A motorcycle accident can be a life-changing event. Motorcyclists sit atop the vehicle, removing the protection offered by the frame of a car when traveling and commuting. It makes for a thrilling ride but exposes the rider to the risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident.
As a result, motorcycle accidents tend to involve severe injuries to the rider and extensive damage to the motorbike. If the accident was not your fault, you have a right to claim compensation for financial-economic and non-economic losses from the liable party.
However, pursuing recovery of a settlement from the liable party is challenging. You need legal counsel guiding you through the process of lodging and navigating the claims process. If the responsible party refuses to comply, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to take them to court to enforce your right to compensation.
Contact our firm for a free consultation. We'll discuss the merits of your case. If we feel you deserve compensation, we'll start investigating the events surrounding the accident and advise you on your legal recourse against the liable party. Let us file and negotiate your claim and represent you in court if necessary. We'll ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The Golden State has the perfect conditions for riding motorcycles, especially on the warm summer afternoons. So, how do motorcycle accidents occur? Here are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents on Californian roads.
Head-on accidents with other vehicles are the most common motorcycle accident cases, accounting for more than half of all motorcycle fatalities in the state.
A driver may be distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or to other passengers, causing an accident because they fail to notice the motorcyclist. The driver may also be driving recklessly or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A driver turning into the street may underestimate the motorcyclist's speed when clearing the intersection, or they may fail to recognize the motorcyclist as their brain is trained to identify cars, not motorcycles on the road. As a result, they start their turn, and the motorcyclist hits the car head-on in the front or side of the car.
If you've ever driven somewhere, gotten out of the car, and wondered why you can't remember driving there, it's because you've trained your brain to drive on autopilot. This unconscious consciousness around driving happens to all drivers, reducing their situational awareness.
Unfortunately, many of these accidents are fatal and involve men, leaving the motorcyclist's family without a head of the household or a breadwinner. In these cases, the driver's insurance may provide coverage, which a lawyer can use to obtain compensation for the victim of the motorcycle accident or their family in the event of their passing.
Head-on collisions, which can be deadly, can result in significant compensation to the victim. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you receive the settlement you deserve by submitting a claim for economic and non-economic damages. Your attorney has the resources to take the case to trial if you don't get proper compensation from the liable party.
Even the most minor defects on the road may be enough to cause a motorcycle accident. Such defects include loose gravel, potholes, uneven surfaces, storm debris, grass clippings, rubble, wet pavements, or poorly-kept roadways.
A motorcycle accident caused by a road defect gives your motorcycle accident attorney a basis for filing a case. Your attorney will file a lawsuit against a California county, municipality, or city on your behalf for the government's failure to maintain the roads.
Your motorcycle could have defective parts causing mechanical failure, electrical issues, or a tire blowout, causing improper operation and an accident. In such cases, we help you file a claim against the motorcycle manufacturer or agent for damages, referred to as a 'product liability claim' in California law.
Cars taking a left-hand turn is another common reason for motorcycle accidents. This motorcycle accident usually occurs at intersections, with the vehicle turning to the left and the motorcyclist traveling straight through it, either passing the car or trying to overtake it.
Motorbikes are susceptible to this type of accident more than other vehicles because they are smaller and lighter, thus, less visible to the car's driver. In many cases, the driver making the turn will be found at fault because of their negligence in checking for oncoming traffic.
In simple terms, this means driving a vehicle, such as a truck while being impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point that the driver is incapable of driving the vehicle safely. Many motorcycle accidents in California happen because of DUIs.
The reason for the motorcycle crash is usually the impairment of the driver. Drunk drivers have reduced perception and slower reactions to their surroundings. For that reason, they are prone to missing motorcycles when checking their surroundings due to reduced situational awareness.
California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States. If a driver under the influence causes a motorcycle accident, the motorcyclist can file a motorcycle accident case for compensation and punitive damages. Contact our firm and speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer. We offer you a free consultation.
A motorcyclist may crash into stationary objects such as fire hydrants, trees, walls, letterboxes, roadside signs, or a moving vehicle, like a bus. In that event, the motorcycle crash usually occurs if the driver loses control due to a wet road or other environmental conditions. Many of these accidents are fatal, depending on the speed and circumstances.
Lane splitting is the activity of riding a motorbike in between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles going in the same direction. This act is prohibited in most states and may pose safety hazards. Some suggest that studies have shown lane splitting to be safe if done correctly.
However, when done incorrectly, lane splitting can cause a motorcycle accident due to the close proximity of the bike to other vehicles, limited driving space, and other vehicles not expecting motorcycles to split lanes.
In some cases, motorcycle splitting incorrectly or unsafely may cause a reporting officer at the scene of an accident to determine the motorcyclist to be at fault, depending on the circumstances.
The situations described above are California's most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents. However, other common causes of a motorcycle accident include the following.
- Impaired visibility due to weather conditions.
- Inexperienced biker or driver.
- Reckless driving.
- Poor communication among motorcycle riders.
- Failure to avoid a collision.
- Blind spots.
- Consciously looking out for larger vehicles only.
- Failure to wear protective gear
In the wake of the accident, the motorcyclist should complete the following tasks if they are uninjured or have minor injuries.
1. Escape Immediate Risk
The accident scene is dangerous. There could be other vehicles in a busy intersection or cars behind you on the highway. If you can move, get away from the bike and out of the road. Wait for assistance on the roadside.
2. Seek Medical Care
Go to the emergency room after the accident and see a doctor, even if you think you're uninjured. Some injuries, such as concussions and fractured bones, may not be obvious after the accident. However, if left untreated, they may worsen over time. Get the doctor to clear you, and your lawyer will add these costs to your accident claim.
If you have to go to court to pursue damages for ongoing medical costs, delays in treatment may hurt your case. The opposing attorney may argue your injuries and delayed treatment are unrelated to the accident and claim compensation, which is a common tactic.
3. Record and Document
You must document and keep records of everything related to the accident. This includes photographs of damaged property and injuries, medical records and bills, repair bills, and notes concerning wages lost during your recovery.
Your motorcycle accident attorney will use all of these records to calculate the settlement amount you're entitled to. Remember, your settlement might be reduced if you fail to keep a record of something important. So, ensure to keep track of all expenses relating to your accident.
Witness contact information and a copy of the police report can also be helpful to your case.
4. Hire a Lawyer and Inform Your Insurance Carrier
You need the best motorcycle accident lawyer by your side to ensure you receive maximum compensation and a fair settlement in your favor from the insurance company.
In California, the statute of limitation is usually two years. This means you must file a claim within two years of the accident date. However, certain exceptions may alter the statute of limitation. Consult with your motorcycle accident attorney regarding the statute of limitations and how it applies to your claim.
5. Recover Compensation
You have two types of claims to get compensated for your injuries, bills and lost income.
- Personal Injury Claim
This route involves pursuing the driver and the driver's insurance company before filing a lawsuit. After the investigation is complete, the insurance companies may offer you a settlement compensating you for your injuries, property damage, bills, and lost wages. You can negotiate with the company to increase your compensation at this stage.
You can also hire personal injury lawyers to help with the negotiations. A personal injury attorney will ensure that the insurance company is paying out the appropriate amount for all of your personal injury claims. Once you reach a financial settlement you are happy with, you will usually have to sign a release giving up your right to sue the other driver.
- Personal Injury Lawsuit
Suppose the personal injury claim does not materialize in your favor, and you fail to obtain an adequate settlement for your losses. In that case, you will have to file a personal injury suit instead. This is a civil legal action where you will be demanding compensation for your losses. In the lawsuit, the severity of your losses and injuries will be considered to calculate a reasonable settlement.
If you file a motorcycle accident lawsuit, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can make claims to recover several types of damages. Here are the damages you can make motorcycle accident claims for:
Your motorbike will more likely than not be damaged in the accident. In addition, any valuable property you had on you during the accident may also be damaged or broken. Some examples are watches, laptops, and gadgets. You can make motorcycle accident claims for these items at a fair market value.
You can recover compensation for the costly medical bills if the party is found at fault during the lawsuit. Motorcycle injury claims include past and future costs. Any long-term therapy or care will also be paid for by the insurer.
You need the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to receive full coverage of your medical costs. Your attorney builds a case of liability pointing to the other driver. Therefore, they are responsible for your medical expenses. Keep all your medical records on hand, and provide them to your injury lawyers for review.
Injuries caused by accidents often force motorcyclists to take time off of work to recover. While California has paid sick leave laws, in the case of prolonged absence from work, many injured bikers do not receive enough income to sustain their household expenses.
In many instances, injuries from an accident may render a biker unable to continue working at all. You can receive compensation for any lost income and any impact on your ability to perform your work at your place of employment as a result of an accident.
Severe injuries often cause a motorcycle accident victim to experience emotional trauma, physical pain, and suffering. Additionally, if the accident causes a disability, it may lead to additional emotional distress, discomfort, and inconvenience in the victim.
These are 'non-economic damages,' and placing a monetary figure on them is challenging. Your lawyer can claim compensation for non-economic damages. They will help you assess the value of these damages and gather evidence to support your case.
Motorcycle accident injuries range in severity depending on the circumstances surrounding the events of the accident. Here are the most common injuries experienced by riders in a motorcycle accident.
Broken bones are the most common motorcycle accident injuries a motorcyclist sustains, ranging from mild to deadly. They typically occur due to the rider impacting the road or another vehicle.
The motorcycle often tips over, landing on the motorcyclist's legs. Or, as a reflex, the motorcycle rider may put their hand out as they fall. This can affect their legs, arms, wrists, and shoulders, causing fractures or breaks. Neck injuries are also common.
This is a common injury suffered by motorcycle accident victims. If the rider comes off the bike, the inertia from the bike's speed at the time of the accident propels them onto the tarmac, resulting in the rider's skin scraping.
There are three degrees of road rash. The first being the mildest and the third being the worst. In a third-degree road rash, fatty tissue and muscles underneath the skin are exposed. Road rash is partially preventable by wearing appropriate protective gear when riding.
The compensation for scars from road rash varies by location on the body. A facial scar will usually be compensated more than scarring on the legs.
A motorcycle accident may cause severe damage to the muscular system of the injured motorcyclist. Since motorcyclists are exposed, they may impact stationary objects or twist the body, resulting in injuries to the upper and lower back and shoulders. These injuries could limit the rider's mobility, requiring extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation to recover.
Muscular damage can be debilitating if left untreated after a serious injury. Following a road accident, the rider must be thoroughly checked by a medical professional for any injuries. Often, muscular injuries require long-term treatments. If you can directly tie the cause of muscular injury to the accident, the liable party is accountable for paying your medical costs.
Children have a frail bodies compared to adults. They are at higher risk of experiencing serious injuries if involved in a motorcycle accident. In extreme cases, children and teens can face permanent disability or death.
According to California law, if you have a child on a motorbike, their legs must reach the footpegs while sitting on the seat. If the bike doesn't have footrests, you must have them installed. Several other laws govern and limit children from being passengers and riding motorcycles.
Traumatic brain injury can occur through direct trauma to the head during motorcycle crashes. Depending on the extent and severity of their injuries, motorcyclists may experience a wide range of outcomes after recovering from the accident. Some may not recover at all.
Serious brain damage can lead to neurological issues, permanent disability, coma, cognitive dysfunction, loss of senses, memory issues, cognitive dysfunction, and more. California law prohibits the operation of a motorcycle without a helmet. Wearing a helmet should be standard practice if you ride motorcycles to prevent such serious outcomes.
Many riders stick out their arms as a reflex to break their fall during an accident. Doing so can cause nerve damage to their limbs, shoulders, and upper body. The symptoms of this condition can remain dormant for days or weeks after the accident before suddenly manifesting in the victim.
Spinal injuries often cause partial or full paralysis in the victim. Full paralysis 'quadriplegia' involves paralysis of the arms and legs. Paralysis from spinal injury impacts the victim's quality of life, and it requires expensive prolonged treatment.
Without a proper insurance settlement, these costs can leave the victim and their family with significant expenses. This is why it is a must to have a motorcycle accident lawyer working on your case to claim the maximum compensation possible to cover your present and future treatment costs.
Some jurisdictions follow a legal theory called 'pure comparative negligence' regarding personal injury cases. Suppose the defense finds evidence that you, the victim of the crash, were also at fault for the accident. In that case, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility in the accident.
Since comparative negligence can reduce the amount of your financial payout, the defense will often try to demonstrate the motorcyclist's fault in the accident.
A common strategy for insurers is to point out the motorcyclist's negligence in failing to follow proper safety measures, such as by wearing a helmet (as California law prohibits riding a motorbike without a helmet).
Having a motorcycle accident lawyer by your side to represent you in court can make all the difference in maximizing your compensation, particularly where the insurance company suggests you were at fault for the accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a motorcycle accident, hire a motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney will consult with you on the merits of your case for free. If they feel you have a claim, they investigate the circumstances leading up to the accident and the accident itself.
Your lawyer will calculate the compensation for your damages, ensuring you receive a fair settlement. Insurance companies often try to low-ball compensation to motorcycle accident victims. However, you'll get the settlement you deserve with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer working on your case.