Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

It was painful to learn of the New Hampshire truck crash which killed seven motorcyclists and injured three others last weekend. That one crash could injure so many is heart-breaking and we send our deepest condolences to the families. 

The horrific accident happened Friday night in the community of Randolph, New Hampshire. The motorcyclists belonged to the Jarheads MC, a motorcycle club for Marine Corps veterans and close friends, according to The Boston Globe. The group was reportedly traveling to their annual meeting eastbound on Route 2 when they were struck by the truck traveling west. Reports said the truck crossed the double yellow line.

By Monday, the driver – a 23-year-old Springfield, Mass. man – had been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide in the case. Massachusetts State Police took Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy into custody at his home. He was then taken to Springfield District Court, where he waived extradition to New Hampshire.

New Hampshire authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, but there are questions about whether Zhukovskyy should have been driving at all following his arrests on OUI charges last month and back in 2013, according to news reports. Meanwhile, his employer, Springfield-based Westport Transport is said to be cooperating with police.

While this type of collision causing so many injuries is rare, motorcycle crashes are not, especially during the summer in New England. Per mile, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, Massachusetts authorities report they have responded to four fatal motorcycle crashes between Saturday night and Monday morning.

Some of the crashes involved a single motorcyclist. This was the case in New Bedford, Belchertown and Andover. But in Westport, a preliminary investigation shows the motorcyclist was traveling westbound on Route 177 when there was a collision with a Ford Ranger turning onto Tickle Road. The driver of the Ford Ranger stayed on the scene and was said to be cooperating with police.

In addition to local authorities, motorcycle accidents should be investigated by an experienced motorcycle crash attorney. In some cases, another driver may not appear to be involved. But drivers who speed, stop short, pass a motorcycle illegally or fail to check their blindspot cause motorcyclists to crash all the time. These are known as no-contact crashes.

When trucks hit motorcyclists, injuries can be more severe as we saw in New Hampshire. Truck companies have a responsibility to train drivers how to operate near motorcyclists. Truck drivers must also take care to properly load vehicles, especially if they are carrying equipment and materials on open open trailers.

 At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we urge drivers to observe the following:

  • Motorcyclists have the right to operate on the same roads as drivers and must follow the same traffic laws and signals.
  • Provide motorcyclists room. Travel several car lengths behind motorcyclists. 
  • Motorcyclists are permitted to ride two abreast in a lane in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (Source: The Massachusetts Motorcycle Manual and AmericanMotorcyclist.com). 
  • Motorcyclist are not permitted to travel between traffic lanes (or split lanes).
  • Accidents can happen when drivers fail to look before they turn. In fact, this was the cause of 44 percent of all motorcycle crashes in 2013, according to esurance.com.
  • Attempt to make eye contact with motorcyclists at intersections. Many motorcyclists do not have self-canceling turn signals like car and you cannot trust a motorcyclist will turn until you see it.
  • Check your mirrors and blindspots often.
  • Some drivers have trouble driving in the rain. Expect the same from motorcyclists. Be patient and give them more room.
  • Do not speed through traffic lights or make quick unexpected movements at traffic lights and intersections.
  • Do not speed on any roads.
  • Do not overload trucks and trailers. Secure equipment and materials behind a closed door or under secure ratchet straps, bungee tarp straps or other appropriate equipment.
  • Do not attempt to pass motorcyclists unless you must. While you are allowed to do so in Massachusetts, the motorcyclist may not be expecting the move and surprises can lead to accidents and falls.
  • Never drive when you are tired; do not drive when you are normally sleeping or getting ready for bed.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Remove all distractions from your car, including cell phones. Hold heavy conversation and limit snacks and drinks.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Safety Tips

If you are a motorcyclist, please read our past blog, “Massachusetts Motorcycle Safety Tips.” The article can be a resource if you are just starting to ride, looking to become licensed or have questions about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured in motorcycle accidents caused by the negligence of other drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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motorcyclist in training area

Taking a few essential steps now can help motorcyclists reduce their risk of injury this season.

By now, many Massachusetts motorcyclists are ready for warmer days ahead. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys represent motorcyclists who have been injured and we are committed to sharing safety tips to protect from motorcycle accidents and injuries.

Whether you ride in Boston, Cape Cod or Central Massachusetts, here are a few essential steps:

Massachusetts Rider Education Program

This is a great starting point for new motorcyclists. Attendance is worthwhile because you have to opportunity to learn from more experienced motorcyclists and meet others looking to learn. You may also be able to fulfill your licensing requirements here. When you are finished, take your certificate of completion right to your auto insurance agent and ask for an insurance discount.

More experienced motorcyclists will also find something here, whether they seek new skills or want to review fundamentals to avoid motorcycle crash situations.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, the program offers 15 hours of course material, includes five hours in the classroom and 10 hours of hands-on motorcycle instruction. Motorcyclists under age 18 must complete the training before taking the Massachusetts Motorcycle License test.

The best way to begin is by visiting the Massachusetts Ridership Education Program website. You must sign up for an approved motorcycle training program to qualify for the insurance discount. Programs are offered throughout the state, in Ayer, Bedford, Beverly, Brockton, Foxborough, Framingham and other communities.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance for Motorcyclists

No one ever expects to be injured in a motorcycle crash. But it can happen and you want to make sure you and your family are protected. Start by learning about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy.

While auto insurance coverage for motorcyclists and drivers is similar, there is a key difference in Massachusetts. Unlike drivers, motorcyclists do not receive PIP (personal injury protection) benefits. PIP benefits provide the first $8,000 of medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses for a driver who is injured. The loss of these benefits creates another obstacle for motorcyclists after a crash.

Because motorcyclists do not have access to PIP, our attorneys recommend they purchase other coverages to make up for this, including Medical Payments, Uninsured Auto and Underinsured Coverage and Bodily Injury Coverage. To help you get started, our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys have written this article, “Massachusetts Motorcyclists: Buy the Right Types of Auto Insurance to Protect Yourself and Your Finances.”

We encourage you to read the article and show it to your insurance agent. Talk to other motorcyclists about their experiences buying insurance coverage. In addition to providing compensation if you are injured, buying the right types and amounts of coverage can bring you peace of mind now as you get ready to ride this season.

Motorcycle Helmet and Eye Protection

Massachusetts has had a mandatory helmet law since 1967 and is one of 28 states which currently require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Massachusetts has a “universal law,” which requires both motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. The statute is M.G.L. c. 90, Section 7. Riders can be fined up to $100 for failure to wear a helmet.

Helmets must meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 2018. You will see a label with this number on the inside and outside of the helmet. Along with the helmet, motorcyclists must wear goggles or a protective face shield. This is not a requirement if the motorcycle has a windshield or screen.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston and Worcester Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents motorcyclists who have been injured in Massachusetts. With over 100 years combined experience, our lawyers are recognized for our results for clients across the state, from Boston to Worcester to Cape Cod. If you have been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. Our attorneys offer a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Boston personal injury lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck

Attorneys Ronald E. Gluck, Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White, partners of the Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck. For more than 25 years, the firm has represented motorcyclists and others injured by reckless and negligent drivers.

Motorcyclists, before you start your engines, remember to check your Massachusetts auto insurance policy. Too many motorcyclists do not have enough coverage, which can be a costly and painful mistake if you are ever injured in a crash. For more than 25 years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has fought to obtain compensation for motorcyclists injured by negligent drivers. In recent years, our attorneys have vigorously pursued settlements of $3.75 million, $3.5 million and $1.25 million for three motorcyclists. We write about these Massachusetts motorcycle settlements on our website.

We work with auto insurance policies on a daily basis as we represent those injured on the road. We hope you are never injured, but it pays to plan and understand your auto insurance policy. After an accident, you may have to look to your own insurance policy, even if another driver caused the crash.

Motorcycle riding down open roadMotorcycle season is almost here. For riders, this means goodbye snow and cold; hello to the open road.

Good pre-season preparation is essential for motorcyclists. Take some time to inspect your motorcycle and helmet and review the Massachusetts driving manual. Review your auto insurance as well; most drivers and motorcyclists do not carry enough insurance.

Wear a Helmet. Under Massachusetts law, motorcyclists must wear helmets which have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Helmets save lives so make sure yours is in good condition. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident or fall, replace your helmet.

Boston Personal Injury Attorney Ronald E. GluckAttorney Ronald E. Gluck recently reached a $1.25 million dollar settlement in a case involving serious injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident which occurred in Massachusetts.

Attorney Gluck, who has successfully represented seriously injured motorcyclists for over thirty five years, obtained the full insurance liability policy limits for our client from the defendant’s insurance company.

The motorcycle accident occurred when the offending driver of a sedan made a sudden left turn in front of our client’s motorcycle, cutting off his path of travel and leaving him no room to stop. As a result he crashed into the side of the sedan, and suffered life altering injuries.

A truck and a motorcycle after a fatal accident in West Bridgewater, MassachusettsAttorney Marc Breakstone recently settled a wrongful death case for the family of a motorcyclist for $3.5 million. The case was settled in March 2016.

The motorcyclist was tragically killed by a waste disposal truck in West Bridgewater in 2013. The truck, which was being operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road in the path of the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist applied the brakes and laid down his motorcycle, attempting to avoid the collision and struck the defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

The motorcyclist continued to roll under the truck. The truck driver did not see him and ran the rear tires over his body, killing him.

motorcyclist-20140530.jpgBefore June begins, we have a final thought for May, which was Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle use continues to grow in the U.S. but so do motorcycle accidents. For 15 years now, we have seen an annual increase in motorcyclist fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The one exception was 2009. When motorcyclists survive, they are also suffering more non-fatal injuries. In 2012, 93,000 motorcycling injuries were reported, 12,000 more injuries than in 2011.

A few safety reminders for drivers:

  • Remember motorcyclists have all the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as other motorists.
  • Allow motorcyclists a full lane width.
  • Give motorcyclists extra following distance when you are behind them.
  • Before you switch lanes, always check your vehicle’s mirrors and your blind spot for motorcyclists.
  • Make sure you signal your intention to change lanes or merge with traffic.
  • Do not rely on a motorcyclist’s flashing turn signal. The rider may have forgotten to turn it off or it may not be self-cancelling.

A few safety reminders for motorcyclists:

  • Remember to wear your helmet and do not let any passengers ride without one. In 2012, overall motorcycle helmet use fell to 60 percent. Passenger helmet use dropped to 46 percent.
  • Wear reflective tape whenever possible.
  • Do not consume alcohol when you are operating.
  • Obey traffic laws. You must have a special license to operate a motorcycle in Massachusetts and that is important. Some 24 percent of all riders who are involved in fatal motorcycle crashes are operating with invalid licenses.

Our Experience Representing Injured Riders
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience handling automobile and motorcycle accident cases.

Read about one case attorney Ronald Gluck handled for an injured motorcyclist. Gluck’s client was seriously injured when a negligent driver cut into his lane and struck his motorcycle. He suffered numerous injuries, including facial fractures, concussions, blindness in one eye and a shoulder injury and had to undergo surgeries. Gluck negotiated a $3.75 million settlement.

Read about the case on our website.

Read the client’s review on Avvo or below.

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motorcycle-helmet-180.jpgFor motorcyclists, the most effective way to prevent a brain injury is to wear a helmet. An unhelmeted motorcyclist is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a motorcycle crash than one wearing a helmet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In Massachusetts and 19 other states, wearing a motorcycle helmet is the law for all riders. Twenty eight other states have laws requiring certain motorcyclists wear helmets. Three states, including New Hampshire, do not require motorcycle helmets for any riders.

Helmet use has grown in recent years as safety education has increased and manufacturers produce lighter-weight helmets. Helmet use increased from 48 percent of U.S. motorcyclists in 2005 to 67 percent in 2009, according to the NHTSA.

If you are a motorcyclist, it is important to protect yourself from motorcycle accidents as well as comply with the law. Our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers share some background information and tips for purchasing your motorcycle helmet:

Types of Helmets. Be sure to buy a helmet which is specifically designed for motorcycling. You may use different helmets for other activities, but these do not provide adequate protection in case of a motorcycle accident.

There are three types of helmets: full-face helmets; three-quarter, open-face helmets and “shorty” half helmets. A full-face helmet covers your entire face and provides the most protection. It has a moveable face shield which protects your eyes from debris and face in a motorcycle accident.

A three-quarter, open-face helmet has many of the same features, minus the face and chin protection of a full-face helmet. If you use an open-face helmet, it is recommended you also use a snap-on face shield or a pair of safety goggles when you ride.

The last type of helmet, a “shorty” half-helmet is not recommended by most safety organizations. It protects very little of your head and is the most likely to come off when you ride.

Safety Ratings. Since 1980, all adult-sized helmets for highway use have been required to meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. Make sure your helmet has a DOT sticker before you purchase. The Snell Memorial Foundation is another safety testing laboratory for motorcycle helmets, though this rating is voluntary for helmet manufacturers.

Helmet Size. Most helmets are marked small, medium, large or extra large. Fit is important so measure your head at the largest circumference and contact your manufacturer to ask what size that measurement fits.

The goal is to avoid buying a helmet which is too large and can fall off. Here are a few things to note. The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without pressing uncomfortably. On full-face helmets, press on the chin piece. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin. There should be no gaps between your temples and brow pads. If the helmet has a neck roll, it should not push the helmet away from the back of your neck.

Replacing and Caring for Helmets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for caring for your helmet. It is best to use mild soap, water and a soft cloth. Avoid any petroleum-based cleaning fluid, which can cause the helmet to decompose over time.

Replace your helmet if the face shield is scratched as this will obstruct your view when riding. You should also replace your helmet if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash or if you notice any damage. Otherwise, many manufacturers recommend replacing your motorcycle helmet every two years.

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motorcycle rider.jpgMay has arrived and as motorcycling season begins, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is observing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

The national initiative aims to encourage drivers and motorcyclists to “share the road” and highlights that motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any other motor vehicle on the road.

This is an important point because most motorcycle accidents involve passenger vehicles and trucks. Many motorcycle accidents result from a lack of understanding and awareness on the part of both or either party. Many times, drivers will say they fail to see motorcyclists until just before an accident.