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Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents most often occur when drivers are not paying proper attention when making a left turn across traffic, changing lanes, or when entering traffic from a side road or parking area. All too frequently, drivers who collide with a motorcyclist will claim that the motorcycle did something that caused the accident (for example, operating at an excessive rate of speed) and/or that they were unable to see the motorcycle due to an obstruction or bright sunlight. Our experienced team of attorneys has investigated hundreds of motorcycle accidents and have shown in almost every case where a driver has sought to avoid responsibility for an accident that the driver was not paying reasonably careful attention to others on the road. We employ cutting edge technology and work with private investigators and experts in accident reconstruction to analyze the physical evidence at the accident scene (e.g., skid marks, debris, and road scrapes), sight distances, and other environmental conditions. We also examine the damage to both the defendant’s car and our client’s motorcycle in order to determine, among other things, the speed of the car prior to impact. Yet another piece of evidence we obtain are records of the defendant driver’s cell phone use to determine whether the driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the collision.

Negligence and Damages in New Hampshire Motorcycle Accident Cases

To prevail in an personal injury claim arising from a motorcycle accident in New Hampshire, you must show that the other driver was negligent. A showing of negligence requires proof that (1) you were owed a duty by the defendant (usually a duty to exercise reasonable care), (2) the defendant driver breached that duty (for example, by failing to observe a right of way), (3) an accident would be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the failure to exercise reasonable care or observe a rule of the road, and (4) damages were caused by the accident.

As noted above, even in cases where a driver violated a rule of the road and an accident ensued, establishing negligence can be complicated if the driver is claiming that the motorcycle operator did something that caused the accident, such as operating at an excessive rate of speed or driving dangerously. When such a defense is raised, it is of critical importance to preserve and obtain evidence that may be important to establishing the other driver’s fault. Accident scene photos—particularly photographs and measurements of debris from the damage to the vehicles and skid marks—should be taken before that evidence is permanently altered or lost. Statements from witnesses should also be obtained as soon as possible after an accident in order to record a witness’s account while their memory is still fresh. Because witnesses can be hard to locate (or may not want to get involved), we generally use private investigators with a background in law enforcement to track down and obtain statements from witnesses.

Proving injuries from an accident can also be surprisingly complicated if the other driver’s insurance company claims that some or all of the injuries were pre-existing. When such a claim is raised, we generally obtain opinions from our clients’ treating physicians to establish the nature and extent of the injuries that were caused by the accident. In many cases, the issue is more complex than a treating physician is willing or able to analyze properly and, in those cases, we bring in experts in forensic medicine to carefully review our client’s prior medical records and any prior x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, etc., and compare that information with our clients’ post-accident records and imaging studies. With this information we have successfully been able to counter the insurance company’s claim that our clients’ injuries pre-existed the accident.

Another argument frequently raised by insurance companies is that our clients’ injuries are not as bad as claimed. The burden of proving the extent of injuries caused by a motorcycle accident is on the motorcyclist who was injured and, therefore, insurance companies invariably downplay the harm caused by their insured (the other driver). Because insurance companies almost always seek to minimize our clients’ injuries, we work diligently from the outset to gather evidence to establish the nature and severity of the injuries and the impact that the injuries have on our clients’ day-to-day activities, ability to work, interaction with loved ones, and participation in favorite pasttimes. Medical records are obviously a starting point in any investigation and are excellent evidence of a client’s injuries. However, except in cases where injuries are clear-cut and straightforward (for example, when an x-ray reveals a fractured bone), medical records only provide a small window into understanding the impact of most injuries. In cases involving serious injuries, we employ medical expert consultants to address more complex issues such as anticipated duration of impairment, future medical expenses (and potential complications from additional medical treatment such as surgery), impact on job performance, and future lost income, among other things. In one recent case, for example, we hired four different expert consultants to address the wide array of harms our client suffered. The other driver’s insurance company had initially denied payment for the vast majority of the medical bills, lost income, future medical expenses, pain, and impairment that our client experienced when he was suddenly cut off by a motorist making a left-hand turn in front of him. By marshalling well-respected medical and vocational experts to support our client’s claims, we were able to successfully resolve the case for eight times what our client was offered prior to hiring our firm.

Motorcycle Accidents and Brain Injury

Sadly, motorcycle accidents frequently result in brain injuries that can dramatically impact one’s ability to work and help support a family. Attorney Thompson and his legal team have represented hundreds of motorcycle accident victims who have suffered brain injuries. A former board member of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire and lecturer at brain injury association conferences, Attorney Thompson is extremely familiar with the physical, emotional, and financial difficulties that brain injury survivors face, and he has fought for their rights and to protect their interests for over 20 years.

Experienced Motorcycle Accident Litigators

If you have been badly injured in a motorcycle accident, consult the experienced New Hampshire motorcycle accident lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates. We will investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash and put together a comprehensive case to prove the full expent of your injuries, protecting your interests and helping you obtain the full compensation you deserve. Contact us at 800.804.2004 or via our contact form.