Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

INSURANCE ADJUSTERS HAVE THE INTERNET TOO!

Most people at one time or another have heard the advice “Do not put anything in an email or online that you would not want on the front page of the newspaper”. This is never truer than when you are bringing a personal injury claim. The insurance company WILL search for your online profiles. More than once, we have received a call from an adjuster directing us to a client’s online profile.

“So what?” you might be thinking, “I have nothing to hide. Besides, nothing I put on my Facebook or MySpace account has anything to do with my accident.”sThis is almost never true. For example, if you are claiming an injury, and you are writing about all of the things you did over the weekend, that is relevant. If you are posting pictures of your participation in a charity walk, that is relevant. As your attorneys, we know the truth is accident victims have good days and bad days while recovering. It is our job to make that argument on your behalf. However, the insurance adjuster will use this to show that your injuries are not very serious.

What happens if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel causes you injury and they don’t have enough insurance?sIn Maine, every auto insurance policy is required to have several components. In a previous post, we discussed uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, or the coverage that exists when the other party is not insured. The partner component of UM coverage is underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Like with UM coverage, every auto insurance policy in Maine must have a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident of UIM coverage (See Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 29-A Section 1605 (1)(C)(2) & (3) and Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 24-A Section 2902). This means, if you have insurance, you automatically have this coverage as part of your policy.

UIM coverage is used when someone causes you injury and their insurance policy is not sufficient to cover your damages. For example, although Maine requires $50,000 minimum of insurance, Massachusetts only requires $20,000 minimum. With the rising costs of medical expenses, even a moderate injury can easily use up this amount. This must also cover any lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and all other damages you may have. (The only exception is your vehicle damage, which is usually covered separately.)

So, if you are injured by someone who has $20,000 of insurance and you have $50,000, then there is a total of $70,000 of coverage right?sUnfortunately, no. In Maine, your UIM carrier receives a credit for the amount paid by the insurance company for the at fault driver. Therefore, in this example there is only a total of $50,000 of coverage. $20,000 paid by the at fault driver and $30,000 paid by your UIM carrier. Therefore, if you only have the minimum required insurance coverage of $50,000 of UIM, and someone else with the minimum causes you an injury, there is no additional coverage for your injuries.

What happens if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel causes you injury and they don’t have insurance?sIn Maine, every auto insurance policy is required to have several components. One of those components is uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Every auto insurance policy must have a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident of UM coverage. (See Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 29-A Section 1605 (1)(C)(2) & (3) and Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 24-A Section 2902). This means, if you have insurance, you automatically have this coverage as part of your policy.

UM coverage is used when someone with no insurance at all causes you injury. In that case, you can use up to the amount of your policy. Therefore, if you have only purchased the state minimum of insurance, the maximum amount available tosyou from an accident will be $50,000. This is true even if the accident was not your fault. With the rising costs of medical expenses, even a moderate injury can easily use up this amount. This must also cover any lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and all other damages you may have. (The only exception is your vehicle damage, which is usually covered separately.)

Note that the limit is further split, depending on how many people are injured in the accident. For example, if a family of three are traveling in the same car and all three are injured, the maximum amount available for the whole accident is capped at $100,000. No one person can recover more than $50,000 and the total amount the insurance company will have to pay will not exceed $100,000. Again, if all three have even moderate injuries, there will likely not be enough money to properly compensate everyone.

Until recently, auto and other liability insurance companies in Maine were not required to disclose the amount of insurance carried by their insureds, even when they were clearly at fault for an accident. This gave the insurance companies an advantage in settlement negotiations and in determining how long a case took to settle. Fortunately, the Maine legislature corrected this obvious inequity and granted injured persons the right to the insurance coverage information. (M.R. .A 24A -§2164-E.) If the insurance companies do not disclose the information within 60 days of a written request, you are entitled to a $500 fine from them. Many insurance companies are not yet aware of the change in the law and the team at Peter Thompson & Associates has successfully collected several $500 fines for our clients. If you have questions about your rights when dealing with insurance companies, contact us at 1-800-917-1784 or read more on our website, www.Peter-Thompson-Associates.com, on our car accident practice page.

Police on Tuesday identified the Rochester motorcyclist dealt life threatening injuries in Saturday’s accident on Route 11 as Robert Lingard, 46, who remains in serious condition at Maine Medical Center.

Sgt. Jay Drury also identified the 18-year-old New Durham man driving the pickup truck that collided with Lingard’s motorcycle as John Chamberlin.

The accident remains under investigation.

A 46-year-old Rochester resident riding a motorcycle on Route 11 was airlifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland with life threatening injuries Saturday after colliding with a pickup truck.

Police Cpl. Mike McNeil said authorities are not releasing the names of those involved, pending notification of next of kin.

He confirmed the age and hometown of the motorcyclist and said the driver of the other vehicle, a white GMC Sierra pickup, is an 18-year-old from New Durham.

October 5, 2009:sA 25-year-old Lisbon motorcyclist has died as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle on Route 125 in Bowdoin. Wade Foster, 35, of Lewiston, reportedly turned his 1995 Chrysler Concord left in front of a motorcycle driven by Richard Paraskevakos, 25, of Lisbon, at approximately 6:45 p.m., according to a release from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department. Paraskevakos was flown to Central Maine Medical Center by helicopter, but was later pronounced dead.

According to the Bureau of Motor Vehicle records, Foster is a habitual offender with a previous OUI conviction in 1999. Monday’s crash is being reconstructed by the Brunswick Police Department and investigated by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department.

Michael Conley of Pittston and Angela Haase of Augusta were seriously injured when the motorcycle Conley was operating ran into the back of an SUV operated by Andrew Collar. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

The crash occurred just after 11 a.m. as Conley followed Collar’s vehicle south toward Chelsea on Stone Street. The officer investigating the crash said that speed did not appear to be a factor in the collision.

As Portland and Bangor accident attorneys with a Statewide personal injury law practice, Peter Thompson and Associates has represented dozens motorcycle operators in similar collisions. An investigation into the cause of this accident would need to examine whether the driver of the SUV stopped suddenly or failed to give proper turn signals. The passenger on the motorcycle would have potential claims against the motorcyclist’s insurance coverage, as well as the SUV operator’s insurance.

A motorcycle rider and passenger are slowly recovering from injuries sustained in a July 28 crash, the Bangor Daily News reported July 30. Christopher Feltner, 29, and his passenger, Karen Jones, 41, were riding through Corinth when a car pulled out in front of them. The crash sent both Feltner and Jones to the hospital, where Feltner was being treated for a collapsed lung Wednesday. Jones was listed in good condition, but according to her mother, Marie Applebee, she sustained injuries to her hand and foot that required two surgeries.

According to a deputy from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, driver Glenn Burleigh of Stetson apparently didn’t see the motorcycle heading up Route 15. He pulled into the intersection from Hudson Hill Road, across and into the motorcycle’s path. Feltner tried to brake, but hit the back of Burleigh’s vehicle. Burleigh suffered no injuries and only moderate damage to his vehicle, but the motorcycle was damaged beyond repair, the article said. The crash was still under investigation Wednesday. Applebee said her daughter planned to give up motorcycle riding, but pleaded with drivers to watch carefully for motorcycles, especially in the summer.

Applebee has a good point. This accident illustrates a common problem I have seen as a Bangor motorcycle crash lawyer: cars “not seeing” motorcycles. Motorcycles are genuinely smaller and harder to see. But in many cases, drivers don’t see motorcycles in part because they aren’t looking for them — and it’s very easy to miss something when you’re not expecting to see it. In fact, the definitive study of motorcycle accidents, the Hurt Report, said that drivers’ failure to see motorcycles in traffic is the “predominating cause” of motorcycle accidents. In fact, that report found that drivers violating the motorcycle’s right of way were responsible for two-thirds of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes and 50% of all motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, because they are without seatbelts or airbags, motorcyclists are far more likely to end up with catastrophic injuries or wrongful death as a result.

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A married couple from Corinth, Maine survived an unusual motorcycle accident this past weekend: a crash with a horse. According to the July 20 Bangor Daily News, Richard and Donna Bradford were passing by on a 2007 Harley-Davidson when a paint horse named Buster got loose from his field. He ran directly into the road, but Donna Bradford spotted him and was able to tell her husband, who was operating the bike, to take evasive action.

Law enforcement told the newspaper that the Bradfords were lucky to escape with only minor injuries. Donna Bradford was uninjured and Richard Bradford suffered minor bumps and bruises, although their motorcycle took an estimated $1,000 worth of damage. Buster was not so lucky; he suffered a broken jaw that will require surgery, lost a few teeth and has a cut on his lip. At more than 20 years old, he is a pet to Donald and Regina Boulier. The Bouliers were upset about the incident, but said they were glad the Bradfords weren’t seriously hurt. Donald Boulier said he also rides a Harley.

As a Bangor motorcycle accident lawyer, I was interested in this story because it’s unusual to see such clear evidence of an accident being caused by a domestic animal. Accidents involving loose dogs or livestock aren’t common, but they can cause serious one-vehicle accidents. The owner of the animal is legally at fault in many of these cases because most local laws require animals to be fenced, leashed or otherwise restrained from running loose. However, because there’s often no witness to the accident or to the animal’s escape, this can be hard to prove. As a result, insurance companies have an opening with which to deny legitimate insurance claims filed by accident victims. Often, it’s only after they get help from a Maine motorcycle crash attorney that victims get the financial settlement to which they’re legally entitled.

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