Fatal Motorcycle Wreck in Paris

| Jul 14, 2020 | Car Accidents, Injuries

The deadly collision in Bourbon County involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck also seriously injured a motorcycle passenger. 

According to police and witnesses, 31-year-old Jonathan Mattox, of Carlisle, was eastbound on Hooktown Road when he momentarily crossed the centerline. At that moment, he collided almost head-on with a Chevrolet Cruze driven by 47-year-old Mable Leonard,of Cynthiana. Officers are still investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

Mattox’s passenger, 23-year-old Elizabeth Boggs, of Lexington, was rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

Motorcycle Wreck Injuries

Overall, motorcycle-on-vehicle wrecks are almost thirty times deadlier that vehicle-on-vehicle wrecks, at least for motorcycle riders. Steel cocoons and multiple restraint layers protect vehicle occupants during collisions. But motorcycle riders and passengers have no such protections. As a result, these individuals often suffer serious injuries like:

  • Exsanguination: Excessive blood loss is generally the official cause of death in these cases. The force of a collision usually propels motorcyclists through the air. When they land hard, their internal organs usually bump and grind against each other. Since these organs have no protective skin layer, this motion usually causes profuse bleeding.
  • Biker’s Arm: When people fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. In this context, this reaction often crushes the nerves in the brachial plexus area. This nerve damage is always permanent and often causes paralysis.
  • Head Injuries: Many motorcycle crash injuries, like broken bones, usually heal in time, at least for the most part. But head injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. Extensive physical therapy often eases the symptoms, but brain injury physical therapy is a long and winding road.

On a related note, and contrary to popular myth, motorcycle helmets do not prevent all head injuries and helmet non-use is not always admissible in court.

Motorcycle crash motion causes many head injuries. The brain does not fit inside the skull like a hand in a glove. Instead, the skull is like a water tank. It suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. So, when people fall, the jarring motion causes their brains to slam against the inside of their skulls.

Note that some people pace because they say it helps them think. That’s because the mild motion of walking pushes their brains against their skulls. So, imagine what the effects of a vehicle collision are.

In terms of helmet non-use, insurance company lawyers must do more than cite safety statistics. They must prove the victim’s helmet non-use caused or substantially contributed to the victim’s head injury. The insurance company has the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion on these points.

The Motorcycle Prejudice

This informal defense is not as prevalent as it was in the 1970s. But it still exists, and Lexington personal injury lawyers must often deal with it, particularly in wrong-way crashes.

Many people, including many jurors, believe motorcycle riders are reckless thugs. As a result, they are more inclined to believe that the rider, and not the other driver, was at fault for a crash, even if the facts suggest otherwise.

In everyday life, it’s usually best to confront prejudice head on. But in court, most lawyers use a different approach. Instead of dismantling the motorcycle prejudice and risking an adverse reaction, most attorneys set victims apart from the prejudice. 

Many people think this way. It is rather easy to hate a group, like Republicans, Democrats, or whatever. But it is rather hard to hate an individual, like Mike or Sarah, who happens to be part of that group.

The motorcycle prejudice also affects evidence collection matters. Emergency responders generally blame motorcyclists for car accidents. Therefore, the police accident report is often misleading, since the author harbored false assumptions about the motorcycle rider. So, an attorney must often look elsewhere for evidence.

There is an important takeaway here. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle wreck, always have an attorney evaluate your claim. That’s the only way to know how much compensation you might be entitled to.

Liability Issues

Wrong-way collisions usually involve the last clear chance rule. The above story is a good example of how this defense works.

Emergency responders would almost certainly fault Maddox for the crash, because his motorcycle crossed the center line. However, if Leonard saw Maddox approaching and did nothing to avoid the wreck, she might be legally responsible for damages. Emergency evasive maneuvers, like quick lane changes, are much easier to make in a four-wheel vehicle. So, given the available facts, the last clear chance doctrine would most likely apply in this crash.

Damages in a vehicle collision claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme situations.

Motorcycle wrecks usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.