There is no question riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than riding in a car or SUV. Many car accidents result in no injuries or minor injuries in a car accident, when a motorcycle rider likely would have died in that same accident.
According to a recent news report from The Boston Globe, a motorcyclist died from his injuries after his motorcycle collided with a car in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Police say they responded to a crash, which occurred around 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. When first responders arrived at the scene, the motorcycle rider was already dead, and the two occupants of the car involved in the accident were seriously injured.
EMS workers assessed the condition of the two injured accident victims and transported them to Tufts Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Police say they are not yet sure as to the cause of this fatal motorcycle accident and will continue to investigate. Authorities have not released the names of any of the three victims as of the time of this report.
As our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys can explain, the fact that motorcycle riders are often at a serious disadvantage in terms of vehicle safety does not mean they have any less rights during a civil motor vehicle negligence lawsuit.
There is a hypothetical example often taught to law students during their first year torts (civil wrong) class involving a plaintiff who suffers from a medical condition in which his skull is thin as an eggshell. This is often referred to as the eggshell skull doctrine. In this hypothetical case, a person assaults and batters plaintiff. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, battery is defined as an intentional offensive touching in which bodily contact occurs. In other words, if a person walks up to another person and lightly smacks a person on the back of his or her head, this is considered a battery. However, it might be hard to imagine how much damage, if any, victim would suffer other than being upset. For this reason, there is probably not a good personal injury case, as plaintiff did not really suffer any loss other than annoyance.
However, let’s assume this plaintiff had an eggshell-thin skull and this light smack resulted in serious brain trauma. While it is true a person without this condition would not have suffered any medical damage, it did occur in this example. The law is not going to blame the victim for having a serious medical condition, so the law says a defendant takes a plaintiff as he finds him. In other words, if a defendant intentionally chose to engage in harmful or offensive contact, it is his problem (in terms of civil liability) the conduct resulted in more significant damage than he planned.
The previous example was of an intentional tort, but the same doctrine can be used in context of negligence-based torts such as a car accident case. Therefore, if a person negligently causes an accident, and a motorcycle victim is seriously injured, when a car occupant would not have been hurt, the law will not excuse negligent defendant because of the relative difference in victim’s and defendant’s circumstances.
While this might seen strange, it makes sense when we replace the motorcycle rider with a pedestrian. When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian has absolutely no protection from serious bodily injury or death and is not even wearing a helmet, as a motorcycle rider would under state law.
If you are injured in an accident in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment: 1-888-367-2900.
Motorcyclist dies after colliding with car in Dorchester , April 25, 2015, Boston Globe
More Blog Entries:
White v. Mazda Motors of America: On Defective Manufacturing Claims in Car Accident Cases, October 1, 2014, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog