Understanding the 5 Phases of PA Motorcycle Wrecks

PA-Motorcycle-Wrecks-5-PhasesRiders who have been in PA motorcycle wrecks have intimate, and often painful knowledge of how complex and just plain messy they can be. The scene is typically littered with glass, road debris, and vehicle parts. Witness testimony is often contradictory, and it can be nearly impossible to determine who is at fault, or even what actually happened.

PA motorcycle wrecks and accident reconstruction specialists

Your Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer will sometimes contact accident reconstruction specialists, who use their expert investigative skills to help analyze the scene and sort these details out. These experts put together a narrative based on accident scene photos, witness testimony and depositions, photos and medical documents. In addition, reconstructionists tend to have specific knowledge of the unique physics, operator input, and dynamics specific to motorcycles, as opposed to other types of vehicles.

The 5 Phases of a Motorcycle Accident

While every crash is unique, reconstruction professionals have found that PA motorcycle wrecks do tend to have a few common elements, which can be broken down and examined in the context of recreating the events that led up to the crash.

  1. Perception-Reaction – Reconstructionists place the actual beginning of an accident well before impact, to when the rider first perceives a hazard. Studies indicate that a typical rider will take up to 1.5 seconds to implement a response once they have identified a hazard.
  2. Avoidance/Braking/Steering – The rider typically uses some combination of steering and braking in an attempt to avoid the hazard. Physical evidence at the scene, such as skid marks, combined with witness statements can give clues as to what type of avoidance the rider attempted.
  3. Pre-Impact Sliding – Riders often overuse the motorcycle brakes, locking the front and/or rear wheel. If the front wheel locks, the rider will almost certainly lose control and crash. If this happens while braking, the motorcycle and rider usually separate and slide along the same trajectory they were moving in prior to the crash.
  4. Impact – The bike and/or rider may collide with a vehicle, guardrail, tree or other object. By evaluating impact damage, and combining that data with sliding distance as determined in the previous phase, investigators can often determine the motorcycle’s approximate speed upon impact.
  5. Post-Impact Motion – Even after impact, additional movement can occur. For example, the rider may become separated from his or her bike, traveling independently to the final resting point. Post-impact travel distance can help establish how fast the bike was traveling just before impact.

Breaking a motorcycle accident down into these 5 phases allows your legal team to work backwards from the point of final rest, recreating the conditions and actions that led to the accident. Determining the cause of the accident will make it easier to establish liability and provide a starting point for damage negotiations.

Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney Lee Gaber can help you establish the cause of your NJ or PA motorcycle wreck. Call 1-888-cycle-law (1-888-292-5352) to find out how.

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