Motorcyclists and their passengers are far more vulnerable to serious traffic-accident injuries or death than are drivers and occupants of enclosed vehicles. Bikers are also more susceptible to mishap from hazardous road conditions or weather changes and are often overlooked by the drivers of larger vehicles. Motorcyclists who survive these tragic accidents may sustain permanent and life-altering injuries, including paralysis, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), limb loss, bone fragmentation, and devastating organ damage. When a motorcycle accident and resultant injuries or death are caused by someone’s negligence or a defect in a motorcycle or other vehicle, the injured biker or deceased biker’s survivors may be entitled to compensation through legal action.
If you or one of your family members has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a defective vehicle or someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages from the responsible parties. The Killino Firm’s Pennsylvania motorcycle-accident lawyers have extensive experience with motorcycle-accident cases, including those arising out of accidents caused by vehicle defects or negligence. Contact The Killino Firm at 877-875-2927 for a no-cost evaluation of your case and more information about your legal rights and options.
Legal Liability for Negligently Caused Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Deaths
Motorcycle accidents are often caused by driver negligence. All drivers are held to a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their own passengers, the occupants of other vehicles, and pedestrians. Included in the duty of care owed by drivers of larger, enclosed vehicles (such as cars, SUVs, and trucks) is the duty to watch for the presence of motorcycles, to maintain an awareness of their location once they have been spotted, and to avoid driving behavior that will pose an unreasonable risk of harm to cyclists and their passengers. Thus, a driver’s failure to give the right-of-way due a motorcyclist, either because the driver negligently failed to see the cyclist or negligently cut off the cyclist’s movement, may lead to the driver’s liability in a personal-injury or wrongful-death action for injuries or death to the motorcyclist determined to have been caused by the driver’s negligence. Likewise, a driver’s whose speeding; lane changing without signaling; driving while under the influence of alcohol or other judgment-impairing substances; driving while fatigued; driving too fast for road or weather conditions; using a cell phone, adjusting a radio, CD player, or GPS, or eating or drinking while driving; or engaging in other instances of careless, aggressive, or inattentive driving is found to constitute negligence in a personal-injury or wrongful-death action may be required to pay damages to an injured motorcyclist or deceased motorcyclist’s survivors for injuries determined to have been caused by the driver’s negligence.
Motorcyclists, themselves, may also be found to have negligently caused motorcycle accidents and resultant injury or death to their passengers (or to the drivers of other vehicles). When a motorcyclist’s negligent behavior is found to have caused an accident and resultant injury or death, the cyclist may be found liable in the same manner as any other driver for the damages suffered by an injured passenger or other vehicle occupant. Such negligence has been found to exist when motorcyclists change lanes without signaling, ride while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, violate speed limits, carelessly weave in and out of traffic, or engage in other riding behavior that unreasonably puts a cycle passenger and/or the occupants of other vehicles at risk.
The negligence of companies or other entities hired to repair or maintain roads or construct and operate construction zones may also be found causal of motorcycle accidents and result in the liability of such entities for motorcyclists’ injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by such negligence. This negligence may be found to occur, for example, when a company hired to maintain or repair roadways negligently fails to remove accident or other debris or negligently repairs a pothole or other dangerous road condition that poses an unreasonable risk of injury to cyclists and/or other drivers. If such a road condition is found to have been a cause of a motorcycle accident and resultant injury or death, the company may be found liable for the damages suffered by the motorcyclist or motorcyclist’s survivors as a result.
Motorcyclists have also been injured by hazardous conditions created by the negligent design or operation of construction zones. These accidents may occur, for example, when construction zone on-ramps are designed in such a way as to obscure a motorcyclist’s presence when merging onto a highway or when grade changes or lane configurations are inadequately marked or warned of.
Legal Liability for Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Deaths Caused by Defects in Motorcycles or other Motor Vehicles
Motorcycle accidents may also be caused by defects in motorcycles or by defects in other vehicles. When a defect in the design, manufacture, or warnings of a motorcycle or other vehicle is found to have been a cause of a motorcycle accident and resultant injuries or deaths, the manufacturer and others involved in the motorcycle’s or other vehicle’s production and distribution may be held strictly liable for damages suffered by injured bikers and deceased bikers’ survivors under Pennsylvania products-liability law. Defendants that may be held strictly liable (i.e. without proof of negligence or other actionable behavior) in such actions may include vehicles’ or vehicle components’ designers and manufacturers, suppliers, assemblers, and distributors.
In addition, defective motorcycle helmets or other motorcycle safety equipment may be found to have caused enhanced injuries to motorcyclists in accidents due to other causes. Helmets that are designed in such a way that they too easily fall off in a crash, for example, may be found defective in a products-liability personal-injury or wrongful-death action and result in the strict liability of the helmet’s manufacturer and others in the chain of the defective helmet’s production and distribution for injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by the helmet defect.
If you have been injured or one of your family members has died due to a motorcycle accident caused by someone’s negligence or a defect in one or more of the vehicles involved, The Killino Firm’s Pennsylvania motorcycle-accident attorneys can help you obtain the justice you deserve from those responsible for your injuries or loved one’s death. Contact The Killino Firm at 877-875-2927 for experienced and aggressive assistance with your case.