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Motorcyclist Awarded $1.15M Settlement in Right of Way Violation Case

A motorcyclist in California was awarded more than one million dollars in a settlement against a woman who collided with him when she drove into his path and violated his right of way.

The motorcycle accident took place in Santa Barbara, California on May 24, 2010. The 55-year-old motorcyclists and construction worker was severely injured during the accident and suffered trauma to both his neck and ankle. According to reports, the woman’s car blocked the man’s path; the man struck the female driver’s car and was catapulted over the top.

Because of his injuries, the motorcyclist was forced to undergo ankle surgery and cervical fusion after months of unsuccessful treatment for his neck pain. Since undergoing surgery, the man has made an excellent recovery. According to court documents, the defending insurance company Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., argued that the motorcyclist had been speeding prior to the accident. The defense also obtained a video of the cyclist picking up and moving items to a storage building within a week of the mediation.

Despite the defense’s claims, the plaintiff claimed speed was not a factor, and it was determined by a life care planner that the man would require future medical treatment due to the severity of the injuries he sustained. The entire process took a year of litigation and was spearheaded by plaintiff attorney Steve Andrade of Andrade Law Offices in Santa Barbara, California.

According to the most up-to-date data available, an estimated 81,000 people were injured and 4,612 were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in the United States. These numbers reflect a 2% increase from the number in 2010 and a 41% increase from 2002. In total, motorcycle accidents make up approximately 14% of the total number of motor-vehicle crashes in the United States each year, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that per every vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in an accident, and 5 times more likely to be injured during an accident.

Nearly half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve collisions with other motor vehicles according to the NHTSA. Past data collected by the government agency shows that 75% of motorcycle accidents occurred with the motor vehicle in front of the motorcycle; similar to the case described above. Fatal motorcycle accidents are most likely to occur with fixed objects-such as trees or telephone poles-rather than collisions with other motor vehicles.

In addition, speeding, rider inexperience, and alcohol use are three other factors that contributing to the high risk of accident on a motorcycle. The NHTSA reports that 35% of all motorcyclists involved in accidents in 2011 had been speeding before the crash.

Inexperienced and un-licensed individuals, as reported by the NHTSA data collected, made up 14% of those injured or killed in motorcycle accidents, and individuals who had had their license suspended previously, were 1.4 times more likely to get into an accident as compared to those with a passenger vehicle license revocation.

The NHTSA estimated that about 29% of all motorcyclists were impaired by alcohol at the time of an accident. Riders aged 40-44 accounted for 38% of that group, respectively, followed by individuals ages 45-49 and 35-39, both at 37%.

Helmets played a pivotal role in saving an estimated 1,600 lives in 2011; more than 700 individuals were killed in motorcycle accidents could have been saved had they worn a helmet. Helmets are 37% effective in saving someone’s life during an accident. In other terms, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in accidents, 37 of those riders would have been saved if they had worn a helmet.

In the state of Massachusetts, both operators and passengers of motorcycles are required to always wear a helmet. In 2011, 65% of those involved in accidents in states that did not mandate the use of helmets were killed because they were not wearing a helmet, versus only 9% of those killed who were riding without a helmet in a state that required a helmet.

With the summer weather still in full force, the lawyers at Altman & Altman would like to remind those on bikes and those driving in passenger vehicles to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Those both on bikes and driving cars should ensure they are fully obeying the rules of the road, always wearing a helmet, obeying speed limits, and not consuming alcohol.

At the Cambridge and Boston law offices of Altman & Altman our team of seasoned attorneys has been representing clients who’ve been injured in car and motorcycle accidents for nearly 50 years. Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time away from work, given that motorcyclists have minimal protection and are highly vulnerable to being injured should they be involved in an accident. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle collision due to another driver’s negligence, give one of our experienced Boston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys a call for a free and confidential consultation. Our lawyers are available around the clock and always available to answer any and all questions about your case.

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