There are over eight million registered motorcycles in the United States, with over 400,000 registered motorcyclists in Pennsylvania alone. While many people enjoy riding the open road, motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Injuries are commonly severe and often fatal for those on motorcycles. Head and neck injuries, broken bones, burns, cuts, and lacerations can lead to permanent disability, scarring, and fatality. And, often, the accidents are not the fault of the motorcyclist.
Motorcycle riders share the road with cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles that overwhelm them in size and weight. When an accident happens, the motorcyclist absorbs the bulk of the impact since they do not have the benefits of the steel encasement, airbags, or seatbelts that motor vehicles provide. As a result, motorcycle riders are 35 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash than those in passenger vehicles. The statistics are sobering: the U.S. Department of Transportation reports more than 3,000 motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania each year, with approximately 200 fatalities and 3,000 injuries. Each year, these numbers continue to rise.
Head-on collisions are the most common type of motorcycle accident. Drivers of passenger cars collide with motorcycles from the front in 78 percent of accidents. Surprisingly, rear-end collisions occur in only five percent of motorcycle accidents. Drivers who speed and fail to yield to the right of way for a motorcyclist cause most head-on collisions. Running red lights and stop signs, as well as careless lane changes can also cause head-on collisions. Injuries to the driver and passenger of the motorcycle are often catastrophic or fatal in this type of accident.
Over 40 percent of motorcycle accidents occur when cars are making left hand turns. Many drivers fail to see the motorcycle traveling through the intersection, especially if the cyclist is passing another car. In most states, a driver that collides with another vehicle while making a left-hand turn is usually at fault for the accident. The injuries suffered by the motorcyclist in this type of accident can be severe, especially if they encounter other motorists traveling through the intersection.
Road hazards also pose serious risks to motorcycle riders. Potholes, slick road surfaces, debris, poorly maintained roads, and uneven road surfaces can cause a motorcycle to lose control. Moreover, the small size and unstable nature of a motorcycle makes it more vulnerable to these types of hazards.
Of course, negligent drivers that speed, fail to use turn signals, or engage in distracted driving and drowsy driving behaviors make those on motorcycles more susceptible to accidents and injuries.
Because injuries are often severe or fatal in motorcycle accidents, the physical, emotional and financial costs are often high to injury victims and their families. There may be painful surgeries followed by long recoveries, physical therapy, and other ongoing treatment.
The financial impact of a motorcycle accident can quickly devastate a victim’s life. Lost wages, hospital costs, medical bills, and prescription costs may follow the trauma of a motorcycle accident. Mortgages, car payments, childcare costs, and food bills continue as victims recover from their injuries or families adjust to the loss of a loved one. An experienced and qualified motorcycle accident lawyer can help victims claim the maximum amount of compensation available to them so that they can focus on their recovery.
The impact of a motorcycle accident on the injured victim and their family can be financially devastating and life altering. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 800-222-8792 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.