Motorcycle accident claims require prompt investigation. Motorcycle riding is not without risks. It has been many years since I have ridden a motorcycle but in my younger days I had extensive experience riding motorcycles. I understand the risks. I also understand that some motorists do not maintain a proper lookout for motorcycles. My experience extends not only to the courtroom in terms of litigating motorcycle injuries but also in terms of having been a motorcyclist.
What to do if involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Keep the damaged motorcycle in a safe place.
- Maintain all of the maintenance and repair manuals.
- Do not fix or otherwise adjust the damaged motorcycle.
- Your motorcycle may become an item of evidence if the case has to be tried.
Motorcycle Injuries on the Rise
Motorcycle ridership in this country has increased dramatically over the last many years. Likewise, the number of injuries and deaths have increased. Many of these injuries and deaths are caused by unsafe bikes. That lack of safety can come in several different respects: throttle problems, helmet defects or brake system deficiencies to mention a few. With most types of motorcycle defect claims there is probably going to be a need for a riding expert to explain what happens when that type of defect exists in a bike and how it can cause the rider to lose control. In helmet defect cases the focus of the inquiry may be on the lack of proper lining in the helmet leaving part of the head unprotected or the failure of the helmet to properly protect the most vulnerable part of the skull. The mere fact that a helmet is stamped as being approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation should not be taken as a given. It needs to be confirmed that indeed the helmet has been approved by the federal government.
There has been some controversy over the last few years about whether or not motorcycle brakes should have antilock braking systems. Many bikes do. Data produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that bikes with an ABS equipped system are indeed safer than bikes without one.
Jury Selection in Motorcycle Injury Cases
In handling any motorcycle accident case it is important to recognize that there is a segment of the public that views motorcyclist as high risk takers and therefore they assume the risk of motorcycle riding. That needs to dealt with up front in terms of jury selection by identifying those people on the jury panel that are high risk takers themselves versus others who are not risk takers and then to illicit candid feelings from all of the jurors about their feelings about motorcycle riders. Having a riding expert explain the safety functions of motorcycle equipment and how the injured party complied with good riding practices is critical to this successful handling of such a case.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact us, Brien Roche has been the motorcycle accident litigation needs of his Farifax, Virginia and D.C. area clients.
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