Victims of motorcycle accidents, and their families, may wonder what options are available to them when someone is injured or killed in a motorcycle accident.

A Massachusetts man was recently sentenced in a neighboring community for a fatal motorcycle crash that killed a 51-year old man riding his motorcycle. The man was sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for the motorcycle accident after pleading guilty to drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter, among other charges. The man, who is a repeat drunk driver, fled the scene of the motorcycle collision and then struck, and injured, another motorist. He then fled the scene of that accident on foot prior to being apprehended. Alcohol was found by police in the man’s car and his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at 0.19.

Motorcycles are at unique risk on the roadways because they are obviously smaller in size when compared to most vehicles on the road and because, due to their nature, they offer limited protection and physical barriers between a rider and the roadway in the event of a collision. Because of these factors, motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Motorcycle accident victims can suffer permanent disability, head, brain, neck and spinal cord injuries.

As a result, motorcycle accident victims, and families of victims when a motorcycle rider has been killed, may wish to pursue the liability of the negligent party that caused the accident through a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver’s failure to yield to a motorcyclist, however, accidents can occur for a number of reasons. Like most personal injury claims, the victim or victim’s family will be required to establish the driver’s negligence. This means that the driver owed a duty of care to the victim and failed to fulfill that duty and as a result, the negligent driver caused the accident and resulting harm. Establishing the liability of the other driver will then allow the victim or victim’s family to recover damages for the harm.

Motorcycle accidents can end tragically. Because of the potential severity and lethality of these accidents, options exist for victims and their families if they end up facing such a difficult situation.

Source: BostonHerald.com, “Dartmouth man pleads guilty to drunken driving,” Author Unknown, March 20, 2013.