Pawtucket, NJ Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Who Cares
Attorney Mike Bottaro answers to your questions about motorcycle accidents and motorcycle safety in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Are motorcycle riders required to wear helmets in Massachusetts? What about Rhode Island?
Massachusetts and Rhode Island actually have different laws when it comes to mandatory use of motorcycle helmets. While Massachusetts law requires all riders to wear helmets, Rhode Island’s helmet law only applies to riders 20 years old or younger.
You can view a map of motorcycle helmet laws on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website.
Is lane splitting legal in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?
No. Lane splitting – the practice of riding between lanes of traffic flowing in the same direction – is not legal in Massachusetts or in Rhode Island. In fact, many riders are surprised to learn that lane splitting is not actually officially legal anywhere in the country. California’s Highway Patrol has issued guidelines for when riders are subject to being stopped for lane splitting, effectively authorizing safe lane splitting in certain conditions, but nationwide debate continues around whether lane splitting is safe enough to be legal.
When can I sue for motorcycle accident injuries?
In most cases, in order to sue for motorcycle injuries you will need to be able to demonstrate that another driver was negligent in causing the accident. This could involve anything from speeding to driving under the influence (DUI) to distracted driving. In other cases, you may be able to sue for a motorcycle defect. If a mechanical failure or other malfunction with your bike or your gear results in serious injuries, you may have a claim against the distributor and the manufacturer. Unreasonably dangerous road conditions and other factors that contributed to the accident can be grounds for filing a claim as well.
In short, if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and someone else is to blame, you may have a claim for compensation. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
What if I was partially at fault in the accident? Can I still recover damages?
This is another area where Massachusetts and Rhode Island law differ. In Rhode Island, the courts follow the rule known as “pure comparative fault.” In its simplest terms, what this means is that if you are partially to blame, you will only be able to partially recover your losses. If you were 67% at fault, you will only be entitled to recover 33% of your damages.
Massachusetts courts, on the other hand, follow the rule of “modified comparative fault.” This means that you must be less than 50% at fault in order to recover anything. If you were 33% at fault, you would still be able to recover 67% of your damages. But, in the previous example where you were 67% at fault, you would not be entitled to any recovery at all.
What is ATGATT?
The acronym “ATGATT” stands for “All The Gear, All The Time.” Many riders follow ATGATT, and encourage their fellow riders to do so as well. While you may not be able to walk away from a motorcycle accident unscathed, wearing full gear – a DOT-rated helmet, gloves, sturdy boots, a motorcycle jacket, and padded pants – can help protect you from road rash and shorten your road to recovery.
Contact Bottaro Law Firm to Learn More
The attorneys at Bottaro Law Firm are passionate about helping motorcycle riders recover compensation for accident-related injuries. We encourage all riders to develop safe habits, and we take pride in fighting relentlessly to help victims win the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about seeking compensation for a motorcycle accident in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, contact our office today for a free consultation.