In Southern California, it is always a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride. Perhaps that explains why California is one of the states with the highest motorcycle fatality rates. Nationally, motorcyclists are nearly 30 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than car drivers on any given day. It takes mere seconds for a motorcyclist’s life to be changed forever by an accident, and motorcycle accidents that don’t end in death generally result in serious injuries, requiring significant recovery time and considerable expenses. Motorcycle riders follow the same general rules of the road as automobile drivers, and have the same rights as any other driver. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident due to the carelessness or negligence of an automobile driver, you may be entitled to compensation.
The personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm specialize in helping motorcycle riders injured in an accident to navigate through the insurance claims process and maximize their settlement. We have extensive knowledge and expertise in this particular area of law. Wilshire Law Firm attorneys have been aggressively advocating for the rights of Orange County motorcycle riders for over 11 years and we can help you too. If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the expert attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Orange County
There are myriad reasons why motorcycle crashes occur, but studies show that there are also some consistent patterns in motorcycle crashes. More often than not, motorcycle accidents happen between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle. Lane splitting or lane sharing is legal in California for motorcyclists, but many times distracted or negligent automobile drivers don’t see or properly heed to motorcycle drivers, and are responsible for collisions.
Irresponsible or reckless car driving includes texting and driving, driving while drowsy, or under the influence of mind-altering prescription or recreational drugs or alcohol, all of which can contribute to accidents with motorcyclists. Automobile drivers most commonly collide with motorcycle drivers when changing lanes, by unintentionally turning into motorcycles, or by hitting the motorcycle from behind because they were following too closely, or by pulling out in front of a motorcycle, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. Car drivers also collide with motorcyclists when they try to pass too closely, or do not properly yield the right of way to motorcyclists at intersections.
Dangerous road conditions, alcohol use, and driver inexperience or error also contribute significantly to the majority of motorcycle accidents.
Common Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Accidents in Orange County
Because motorcycles offer little to protect riders in the event of a collision, motorcyclists are often thrown from their bikes, causing serious injury. Head injuries are highly common in motorcycle accidents, and the leading cause of death. In California, the law requires all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear a helmet, and in particular, a helmet that is compliant with the standard set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In addition to head injuries, motorcyclists often injure their arms and legs, as motorcycles offer no protection from direct contact with the road. Along with broken bones, motorcyclists who have been involved in a collision often suffer from road rash – or burns and scraps to their skin caused by the impact and friction of the road from the accident. Not only can road rash be extremely painful, but often it can increase the chance of developing an infection. Spine, hip, and pelvis injuries are among the more serious motorcycle accident-related injuries, and even more significant and traumatic injuries can cause paralysis, disfigurement, and permanent disabilities.
Motorcyclists may want to consider investing in and wearing protective gear, as recommended by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident Injury
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, it is critical to get off of the roadway as soon as possible (if you are able) to avoid further incident or injuries. Call 9-1-1 if you or anyone involved in the accident is injured, if you are able. If not, signal to another motorist to call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if there doesn’t seem to be any serious injury, you may want to call for an ambulance, as many significant injuries may not be apparent right away. For insurance purpose, you should also be sure that you are seen by a medical professional as soon as possible, so it is in your best interest for several reasons not to refuse medical attention. In addition, you will likely want a police report, particularly as you begin to work through the legal process following the accident.
Once you are out of harm’s way, it is important to exchange contact and insurance information with anyone involved in the accident. You will also want to record, photograph, or write down anything you can about the scene of the accident, the vehicles involved, and the roads.
From a legal perspective, to ensure that you do not compromise your insurance claim or your potential lawsuit, it is important that you do not apologize to the other party, as that may be seen as an admission of guilt. It is also important that you do not discuss what happened or the specifics of how the accident occurred with the other party.
If the other party asks questions or wants you to talk to someone at their insurance company, or review and sign a settlement, do not do so until you have consulted with an attorney who has particular expertise in this area of law. It is advisable to only answer questions from the police until you have had the opportunity to consult with an attorney.
Determining Liability in Motorcycle Accidents
In motorcycle accidents, liability is determined by understanding which party has been negligent – or acted carelessly. An inattentive driver, or a driver who fails to act cautiously or follow the rules of the road can be liable if another party is injured because of their negligence. Negligent behavior includes things like speeding, neglecting to properly check side or rear view mirrors before changing lanes, failing to check your blind spot, and running a red light.
A motorcyclist in a collision with an automobile may be liable for the accident – particularly if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, were driving irresponsibility, or weren’t following the rules of the road.
However, if the motorcyclist is pursuing a claim or filing a lawsuit against the driver of an automobile, the following factors determine if the person driving the car is liable:
- The motorcyclist was driving cautiously.
- The car driver was driving irresponsibly.
- The car driver’s actions caused the motorcyclist’s injuries.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Motorcycle Accidents?
The legal issues involved in a motorcycle collision can be very complex. Not only can an experienced 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 requires a strong legal defense.
Compensation for Your Motorcycle Collision
Motorcycle accident victims who suffer injuries at the hands of a negligent automobile driver may be entitled to compensation, known as compensatory 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 monetary losses incurred by the victim because of the accident. In some cases, motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to compensation to make up for:
- Lost present and future income
- Medical bills
- Property damage
In addition, victims may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, which is considered to be a non-economic compensatory damage. In the case of a wrongful death, the victim’s family may receive compensation to pay for burial and funeral expenses. Family members may also be entitled to non-economic compensatory damages considered “loss of consortium” which provides accommodation for the absence of companionship and any income the victim was contributing to the relationship prior to his or her death.
Non-economic compensatory damages are subjective, meaning that there is no set monetary amount determined by the court to compensate for pain and suffering. Yet many times non-compensatory damages make up the largest part of a motorcycle accident victim’s settlement.
Free Motorcycle Accident Consultation in Orange
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 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 us at 1-844-290-3903 to discuss your individual matter – we offer free consultations and can help guide you through the legal process and understanding your rights.