Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

The road to recovery is ongoing for a Maine couple involved in an Orrington motorcycle accident in May. 

As reported by the Bangor Daily News, the 22-year-old motorcyclist lost control of his motorcycle while traveling on Route 15, crossing the center line and striking an oncoming vehicle head-on. He lost part of his leg. His girlfriend, 23, had been on the back of the bike and was thrown off. She suffered a serious traumatic brain injury and a broken leg. She had to undergo surgery to relieve the pressure of a brain bleed in her head. Although he lost his leg, it could have been worse had the car he hit not been driven by a 25-year-old with U.S. Army training, who applied a tourniquet. He knew he had less than three minutes to stop the man from bleeding to death, and his quick action was successful in preventing this from becoming a greater tragedy.

Now, families of the motorcyclist and his girlfriend have started a community page on social media, as well as a number of charity events, to help raise money for the ongoing cost of medical care and rehabilitation. Although the pair survived, their road to recovery will be extensive, likely requiring numerous more surgeries and extended stays in rehab.  Continue reading

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has remanded for further consideration a case in which a wife sued her husband for damages caused by his negligent operation of a motorcycle on which she was a passenger.

Although it often seems unthinkable outside of family court that spouses might sue one another, this case shows how most of the time, these claims are not personal. In the vast majority of situations in which relatives or friends are on opposites sides in civil litigation, it’s not the individual from whom they are trying to collect. Rather, it is the insurance company.

Here, plaintiff sought payment of medical bills and other expenses from the motorcycle insurance policy carried by her husband. But here in Maine, it is not possible to sue the insurance company for liability in an accident (except for when the insurer acts in bad faith). Instead, one must file a lawsuit against the insured. Continue reading

A motorcycle accident in Oakland involving a rider from Belgrade resulted in a trip to a Bangor hospital after a crash that resulted in severe head injuries. 

Initial investigation revealed the motorcyclist may have driven through a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, causing the 55-year-old rider to be ejected from the bike. It was a five-way intersection and the crash happened shortly before 3 p.m.

An accident reconstructionist was called to the scene to piece together what happened. The driver of the other vehicle said she didn’t see the motorcyclist until he hit the rear passenger side of her vehicle.

A 55-year-old man was in critical condition following a Maine motorcycle accident in Oakland, about an hour southwest of Bangor.

So severe were his head injuries, authorities said, he had to be flown by helicopter to the Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Reportedly, the operator failed to stop at a stop sign at an intersection, and as a result, collided with a sport utility vehicle. The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. Driver of the SUV was uninjured, and there were no passengers in the vehicle. The motorcycle rider was ejected from bike and struck the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

A number of serious motorcycle accidents involving Maine residents has raised concern for authorities as we head into the fall riding season.

Our Portland motorcycle  accident lawyers always advocate for the rights of riders. Too often, drivers of larger vehicles simply don’t pay attention. This failure can result in catastrophic injuries, and sometimes even death.

That was sadly the case for Stuart “Toby” Pennels, 55, a combat veteran and Republican candidate for state Senate against Democrat Bill Diamond. Pennels lost control of his motorcycle after being struck by a pickup in Sandy River Plantation on Route 4. He was wearing a helmet, but suffered severe injuries to the chest and shoulder. He was transported to a hospital in Lewiston. The retired U.S. Army colonel who survived two tours in Iraq and one in Bosnia died one month after his motorcycle crash, leaving behind a wife and three adult children.

As we thaw from a frigid winter season, motorcycle enthusiasts are eager to ride.

The problem is as they emerge from their winter hibernation, car and truck drivers aren’t used to watching out for them. Motorcyclists must drive defensively, or risk a potential crash. Bangor motorcycle injury lawyers note several such incidents recently in the state.

  • One crash resulted in the death of a 30-year-old motorcyclist in Bath who was struck by a car when the 46-year-old driver turned left. Authorities are still investigating, and have yet to assign fault, though they don’t believe alcohol was a factor.

The number of fatal motorcycle accidents in Portland and elsewhere haven’t let up in two years now. That’s surprising a lot of officials because the number of overall motor vehicle accident fatalities is sitting at its lowest level since 1949, according to the Motorcyclist.

As a matter of fact, there were 26 states that reported increases in their number of motorcyclist fatalities in 2011. Officials are trying to pinpoint why these kinds of accidents haven’t decreased, but they’re coming up with a lot of excuses. The truth of the matter is that motorists, of all kinds, need to be more cautious on our roadways and work together to help make summer travel safer for everyone.”While the MSF applauds the governors and policymakers applying motorcycle-related safety countermeasures and supporting rider training programs, there is still much to be done to improve motorcyclist safety,” said MSF President Tim Buche.

Our Portland accident lawyers understand that nearly 60 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents are the result of multi-vehicle accidents. Motorcycle riders are urged to take the proper safety precautions, like wearing a helmet. We also urge motorists to be on the lookout for our motorcycle friends. The increase illustrates we’ve got to do something to alter this trend somehow because all of the recent motorcycle safety campaigns don’t seem to be working.

Officials are brainstorming why these accidents haven’t decreased. They’re remaining all too common on our roadways. According to U. . NEWS, there were close to 5,000 motorcyclist fatalities in each of 2010 and 2011. Yet during this time most other accident stats decreased.

Motorcyclist Fatalities – Causes for Increase:

-The improving economy. With more spare funds, officials believe that more motorists are looking for a little sleeker way to get around — a motorcycle.

-The high gas prices. Motorcycles get some of the best gas mileage around!

-The lack of strict motorcycle helmet laws. There are only 19 states across the country that require everyone on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. Currently, there are five states that are looking to repeal the law.

The motorcycle helmet law in the state of Maine is one of the most relaxed in the country. Only motorcycle riders under the age of 18-years-old are required to wear a helmet, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Riders are asked to practice their own responsibility and to wear a helmet during every ride. It really can be the difference between life and death.

Motorcycle deaths remains as one of the few areas in highway safety in which progress has yet to be seen.

“These fatality figures represent real people — they are family, friends and neighbors,”ssaid Troy Costales, GHSA chairman.

Continue reading

All accidents are caused by something; however, it is often difficult to establish the cause of an accident after it has occurred and when you were not involved.A recent Maine motorcycle accident case delves into the idea of speculation in the determination of causation in personal injury cases.

McIlroy v. Gibson’s Apple Orchard exemplified the importance of having an experienced Bangor personal injury attorney helping you prove the cause of your recent accident case.

This case began where Charlotte Small (Small) was driving his car through an intersection where he had the right of way. There was a very large sign on the side of the road causing Small to move her vehicle in order to have an unobstructed view of the road. McIlroy (plaintiff) was riding his motorcycle when he saw Small move slightly, thus he maneuvered in an attempt to prevent a collision. Small lost control of his motorcycle. Plaintiff did not collide with Small or any other vehicles but he was seriously injured when his motorcycle turned over.

The issue in this case became what caused the accident. Causation is an integral part of a personal injury claim. Most motorcycle accident cases fall under personal injury, and in order to prove a personal injury case the elements of negligence must be proved by the plaintiff. Negligence is a civil wrong where a party fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances. There is no requirement that the plaintiff prove that the defendant acted with intent; however, the plaintiff must show the defendant acted carelessly or recklessly.

Negligence consists of four elements that must be proved by the preponderance of the evidence. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a specific duty of care. Next, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant breached this required duty of care. Then, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Lastly, the plaintiff must show damages.

In McIlroy, Small argued that because he had the right of way and did not collide with the plaintiff, he should not be held liable for the injuries the plaintiff sustained. Thus, plaintiff sued Gibson’s Apple Orchard (defendant).

Defendant had placed an eight-foot-square sign advertising their location near the intersection where the plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff argued that because of the size and location of the sign, Small had to sway into plaintiff’s lane in order to have an unobstructed view of the road. Thus, plaintiff said the defendants’ sign was the “proximate cause” of the plaintiff’s accident and injuries.

Proximate cause is where the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant could have reasonably foreseen the plaintiff sustaining injuries as a result of defendant’s carelessness.

In the alternative, the plaintiff argued that because of the size and placement of the sign Small had to maneuver around the sign. This maneuver made plaintiff think that Small was about to pull his vehicle in front and cause a collision, leading plaintiff to lose control of his motorcycle.
This court found that there was evidence to show that the location of the defendant’s sign could have caused the damages plaintiff suffered. Because a reasonable jury could have found this link in causation, the court held that the case needed to be presented to a jury for a determination of damages owed to the plaintiff.

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After months of cold weather and icy roads, motorcycle enthusiasts in Maine are finally hitting the streets again. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month so motorists are encouraged to share the roads wisely while keeping a watchful eye for bikers in order to avoid motorcycle accidents in Portland or elsewhere in the state.
Motorcycles are a fuel-efficient mode of transportation so it should come as no surprise if we begin to see more traveling on roadways due to the elevation in gas prices recently. Last month the Bangor Daily News reported that motorcycle fatalities decreased by 2 percent nationwide during the first nine months of 2010. This isn’t a trend believed to continue moving forward as the statistics indicated the drop in fatalities was during the beginning of the year. In fact, it is highly doubtful considering motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in the last decade — from 2,483 in 1999 to as many as 5,290 in 2008. Each year has shown a steady increase during this 10 year time period according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. sInjuries have also shown a steady increase from 1999 to 2008 with the highest mark in 2007 at 103,000 people injured in motorcycle accidents. Maine recorded 18 motorcycle rider fatalities in 2008.

In 2009, Maine recorded over 49,000 registered motorcycles on roadways. There were 102,763 licensed motorcyclists in the state in 2009. Maine requires all riders and operators under age 18 or any motorcyclist with less than one year driving experience to use a federally mandated helmet when riding a motorcycle.

Motorists should keep riders in mind this summer with the following helpful tips:
-Keep plenty of space between you and the motorcycle in front of you.

-Never change lanes or merge with traffic unless you signal first and turn your head to look before you cross the line.

-Make sure the bike in front of you turns before approaching them too closely. Many bikes don’t have an automatic shut-off for the turn signal so they could be signaling inadvertently.

-Never engage in aggressive or distracted driving activities. Motorcycles can appear from nowhere and are difficult to spot.

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In Maine, there is a potential intersection of the workers’ compensation and personal injury systems when the injury is caused by a third party.

Generally, if you are injured at work, regardless of the cause, you are compensated for that injury entirely through the workers’ compensation system. However, did you know that if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may also have a separate claim against that party?

For example, if you were driving a vehicle as part of your job and were injured in an accident caused by another driver, you have both a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the other driver.

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