In California, motorcycle accidents are common collisions, and motorcyclists suffer severe injuries every year. In a motorcycle accident, a car may cause the motorcycle to flip and throw the motorcyclist forward. It is always advisable for the drivers driving behind motorcyclists to leave enough space between them and motorcycles. The precaution is essential in the event a motorcyclist brakes suddenly for any reason. However, drivers do the opposite by driving closely behind the motorcyclists. As a motorcyclist, if you suffer severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
What are the Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California?
One standard variable that fundamentally causes motorcycle accidents is their size compared to cars. Most vehicle drivers are rarely aware of the presence of motorcycles on the roads. Other leading causes of these accidents are:
Left-Hand Turns in Front of Bikes
This happens around and at intersections on busy urban roads with numerous travel and middle turn lanes in California. A car driver may continue or initiate a left turn in front of oncoming vehicles and fail to see a motorcyclist, causing a collision. The California VC 21801 demands that car drivers make a left turn to maintain a right of way to the motorcyclists and other road users, and only continue or start turning when there is enough distance between them and motorcyclists.
Cars Pulling Out of Parking Lots or Side Streets
In California, this happens when a car driver fails to notice an oncoming motorcycle, and he or she pulls in front of the motorcyclist, causing an accident. The California VC 21804 demands that drivers who are entering the main road should maintain a right of way to oncoming vehicles, and only enter if they are sure it is safe.
A car driver could hit a motorcyclist if he or she engages in distracted driving. Distracted driving means a driver was eating or texting on the phone while driving, which could take away his or her attention from the road. The accident could be worse if distracted driving involves an inexperienced driver.
A car driver moving at a very high speed could hit a motorcyclist. It is hard for a driver to notice a motorcyclist and control the car when at high speed. A driver would not be able to stop promptly and prevent an accident in case of an emergency. Often, over speeding causes a significant impact and damages when an accident happens. It is easy for a driver to control a vehicle at a slow speed, and they can avoid hitting a motorcyclist.
Careless Opening of Car Doors
If a car driver opens the door of a car in the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, he or she could cause a motorcycle accident. If the driver opens the door without a motorcyclist noticing, the rider could bump on the door, causing injuries. Often, these forms of motorcycle accidents happen in California.
If a car driver stops abruptly without alerting the oncoming motorcyclist, a motorcycle accident could happen. An oncoming motorcyclist could crash at the back of the car if the driver makes an abrupt stop. A motorcyclist could die or suffer severe injuries in this form of impact.
A car driver driving under alcohol or drug influence cannot exercise the duty of care to other road users. A driver driving under alcohol or drug influence can easily cause a motorcycle accident than a sober driver. This is because alcohol or drugs affect the driver's visibility, and he or she may not be able to see a motorcyclist on the road. It is unlawful in California for a driver to drive with their blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.08%.
What are the Common Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident?
Often, when a motorcycle accident occurs, you may suffer several injuries. These injuries include:
Brain injuries lead to life-altering consequences like emotional damage, physical damage, physiological damage, and impairment of certain functions. The common side effect of a brain injury is cognitive processes problems. If you suffer brain injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may quickly become confused, think slowly, and frequently speak slowly. You may also suffer behavioral and mood changes. Most of the time, brain systems in charge of social-emotional characteristics are affected, which significantly alters a person's personality. Some victims could withdraw from their previous social circles, be more uninhibited, more irritable, or have emotional swings.
Other brain injury consequences include ringing in the ears, problems with balance, changes in the senses, and even vision loss. A small percent of the victims could experience seizures from time to time.
The legs are often the first body parts that encounter the ground in a motorcycle accident. In most motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists often suffer lower limb injuries. Some of the injuries might be bruises, cuts, sprains, or muscle injuries. At times, feet injuries lead to long-lasting consequences like permanent disability. When a car knocks down a motorcyclist, the rider could face injuries like shattered or broken bones on your feet and fractured knees. Therefore, wearing leather clothing and kneepads could cushion you from severe feet injuries due to a motorcycle accident.
When a car hits a motorcyclist, blunt-force trauma could lead to internal bleeding and internal organ damage. The motorcyclist could also suffer penetration trauma when broken glasses from the car penetrate his or her skin. A blunt-force trauma arises from a blow of an object that does not break your skin.
Spinal Cord Paralysis
A motorcyclist could suffer complete or partial paralysis if the spinal cord or the brain is severely injured in a motorcycle accident. The paralysis level will depend on the severity of the injuries and the spinal cord's parts affected. If specific parts of the brain or the spinal cord are severely injured, the motorcyclist could be paralyzed. If the motorcyclist lands on a large and fixed object during a motorcycle accident, they could suffer fatal spine injuries.
A motorcyclist might be ejected above the handlebars and falls on the pavement when a car hits him or her. When a motorcyclist slides on the road's surface or rough pavement, he or she could suffer a road rash. A road rash injury happens when a motorcyclist's bare skin encounters the road surface at a high pace or speed. This happens if a motorcyclist wears thin clothes, and during a motorcycle accident, the pavement tears off his or her clothes, exposing the skin.
A road rash could cause your skin irritations, infections, or nerve damage. Therefore, you should never underestimate a road rash as a scrape, minor cut, or bruise. If you suffer a road rash from a motorcycle accident, seek the treatment immediately from a nearby medical facility to avoid more complications.
You may only suffer minor road rash accident injuries if you wear leather or denim motorcycle suits. It is also essential that you wear motorcycle boots. Wearing gloves could also protect your hands from impacts and abrasions. They will offer you a good grip while operating a bike and cushion you from palm injuries in case of a motorcycle accident.
A healthy human being has more than 600 muscles on his or her body. In case of a motorcycle accident, any of these muscles could get damaged. You may suffer simple sprains, large muscle tears, or catastrophic muscle damage if you are a hard rider. It is also important to note that if you suffer muscle injuries while young, you could recover quickly compared to older people who take a longer time.
Even if helmets are meant to cushion the top of a motorcyclist's head, it may also cushion you from sustaining face injuries. Unfortunately, a helmet may not cushion some parts of the jaws and face. You could therefore suffer some bruises and cuts on your face. Many motorcyclists in California suffer injuries in the face when cars hit them.
A motorcyclist could suffer fatal back injuries even if the car hits a motorcyclist at a low speed. You could suffer compression on the spine or the discs in the lower spinal column because of the impact. The pressure could be exerted on your vertebrae because of the impact causing soreness or lower back pains.
When a motorcycle accident happens, what comes in your mind is to shield yourself with the arms. This could cause you injuries on your arms, known as a biker's arm. Other injuries like muscle injuries, tendon injuries, broken bones, and bruises could lead to a biker's arm.
Does Motorcycle Safety Gear Reduce Risk of Death and Injury in a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcyclist is at a significant risk of sustaining severe injuries or even death when a car hits him or her. Safety gear helps to reduce the risks and severity of the injuries. Since the motorcyclist and his or her passenger are not protected from the environment, they are likely to suffer severe motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle helmets are essential for motorcyclists because they contain Styrofoam layers that cushion riders' heads from the accident's forces. In the United States, the European Standard Helmets are recommended. They are designed to counter more significant accident impacts and lesser multiple impacts.
Quality gloves protect your hands from the impacts and abrasions. They have retention straps securing them firmly around your wrists. They also have armor for your palms and back of your hands. Gloves are also insulated and waterproof to cushion your hands from rain and wind.
Motorcycle boots cushion your ankles and feet from fractures, sprains, and crushing injuries. Quality motorcycle boots cover your ankles while offering good support and providing a good grip.
Motorcycle suits, pants, and jackets are essential because they cushion your body from fractures and severe abrasions. In California, motorcycle suits made of materials like Gore-Tex and Cardura 1000D are recommended. The materials can cushion your body from several crashes, at the same time keeping you dry and warm in the rain. Body armors are also essential as they protect your pelvis, ribcage hips, heart, and lungs. They also cushion your shoulders, elbows, and legs. Therefore, motorcycle safety gear is essential and should not be overlooked
Who is at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
Often, motorcycle accidents happen in California because of a collision with cars. The car driver could be liable for a motorcycle accident if it happens because of his or her negligence. A motorcycle rider could also be responsible for the accident if it happens because of his or her negligence. In most cases, a high degree of force is involved in motorcycle accidents. If a motorcyclist does not wear protective gear, he or she could die or suffer severe injuries. At times, a car driver may not have insurance or financial capacity to compensate the motorcyclist for the injuries sustained. The car driver's insurance may not manage to compensate the family if the motorcyclist dies in the accident.
For you to receive substantial compensation, you should seek help from a personal injury attorney to look into your case and identify liable parties. Your attorney could analyze a lawsuit on your behalf and help identify a responsible party. Your attorney will consider all potential parties liable and identify who is to compensate you for your injuries. When a motorcycle accident happens, the following parties could be liable:
Car or Motorcycle Mechanic
A motorcycle accident may happen because of poor maintenance and repair of the car or motorcycle. In California, some mechanics take contracts to maintain and repair certain cars and motorcycles. In case of a motorcycle accident, the mechanic responsible for repairing a car or a motorcycle involved in the accident could be liable.
At times, a motorcyclist could be responsible for a motorcycle accident. A motorcyclist could be responsible for the accident if he or she rides the motorcycle under alcohol or drug influence. If a motorcyclist engages in reckless behavior while riding, they may also be responsible for the accident.
Manufacturer of the Motorcycle, Car, or Helmet
Often, the defects on the motorcycle could cause a motorcycle accident. When this happens, the motorcycle manufacturer or seller could be liable for the accident. The manufacturing company or seller could also be responsible if a defective car causes a motorcycle accident. If you sustain severe injuries on the head or face because of a defective helmet, the helmet manufacturer could be partly liable for your injuries.
Private Road Contractors and Government Agencies
Poor road conditions, like the presence of potholes and poor design, could always cause motorcycle accidents. The private or public roads that are in poor condition could cause motorcycle accidents. Poor road designs create inadequate signals and signs, improper lighting, and insufficient visibility that easily accelerate motorcycle accidents. Construction sites that are poorly marked could also cause accidents. In this circumstance, the private road contractors and government agencies responsible for road maintenance could be liable for the accidents.
Car Driver's Employer
Apart from the car driver, their employer could be a potential liability in a motorcycle accident. The employer could be responsible if his or her taxi hits a motorcyclist. In this situation, the driver's negligence could be blamed on his or her employer.
On some rare occasions, a motorcycle passenger could be responsible for the accident. You could blame your passenger for his or her negligence if your passenger engages in unreasonable conduct while on the bike and ends up causing an accident.
If more than one party is responsible for your motorcycle accident, each party could be liable for your losses, including lost wages and medical expenses.
What should you do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident in California, you should take certain steps. The steps you take will help you seek compensation after the accident. Some of the crucial steps you should take are:
Call the Police
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, you should call the police. The police will come up with a detailed report on what caused the accident, which could also be important in the future while seeking compensation. The police will also investigate the scene of an accident to identify the liable party. The police report will give the facts that prove your injuries, including your clothing damage, medical costs, and motorcycle damage. Writing the police officer's badge numbers and names will help your attorney get important information and facilitate your case follow-up.
Go to a Safe Place
When a car hits you from behind, you might collide with other vehicles in front due to the confusion arising from the accident. You and your motorcycle could also roll or flip on the road, which could make your injuries worse. You should move to safety, if you can move, particularly on the roadside. Since your motorcycle wreckage could serve as reliable evidence for the police to come, you should not move it.
Talk to Witnesses
Eyewitnesses are essential after your involvement in a motorcycle accident because they could support your case when you take legal action. Therefore, talking to the people gathered at the scene of an accident is essential. You should take the witnesses' contacts before they leave the scene because you may not trace them in the future once people go.
Take the Photographs
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, you may not be able to record the accident scene, especially if you have suffered severe injuries. If you have a camera or a camera phone, you should take some pictures or request a witness to do so on your behalf if you are severely injured. Take the photos of the car involved and the wreckage of your motorcycle. Take the photos of your injuries and bruises, and do not forget to write the car's number plate involved in the accident.
You should seek medication promptly if you suffer severe injuries after a motorcycle accident. You could request the witnesses at the accident scene to call an ambulance for you. However, before you leave the accident scene, remember to leave behind your contact information with the witnesses. You should also consider taking the contacts of other people involved in the accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, you should not admit fault or blame even if you are partially liable. Avoid apologizing to the car driver involved in the accident as well. Apologizing to the car driver could make them believe that you are responsible for the accident. The best way is to contact your attorney, who will deal with the liable party and the party's insurer.
Which Damages are Available after a Motorcycle Accident?
In a motorcycle accident, various damages occur, ranging from personal injury to property damages. You may receive compensation depending on the facts of your case and the extent or the level of your injuries. The damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Emotional distress
Other damages available are:
Under California law, the court may award you with punitive damages after a motorcycle accident if there is proof that the liable party's conduct was despicable, fraudulent, or malicious. The court awards punitive damages purposely to punish and deter the liable party from repeating the crime. The number of punitive damages varies depending on the heinousness of the offense. The damages will also be awarded depending on the liable party's economic status and his or her misconduct.
The surviving child, grandchildren, registered domestic partner, or spouse could seek compensation for wrongful death if a motorcyclist dies due to severe injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. Wrongful death compensation could include lost wages, loss of consortium, medical expenses, emotional distress, and burial expenses.
Find a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you sustain severe injuries in a motorcycle crash, you should contact an attorney who can thoroughly examine your case. Through your attorney, you can receive the compensation you deserve. The Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney has experienced attorneys who can help you submit an injury claim. Contact us at 424-237-3600 and speak to one of our attorneys.