Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Not Off to a Great Start in NH

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month which runs each May did not get off to a good start in 2013. In New Hampshire alone in the first week of May there has been one motorcycle related death and two serious motorcycle related injuries. Last Friday in Rochester, New Hampshire, 52 year old Russell Brown was driving his 2005 Yamaha WR250F motorcycle with a passenger when he lost control of the vehicle in a field and was thrown from his motorcycle. Brown had to be med-flighted for Maine Medical Center and his passenger was assisted by police, fire and EMS. Paul J. Ferland, 49, of Unity, New Hampshire was not so lucky. Late Saturday evening Mr. Ferland was operating his 1997 Harley Davidson on Stage Road in Unity when he failed to turn a corner and went off the roadway. He sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. [Source: WMUR]

It didn’t get much better nationwide. In Florida, Donald Budd Sutton, 45, was negotiating a turn when he drifted into the guard rail. The guard rail took off his leg and he then was ejected from the motorcycle and sustained a serious head injury. He was not wearing a helmet. [Source]

In Evans, NY an off duty police officer was hit and killed when struck by a vehicle traveling in the same direction. [Source] Also in New York, a driver was charged with homicide after hitting and killing a motorcyclist. The driver was operating his motor vehicle without headlights at 10:30pm, was intoxicated and was driving without a license. [Source]

On the other hand, Massachusetts seems to be on track for Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. A quick internet search of the local news stations did not turn up any Massachusetts motorcycle accidents resulting in serious injuries. That is not to say that there hasn’t been any motorcycle accidents resulting in minor or non-life threatening injuries but only that none have been so serious as to be reported in the news. The crash in Unity, New Hampshire was severe enough that it even made the news in Massachusetts.

Unfortunately most of the accidents listed above do not provide for a source of recovery. You cannot recover for damages if the accident was your fault such as losing control of your vehicle or going off the road. Therefore accidents involving only the motorcycle do not allow for recovery on the part of the driver. However, the passenger could make a claim against the driver of the motorcycle for any injuries he or she sustained as a result of the negligent or reckless driving on the part of the driver. If the accident in Evans NY occurred in NH or MA, the family of the killed motorcyclist could bring a wrongful death suit against the driver of the motor vehicle for their losses. I am unfamiliar with NY laws so I cannot comment as to how that case would turn out in NY.

If you or your loved was

* the driver of a motorcycle involved in a collision with another vehicle

* a passenger on a motorcycle involved in an accident or

* killed in a motorcycle crash involving another vehicle

you or your family may be able to bring a claim for damages. To learn more about what a motorcycle accident attorney can do for you in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, contact the Injury Law Center® for a free consultation.

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