Motorcycle riding should be fun and the most convenient way of negotiating the congested streets of Los Angeles. However, every time you decide to ride your motorcycle, reckless and distracted drivers can make you suffer catastrophic injuries regardless of how cautious you are on the road. Motorcycle rear-end accidents are not something uncommon in the streets of Los Angeles.
If your motorcycle is hit from the back by a reckless driver, you could be eligible for damages if you play your cards right. To protect your rights and preserve enough evidence for seeking compensation from the at-fault party, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney.
At Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we will determine who was at fault in a motorcycle accident. When you contact us, we will get on your case immediately to collect and build adequate evidence for legal representation to ensure maximum compensation for your damages.
An Overview of Motorcycle Accidents in California
Motorcycle riding is a convenient and fun way of negotiating the busy traffic of California. However, this means of transport exposes a rider at risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident. Because a motorcyclist lacks a protection enclosure like the other driver in the car and is less visible on the road, when an accident happens, injuries can be fatal even if you had proper protection gears like a helmet.
All motorcyclists are at risk of injuries and even death in case of an accident occurrence. However, some risk factors can make a motorcycle accident injury more severe, for example:
The motorcycle engine size
Time of the year
Motorcycle rear-end accidents are common in the streets of Los Angeles, but it is not automatic that a motorcyclist is at fault. When you are slowing your motorbike due to traffic congestion or stopping for a traffic light, you expect the driver behind you to slow down or stop if necessary. However, this might not be the case, especially if the rear car driver was drunk driving or speeding.
Motorcycle rear-end accidents push the rider and motorcycle onto the oncoming vehicles, making the resulting injuries catastrophic, especially in an intersection. Depending on the speed of the car behind you and the surrounding circumstances like oncoming cars and the condition of the road, motorcycle rear-end accident can lead to the following type of injuries:
Spinal cord injury
Scarring and bruises
It is common for a motorcyclist to be stereotyped during an accident because most drivers perceive motorcyclists as reckless, which is untrue and unfair. Therefore, when you find yourself in a motorcycle rear-end accident, you should do whatever you can to protect your rights because the at-fault driver might confront you to accept liability.
The wise thing you can do after involvement in a motorcycle rear-end accident to reserve your rights of compensation is to contact an injury attorney to gather the necessary evidence for legal representation when the accident eyewitnesses' memories are still fresh.
What to Do After Involvement in a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
It is upon you to make the right choices as soon as possible because the at-fault party might never accept the accident liability. Their insurance providers would do anything to ensure you receive minimum compensation, even if the driver was at-fault or negligent. Your actions following a motorcycle rear-end accident will significantly impact your chances of receiving compensation.
Even if you are confused and angry, you should know how to act responsibly to retain your compensation rights. Here are crucial steps you should take following a motorcycle rear-end accident to protect your legal rights and interests:
Find Yourself a Safe Place and Call 911
If you can remove yourself from the harm, you should do so immediately to avoid anything that can aggravate your injuries, such as:
A structure or vehicle that is on fire
While, if you can't move, you might as well call someone nearby to help you move away from traffic. To avoid exacerbating your injuries once you are in a safe place, you shouldn't remove your helmet and other safety gear until emergency medical technicians (EMTs) arrive at the scene.
Depending on the severity of the motorcycle rear-end accident, when you call 911, the police and EMTs will immediately report to the accident scene to offer the medical assistance you need. The accident scene's police report contains essential information to help your attorney prove the accident liability and why you deserve adequate compensation.
Ensure you obtain the responding police officers' number so that your attorney can follow up with them for more information about the accident to build your compensation claim.
Seek Medical Help
For your safety and wellbeing, even if you are feeling perfectly fine after being hit by another vehicle or motorist from the rear, it is advisable to seek medical assistance as soon as possible for examination because you might have internal injuries. Insurance companies could use the excuse that you didn't seek medical help on time to deny you compensation.
Furthermore, you will need your medical records, including any therapy bill, to prove your damages during the trial. Therefore, it is crucial to visit a reliable healthcare provider as soon as possible for your health and find necessary evidence for pursuing compensation from the at-fault party and their insurance provider.
Gather Necessary Information
Even though the police will collect most of the information, sometimes they can make omissions and errors when documenting the motorcycle rear-end accident information. When that happens, you will need other pieces of evidence that can prove to the judge you deserve compensation for your damages resulting from the motorcycle rear-end accident.
Do not leave the accident scene before you gather enough, which will be essential during your injury lawsuit, including:
The other driver’s name, number plate, and insurance information
Year, model, and color of the other driver vehicle or motorcycle
Eyewitness information and their contacts if possible because you may need their testimonies during the trial
Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, including your injuries, using your smartphone
Note the current weather and road condition
Note the designated speed limit of the area
Do Not Admit the Accident Liability
Even though you feel you might be at fault for braking instantly, you should never admit fault for the accident. Instead, it would be best to let the judge decide the accident liability depending on each party's evidence. The driver who rear-ended you, who is mostly at-fault, will confront you and play some tricks to make you admit responsibility for the accident.
Regardless of the other party's threats and confrontation, you should never apologize for causing the motorcycle accident because it is similar to accepting liability for the accident. Remain calm and insist on talking to your lawyer before you say anything that can affect your eligibility for compensation.
The circumstances that lead to your motorcycle rear-end accident may be unclear at first, and you might not recall everything that led to the accident until hours later or a week later. Therefore, you should remain calm and quit because your sentiments and actions can have serious legal consequences during your injury lawsuit.
Alert Your Motorcycle Insurer
As part of your insurance coverage agreement, you should notify the insurance agent of any accident occurrence as soon as possible for the evaluation of your compensable damages if you are not at fault. Give them every information you can think about the accident, including the eyewitness information and the other party's insurance information to prove you aren't liable for the accident.
Suppose you aren't sure of what to tell your insurance provider concerning the motorcycle accident. In that case, you should ask them to speak to your attorney, which brings us to our final crucial step to take after involvement in a motorcycle rear-end accident.
Seek Legal Representation
Seeking compensation after a motorcycle rear-end accident is not an easy task because insurance adjusters are there to make you settle for the least amount, which is a profit to their company. A personal injury lawyer will protect you from the stereotypical accusations. Top among them is that motorcyclists are always at fault. Such accusations often lead to several motorcyclists losing their rights to fair compensation after involvement in an accident.
As you receive medical treatment following injuries from a motorcycle rear-end accident, your attorney can pursue compensation on your behalf. Your attorney will be your immediate custodian during the whole settlement negotiation process or lawsuit if the negotiation fails.
Therefore, you should ensure you have the best attorney by your side to increase your chances of achieving an adequate compensation award. Here some of the factors you should consider when looking for a reliable attorney for legal representation after a motorcycle rear-end accident:
Experience of the expert
The reputation of the expert
Location of the expert
Area of specialization
Cost of services
After involvement in a motorcycle accident, time is an important consideration because, after a certain period, you will have to waive your rights of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, you have two years in California after the motorcycle accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. You might not be aware of this limitation, but your attorney is mindful because this is what they do every day.
Causes of Motorcycle Rear-End Accidents
You need to understand the most probable causes of motorcycle rear-end accidents before you begin pursuing compensation for your damages because many parties could be at fault. The main cause of a motorcycle rear-end accident is negligence, which you need to prove during the trial. Here are everyday negligent actions of drivers which can be the cause of your motorcycle rear-end accident:
Anything that can take a motorist's eyes and focus away from the road is a distraction and can cause an accident. It only takes a moment of inattention on the road to hit a motorcyclist from the back. Suppose a driver hits your motorbike from the rear when texting, kissing, grooming, applying makeup, or playing with the radio. In that case, he/she will be liable for your damages resulting from the accident.
Los Angeles is a city of many activities and fun, and it isn't a surprise that most drivers on the roadway are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime in California and other US states, yet so many people die and incur unnecessary injuries because of drunk driving.
If the defendant was drunk driving during the occurrence of the motorcycle rear-end accident, he/she should be accountable for all of your damages and losses resulting from the accident. Since drunk driving is unlawful, the defendant will automatically be liable for your damages for being negligent and disregarding other people's safety and health.
Tailgating is when a car follows your motorcycle too closely from the rear, meaning if you make a single brake check, the driver will likely hit you from the back. Motorists should keep a reasonable space between each other on the road to avoid unnecessary accidents. If another driver follows your bike too closely from the back, there are high chances that he/she will hit you when you slow down to adjust to unsafe road conditions or traffic lights.
In Los Angeles, there is a designated speed limit for every location. Driving beyond the speed limit designated for a particular area is an offense, and the driver should be liable for any accident he/she causes when speeding.
California Negligence Per Se laws make the rear driver automatically liable for your damages if he/she was speeding or doing other actions that portray disregard for human safety and health like texting when driving.
Other Causes of Motorcycle Rear-End Accidents
Apart from the other driver negligence, the following parties could also be at fault for the motorcycle rear-end accident that led to your damages and losses:
The Other Vehicle or Motorcycle Manufacturer/Designer
Under California product liability laws, car and motorcycle manufacturers and designers should ensure their products are safe for operation before they leave their territory. If the other driver's vehicle or your motorcycle had a defective part that leads to the accident, you should pursue your compensation from the manufacturer of these automobiles. Although these kinds of accidents are rare, you should never ignore the fact that a motorcycle malfunction or a defective part can be the cause of your injuries and damages.
It is possible to sue the state if unsafe road conditions led to your motorcycle rear-end accident. When you drive on an uneven road, you will have to adjust to the road conditions by slowing down and braking when necessary to avoid slipping out of the way or damaging your bike.
If a government agency is negligent in repairing the road, they should be liable for your damages. You have six months following the motorcycle rear-end accident to file a lawsuit against a California government agency for unsafe road conditions. Personal injury lawsuits against the state or government agencies are a little different and complex. Therefore you should retain a skilled attorney when filing this lawsuit.
Seeking Compensation After Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
Once you regain your health after a rear-end accident, you should try to pursue damages from the at-fault party. Your injury attorney will help you calculate the amount of money you deserve as compensation for your damages using your medical and motorcycle repair bill records. Below are two ways you can pursue compensation for your damages resulting from a motorcycle rear-end accident:
After calculating your total damages, your attorney will send a demand letter to the at-fault party insurer indicating the amount you deserve as compensation and evidence to support the claim like hospital bills. When the at-fault party insurer receives the demand letter, they may accept your request or not.
Often, the at-fault party will deny your compensation claim arguing that the hospital bills are unreasonable or you delayed seeking medical assistance, hence the high cost of your medical bills. Other insurance providers will grant you your compensation claim request without a hassle if the attached evidence is unchallengeable when it gets to court.
Although settlement negotiation is the best way to settle a compensation claim after being rear-ended, there isn't a guarantee that it will work out in your favor. Insurance companies will negotiate with you to settle for a little compensation award or lose the award. However, it would help if you don't fall for this trick because you can seek the compensation you deserve through a civil suit.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is the only way you can achieve the compensation award you deserve for your damages if the at-fault party insurer is acting in bad faith on their compensation settlement award. A personal injury lawsuit is all about proving to the jury which party was negligent during the motorcycle rear-end accident.
Your injury attorney can attend a personal injury trial on your behalf if the court does not need your presence. The court will need your attorney to demonstrate the following elements of negligence beyond a reasonable doubt to ascertain you deserve compensation for your damages resulting from the motorcycle rear-end accident:
Duty of Care
A duty of care obligation exists if there is a relationship between you and the defendant on the road. When on the highway, every motorist has a legal obligation to observe a reasonable duty of care to avoid foreseeable and unnecessary accidents.
Duty of Care Breach
Suppose the judge finds the existence of a duty of care obligation between you and the defendant on the road. Your attorney must continue to demonstrate to the judge how the defendant breached his/her duty of care obligation during the occurrence of the motorcycle rear-end accident. The defendant would breach his/her duty of care obligation if he/she were texting or driving under the influence during the occurrence of your motorcycle rear-end accident.
Because the defendant can breach his/her duty of care obligation and fail to hit your motorcycle from the rear, the judge will expect your attorney to show the jury how the defendant's actions lead to your injuries.
It isn't straightforward and certain that the defendant was negligent during the motorcycle rear-end accident by just breaching his/her legal duty of care. Therefore, your attorney must have viable evidence to prove this causation element to achieve compensation for your damages.
Finally, this lawsuit's main purpose is to achieve adequate compensation for damages resulting from your motorcycle rear-end accident. Therefore, your attorney must show the judge that there are damages, and the defendant was at fault.
Depending on the severity of the motorcycle accident, the judge may grant you the following compensatory damages if there is concrete evidence to hold the defendant liable from your attorney's demonstration of the above elements of negligence:
Lost earning capacity and lost wages
Medication and medical supplies
Pain and suffering
Medical and hospital bills
Loss of a consortium
Even if you were partially negligent during the motorcycle rear-end accident, you should be able to attain partial compensation for your injuries and damages suffered depending on your degree of negligence in the incident as per California comparative negligence laws. Because of California's personal injury laws' complexity and sophistication, pursuing a compensation claim without an attorney is difficult. Therefore, you should consult a reliable expert as soon as possible to protect your interest and legal rights.
Find a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
To discuss your motorcycle rear-end accident case details confidently with experts aware of California personal injury laws, we invite you to contact Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney at 424-237-3600. We will be glad to help you hold the negligent driver liable for his/her mistakes that led to your injuries and damages.