A network of freeways and interstates serve as both the lifeblood of Orange County and, unfortunately, the backdrop for numerous motorcycle accidents. From the face-paced lanes of I-5 and I-405 to the scenic routes along the Pacific Coast Highway, riders cover a diverse landscape that demands heightened vigilance. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in Southern California, you need an Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer who understands the complexities of these accidents, someone who can guide you through the legal process to get you the compensation you need for your injuries and other losses.
Whether you’re dealing with a collision on the I-405 or a scenic road incident, the personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for your free case consultation and to hear how we can help you.
Why Choose Wilshire Law Firm for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm have helped motorcycle riders injured in an accident to navigate through the insurance claims process and maximize their settlement. We have extensive knowledge in this particular area of law.
Our Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys have been aggressively advocating for the rights of motorcycle riders for over 15 years and we can help you too. If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at Wilshire Law Firm for a free consultation.
Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Case?
As with any personal injury claim, to bring a motorcycle accident injury claim, you generally need to show that another party’s negligence caused your injuries. To prove negligence, four key elements must typically be demonstrated:
1. Duty of Care:
The first element involves showing that the defendant (the party being accused of negligence) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party). In the context of a motorcycle accident, this often means demonstrating that the defendant had a responsibility to operate their vehicle safely and in accordance with traffic laws.
2. Breach of Duty:
The plaintiff must then establish that the defendant breached the duty of care. This involves showing that the defendant failed to act reasonably or did something that a reasonably prudent person would not have done under similar circumstances. In a motorcycle accident case, this could include actions like reckless driving, failure to yield, or violating traffic laws.
Causation involves proving that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the injuries would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s negligent actions. This element is often divided into two parts: cause in fact (the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the harm) and proximate cause (the harm was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions).
The final element is establishing that the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Damages can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Without measurable damages, there may not be a basis for a legal claim.
Successfully proving all four elements of negligence strengthens a motorcycle accident claim and increases the likelihood of obtaining compensation for the injured party. It’s essential to gather evidence, such as witness statements, accident reports, medical records, and other relevant documentation, to support each element of the negligence claim.
What Damages Can a Motorcycle Accident Victim Recover?
Motorcycle accident victims who suffer injuries at the hands of a negligent automobile driver may be entitled to compensation, known as damages. How much money the victim receives depends on many factors, including the severity of the injuries and the degree to which the other party was found to be liable. Damages are intended to cover losses incurred by the victim because of the accident. Motorcycle accident damages available to injured victims in Orange County may include:
- Medical Expenses: This includes the costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and any other necessary medical care related to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Lost Earnings: If the accident results in the victim being unable to work, they may be entitled to compensation for the income lost during the recovery period. This includes wages, salary, bonuses, and other forms of income that would have been earned if not for the accident.
- Property Damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of the motorcycle and any other personal property that was damaged in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall suffering experienced as a result of the injuries.
- Permanent Disability or Disfigurement: Compensation for long-term or permanent injuries that result in a disability or disfigurement, affecting the victim’s quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: In some cases, a spouse or family member may be able to recover damages for the loss of companionship, support, and services due to the injuries suffered by the victim.
To pursue a claim for damages, it’s advisable for motorcycle accident victims to consult with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help assess the specific circumstances of the case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the damages suffered.
Who May be Held Liable in Motorcycle Accidents?
Liability in a motorcycle accident can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. Here are some parties that may be held liable in a motorcycle accident:
If another driver’s negligence or reckless behavior caused the accident, they may be held liable. This could include actions such as speeding, failure to yield, distracted driving, or driving under the influence.
Vehicle Manufacturer or Parts Manufacturer
In some cases, a defect in the motorcycle or its parts may lead to an accident. If the defect is due to a manufacturing error or design flaw, the manufacturer could be held liable.
Poor road conditions, lack of proper signage, or other infrastructure issues may contribute to a motorcycle accident. In such cases, the government entity responsible for road maintenance might be held liable.
If the accident occurred due to a hazard on someone’s property, such as a poorly maintained road or a hazardous obstacle, the property owner might be held liable.
If the person at fault was operating a vehicle as part of their job, their employer could be held vicariously liable under certain circumstances.
Disputes over liability and compensation often involve insurance companies. If the at-fault party is insured, their insurance company may be responsible for covering damages.
In some cases, liability may extend to third parties, such as those who served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who later caused an accident (dram shop liability).
What if I’m Partly to Blame for My Motorcycle Crash?
Comparative negligence is a legal principle some states, including California, use in personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, to determine the degree of fault of each party involved. Under a comparative negligence system, the total damages awarded to the injured party are reduced in proportion to their own degree of fault. This system allows for a fair allocation of responsibility based on the specific facts of each case.
California follows a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that even if a plaintiff is primarily responsible for an accident, they can still recover damages, although the amount awarded will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Here’s how California’s pure comparative negligence standard works in a motorcycle accident claim:
- Assessment of Fault: The court or jury assesses the degree of fault for each party involved in the accident, including the injured motorcyclist. This assessment is usually expressed as a percentage.
- Calculation of Damages: The total damages that the injured party would have been entitled to receive if they were not at fault are calculated. This includes economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering).
- Application of Comparative Negligence: The total damages are then reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the injured party. For example, if the motorcyclist is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, they can still recover 80% of the total damages. For example, if your total damages in a motorcycle crash were assessed at $100,000, but the court found you to be 20% at fault, then you would only receive $80,000 in damages (80% or $100,000).
In California, even if the injured party is found to be 99% at fault, they can still recover 1% of the total damages. This is a distinguishing feature of the “pure” comparative negligence standard in California. It emphasizes that even if an injured party contributed to the accident, they should not be entirely barred from seeking compensation.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Orange County motorcycle accidents can be particularly dangerous due to a combination of factors. Unlike car drivers who are enclosed in a metal frame, motorcyclists are more exposed. They don’t have the benefit of airbags, seat belts, or the structural protection that cars provide. They also don’t have crumple zones to absorb the energy of a motor vehicle collision. This means that the impact forces are more directly transferred to the rider, increasing the risk of injury. In an accident, riders are also more likely to be thrown from their motorcycles. This can lead to direct impact with the road, obstacles, or other vehicles, increasing the risk of serious injuries.
Some common motorcycle injuries include:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Burn injuries
- Facial injuries
- Crush injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Severe bruising
Do I need a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
The legal issues involved in a motorcycle collision can be very complex. Not only can an experienced motorcycle accident attorney help you understand the issues involved, but can also expertly advocate on your behalf. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are often stereotyped as reckless and dangerous drivers, which can often make a courtroom battle more difficult and require a strong legal defense.
An Orange County motorcycle accident attorney can assist with your case in the following ways:
- Offer guidance on the legal aspects of your motorcycle accident case, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities.
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
- Determine all liable parties.
- Handle all communications with the insurance companies.
- Help gather and organize medical records and other documentation to strengthen your case.
- Negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies to reach a fair settlement.
- File a motorcycle accident lawsuit in California civil court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
- Provide peace of mind by handling your motorcycle accident case so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact the Orange County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm Today
If you or a family member have been in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, you will want an expert by your side. The attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm are among the best in the country in working with insurance companies and representing parties in court to ensure that they receive all of the compensation they are entitled to and deserve.
Call our Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys at 1-844-290-3903 to discuss your case — we offer free consultations and can help guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights.