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The Basics of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents provide a unique challenge to an attorney. Every year, motorcycle accidents results in death and serious injuries, both in New Jersey and nationwide. New Jersey requires the mandatory use of a helmet. Although the use of a helmet may reduce the extent of injuries, a person riding on a motorcycle is much more likely to be seriously injured than an individual in a car. New Jersey law provides that a motorcyclist, just like any operator of a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey, is entitled to damages for the negligence of a driver that results in harm.

However, motorcycle accidents present a unique challenge to personal injury lawyers, since juries often start with a bias or prejudice against the operator of a motorcycle. For one thing, juries feel that the motorcyclist created a risk of harm or assumed the risk that an accident would occur. A careful argument to the jury with an instruction from the judge should help to alleviate that concern since there is nothing in New Jersey law that allows someone to argue that a motorcycle driver assumes the risk of serious injury merely by operating his motorcycle.

Another bias or prejudice often associated with motorcycle drivers is that everyone thinks that they are speeding. Because motorcyclists have an ability to accelerate faster than a motor vehicle and because they are loud and noisy, often witnesses to a motorcycle accident will conclude that a motorcycle was speeding when, in fact, it was not. The use of expert witnesses with expertise in recreating motorcycle accidents can help convince a jury as to the true facts and circumstances surrounding an accident. The use of skid marks to determine speed and the extent of damage to the vehicle and to the motorcycle can help to establish the true speed of the vehicles rather than one as perceived by witnesses, which are often influenced by the loud noise created by the motorcycle.

The serious injuries that can result from motorcycle accidents require the attention of an attorney who is familiar with how motorcycles are operated and how motorcycle accidents occur. The use of expert witnesses is also important in establishing liability and to help the jury understand the physics and dynamics of motorcycle accidents.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you should consult with an attorney who has handled numerous motorcycle accidents and is familiar with these issues. Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman has several such attorneys. At the current time, this writer, Martin S. Pappaterra, has two cases where motorcycle drivers were killed as a result of an accident. If you need help concerning a motorcycle accident or have questions, feel free to contact Mr. Pappaterra for additional information.

 

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