A 54-year-old man riding a motorcycle was hit by a truck that suddenly changed lanes. The rider was thrown to the pavement and taken to Presbyterian Hospital and unfortunately was pronounced dead several hours later.
According to officials at the scene, the driver of the truck was also injured and taken to the same hospital and later arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired. The accident happened around 1:45 p.m. Sunday, April 7, in the westbound lane of Passyunk Ave. The accident is still under investigation and more charges are possible pending the outcome.
Motorcycle DUI Accidents
Impaired driving takes around 10,000 lives each year in the U.S., and out of those, around 25 percent are motorcycle riders. This is significant because only three percent of travelers on the road at any one time are motorcycles. The reason for this is the vulnerability of the motorcyclist when driving in traffic. In almost every injury motorcycle crash, the rider is ejected from the bike.
Thus when a motorist is driving impaired and strikes a motorcycle, a crash that would probably only cause a crushed fender on a car can kill or seriously injure a motorcycle rider.
Motorcycle Rider Injuries
When a motorcycle is involved in a crash, there are often more than one impact. The first impact happens when the vehicle strikes the motorcycle and then another when the rider hits the ground. In some cases, yet another impact happens when the rider hits another object before hitting the ground. These multiple impacts can lead to some significant injuries, some of which become common in motorcycle crashes:
- Traumatic Head Injury: Helmets are required in Pennsylvania for riders under 21, and most do wear them, however, helmets only offer some protection and the head is vulnerable in all motorcycle crashes.
- Facial Injury: Not all helmets have face shields, and those that do can be easily ripped off. This leaves the face vulnerable to disfiguring or bone-crushing injuries.
- Broken Wrists/Legs: ER doctors see their fair share of broken wrists from cyclists holding tightly on their handle grips. Also, when riders are thrown forward, their legs are vulnerable to injury.
- Chest Injury: Being thrown forward into the front of the bike can cause significant chest compression injuries.
- Road Rash: Any lightly covered or exposed skin can be severely injured in even a low-speed crash as the rider slides on the pavement. These can be as severe as third-degree burns and cause significant pain and disfigurement.
Motorcyclist Wrongful Death
Over 4,500 motorcycle riders die each year in the U.S., and in about 50 percent, it’s the fault of the other vehicle. When that happens, the survivors of the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, this is done by the executor or legal representative of the estate.
Those who can claim financial losses are the spouse, any children, or those relying on legal support from the deceased. In most cases, all those who claim compensation would do so in one petition and the court would hear the case and determine the compensation for all those making a valid claim.
Damages would be a bit different than it would had the person lived as it is looked at by the losses from family members and not the victim. Common damages are:
- Medical Bills/Funeral Expenses of Victim
- Loss of Future Inheritance
- Goods/Services now not Provided
- Mental Pain and Anguish (Survivors)
- Loss of Companionship/Nurturing
- Loss of Consortium (Spouse)
Do I Need and Attorney?
If your loved one died in a motorcycle crash or other accident, you should talk to an attorney who knows the filing procedures and the law regarding wrongful death claims. Don’t talk to the insurance agent or their lawyers before you speak to a qualified, experienced Philadelphia Accident Wrongful Death Attorney.