“On a motorcycle, you lack the protective structure that typical motor vehicles provide. For this reason, you are far more likely to suffer a personal injury if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, there isn’t such thing as a minor motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or death than those traveling within a car.”
I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in West Hartford, CT
If you or a loved one have been in a motorcycle accident in West Hartford, then you need an experienced personal injury attorney that understands the local legal system. And, we also know that West Hartford accidents are prevalent, can be severe, and are often confusing based on proximity to other states. For over 140 years, motorcyclists in Connecticut have relied on us, Buckley Wynne & Parese, to help them recover compensation. We understand that many drivers do not take the necessary precautions to be aware of motorcyclists.
Contact us today so we can help you protect your interests and get you back on your feet.
Potential Injuries Stemming from Motorcycle Accidents in West Hartford
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, personal injuries are par for the course. Across the United States, it is estimated that approximately 80% of reported motorcycle accidents involve serious personal injury. With so much of the body exposed when on a motorcycle, anyone involved in a motorcycle accident must seek medical attention, no matter how insignificant the injuries may seem.
Common severe injuries stemming from a motorcycle accident in West Hartford include:
- Facial fractures – As it sounds, facial fractures are broken bones in the face. Motorcyclists are subject to this type of fracture, especially when they do not wear a helmet. Facial fractures can involve the upper jaw, lower jaw, cheekbones, nose, and eye sockets.
- Facial disfigurement – Though a cosmetic surgeon may do their best to repair a face after being disfigured in an accident, sometimes a face may never look the same. Motorcyclists that wear a helmet have far less risk of facial disfigurement from an accident than those that don’t.
- Broken bones – Motorcyclists are subject to broken bones throughout their bodies due to the force of the impact from the accident. Broken bones can also be caused if the rider is crushed by the motorcycle or another motor vehicle involved in the accident.
- Connective tissue injuries – Motorcyclists can experience tendon, muscle, and/or ligament tears, especially in the joints resulting from hyperextension or crush injuries.
- Burns – the motorcycle's exhaust system can cause burns or if the bike catches fire due to the accident. Complications from burns can stem from infection to sepsis.
In the worst of motorcycle accidents, more serious injuries can occur, including but not limited to:
- Disfigurement and loss of limb – Occasionally, motorcyclists may lose a limb if the force of the accident is so severe that doctors are unable to save it.
- Thoracic spine injury and paralysis – Spinal cord injuries occur when pressure is placed on the spinal cord, leading to swelling. In extreme cases, permanent paralysis can occur.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) - Motorcyclists can suffer severe head injuries and brain injuries ranging from concussions to a brain bleed. In extreme cases, coma or permanent brain damage can occur.
The Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Cases
Connecticut’s statute of limitations mandate that cases be filed in court within certain periods of time. The Connecticut General Statutes specifies that personal injury claims from motorcycle accidents need to generally be filed within two years of the accident. There are certain claims that may have to be filed within a shorter period. Certain notice claims (highway defects) must be told within 90 days. The skilled attorneys at Buckley Wynne & Parese have the experience and background to help you file your claim before the statute of limitations expires.
What You Should Know About Motorcycling in West Hartford
With West Hartford Connecticut’s scenic roads and beautiful weather, it is no wonder that motorcycling is a popular activity amongst its residents. Motorcycling enthusiasts will tell you that it can be great fun to ride them, especially if you know how to do so safely. Motorcycles are highly maneuverable but are also quite fast.
Aside from the beautiful roads and comfortable weather of Connecticut, why do motorcycles love the activity so much? Ask just about any motorcyclist, and they’ll tell you the following:
- Motorcycling can improve your health both because of the fresh air and calorie burn that you can enjoy
- You can meet a lot of great people at stops along the way
- Riding a motorcycle can provide a serene sense of freedom
- Adventuring on a motorcycle can help you connect with the countryside and landscapes all around you and the open road can take you anywhere you want to go
We understand that riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling adventure. But we also know that accidents happen despite your best intentions. Even with all safety measures in place, sometimes you can’t prevent an accident. And if you’re in a motorcycle accident and have experienced a personal injury, you need legal representation, especially if you believe you are not at fault. The attorneys at Buckley Wynne & Parese can help you seek the personal injury compensation that you deserve.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in West Hartford, CT
Though motorcycling is a favorite pastime for many West Hartford residents, a ride on a sunny afternoon can turn disastrous with little to no warning. Motorcycle accidents happen and, in some cases, can result in serious injuries. In the worst of situations, motorcycle accidents can result in death.
On a motorcycle, you lack the protective structure that typical motor vehicles provide. For this reason, you are far more likely to suffer a personal injury if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, there isn’t such thing as a minor motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or death than those traveling within a car.
So, what are the typical causes of motorcycle accidents? By understanding what causes motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists can be more aware of risks while on the open road.
- Cars making left-hand turns – In these situations, the driver may not see the motorcycling, thus inadvertently turning in front of them
- Hazardous road conditions – Motorcycles do not have the same protections that enclosed vehicles do, thus making hazardous road conditions that much more concerning.
- Head-on collisions – With little more than a helmet and cycle gear to protect a motorcyclist, head-on collisions are often deadly.
- Motorcycle lane splitting – It is important to note first and foremost that lane splitting is illegal in the state of Connecticut. When drivers do not give motorcyclists the entire width of the road lane, they place those motorcyclists at risk for serious injury resulting from an accident. The cars can easily clip or bump the motorcycle.
- Reckless driving - Drivers who weave in and out of traffic, fail to yield when other drivers have the right-of-way, drive too fast for conditions, or fail to stop at stop signs and red traffic lights are a danger to drivers and motorcyclists. This type of driving can result in serious accidents, serious injuries, and sometimes death.
- Speeding – When a motorcyclist speeds, they have less time to react to road conditions and the actions of other drivers.
- Corner turning – Turning a corner on a motorcycle isn’t quite like turning a corner in an enclosed vehicle. Motorcyclists need to lean into the turn, and if they lean too far, it can cause a loss of control.
- Failure of motorists on the road to detect and recognize motorcyclists on the road – Let's face it, motorcyclists are smaller than other motor vehicles. They can easily be lost in a driver's blind spot. Motorcyclists should seek to avoid being in a location on the road where they can't be seen by other drivers, thus staying out of blind spots.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in West Hartford
If you are in a motorcycle accident in Connecticut, whether you are the driver or the passenger, there are clear steps that you must take to protect your rights. Following the recommendations of the attorneys at Buckley Wynne & Parese will give you the greatest chance of obtaining the appropriate compensation to cover your losses.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, be sure to take the following steps.
- Call 9-1-1.
- Accept emergency medical treatment and transportation if needed. Many injuries are not visible to the naked eye. Allow a trained medical practitioner to determine the extent of your injuries.
- Allow the responding officers to appropriately investigate the accident, and be sure not to impede their review of the scene. Understand that the accident report will list the names and information of all motorists involved in the accident, their contact information, and their insurance information.
- If the scene is safe for you to do so and if you can do so without interviewing with law enforcement, take pictures of the scene and any wreckage. Try to include photos that show the positions of the involved vehicles, damage done to said vehicles, skid marks, traffic controls (stoplights, signs, etc.) at the scene, lighting, weather conditions, and road conditions.
- If emergency personnel indicate you do not need to take a trip in the ambulance, be sure to schedule an appointment with your general practitioner as soon as possible for a follow-up. Potentially severe injuries don't always show up right away. Delaying treatment can reduce your chances of a full recovery and impede your claim, even if you are not at fault.
Contact the attorneys at Buckley Wynne & Parese as soon as possible. The more time elapses between the accident and your call, the more likely it is that essential evidence will be lost. Further, memories fade with each passing day, and you will want to keep details fresh in your mind. The team at Buckley Wynne & Parese have the experience necessary to help you gather all evidence and take the next best steps to build your solid case timely and effectively.
Whether it be emergency services, property damage, medical expenses, insurance costs, or lost earnings/productivity, motorcycle crashes cost billions of dollars per year. The financial and emotional ramifications can be overwhelming. Our attorneys and staff are fully dedicated to assisting you and your family during this difficult time. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Your legal fees are paid on a contingency fee basis unless otherwise specified. That means that we are not paid unless we recover compensation for you.
Once it is safe to do so, you should attempt to document the entire situation by taking photographs and careful notes. Having notes to remind you of all the details of what happened, and what you went through, is far easier and far more accurate than relying on your memory.
Write things down as soon as you can: begin with what you were doing and where you were going, the people you were with, the time and the weather. Include every detail of what you saw, heard and felt. Be sure to add anything you remember hearing anyone — a person involved in the accident or a witness — say about the accident.
Finally, make daily notes of the effects of your injuries. You may suffer pain, discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep or other problems you are experiencing. These notes can be very useful two or six or ten months later, when you put together all the important facts into a final demand for compensation.
*For more information on your rights and responsibilities after an accident, see: Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.
Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must follow.
Sometimes a violation of one of these traffic rules is obvious and was clearly the cause of an accident — for example, when one driver runs a stop sign and crashes into another. In other situations, whether or not there was a violation will be less obvious. A common example is a crash that occurs when drivers merge into a single lane of traffic.
Sometimes, the ultimate determination of who should be responsible is left up to the fact finder or jury.
The law in Connecticut requires that you initially pay for your medical treatment. It is a common misconception that the at-fault driver will pay for your medical treatment. This often leads to frustration. We will do everything we can to help you manage your options, but please note: we are not allowed by law to pay your medical bills. If you had medical treatment (e.g. ambulance, hospital evaluation) and have no insurance or ability to pay for that treatment, the provider may send the bill to collection. While we may send letters to medical providers offering to protect their bills, many providers will not agree to such an arrangement (see discussion below). Unfortunately, we cannot stop a collection action or pay your bills. If you are receiving collection letters or outstanding bills, please contact us to discuss your options in more detail.
There are essentially five ways for your medical bills to be paid and there often is priority under the law. Therefore, be sure we are aware of any and all of the following:
If you were on the job at the time of the incident.
Medical payments (“Med Pay”) coverage on your auto policy
If you have Med Pay coverage on your auto policy, or you were a passenger in a car that had Med Pay coverage, you should use this coverage to pay your bills, even if you have health insurance. Med Pay will pay up to its limits, after which point your bills should be paid through one of the three remaining sources.
Health Insurance & Medicare/Medicaid
Generally, your health insurance will not cover your accident related bills unless and until you can prove that you do not have Med Pay. We will help you secure a “No Med Pay Letter” when appropriate.
Letter of Protection
Under certain circumstances, when someone else caused an accident, and you do not have Med Pay or health insurance, some doctors will accept a Letter of Protection from our office. This obligates our office to reimburse your doctor from the proceeds of your lawsuit settlement or judgment. Because payment is not guaranteed and will be delayed until the resolution of the case, many doctors will not agree to do this.
The final way to pay your medical bills is out-of-pocket. Please be sure to keep track of everything you have paid. All reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket losses should be recorded and provided to us.
Ideally, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay for repairing your vehicle. Sometimes, liability is not accepted, however, and it is easier and quicker to pursue a damage claim under your own insurance coverage.
Yes. In Connecticut, you are entitled to Loss of Use, which includes either a rental vehicle or the value of a comparable rental vehicle. For more on your rights, see Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.
You can pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM” or “UIM”) claim under your own auto insurance policy. This insurance coverage applies if you have been hit by an uninsured driver or where the coverage of the at-fault driver is insufficient to pay for your damages. “UM” and “UIM” coverage is mandated by law. You should consult with an attorney before filing a claim.
The accident was my fault-
When you caused the accident, you are responsible for repairing your own vehicle and the other vehicle that you damaged. Assuming you are insured, your company will pay for the damages to the other vehicle up to your policy limits. If you have “collision coverage” under your policy, you will also be covered for repairs to your vehicle up to the amount of your coverage. You will likely have a deductible of $500 or $1,000. You should not have to pay more than your deductible if you have full collision coverage. When you caused the accident, your right to a rental car is subject to the terms of your insurance policy. If you purchased rental reimbursement coverage, you will be covered for a rental car. Most insurers can set up direct billing with the rental car company. Check with your insurance company or insurance agent regarding your coverage.
The accident was not my fault-
If someone else caused the accident, that person’s insurance company (if the other person is insured) should pay for the cost of repairs. You should not have to pay for anything. You are entitled to take the vehicle to a repair shop of your choice for repairs. If you were injured, you should consult with an attorney before communicating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company about repairs. If the other person was not insured but was at fault, you should use your own insurance. Your company will later undertake efforts to get its money back through a process known as subrogation.
The insurance company is required to use at least the average of the retail values according to the NADA Used Car Guide (www.nadaguides.com) and one other automobile industry source approved by the Insurance Commissioner. The insurance company must give you a copy of the information relied upon in determining the value of your car. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to underestimate the value of your car or the damages sustained to a repairable car. Don’t hesitate to get an explanation for the method used to calculate the value of your vehicle. If you continue to have any concerns, contact an attorney.
“OEM” parts are new parts made by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. “Aftermarket” parts are new parts that are not manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer. “Recycled” parts, sometimes referred to as salvage, reconditioned or used parts, are frequently obtained from auto recyclers or junkyards and can be either OEM or non-OEM parts. “Recycled” or “Non-OEM” parts may be used for repair work, but you should be notified of that fact in the repair estimate. Independent repairers often argue against the use of certain recycled and aftermarket parts on the grounds that they are not as dependable or safe as OEM parts. Make sure to talk to your repairer about whether recycled or aftermarket parts are being used and how they could affect the safety of your repair.
After your insurance company pays for your repairs, it will likely seek reimbursement through a process known as “subrogation”. In a subrogation claim, the insurance company essentially steps into your shoes and brings a claim against the other driver in an effort to get its money back. If successful, your insurance company will be reimbursed and you should also be reimbursed for your deductible. In some accidents, fault is uncertain. In other words, both parties may share in the responsibility. Thus, it may be found that one party is 80% responsible and the other is 20% responsible. If this happens, damages will be apportioned accordingly. If you paid for your own damages and rental car because you had no collision coverage, you may wish to bring a claim against the at fault party for reimbursement. For more information on this process, consult with an attorney.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding premium calculations. In general, if you cause your insurance company to make payment on your behalf because of an accident you were responsible for causing, there is a chance your rates will go up. If, on the other hand, your insurance company has to pay you on your policy because of the other party’s negligence (i.e. Med-Pay claim or UM/UIM), your rates will not likely go up. For specific guidance regarding your policy, contact your insurance agent or representative.
As soon as practical, you should call your insurance company and report the accident. You should do this regardless of who was at fault. An agent will likely ask you about what happened, damages to the vehicles and personal injuries. As part of your insurance contract, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. If you do not cooperate with the reasonable demands of your insurance company, you risk denial of coverage. You have no duty or obligation, however, to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. The other party’s insurance agent may ask you to give a recorded statement. You should not agree to do this without first speaking to an attorney.
The Latest News
Department of Insurance Flubs Opportunity to Protect Consumers. Injustice Prevails.
Posted on Aug 28, 2023
This is not the first time our Insurance Department has sought to insulate the insurance industry from legal accountability. I presume the cost benefit analysis is one premised on giving insurance companies greater latitude with regulatory compliance in order to keep jobs here in Connecticut. Whether letting insurers break our laws in order to keep jobs here makes any sense is a political calculation above my paygrade. But seeing it over and over from this side of the table is certainly frustrating.
Attorney John F. Buckley Celebrated in the 30th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
Posted on Aug 21, 2023
This year's inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2024 particularly commendable, as Best Lawyers conducted a comprehensive peer-review survey with over 13.7 million confidential evaluations. Out of nearly 25,000 voters, Attorney Buckley emerged as a clear leader in his domain. Such an accolade is indicative of the respect and admiration he holds among his peers and underscores his stellar reputation in the industry.
Opinion: You are your dog's keeper
Posted on Jul 05, 2023
Connecticut law makes the owner or keeper of a dog liable for any damage it causes to the body or property of anyone. The law even sets liability upon a parent or guardian if the dog is owned by a minor.