Because motorcycles do not provide protection for the rider, motorcycle injury victims suffer worse injuries and die 27% more often than car passengers. Motorcycles with higher 1000+ cc engine sizes, older riders, and not wearing helmets are associated with the most severe injuries and fatalities.
A motorcycle injury lawyer is always near you and understands how various injuries will affect your future quality of life and the types of medical expenses they will cause. Settling a motorcycle accident claim in California without an accident attorney’s advice can cost you thousands and leave you with fewer resources than you need for ongoing care.
Most motorcycle accidents in California are caused by another vehicle failing to give the motorcycle the right of way or not leaving enough space to stop. Even accidents that do not involve another driver could be attributed to someone else if potholes or ridges made the roadway unsafe.
Riders know the risk of injury and motorcycle accident fatalities is much higher on a motorcycle than in a car, but knowing the risks does not mean someone who causes a motorcycle injury is absolved of their responsibility to make restitution for their lost wages, pay for your medical care, or compensate you for permanent injuries.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS IN CALIFORNIA?
1. MOTORCYCLE PRODUCT LIABILITY
2. CONSTRUCTION ZONE
3. UNINSURED MOTORIST ACCIDENT
4. T-BONE ACCIDENT
5. REAR END ACCIDENT
6. LEFT-HAND TURN ACCIDENTS
7. DANGEROUS ROADS ACCIDENTS
8. HEAD ON COLLISION
9. HIT-AND-RUN ACCIDENT
10. RECKLESS DRIVING ACCIDENTS
11. OPEN CAR DOOR ACCIDENTS
12. DUI ACCIDENTS (AlCOHOL AND DRUGS)
DOES NOT WEARING A HELMET AFFECT A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Since California requires you to wear a helmet, not wearing one can affect your claim. If your injuries are to your head, the reduction in compensation can be substantial because of not wearing a helmet. If your injuries are to the chest, arms, or legs, not wearing a helmet will not be as much of an issue because the helmet would not have made a difference in the injuries.
Even while wearing helmets and protective equipment, a motorcycle rider is at a higher risk of suffering various injuries, including:
2. Road rash
3. Eye injuries
4. Concussion Head injuries
5. Broken bones
6. Brain damage
7. Nerve damage
8. Joint breakage
9. Loss of limb(s)
10. Hearing damage
11. Internal bleeding
12. Facial disfigurement
13. Neck and spinal cord injuries
WHAT IF I WAS PARTLY AT FAULT FOR THE ACCIDENT?
California is a comparative fault state. That means that someone who is partially at fault for an accident cannot recover more than the other person’s share of damages. If you are determined to be 10% at fault, then the other person will only be responsible for 90% of the damages.
HOW DO I HANDLE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES?
Insurance companies often push for quick settlements because settling before the injured person knows the long-term consequences can cost less. Leave the negotiations with insurers to an attorney and avoid high-pressure early settlements. A qualified motorcycle accident attorney will recognize poor settlement offers that may seem acceptable to an accident victim who is not represented by a personal injury attorney.
PROVING LIABILITY AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
A negligent party will usually be held liable for any injuries caused to a motorcycle rider. In order for an aggrieved motorcycle accident victim to recover damages, they must show that the driver was negligent. This includes proving that:
1. The driver owed the motorcyclist a duty of care
2. The driver breached his or her duty of care through negligence
3. The driver’s negligent actions were the significant factor that caused the motorcyclist’s injuries
CAN I SUE AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
Yes. However, there will be limitations depending on whether or not you were insured. For the most part though, the individual who was responsible for causing your motorcycle accident may be liable for your injuries. In order to recover damages, you must file a personal injury claim with an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, please talk with a motorcycle accident attorney even before you talk to the other driver’s insurance provider. Auto insurance companies are not on your side. They want to settle your claim for as little as possible and will pressure you into settling quickly. A motorcycle accident attorney can deal with the insurance companies so that you can focus on your health and wellbeing.
CAN I SUE ON BEHALF OF A SPOUSE WHO WAS KILLED?
As the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner of someone who was killed after a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. The family members who are entitled to file a wrongful death claim include:
- The surviving spouse
- The decedent’s children
- The surviving domestic partner
- The decedent’s grandchildren, if the children are deceased
- Anyone entitled to the decedent’s property according to California intestate succession laws
Recoverable damages after a wrongful death lawsuit could include:
- Burial costs
- Funeral costs
- Financial earnings the decedent would have earned had they survived
- Compensation for the loss of support and companionship the decedent would have provided