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Common Causes

There are many unique factors that contribute to Boston motorcycle accidents. It’s not unheard of that a single crash might have multiple causes. Several different parties may be found at-fault.

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, we understand that unearthing the cause – or causes – of a motorcycle accident is the first critical step in any injury lawsuit because it allows us to determine who should be held accountable, and to what extent.

Motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles account for nearly 60 percent of all motorcycle-related deaths. What’s more, researchers have concluded that in about 60 percent of those cases, it’s the motor vehicle driver who is to blame. Even in the rest of those cases, a motorcyclist may be only partially to blame. The law in Massachusetts allows riders who are partly at-fault to still pursue damages against others, so long as their share of responsibility doesn’t exceed 50 percent.

Motorcycle crash-related fatalities have doubled in recent years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), so it’s not as if this is an issue that can be ignored.

A lack of protection between riders and the road means motorcyclists are more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to suffer serious injuries in a crash. Some of the most commonly cited include:

  • Broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Road rash
  • Traumatic brain injuries

It’s important for those affected to seek legal counsel to ensure coverage of their expenses.

What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

Every crash is going to be different and there could be a myriad of issues at play that might not be specifically outlined here.

Still, as we have more than two decades of experience as the premier injury law firm in Boston, we have taken note of some common themes that arise over and over again in these cases. What we can say about almost all motorcycle accidents is there are generally one of two things at issue:

  • Human error;
  • Mechanical error.

Mechanical errors could be the result of defective manufacturing (either the bike or the other vehicle involved) or it might be a faulty repair. In some cases, defective safety equipment, like helmets, might not do the job as intended. More often than not, however, human error is the primary catalyst. In those cases, the scenarios we have found most prevalent include:

  • Driver Distraction
  • Excessive Speed
  • Driver Impairment
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to yield

In each of these cases, what your injury lawyer must do is identify which individuals or companies may have been negligent and to what extent they may be liable.

Although Massachusetts is a no-fault state, those with injuries resulting in costs exceeding $2,000 can seek relief outside of that no-fault system by taking action against others who may be responsible.

Types of Motorcycle Crashes
  • Cars Turning Left. The No. 1. Most dangerous situation for a motorcyclist is when a car is making a left turn. This scenario accounts for more than 40 percent of all motorcycle crashes. In most cases, cars strike motorcycles when they are: Traveling straight through the intersection, passing the car or trying to overtake the car.
  • Head-On Collisions. In nearly 8 out of 10 cases where a car strikes a motorcycle, the vehicles collide head-on.
  • Hitting Gravel on a Blind Corner. If you’re on a winding path, it’s best to ride at a pace where you can maintain your reaction time and control. You never know where there may be a patch of gravel, sand, leaves or other debris in your path that could cause your front tire to wipe out.
  • Cars Change Lanes into Motorcyclist. On the highway or in heavy urban traffic, this is especially common. Motorcycles fit perfectly into drivers’ blind spots and it’s not uncommon for drivers to switch lanes without looking twice.
  • Open Door Accidents (Dooring). This is a common problem for bicyclists in Boston, but it’s an issue for motorcyclists too, where those exiting parked cars do not always look out for an oncoming biker.
  • Rear-End Accidents. These are less common than other types of crashes, but they do occur, most often at stop signs or red traffic signals, where drivers don’t see you or perhaps aren’t paying attention even to the signals.
  • Lane-Splitting Accidents. This is when a motorcycle drives in between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars. Most often, it occurs in traffic jams. It contributes to accidents because the motorcyclist is very close to cars, the rider has reduced space to maneuver and most car drivers aren’t anticipating that a vehicle is going to be passing them in stopped or slowed traffic.
  • Single bike crashes. These accidents usually do not involve other vehicles (except for “phantom vehicles,” which are responsible for running bikes off the road without making actual contact). They usually stem from operator error, and can be especially dangerous when the rider or passenger strikes a fixed object and/or is ejected.

Passengers may be covered under the operator’s insurance coverage. If another vehicle was involved, they may also have grounds to file a claim for benefits under that plan. And if neither of those two plans are enough to cover the full extent of his or her damages, they may seek compensation through their own uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage (if they have it), which is available to them even though they weren’t driving.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.

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