Motorcycle Safety Advocacy
Helmets are one important focus of motorcycle advocacy in Maine. Current Maine law requires minors under 18-years-old to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Additionally people of any age operating with a learner's permit or who have only completed a driving test less than a year ago must wear a helmet. While a helmet is optional for other Maine motorcyclists, it is safer to wear a traditional helmet that complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 than to elect not to wear one simply because you can. This standard establishes minimum performance requirements in order to reduce deaths and injuries. Among other things, it considers the planes of the helmet, the impact site, and the retention system. The experienced Maine motorcycle injury attorneys of Peter Thompson & Associates understand motorcycle culture and are also staunch motorcycle safety advocates.
Part of motorcycle safety in Maine means following all of the rules of the road. For example, lane splitting by motorcycles is not allowed in our state. Lane splitting is a controversial practice of slipping between slowed-down traffic that some motorcyclists employ in California and other countries where it is legal. Many people believe lane splitting is far safer than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic between much heavier passenger cars. However, Maine is a comparative negligence state. This means a plaintiff's recovery can be reduced by his or her own degree of fault.
If you get injured while lane splitting (or failing to follow another Maine law), a defendant will have evidence to argue that you were negligent and should not recover as much as you may need. A Maine jury that determines you were 50% or more responsible for your accident cannot award you any compensation for your injuries."Eggshell Plaintiff" Rule in Maine
A driver who hits a motorcyclist takes the motorcyclist as he finds him in Maine. The "eggshell plaintiff" rule makes a defendant responsible for all damages arising from negligence even if the injuries are more severe than they would have been in someone who had no preexisting injuries or frailties. For example, a motorcyclist who has regular back pain who is hit by a negligent driver in an SUV and suffers permanent spinal disc injuries that require him to take heavy pain medications can recover full compensation for those injuries. This is so, even if a motorcyclist with a normal back would have had no permanent injuries.
A pre-existing injury may be treated a little bit different than a pre-existing condition. For example, a motorcyclist with disc herniations from lifting heavy boxes at work, who sees a chiropractor for these problems, may suffer significant spinal disc injuries after a motorcycle accident. These injuries may be worse than what the motorcyclist would otherwise have suffered without the work-related injury.
A defendant may argue that the pre-existing injury of disc herniations worsened on their own, independently of an accident. If the defendant is able to prove this, he will not be responsible for the worsening. For example, a plaintiff who has an existing disc herniation at L4-5 and develops a different one at L1-2 due to a motorcycle accident, may only be able to recover for the L1-2 disc injury. However, a plaintiff whose injuries cannot be divided properly between the pre-existing injury and the accident-related injuries will be entitled to full compensation.Our Motorcycle Safety Advocacy Attorneys Look Out for Your Best Interests
Motorcycle safety is a critical component of riding motorcycles for fun. Personal injuries after a motorcycle accident can be significant and even fatal, so it's important to guard against them. An experienced Maine motorcycle injury attorney can evaluate your case and help you bring a lawsuit if appropriate. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1.800.804.2004 or via our online form.