Motorcycle Riders: What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Laws

by GinaWilliams on January 19, 2012

According to the U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those who choose motorcycles as their mode of transportation are 25 times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than people in passenger cars.  Motorcycle riders are more at risk to be involved in a traffic accident and suffer head injuries; head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents.  Also, according to warondriving.com, the “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)… estimated that 70 percent of motorcycle accidents that involve another vehicle occur at intersections… [And] a Department of Transportation funded study based on on-the-scene motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles from 1976-1977.  The study found that, ‘Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most often a passenger automobile.’”

Given the risks of riding, all motorcycle riders also need to understand the financial risks they run when riding.  Some states have in recent years enacted laws that put caps on personal injury non-economic damages; these are damages some motorcyclists may claim if they sue over an accident.  What this means is if you reside in a state with damage cap laws, are in motorcycle accident and file a personal injury claim, you can receive money for your medical bills and financial losses, but there are limits on how much you may receive for intangible damages, such as emotional suffering, distress, etc.  Consult the chart below to see if your state has implemented these caps, and if you want more detailed information on your state’s caps, consult this American Medical Association document.

State

Caps Implemented on Noneconomic Damages
Alabama No
Alaska Yes
Arizona No
Arkansas No
California Yes
Colorado Yes
Connecticut No
Delaware No
D.C. No
Florida Yes
Georgia Yes
Hawaii Yes
Idaho Yes
Illinois Yes
Indiana Yes
Iowa No
Kansas Yes
Kentucky No
Louisiana Yes
Maine Yes
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes
Michigan Yes
Minnesota No
Mississippi Yes
Missouri Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska Yes
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire No
New Jersey No
New Mexico Yes
New York No
North Carolina No
North Dakota Yes
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Yes
Oregon No
Pennsylvania No
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes
South Dakota Yes
Tennessee No
Texas No
Utah Yes
Vermont No
Virginia Yes
Washington No
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin Yes
Wyoming No
States with Caps

30

States without Caps

21

In addition to writing about personal injury laws that affect motorcyclists, Gina Williams also writes about motorcycle accident lawyers.

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