Motorcycle Accidents In Central Pennsylvania
ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CLIENTS IN LANCASTER & YORK
Motorcycle accidents result in a higher rate of severe and catastrophic injuries than wrecks that involve only passenger vehicles, and motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be killed in a traffic collision than passenger-vehicle occupants—even if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet.
While motorcyclists face greater physical risks than other motorists, bikers also have the same general entitlements as other drivers, including the right to pursue legal action if they are hurt in an accident caused by another’s negligence.
Yet motorcyclists often face an uphill battle when attempting to recover damages, as insurance companies sometimes attempt to unfairly shift the blame or limit compensation to protect their own bottom lines. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Hagelgans & Veronis understand the unique challenges faced by bikers, and our attorneys are proud to help injured motorcyclists from Lancaster, York and throughout central Pennsylvania seek the financial security they need to move forward with their lives. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver, please call 877-454-8529 for your free consultation.
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Law
Wearing a helmet is always recommended when operating or riding on a motorcycle, but each state has its own laws regarding whether helmets are mandatory.
Pennsylvania’s motorcycle helmet law states that any person who operates or rides as a passenger on a motorcycle must wear protective headgear approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unless he or she is over 21 and has at least two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Compliant motorcycle helmets are noted with a “DOT” sticker on the helmets themselves. Helmets must also be permanently labeled with the manufacturer’s name or other identification, the model designation, the size, and the year and month of manufacture. All motorcycle occupants must wear protective eyewear, and shatter-proof eye protection is recommended.
Motorcycle Accident Facts
According to data cited in the Insurance Information Institute’s (III) motorcycle crash report, motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to be killed in a crash and five times more likely to be injured than passenger-vehicle occupants.
Among the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to notice the presence of motorcycles. This lack of awareness can manifest itself in a number of ways, and frequently cited factors in motorcycle collisions include:
- The failure of a passenger vehicle driver to check blind spots before making a lane change or otherwise moving a vehicle
- A passenger vehicle entering an intersection into the path of a motorcycle
- A passenger vehicle turning left onto a street and into a motorcycle
- The failure of a passenger vehicle driver to appropriately yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle
- A passenger vehicle operator driving while distracted
- A passenger vehicle tailgating a motorcycle
Motorcycle accidents have occasionally spiked in recent years, both in Pennsylvania and across the country. This is due in part to an increasing number of registered operators and motorcycles. According to PennDOT, there were 861,077 licensed motorcyclists in the state in 2014, an increase of more than 80,000 from a decade ago. The state was also home to just over 401,000 registered motorcycles in 2014, an increase of more than 90,000 from the decade prior.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to PennDOT’s Crash Facts and Statistics report, 181 motorcycle occupants were killed in accidents in 2013, the last year for which complete injury and fatality statistics are available. About 3,500 motorcyclists were involved in collisions in 2013, with more than 3,300 suffering injuries.
Nationally, just over 4,600 were killed in motorcycle wrecks in 20013 and another 88,000 sustained injuries, according to the III motorcycle crash report. There are about 8.5 million licensed bikers on the roads in the United States, according to the NHTSA, which estimates overall helmet use at about 60 percent.
Nineteen states currently have mandatory helmet laws for all motorcycle occupants. In Pennsylvania, 94 of the 181 motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing helmets, and another 1,263 of those whose injuries required medical treatment were not wearing helmets.
Preventing Motorcycle Accidents
PennDOT offers an extensive list of motorcycle safety tips that is valuable to both bikers and passenger-vehicle drivers. Key advice for preventing motorcycle crashes includes:
- Maintain a safe vehicle: Motorcycle operators and the drivers of passenger vehicles should make sure their headlights and brake lights work, and that their vehicles are free of other mechanical defects that could jeopardize the safety of others on the road
- Be visible and signal: Use your turn signals, and give other drivers ample time to notice and respond to your intentions before changing lanes or turning
- Maintain a safe distance: Tailgating is common factor in traffic accidents; keep a safe distance that provides you the space and time to react to a potentially dangerous situation
- Focus on the task at hand: When you’re driving, focus on driving; distracted driving, including cell phone use and texting, is an increasingly common cause of collisions
- Drive sober: Although drunk driving numbers have steadily decreased over the years, driving under the influence still kills more than 10,000 people nationwide each year; in fact, Pennsylvania ranked fifth nationally in drunk driving-related deaths in 2013
Pennsylvania also ranks near the top nationally in medical expenses and work-loss costs associated with motor vehicle accidents. According to analysis of state crash costs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania racks up about $1.5 billion annually in medical treatment and loss of work hours related to traffic accidents.
Injuries Common in Motorcycle Accidents
With the low profile of most motorcycles and the general lack of physical protections for riders, it’s probably no surprise that motorcycles result in a high rate of severe and catastrophic injuries compared with collisions involving only passenger vehicles. Motorcycle crash injury victims often require costly emergency medical treatment, and many need long-term care.
The injury attorneys at Hagelgans & Veronis have extensive experience in cases involving severe injuries that include:
We also have a record of success in cases involving catastrophic injuries that can result in permanent disability, including:
Motorcyclists abide by the same rules of the road as other drivers, and they must obey additional regulations regarding the operation of motorcycles. Yet they often face unfair obstacles when trying to recover compensation for damages caused by the negligence of others. Our lawyers understand the challenges confronted by motorcycle accident injury victims and their families, and we have the resources and the courtroom experience to fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
If you were injured or a family member was killed in a motorcycle crash that may have been caused by a negligent driver, please contact Hagelgans & Veronis online or call us at 877-454-8529 to arrange your free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. With offices in Lancaster, Quarryville, Mount Joy and York, our attorneys are accessible to our neighbors throughout central Pennsylvania.