If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, the most obvious factor in determining whether you have a claim is whether you or the other driver was at fault. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, almost two-thirds of the time, the other vehicle, not the motorcyclist, causes the accident to occur. However, this is not the only factor involved.
When you've been involved in a collision while operating a motorcycle, you've likely sustained severe injuries. You may therefore wish to pursue legal action against the driver who caused your injury. Your attorney will first have to determine who was at fault for your accident so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
In Pennsylvania, you are automatically designated a full tort driver if you are a motorcyclist. The term "full tort" indicates that there are no limitations on your ability to file a lawsuit. Due to the fact that a motorcycle is not considered a private passenger vehicle under the motor vehicle code, a motorcyclist is automatically considered a full tort.
In a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident claim, you may seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and property damage or loss. You may also recover damages for wrongful death, including funeral and burial expenses, if a family member suffered a fatal injury in the collision.
Understanding the extent of your recoverable damages can be difficult. Fortunately, a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can assist you in accurately assessing your damages, understanding the statute of limitations, and ensuring that your case is filed on time.
You Must Prove That the Other Party Is at Fault
After your collision, you may believe that one party is responsible for what happened, but in reality, someone else is at fault. For instance, the driver who struck you could be held liable, or it could be another driver who caused a second vehicle to lose control and collide with you. In other instances, a manufacturer may be at fault for supplying a defective component. Nonetheless, the department of transportation may be at fault for failing to fix a hole or other road obstruction.
In order to have a valid motorcycle accident claim, you must establish that the other motorist was at fault. The police report and the testimonies of any witnesses to the collision are crucial elements in establishing fault. If the other motorist is conclusively at fault, the police will typically cite the driver for a number of traffic violations in their report. The police report may also include the identities of any accident witnesses. For litigation, you may need accident reconstruction experts to demonstrate that the other motorist contributed to the collision.
Because determining fault is complex, your attorney will need various types of evidence to determine precisely what occurred and which party caused your collision, injuries, and subsequent damages. It is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced PA motorcycle accident lawyer who will be able to assist you with your motorcycle accident claim.
What Happens if Both the Plaintiff and the Defendant are at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
Pennsylvania follows the modified comparative fault rule. In accordance with this rule, the plaintiff's damages are reduced by his or her degree (or percentage) of fault. In addition, if the plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, they cannot recover any damages.
What Evidence Do I Need to Determine Fault
Collecting evidence after a motorcycle accident can be difficult, even under ideal conditions. Because you were largely unprotected during the collision, you may have suffered severe injuries that prevent you from collecting evidence on your own.
A primary advantage of hiring a personal injury attorney is that they can collect evidence while you focus on healing. Because fault is intricate, your attorney will need various types of evidence to determine precisely what occurred and which party caused your collision, injuries, and subsequent damages.
The evidence that helps your attorney determine who was at fault in a motorcycle accident is:
- Official Police/Accident report
- Accident scene photos
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Traffic camera video
- Dash camera video
Witness statements are beneficial to your case because they describe the accident objectively and from multiple perspectives. Additionally, your attorney will locate and interview witnesses, meticulously document their statements, and add them to your evidence file.
Your attorney will use a combination of these documents to determine who caused your accident. So, they can hold the correct party liable for your damages, whether it's a small party, such as a motorist, or a large party, such as a part manufacturer.
How Can I Make Sure That My Motorcycle Accident Settlement Is Fair?
When a vehicle driver's negligence causes a collision between a car and a motorcycle, they are responsible for compensating you for all of your resulting financial expenses and losses. A fair settlement covers all accident-related costs.
Here is how you can ensure that the compensation is adequate:
- Avoid a settlement that is too quick and does not provide sufficient time to fully understand the total costs of the accident.
- Avoid speaking with the at-fault party's insurance representative or admitting fault prior to consulting with an attorney.
- Ensure your evidence includes documentation of expenses and losses.
- Don't minimize the severity of your injuries and continue receiving medical care.
A personal injury attorney can also negotiate on your behalf. They will clarify the benefits and drawbacks of each offer you receive, as well as walk you through the settlement process and anticipated timeline. This will ensure that your case is filed on time, protecting your right to go to court if necessary.
How Long Do I Have to Settle My Claim or Go to Court?
The statute of limitations is a deadline for filing lawsuits, mandating that claims be made within a specific period of time. In Pennsylvania, victims of motorcycle accidents have two years from the date of their injuries to file a claim for personal injury. Exceptions are possible, but you must adhere to this deadline or risk losing your legal right to file a claim and seek compensation.
If a family member or loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, the statute of limitations for submitting a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
Due to these deadlines, it is essential that you consult with a PA motorcycle accident attorney regarding your case. The sooner a lawyer begins representing an injured motorcycle rider, the more likely it is that he or she will be able to gather crucial evidence and construct the strongest possible case against any parties who may be at fault.
Get in Touch With Brandon J. Broderick Day or Night to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Motorcycle Crash
Accidents involving motorcycles may negatively affect your physical, mental, and financial health, causing you and your family unwarranted stress and anxiety. Wouldn't it be reassuring to have a reliable friend and advisor who will defend you and look out for your best interests?
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we place the highest value on empathy, compassion, and superior service to our clients. As a result, we are among the top Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys. You can rely on us to ensure your quality of life through the most effective means possible. Our legal team has decades of experience assisting individuals injured in motorcycle accidents, such as yourself. We've helped them recover from an injury caused by someone else's negligence. Call us today to schedule an obligation-free consultation.
We have multiple law offices in Pennsylvania, including those in Allentown, Bethlehem, Erie, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Wherever you are in Pennsylvania, our motorcycle accident attorneys will travel to you. Call (877) 640-5611