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Motorcyclists: Don't ignore your legal options after a crash

Motorcyclists are typically not people who shy away from a little risk. In fact, if you are a rider, chances are you appreciate a little bit of a thrill and danger. However, this excitement-seeking nature does not mean that a person is reckless or immune to injuries suffered in an accident.

Sadly, too many riders think they are expected to shrug off injuries suffered in an accident because they feel like they aren't severe or because they feel partly responsible for a crash. If you are tempted to do this, understand that your injuries can be more serious than you think, and Pennsylvania laws allow people to file a legal claim even if they are partly to blame for a crash.

Crash injuries can be serious

As a motorcyclist, you can suffer crushing injuries, burns, broken bones, spinal cord and brain trauma, as well as road rash in any accident. Some of these injuries are immediate and acute; others get worse over time. Some are easy to treat; others can be chronic or impossible to treat. The fact is, many people don't realize the true extent of their injuries -- or the demands of recovery -- for several weeks or months after an accident.

Being negligent doesn't bar you from filing a legal claim

In this state, we observe contributory negligence laws. This means that you can file a lawsuit against another party, as long as you were not more negligent than the other party was. So, even if you are 49 percent to blame for an accident, you can still seek damages from the party who is 51 percent to blame. Note, however, that any damages awarded to you will be decreased in proportion to your liability.

Don't minimize your injuries, or your legal options

Downplaying your injuries or your rights as a victim can be a costly mistake that only hurts you and your family. Instead of doing this, you would be wise to seek treatment for your injuries, no matter how minor they may seem, and talk to an attorney about your legal options for compensation.

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