Motorcycle Fatality Case Study

This tragic motorcycle accident resulted in the death of the 25 year old operator. The collision occurred as the motorcycle traveled on a winding and tree lined country road in the early evening. Suddenly a pick-up truck operated by an older driver pulled from his driveway and blocked both lanes of travel. The operator of the motorcycle applied the rear brake and skid for some 60 feet before laying the bike on its left side and sliding for an additional 30 feet before striking the truck. The operator died at the scene as a result of blunt trauma.

Following the accident stories appeared in the local paper and on-line, fueled by the police department, placing blame on the motorcycle operator and suggesting that his speed was twice the limit at the time of the accident.

In their grief the family turned to the law firm of Feniger & Uliasz to clear the name of their loved one and investigate the true cause of his death. An estate was filed on behalf of the deceased operator and the investigation began.

From the outset the conclusions of the police as well as the insurance company for the driver of the pick-up truck was suspect.

The law firm of Feniger & Uliasz visited the scene and preserved evidence with photographs. The police investigation was turned over to a NH State TAR reconstruction team.

The local police department continued to provide misinformation to the local media regarding the speed of the motorcycle, alleging it to be 77 mph. As typical of cases involving motorcycle accidents, law enforcement was against the operator of the motorcycle. More so in this case involving a young adult male on a high performance sport bike.

The law firm of Feniger & Uliasz got to work and consulted with an accident reconstruction expert of their own. The performance characteristics of the motorcycle were researched an analyzed. Eventually, when the NH state TAR report was made available it was clear the initial conclusions of the police were wrong. There was no clear indication of excessive speed.

The original determination had been based on the tachometer reading and gear selection following the accident. The police simply calculated the speed based on the redline reading after the motorcycle came to rest. They failed to consider that for the final 30 feet of travel the bike was on its side with the drive wheel off the pavement, allowing the engine to redline. It was no indication of speed at all.

Witnesses were shown to be unreliable in their estimation of speed and the driver of the pick-up was shown, by his own words, to have failed to look in the direction of the motorcycle before pulling out of his driveway. Furthermore, the reconstruction identified a sight line for the pick-up truck that should have given the driver sufficient time to stop before proceeding to block both lanes.

As a result of the investigative work performed by Feniger & Uliasz with their knowledge and experience in motorcycle accidents the case was settled for the insurance policy limit without the need to file a lawsuit resulting in the highest possible recovery to the widow of the young motorcyclist.

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