Winter is coming for Massachusetts’s motorcyclists, and many will be hitting the roads in the coming weeks. In these final riding days it’s important to be careful, because motorcycle accidents are so common on Massachusetts roads.
Back in the summer of 2015, Michael Schold, 23 of Millbury lost control of his 2004 Buell motorcycle while negotiating a right turn at 2pm in the afternoon. He drifted into oncoming traffic and collided with a Honda Accord going the other way. Schold was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. An investigation revealed that he had been likely speeding when he crashed.
Schold’s story is unfortunately typical. Head on collisions with cars are a common occurrence for motorcyclists, and the ones that survive the impact typically suffer severe injuries such as a head and spinal cord trauma.
While the medical care for a motorcycle accident victim should be the first priority, it is important for motorcyclists to also know the common legal questions that may affect their ongoing care and financial future after a motorcycle accident.
You must file your lawsuit within three (3) years of the date of the crash. If the motorcyclist died in the crash, the executor or administrator for the dead victim must file any wrongful death lawsuit by the three (3) year deadline as well. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 2A).
You need to determine who was at fault for the accident. Massachusetts has a “modified” comparative fault standard, which means that you can only recover money for your crash if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. Once you meet this minimum standard, your money will be reduced by the percentage to which your actions are determined to have caused the accident. So if a jury finds that you are 40% at fault then you keep 60% of the money awarded to you. But if you are found 51% at fault you get nothing. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 section 85).
Money damages are typically awarded to compensate you for the following:• Quantifiable losses such as medical expenses, lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses.• General damages such as physical trauma, bodily injury, psychological harm, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, disability, loss of spousal relations, loss of quality of life, and wrongful death¬ (surviving family members). Sometimes, you may be able to recover punitive damages if the injuring party’s actions were so boldly careless or reckless.
A qualified, Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorney will increase the likelihood that you recover fair compensation for your losses. Insurance companies will often try to reduce your claim by trying to “prove” you were more at fault then you were, especially in cases with motorcycle riders. The difference between you recovering fair compensation or nothing often boils down to having a good lawyer in your corner. Contact the attorneys at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. for a free consultation today.