Reckless accidents involving motorcycles have been on the increase in California over the years. The increase in these accidents has resulted in many motorcyclists’ injuries and deaths. Reckless driving causes not only death but also property damage. A reckless driver should be held liable.
The accident leaves you with serious injuries that require continuous medical treatment and home-based care, which may be hard to cater for. If you have been injured in a reckless motorcycle accident, you need the services of an experienced attorney to help fight for your compensation. At the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we have competent lawyers who could help you receive your just compensation.
Reckless Driving According to California Law
Reckless driving is defined as a form of driving that puts other road users' lives at risk. It involves showing wanton disregard for the safety of road users and their properties. According to California Vehicle Code 23103 VC, a person is guilty of reckless driving when he/she drives on a highway or an off-street parking facility without showing regard to safety.
Some of the behavior that could be classified as reckless driving include:
Running a red light
Driving under the influence
Driving too fast on a wet surface
Driving without proper headlights
Texting while driving
Actions to Take After an Accident
After an accident, you need to take specific actions to ensure that you receive medical help and compensation for your injuries. The steps you should take include:
Seek Medical Support
Your safety and health should be your priority immediately after the accident. You need to call 911 for emergency help if no one is around to do it for you. When you call the emergency services, ensure you explain the accident and how critical your injuries are. Even if you don't feel any pain or see any visible injuries, you must have a doctor observe you first. A doctor's observation will rule out any serious injuries that may pose a risk to your life.
While waiting for emergency services, you need to also keep yourself safe. Avoid staying near the motorcycle or the vehicle that has hit you. This is because the motorcycle may roll over and fall on you, increasing your injuries. The safe place for you would be on the side of the road, away from anything that would harm you more.
Call the Police
You should also call the police after the accident. The police will investigate the accident then write a report outlining the cause of the accident and the person at fault. The report will help you file a claim from the fault party when it is time to file a lawsuit seeking compensation. The police report will also act as evidence in court. So you must take down the officer's badge number so that you can easily reach them when the need arises.
You should ensure you collect evidence that could help you in the case against the fault party. Collecting evidence includes taking down the witness's information. Ensure you write down the names and contact information of all the witnesses of the accident. Writing down their contact information will help you reach them easily when the need arises.
You should also take photographic evidence of the scene if you can. Use your smartphone to record the scene of the accident, which includes the skid marks on the road, the wreckage of your motorcycle, and the vehicle that hit you. You should also take photos of your injuries. If you are not in the position to do it, ask the witness near you to take it for you. If you went to the hospital, you could ask the doctor to take the photos for you.
Photographic evidence is crucial in a trial as it provides a clear picture of what happened during the accident. You should also collect surveillance footage that shows how the accident occurred. Footage will work in your favor by convincing that judge and jury that the driver is the one at fault.
Don't Admit to Fault
It is essential not to admit to fault or even apologize, even if you feel you contributed to the accident. Admitting to the fault will take away all your chances of receiving compensation. The insurance adjuster will take your admissibility or apology as a sign that you are guilty of the accident. They will then use the information against you in court or to deny you compensation for your injuries.
The best thing you can do when the insurer adjuster questions you is to tell them to talk to your attorney. Ensure you hire a personal injury attorney. While at it, don't discuss your injuries with the adjuster. This is because after an accident, your body may be numb, and you may not know the extent of your injuries. If you tell them you feel okay but later experience pain due to unseen injuries, the adjuster may claim the injuries were not caused by accident.
Common Injuries in a Reckless Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident is a severe accident that could leave you with mild to severe injuries. Seeking medical attention immediately after an accident will minimize the chances of losing your life or suffering permanent injuries. The common injuries you can experience in a motorcycle accident include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury occurs when you experience a jolt in the head or when a major blow has hit you. The injuries affect the brain. Immediately you experience an impact to the head; the injury is referred to as primary injury. The primary injury can either involve a part of the brain or the entire brain.
During the accident, when the head is hit, the brain will crash back and forth, which will lead to lacerations of the nerve fibers and bleeding. The bleeding and tears explain why a person experiences confusion, dizziness, blurry vision, and consciousness loss immediately after the accident.
When the primary injury begins to fade after the impact, your brain will develop a delayed trauma. This means that it will start swelling against the skull. The swelling will increase in size and occupy the whole of the skull, minimizing oxygen supply. This type of injury is called secondary injury, and it is one of the most severe injuries you can experience after an accident.
The injuries affecting the brain are classified depending on their seriousness and how they happened:
You can experience different types of brain injuries after the accident. These injuries include: Concussion
Diffuse axonal injury (DAI)
Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage)
The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include
Loss of consciousness
Confusion and disorientation
Irritability / emotional disturbances
Feelings of depression
Facial fractures are all the broken bones that occur in the face. Your face is made of different bones, which range from:
Frontal bone (forehead).
Orbital bones (eye sockets).
Maxillary bones (upper jaw).
Mandible (lower jaw).
Facial injuries are common after a motorcycle injury, mostly if you did not wear a helmet.
The symptoms of facial fractures will depend on where the injuries occur. But some injuries are similar. These include pain, swelling, bleeding, blurry vision, and dark bruising.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury is an injury that affects the spinal cord resulting in the loss of sensation, function, and mobility. A spinal cord injury will occur in a motorcycle accident when you have been hit from behind and thrown on your back on the tarmac. It could also happen when a hard object hits you hard on your back and breaks or dislocates the vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bone that makes up your spine.
A spinal injury is either incomplete or complete. A complete injury is where you lose sensation below the area of the injury. Incomplete injury is where you experience slight movement and sensation below the injured area.
You can experience four types of spinal cord injuries. The injuries include cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.
Spinal cord injuries are serious and could result in permanent changes in your body. Cervical (neck) injuries lead to quadriplegia.
Road rash is scrapes, abrasions, or any surface burns that occur on your skin. These injuries occur when you are hit then fall off the motorcycle. These injuries mostly occur on the surface of the skin. Though in most cases, the injuries are less severe and can be treated at home, in other cases, they can be severe.
Some of the symptoms of road rash you can experience after an accident include:
Foul-smelling liquid oozing out of the injured area
Swelling or redness which could range from mild to extreme
Fever, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms
Broken bones are also known as fractures. Fractures occur when the bones in your body break either wholly or partially due to an outside force. The bones may break either crosswise, lengthwise, or in multiple pieces. The seriousness of the fractures will depend on how much force was applied. An extreme force will result in the bones breaking completely, while a slight force will lead to cracking of the bones.
In some instances, you may experience an open fracture, which occurs when the bones completely break and penetrate out of the skin. An open fracture is a severe injury that will likely lead to infection if not treated immediately.
You can experience different types of fractures; these include:
Open, compound fracture.
Symptoms of broken bones could range from mild to severe. These symptoms include:
Swelling or tenderness around the injured area.
You could also experience a torn ligament after a motorcycle accident. Ligaments are fibrous tissue that connects the bones and joints in your body. The ligaments are tough, dense, and stretchy. A torn ligament occurs when your joint has been overstretched or twisted.
Your ligaments could tear completely or slightly. An incomplete tear is similar to a severe strain, while a complete tear's pain could be similar to a broken bone.
Some of the symptoms you can experience when you have torn ligaments include:
Extreme pain that could go on for a few days.
Difficulty in bearing the weight on the joint.
Difficulty in moving around.
A snapping or cracking sound at the time of the injury.
You are also likely to experience internal injuries following a reckless motorcycle accident. Internal injuries lead to bleeding. Internal bleeding(hemorrhage) occurs when there is an injury or trauma in the body. Bleeding occurs when the blood vessels are bruised or damaged. Internal bleeding could be mild or severe. Mild bleeding occurs when the blood vessels near the skin rupture, while severe hemorrhage occurs deep in the body. Severe bleeding is life-threatening because it is less visible.
Some of the signs and symptoms of an internal injury include:
Tingling in your hand or feet.
Loss of coordination.
Loss of consciousness.
Difficulty swallowing and chewing food.
Bleeding from your nose, mouth, or ears.
Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident
You deserve compensation for all the injuries and the losses you suffer in a reckless motorcycle accident. A motorcycle accident takes away your right and freedom to enjoy a normal life like before. You now have to deal with pain, unending bills, and mental anguish. Compensatory damages are in two categories, economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that can be computed thanks to available evidence like receipts. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are hard to determine because there is no evidence to prove.
Your attorney will use some of the following document to show that you indeed suffered from the accident:
Documents showing that you missed work.
Expert testimonies from the economist.
Some of the economic compensation include:
You deserve compensation for any injuries you experience as a result of a driver's recklessness. The injuries you could experience could range from mild to severe, which could need a lifetime of treatment. In such a case, you deserve compensation for your current and future hospital and treatment bills.
Lost Wages and Profits
An accident can leave you bedridden in the hospital or at home for a week and even months. During this time, your businesses and work will be significantly affected since you will not be working. Therefore, the at-fault party should compensate you for the lost wages and profits.
Loss of Capacity to Earn
You also deserve compensation for the loss of the capacity to earn. Loss of capacity to earn is defined as the reduced abilities of a person to make a living. The loss of your abilities to earn occurs when the accident's injuries are so severe that they leave you permanently disabled. Loss of earning capacity damages focuses on the economic losses that you will endure until your work-life expectancy is over.
You also deserve compensation for all the loss of household services. Motorcycle accidents can leave you with severe or permanent injuries, which may make it hard for you to perform simple chores. Since you may not afford to pay for house help services, the at-fault party should compensate you for this.
If your property was destroyed during the accident, the at-fault party should compensate you for the loss, including your motorcycle's repairs.
Non-economic damages include:
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a common effect of a motorcycle accident. When you are involved in an accident, you will experience lots of physical pain from the injuries. You will also experience intense emotional suffering because of how the accident has impacted your life. Pain and suffering damages are meant to show you sympathy for all the things you endured because of the accident.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of the consortium, also known as loss of companionship, occurs when a person is deprived of certain benefits, including parental care or marriage benefits. Loss of consortium occurs when the victim sustains serious injuries that lead to death or permanent disabilities. As a victim, you cannot provide companionship, love, or sexual relationship with your spouse. For this reason, your spouse can seek damages.
A motorcycle accident is traumatizing. The weeks following the accident could be tough for you. You may find it challenging to pay attention to simple things, sleep, or even eat. You may also feel embarrassed when meeting with friends or new people because of the accident's bruising. For this reason, the at-fault party should compensate you for all the mental anguish you endured.
You can also be awarded punitive damages after a motorcycle accident. These damages are given on top of the other damages. A judge will award punitive damages based on his discretion concerning the accident. If the court finds the driver guilty of the reckless, he/she will be punished. Punitive damages are meant to deter motorists from engaging in reckless behavior without regard to other road users.
Factors that Determine Compensation
When you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to recklessness, it is important that you prove that the driver is liable. One way you can prove this is by hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with the case. But even with that, you also need other factors to increase your chances of receiving compensation. These factors are:
You need to show that the driver is liable. Each driver while on the road is supposed to be mindful of the other road users. Failure to this, the law will consider them driving recklessly. Your attorney can collect evidence showing negligence and recklessness on the side of the driver. Proof showing the driver's negligence will go a long way in determining the amount of compensation you can earn. While proving negligence, you should show that the driver owed your duty of care. The court will consider what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances.
If there is more than one party liable for the accident, the court will consider a few things to award you compensation. Each driver will be responsible for your injuries, depending on the degree of their fault. The court will consider how each party contributed to the accident then order them to compensate you for your losses and injuries.
You should also show proof that you suffered from the accident. If there is any evidence suggesting otherwise, you will not receive any compensation.
If you can show that the driver was impaired at the time of the accident, you will increase your chances of receiving a larger compensation. Some drivers may avoid the court process, mainly if they know the trial would work against them. So to avoid the whole process, they will settle.
The extent of Your Injuries
The amount of compensation you receive will also depend on the extent of your injuries. Serious injuries receive higher compensation compared to minor injuries. Your attorney will provide your medical records, photos of your injuries, and current and treatment options showing how the injuries affected you.
Degree of Fault
The courts will also look at whether you were involved in the accident. The amount of compensation will be affected if you contributed to the accident. But this doesn’t mean you won’t receive any compensation.
Find a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
Reckless driving is a serious offense because of the damages it causes to road users. A reckless driver is one who drives without wanton regard for other road users. When a driver hits you while riding your motorcycle, you are entitled to receive compensation for all the injuries and losses suffered. If you are a victim of a reckless driving motorcycle accident, you should immediately reach out to the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney. Our attorneys will go through your case's facts and determine the best ways for you to receive compensation. You can contact us at 424-237-3600.