Although California has favorable climates for a motorist, enjoying a motorcycle can be challenging because of various dangers on the road. Potholes, road constructions, congested roads, and aggressive drivers are major causes of accidents. If you have suffered a critical personal injury in a motorcycle accident, you need an urgent and skilled medical check-up and legal representation. You are entitled to compensation if another person’s negligence has caused you injury. If you are in the Los Angeles area, get in touch with us at the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney as soon as possible.
Risks Facing Motorcyclists
Even with helmets and other protective gear, motorcyclists are at high risk of getting hurt if they collide with a motor vehicle. The damage caused by a motorcycle accident can be fatal since motorists have no seat belts or vehicle frames. Some of the physical injuries can make you paralyzed, amputated, or disabled. Medical check-ups and treatment are costly, causing financial strain to the injured, and you might never be able to work.
Rules For Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists in LA are expected to follow certain rules. They include:
- General Driving Laws — The DMV states that right of way rules and discipline, and common sense enhance traffic safety. Research shows that a high percentage of accident injuries are caused by violating the right of way rules. The maximum speed on California highways is 65miles/hour, but you can drive up to 70 miles per hour on some indicated roads. However, according to Los Angeles basic speed laws, regardless of the posted speed limit, you cannot drive faster than is secure for bad weather conditions and poor road conditions.
- Lane Splitting Law — Lane splitting was legalized in California with a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. The law explained the policy of motorcyclists riding between two rows of moving or stopped vehicles and urged the California Highway Patrol to come up with further guidelines, such as a speed limit during the process.
- Carrying Passengers — There is no age restriction to passengers carried by a licensed motorcyclist. However, the passenger’s seat must be securely fastened behind the driver’s seat with footrests available for the passenger. Cyclists are also not allowed to carry more than one passenger.
- Getting a Motorcycle License — Before riding in California, all motorists must be licensed. Acquiring a learner's permit is the first step to get insured. Motorists below 21 years of age are supposed to get a six-month permit before applying for a motorcycle license. To get the permit, you are supposed to pass three tests. These are a vision test, knowledge test, and a skills exam. Before taking the skills and knowledge test, you should read a motorcycle handbook published in California. Also, riders below 21 years must complete a motorcycle safety course.
- Carrying Insurance — While riding in Los Angeles, you should carry a minimum amount of insurance. This includes $30k body injury for several victims, $15 for individual injury, and $5 for property destruction. If you are involved in an accident with no insurance at hand, your license may be suspended.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Here are the common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Unsafe lane changes — If a driver fails to check his/her signal or blind spot while changing lanes, they risk colliding with a motorcycle.
- Open car doors — Some fatal accidents occur when drivers open doors of parked cars in the way of an oncoming bike.
- Speeding- This is the most common cause of accidents. Overspeeding prevents a driver’s chance to see and react to other drivers on time to prevent an accident.
- Driving Under Influence — Driving when under drug or alcohol influence can cause a fatal accident and severe injuries. If a driver causes an accident under the influence of drugs, he is likely to face both criminal and civil liability.
- Sudden stops — Abrupt stop or following a vehicle closely can cause rear-end accidents and bash injuries.
- Inexperienced drivers — Inexperienced drivers are dangerous on the road as they can cause accidents and compromise other riders’ safety.
- Bad Road Conditions — Potholes, spilled liquid, or poor road maintenance of highways and subways can lead to accidents.
- Faulty Equipment — Faulty safety equipment can, at times, fail to protect you from accidents and injuries.
- Left-turn accidents — Making a left turn wrongly can cause accidents, leading to a rider’s death. Other risk factors include potholes, bad weather conditions, limited visibility, and precipitation.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident
Here are the common types of motorcycle accidents:
- Head-on collision — This is the most common type of accident involving a vehicle and motorbike and results in more than half of motorcyclists deaths while riding. In most cases, cars strike riders from the front. Unfortunately, most of these cases result in the rider's death.
- Left-Hand Turn Accident — In most motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist is hit by other vehicles under conditions such as:
- When attempting to overtake a vehicle
- When riding through an intersection
- When passing other vehicles
These conditions are mainly attributed to the motorcycle’s small size, vulnerable build, and ability to pull off unexpected maneuvers that surprise other motorists.
- Lane Splitting — Some accidents occur when motorcyclists unwarrantedly split lanes drive between lanes of slowly moving vehicles in traffic jams. Consequently, accidents occur in the following scenarios:
- The distance between the slow-moving vehicles in a jam closes unexpectedly
- Proximity to other vehicles in traffic
- Unpredictable stops and moves in traffic make it hard for other vehicles to anticipate motorcycles.
- Alcohol Use and Excessive Speed — About 50 % of motorcycle accidents can be attributed to excessive speeds and alcohol use. These statistics match those of other vehicles, but the injuries are always more serious, and damages are worse. Motorcycles provide little protection compared to other vehicles.
- Crushing into Fixed Objects — Statistics reveal that one in four motorcycle accident-related deaths involves crashing into fixed objects. The motorcyclist is always thrown off and may hit the fixed object in a bang. The fatalities are even worse if they are not wearing a helmet.
- Road Hazards — A significant share of motorcycle accidents involves road hazards. Potholes, uneven heights, collisions with unexpected objects, changing lanes are among the common accident-causing hazards.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Damages
Motorcycle Accident damages entail the legal ways through which an accident can hurt you or the loss you have to incur. These damages are of two types:
- Economical damages
- Non-economic damages
These are the types of damages that have economic repercussions that reflect negatively on bills or wages. Economic damages include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of your capacity to earn
- Damaged properties
- Unwarranted home modifications
- Medical Expenses — You are likely to incur a bulk of medical expenses, especially if you are critically injured in a motorcycle accident. Consequently, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to demand compensation if you are completely in the clear regarding accident responsibility. Recoverable medical expenses if you file a personal injury suit extend to whatever expenses you have already incurred and those that you will pay for in the future. This arrangement is critical if you have obtained fatal long-term injuries that come with unwarranted debilitations. If you suffer a broken pelvis, the medical expenses can be overwhelming. This may require several surgeries that could be expensive.
- Lost Wages — A motorcycle accident is bound to rob you of your daily wages and render you jobless. If you get critical injuries that may take time to heal, you may be prompted to leave your job. If your job involves a physical-demanding type of job such as construction, broken limbs will rule you out from your livelihood. If you are not responsible for the accident and somebody else is to blame for your loss of income in an accident, you deserve to get the appropriate compensation.
- Loss of your Capacity to Earn — Motorcycles do not have dependable protection like other vehicles. Consequently, the accidents can be quite severe, and the injuries fatal. If the injuries are debilitating for a long time, you might be unwarrantedly prevented from working like before. This way, a source of livelihood might be a loss. For instance, if you worked as a builder and incur serious back injuries in a motorcycle accident, or your limbs get paralyzed, you can no longer pursue the same line of work again. Consequently, if the accident resulted from somebody else negligence or irresponsibility, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and get compensated accordingly.
- Damaged Properties — You might escape unhurt from a motorcycle accident, but your motorcycle might not. Your motorcycle or gear could be damaged during the accident. Depending on the damages you incurred, you can choose to legally get compensated if you were not responsible for the accident.
- Unwarranted Home Modifications — After involvement in a motorcycle accident, you might be prompted to make some home modifications, especially if you obtained disabling injuries. Such adjustments come in handy to help you recover or adapt depending on the fatality of the injuries. If you are paralyzed, there is a need to make the necessary adjustments to your home. You could install a wheelchair ramp, add support bars in the washrooms, and in serious cases, move out if you were living in a rented apartment. The costs of these changes might be quite expensive hence the need to file a personal injury suit if you were a victim of somebody else negligence. The compensation could help to take care of these damages.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic ones cannot be monetized or weighed against monetary value. This type of damages cannot be fixed by getting payments. Even worse, they are more haunting than economic types. They include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and Suffering — Pain and suffering is the most common type of non-economic damages that an irresponsible driver may put you through. While there might be no monetary value attached to this, you can still demand something for the troubles that you have been put through. Compensation would help alleviate the pain you have incurred through injuries. The legal compensation that comes with these damages is meant to compensate for the feeling of pain and the loss of life enjoyments. For example, if you suffer a broken pelvis in a motorcycle accident, the injury is very painful. Even worse, if it is critically broken, participation in sporting activities may be halted.
- Emotional Distress — Motorcycle accident victims are subject to trauma. The accident events can be quite depressing for the individual to the point of needing psychological help. Memories of the accident can be disturbing, sleep-denying, and highly stressful. The accidents could also result in ugly scars and disfigurements that may kill an individual’s esteem. The sight of such injuries contributes significantly to emotional stress. The level of emotional distress that a motorcycle accident can cause a victim cannot be considered trivial. The accident could have been horrific with scars, and even amputated body parts can be ugly of their misery. Consequently, you deserve compensation for emotional distress.
- Loss of Consortium — Motorcyclists have loved ones who could be depending on them financially and emotionally. In case of an accident, this will affect them and cause their loved ones pain, stress, and uncertainty. If a motorcyclist worked as a construction worker, they might no longer work if the injuries are fatal. If they had a family that entirely depended on them, they would be affected negatively. Their lives will be disoriented, and the spouses or partners might be forced to take up responsibilities. These unwarranted and unappealing changes might not have happened if somebody was responsible enough on the road. If you are not responsible for the life-changing accident, it is imperative to seek compensation. This will help take care of the members of the family.
Motorcycle Accidents Claims
After involvement in a motorcycle accident, you might want to get your insurance claims if you suffered injuries or your motorcycle gets damaged. However, this can be quite a hustle since the whole endeavor demands a lot from you to prove your claim. As such, it is imperative to understand how this works in a bid to get full compensation. Here is everything you need to know to maneuver these delicate grounds:
- Personal Injury Vs. Property Damage Claims — If you are involved in an accident on your own, you can submit a claim to your insurance company. However, if the accident involved another driver, you can make a claim against their insurance company. You can make either a personal injury claim or a property damage claim.
- Personal Injury Claim — This entails claims for physical injuries obtained in a motorcycle accident involving another driver. This would include the claims of a passenger if you had one during the accident.
- Property Damage Claim — This covers the damages incurred by your motorcycle after an accident. If you have collision insurance coverage and property damage but no physical injuries, your claims will be to your insurance provider. However, if you suffer both physical injuries and property damage, you will pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance entity. For the whole process to be successful, you have to prove that the other driver is responsible for the accident and your damages. This means compiling evidence and the costs at hand.
Damages you Can Add to Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Filing a property claim without injuries means you can be compensated for:
- The bike’s value during the accident, which is the prices you would have sold the motorcycle for before the accident
- The motorcycle’s repair costs
If you are filing claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance entity, you can get the full value for your bike. If you are the at-fault driver, your insurer’s insurance policy will determine how much you get.
Full Vs. Partial Compensation
The type of compensation you get is highly dependent on the state in which the accident occurred. If you are not at fault for the accident in California, you can be compensated for all the accident costs. However, if you are the at-fault driver, things can be quite complicated. In some instances, you can even be compensated based on your faults.
Getting Ready to Make a Claim
Making a claim is quite an engaging process that could consume time and resources. However, with the right guidance, the process can be flawless. Here are the steps for the whole process:
- Reporting the Accident — After being involved in a motorcycle accident, it is imperative to contact the relevant authorities. Call the police and let them know what happened at the scene. The police will always ask questions but do not admit any blame.
- Take Pictures — Take pictures of the accident scene, the damages incurred by your motorcycle, and any injuries you or your passenger might have suffered.
- Information Exchange — Ask for the other victim’s information. This should include their address, phone number, name, and license number. Note down the vehicle’s model, make, and license plate number.
- Engage Witnesses — If anybody witnessed the accident, politely ask for their name and contact information. Your attorney could need their testimony.
- Visit a Certified Medical Entity — In case of any critical injuries, call 911 for emergency medical services. It is also important that you visit a doctor for more check-ups even if you are feeling okay. This comes in handy to help identify concealed injuries that could haunt you in the future. Be open to the doctor and let them know if you are feeling any pain, no matter how minor. Engaging a doctor helps to keep the medical records for the personal injury claims.
- Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim — After collecting the relevant documentation and records, you can then file your claim. For property damage claims against your insurance provider, you have to call your agent to get patched through to the claims adjuster. You will be required to provide proof of estimated repair costs and the value of your motorcycle.
If you are filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, you will need to be well prepared with every record in order. The other entity might play dirty by attempting to blame you, settle on a low claim that is below the value of your damages, or drag negotiations to delay the settlement. Consequently, it is important to seek legal advice before engaging another driver’s insurance service provider. Do not accept offers or give statements without legal counsel. The insurance entity will look for ways to trap you in a bid to deny you the negotiation power you rightfully have as the offended party.
- Statute of Limitations — You have up to two years to file a personal injury claim in California since the day the accident happened. This might appear like a lot of time, but in the legal world, time flies. You will need to document any costs incurred from the accident and compile evidence to show that:
- The accident actually happened
- You are not at fault for the accident
- The damages you are seeking compensation for were caused by the accident
You can file the claim on your own if you have the relevant know-how. However, it is better to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. This increases the chances of getting what you rightfully deserve. Without experience, especially when coming up against the at-fault driver's insurance provider, the experience can be a nightmare. A good attorney knows all the loopholes that an entity may seek to exploit and counter them accordingly.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Motorcycle accidents are some of the most common accidents that we experience daily. Most of these accidents involve a crash with cars and other huge vehicles. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are likely to incur severe injuries that could include death in case of an accident. That’s why we invite you to hire a personal injury attorney like the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney if you are involved in an accident. We will do everything possible to make the process of seeking compensation smooth for you as you focus on recovering from your injuries. Please call us at 424-237-3600.