearing helmets and other safety gear, because safe riding will reduce the chance of a crash.
Agencies Highlight Riders Who Credit Helmets
When a crash does occur, a helmet can save a life, according to the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department, the North Dakota Safety Council, and North Dakota Highway Patrol. The three agencies joined forces to demonstrate that fact, by staging a "Saved by the Helmet" event recently with the help of riders who believe they survived a motorcycle crash because they were wearing helmets.
Michael and Catherine Roberdeau and Penny House crashed on a group motorcycle ride last month, because of debris in the road. All three were injured. Police say damage to their helmets indicates they might have been killed without them.
If you're a motorcyclist who's been involved in a crash, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. When dealing with insurance companies or appearing in court, you may be at a disadvantage because of the prejudice many people feel against motorcyclists. Your attorney will fight to see that you get the fair treatment that is your constitutional right.
Although people may feel safer on four wheels than on two, a national doctors’ group says that, in off-road rollover accidents, victims riding all-terrain vehicles are more likely to be killed than those riding motorcycles.
Although people may feel safer on four wheels than on two, a national doctors' group says that, in off-road rollover accidents, victims riding all-terrain vehicles are more likely to be killed than those riding motorcycles.
The American College of Surgeons says ATV rollover victims are 50 percent more likely to die than motorcycle accident victims with the same injuries. In a study presented at its recent annual meeting, the ACS also said ATV rollover victims are 50 percent more likely to require emergency room treatment, including use of artificial respirators.
The study examined data on nearly 60,000 accidents between 2002 and 2006, as reported by a national trauma bank.
Researchers Suspect Extra Force of ATVs Leads to More Deaths
Surgeons don't know yet what causes the higher fatality rate, according to study head Dr. Adil Haider of the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research in Baltimore. He said he and his colleagues think the cause may be that ATVs apply more force when rolling over on a victim, though they're not sure if that's because of their extra weight or the fact that their stability directs more force downward onto the victim.
Haider said the results of the study should be a warning to everyone involved with ATVs - including users, manufacturers, and the lawmakers who regulate them - not to assume that they are safe because they have four wheels. He included parents and teachers in his warning, since many ATV makers produce smaller models for use by children.
Parents of Child Victims Lobby for Change
Parents of children killed and injured in ATV accidents have lobbied for changes in regulations and in dealer marketing strategies. A Johns Hopkins investigator said dealers often try to sell parents an ATV that is too large and powerful, on the grounds that the child will "grow into it."
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an ATV rollover accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. If your accident was the result of misrepresentation by the manufacturer or dealer, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for medical bills, loss of income, or loss of companionship.
A New Jersey woman paralyzed in a 2006 motorcycle accident will receive $850,000 to settle a lawsuit against the county in which the accident occurred. The woman sued for $5 million, claiming her injuries were caused by a pothole in a road for which the county was responsible.
Kathleen Santana was injured March 11, 2006, in Maurice River Township, in Cumberland County, while a passenger on her husband's motorcycle. Her lawsuit claimed negligence on the part of the county for failing to repair a pothole in the road she claimed caused the crash. The county investigated the crash and denied responsibility.
Santana also sued the Maurice River, but a Cumberland County Superior Court judge dismissed the township as a defendant in 2008.
County Solicitor Brendan Kavanagh said a settlement was reached last month, after a seven-hour mediation session. The county Board of Freeholders subsequently approved the settlement. The county's insurance company will pay $600,000.
Santana, a resident of Dorothy, in nearby Atlantic County, was paralyzed from the waist down as the result of injuries in the crash.
If you or someone you know is injured in a motorcycle accident that's not your fault, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Obtaining a favorable verdict in a motorcycle accident lawsuit is more difficult than in a car accident suit. The general public has a prejudice against motorcyclists that will have to be overcome. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will know how to interview potential jurors and how to ask the right questions of witnesses, to ensure a fair hearing.
South Korean industrial conglomerate Hyundai reached a financial settlement last week with the family of a motorcyclist killed in Orange County, Calif., in a 2005 hit-and-run collision caused by a Hyundai executive who was driving drunk after a company event.
Youn Burn Lee, who fled to Korea after the October 2005 collision, returned to California last year to face justice for killing Ryan Dallas Cook. Lee pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and fleeing the scene of an accident. He was sentenced in December to nine years in prison.
Hyundai Accused of Protecting Suspect
Prosecutors accused Hyundai of helping Lee flee the country, driving him to the airport within 24 hours of the collision, after he was counseled by a company attorney. Attorneys for Cook's family said Hyundai encouraged drinking at the company-sponsored dinner Lee attended before causing Cook's death.
At the time of the collision, after midnight, Lee was driving a company sport utility vehicle on the freeway with the headlights turned off. He veered onto the center divider, then back into traffic lanes and into the path of Cook's motorcycle. The motorcycle accident victim was thrown to the pavement and run over by several passing vehicles.
Cook, who was 23 when he was killed, was a trombone player in the Orange County-based musical group Suburban Legends, formed in 1998.
Terms of Settlement to Remain Confidential
A civil trial in the case of the Cook family's wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled for earlier this month, but was delayed when negotiations between Hyundai and the family began. The parties agreed that the terms of the out-of-court settlement will remain confidential.
Cook family attorney Carlton Cook said his clients are pleased that Lee was returned to face punishment and that both sides are satisfied with the settlement.
If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a traffic incident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. If negligence is involved, you may be able to receive financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Your attorney will fight to see that those responsible are held accountable.
Which are the most dangerous highways in America? That depends on who's answering the question and the criteria applied. A Fox News 10-worst list was based on fatalities in car and motorcycle accidents; the Web site Ask the Trucker, on the experiences of commercial truck drivers. USA Today said rural highways, in general, are dangerous, because people don't expect them to be.
According to the Fox News statistical analysis, eight of the 10 worst stretches of highway are in the West, with four in Southern California, two in Arizona, and one each in Nevada and Texas. Two dangerous stretches in Florida complete the list.
Three Interstates Share Danger Zones
Topping the Fox News list is I-15 through San Bernardino County, Calif. Farther north on the same freeway is another danger spot: Clark County, Nev., which includes Las Vegas. Three dangerous stretches are located on I-10: Riverside County, Calif., and Maricopa and Pinal Counties, Ariz. Two danger zones are located on I-5 in California, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.
Moving east, Fox News listed I-45 in Harris County, Texas, which includes the Houston metropolitan area. The two dangerous stretches in Florida were I-95 in Palm Beach County and U.S.-1 in Miami-Dade County.
According to Ask the Trucker, Colorado Highway 550 is the most dangerous highway for commercial drivers, not because of car and motorcycle accidents, but because of its five S-curves, an abundance of recreational vehicle traffic, and migrating wildlife crossing the road in the fall. It also passes through an avalanche zone.
Trucker Site Lists Major Congestion Spots
Heavy traffic and congestion is the problem for most of the Ask the Trucker danger zones, including the Los Angeles Highway 101 to I-405 interchange, Atlanta's I-285 at I-85 interchange, the I-95 Cross-Bronx Expressway in New York, I-15 in Nevada, the Providence, R.I. I-95/I-195 interchange, and the Circle Interchange in Chicago.
Louisiana's stretch of I-10 is faulted by Ask the Trucker for unrepaired damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
A USA Today article does not mention specific routes, but says rural highways can be more dangerous than their urban counterparts because people are less cautious in wide open spaces. The article blames more impaired and distracted driving and cites higher numbers of single-vehicle accidents, blaming driver overconfidence.
An Illinois woman injured when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger collided with a car is suing the car's driver for $50,000, claiming the defendant's negligence was the cause of the crash.
Plaintiff Kathy D. Manno was thrown from the motorcycle and injured March 8, 2009, in Fairview Heights, Ill., about 12 miles east of East St. Louis. According to her lawsuit, filed last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Belleville, defendant Deanna L. Haas caused the crash by failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, thereby crashing into the motorcycle.
Lawsuit Lists Many Contributing Factors in Crash
Manno's motorcycle accident lawsuit accuses Haas of driving too fast, driving without adequate brakes, failing to apply her brakes, failing to have a properly working horn, failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to keep her vehicle under proper control, failing to take actions necessary to avoid a collision, and failing to bring her vehicle to a complete stop at a stop sign.
The suit asks for financial compensation for injuries, medical costs, lost income, damage to Manno's earning capacity, pain and suffering, and reimbursement of legal costs.
A hearing in the matter has been scheduled for Sept. 23 in front of Judge Patrick M. Young.
Case Demonstrates Danger to Motorcyclists
The case of Kathy Manno demonstrates the vulnerability of motorcyclists and their passengers, especially at intersections. When it comes to trial, it may also demonstrate a fact borne out in studies of police accident reports: car drivers are frequently unaware of the presence of a motorcycle until it is too late to avoid a crash.
If you've been injured in a motorcycle crash, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The specialized knowledge that such an attorney will bring to your case could make the difference in getting you the financial compensation you deserve to take care of past, present, and future expenses.
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