Several motorcycle crashes that occur in Los Angeles are a result of improper and unsafe left turns. When a driver makes an unsafe left turn, there’s a risk of a collision where a motorcyclist could be hurt physically, emotionally, and financially.
Establishing fault in an unsafe left-turn crash can be complicated because of the various traffic rules, insurance regulations, or state laws. That’s why it is advisable to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer.
When you contact an experienced attorney, they’ll do everything they can to acquire maximum compensation for your losses and injuries. Call the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney as soon as possible, for them to assess the accident’s facts and gather evidence to build a compelling case.
Why Unsafe Left-Hand Motorcycle Collisions Occur
Motorcycle riders are at a higher risk when approaching an intersection where an auto is turning left in front of them. Left turns are one of the major causes of motorcycle collisions and mortalities. Per the United States Department of Transportation, about 53% of intersection accidents involve unsafe left turns, whereas only six percent involve right-hand turns. This is about ten times as many accidents. Put otherwise, making dangerous left turns at intersections is by far the most hazardous compared to making right turns at the same intersection.
One obvious reason for this is that motorists making a right turn won’t have to drive across the pathway of any approaching traffic. However, when making the left turn, motorcyclists not only need to be cautious of oncoming autos in the opposite lane, but they have to also watch out to their left to make sure a person in their lane isn’t trying to overtake them on the left.
What contributes to these accidents? Let us take a look.
After a collision, it is common for motorists to say that they did not see the motorcyclist when they turned in front of him/her. They could be honest. Depth perception is a significant aspect of the unsafe left-hand turn issue. Other drivers do not see motorcyclists similarly as they see the other vehicles like trucks and buses.
A usual traveler may see plenty of autos in one day, but they may not see many motorcycles. Therefore, motorcycles are a small percentage of their daily auto operation experience. Additionally, because of its size, a motorbike tends to blend into its surroundings. Thus, it’s more difficult to notice and judge its speed when a driver is making a left turn in front of it.
Apart from visibility problems linked to left turns, distracted driving contributes largely to motorcycle crashes. Motorists distracted by text messages and phone calls are an increasing menace for everybody, but particularly motorcyclists. In nearly every accident between a truck/car and motorcycle, the much lighter and smaller motorcycle (and the motorcyclist) is likely to lose. Therefore, whereas a distracted motorist may cause a fender-bender with another auto, a similar situation involving a motorcyclist may quickly turn fatal.
Driving Through an Intersection Unlawfully
Some drivers make illegal entries into intersections (i.e., when the traffic light is red). When the traffic light turns red, it is an indication that motorcycle riders now have the right of way. Entering an intersection illegally by drivers will lead to a devastating crash. Because motorcyclists do not know the driver’s intentions, little can be done to prevent them from being involved in a severe accident once the driver enters the intersection illegally.
Rushing Through Intersections
Motorists aren’t supposed to hurry through intersections since this is among the leading reasons motorcycle accidents occur. When attempting to beat a red light, a driver may fail to see a motorcyclist who already has the right of way and is lawfully entering the intersection. If the driver and the motorcyclist enter the intersection simultaneously, there may be a fatal collision, especially if the two are moving at higher speeds. Again, the motorist might miscalculate the amount of time they have to pass through the intersection without colliding with a motorcyclist.
Overtaking By Drivers
It is always satisfying for a driver when he/she is ahead of others on the roadway. For this to happen, it requires the motorist to move faster than other vehicles. Additionally, the motorist’s concentration is majorly on the auto he or she is attempting to overtake and not on the other road users. In case this occurs with a motorcycle rider on the same roadway, a fatal collision may be the result, and the motorcycle rider will likely sustain severe injuries.
Injuries You Can Sustain in a Dangerous Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
If you have been in a motorcycle collision because of a motorist making an unsafe left-hand turn, there’s a high possibility you could sustain debilitating injuries. Examples of severe injuries you can suffer are:
Broken or fractured bones
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Spinal cord injury
Loss of a limb
Shoulder & elbow injuries
What You Should Do After Involvement in an Unsafe Left-Hand Turn Motorcycle Accident
In most collisions, motorcycle riders are painted negatively as people who break traffic regulations when riding while drunk or speeding. Although statistics tell a different story of autos being the primary cause of unsafe left-hand motorcycle crashes, proving guilt is not easy. Even when it’s apparent that the motorist violated Vehicle Code 21801(a), failure to yield when making a left turn, you’ll need proof to corroborate your claim. You need to take various steps to obtain this kind of evidence and stand a chance of winning. Failure to take these steps may lower your chances of winning or receiving a maximum compensation amount. They include:
Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
Your safety and health must always be a priority after an unsafe left-hand turn motorcycle accident. That’s why the very first step you should take after the crash is seeking medical attention right away. If you notice you’re severely injured, call 911 for an ambulance to transfer you to the hospital. And if you’re not severely injured, check around the accident site thoroughly to make sure no other person has sustained any injuries. If there are hurt victims, try helping them to safety as they wait for the ambulance.
Also, note that you should still go for a medical check-up even if you aren’t severely hurt. You may seem okay after the accident when you have sustained severe internal injuries that aren’t apparent. These injuries may manifest themselves much later when they’ve caused more harm. At times, head and neck injuries have delayed signs & symptoms. Therefore, the earlier you see a doctor, the better for you since the physician will detect these injuries on time and treat them, and the faster you’ll heal. This way, you’ll prevent severe, long-term side effects resulting from the injuries.
Apart from being helpful to your health, seeking immediate medical attention also helps your case. Firstly, you’ll need a medical report from your doctor to prove to the at-fault party’s insurance company that you obtained the necessary treatment so you can be compensated for the medical expenses. The report should indicate the extent of your injuries, the kind of treatment you received, and any future care you’ll have to undergo.
Secondly, medical treatment links your injuries to the accident. Failure to obtain medical care will give the insurance company grounds to claim that your injuries were caused by something else and not the accident. This is enough reason for them to deny you compensation.
Gathering As Much Information as Possible
If you aren’t hospitalized or severely injured, you should collect as much information as possible from the accident scene. Note down the VIN, color, make, model, year, and license plate number of the vehicle/vehicles involved in the crash. Also, note down the name and contact details of the driver/drivers or motorcyclists involved.
Eyewitnesses can also be critical to your case. Therefore, ensure you take the names and contact information of the witnesses present during the collision. You could try talking to them and note down their statements. The witnesses come in handy when you need someone to testify in your favor in court. Taking their contact details will help you track them down quickly.
Additionally, take photos of the accident scene and your injuries. You may also record videos. Since you may not have a camera, you may use your smartphone to do this. You may capture the damaged motorcycle or vehicle/vehicles in the photos. Ensure you place your camera at a wide-angle to capture as many details as possible from the scene.
Call an Unsafe Left-Hand Motorcycle Crash Lawyer
Before speaking to the insurance company about the crash, you should contact a motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer. This is because, after involvement in an accident, the situation may easily confuse you. When you are in a state of confusion and the liable party’s insurance company comes to you with a seemingly good offer, you may easily be tempted to agree to it. A lawyer may help you understand your legal rights before you agree to anything the insurance company says. This way, you will make a decision that’ll ensure you obtain the maximum compensation to cover your losses and injuries.
Do Not Admit Fault
Note that whatever you say after an accident could be used against you to try and deny you compensation, hence why you shouldn’t say anything that may incriminate you. Most importantly, you should never admit fault. Determining who is at fault is a task left to the jury once you file a lawsuit. Admitting guilt means you may have to pay your medical expenses and other costs you incurred on your own.
Liability in Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Crashes
Determining fault in unsafe left turn motorcycle accident cases is exceptionally critical as it helps you seek financial compensation for your losses and injuries successfully. Liability is crucial since it’s a requirement to hold another driver responsible. After it’s determined that a driver is at fault for causing the dangerous left turn motorcycle collision, they’re required to compensate the crash victim for the injuries and losses they have sustained.
To establish liability, you must prove that a driver breached the duty they owed to you. Per California VC 22107, a driver isn’t supposed to turn or change lanes until it’s reasonably safe doing so.
Additionally, the law provides that a driver must use his/her turn signals, which makes other drivers be alerted that they’re changing lanes. These traffic rules also apply to motorcyclists and other drivers of SUVs, trucks, sedans, and others.
When drivers decide to change lanes unexpectedly, they increase the danger of left-hand turn motorcycle crashes. In case a motorcycle crash happens due to a driver turning left unsafely, they must be held liable through a compensation claim for the motorcyclist’s resulting injuries.
Compensation You Can Recover in an Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
California law provides a clear direction on the type of compensation a victim of a motorcycle accident can recover. A skilled lawyer will also guide you on the kinds of compensation you should seek, depending on how severe the crash was and the nature of the collision. The amount of money you will receive as compensation will depend on the extent of your injuries. It will also depend on the total amount you’ve lost or will lose from when the accident occurred until your recovering.
Generally, we have two types of damages you can recover. They are compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are further split into two. That is non-economic and economic damages. Economic damages are also known as special damages. They compensate for the easily calculable losses. That is, it’s easier to place a dollar amount on them. Examples of these losses include:
Present and future medical expenses like ER bill, ambulance costs, prescription medication expenses, physical therapy, surgeries, etc.
Loss of income
Loss of future earning capacity
Costs for motorcycle repair or replacement
Non-economic damages are also called general damages. They compensate for losses that aren’t easily quantified by a dollar amount. In other words, they compensate for non-tangible losses like:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium
Apart from compensatory damages, the jury may also grant you punitive damages. These kinds of damages do not compensate for anything. Instead, they are awarded to the plaintiff as a punishment to the liable party for their reckless behavior and to deter other people from engaging in similar conduct as the at-fault party. However, these damages are rarely awarded. You have to prove that the liable party acted recklessly, intentionally, and with disregard for human life for you to obtain them.
Wrongful Death Damages in Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
An unsafe left turn motorcycle crash can result in the victim’s death. In this case, the victim’s descendants may seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. The damages granted in this kind of claim differ from those for a personal injury suit. They include:
Loss of consortium
Medical expenses for the period the victim was undergoing treatment before their death.
Loss of the future income the deceased would’ve earned had they survived the accident.
According to California law, not everyone is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Only specific people can do it. Some of them include the decedent’s spouse, children, domestic partner, and step-children (if the children are also deceased). If your loved one has succumbed to injuries caused by an unsafe left-hand turn motorbike accident, talk to your lawyer to know if you qualify to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
How a Los Angeles Accident Lawyer Can Help
In case you’ve suffered severe debilitating injuries in an unsafe left-hand turn motorcycle crash, you should take action immediately to evaluate your options to hold the at-fault driver responsible. One best way to act is by reaching out to an expert unsafe left-hand turn motorcycle crash attorney in LA.
You may hesitate to contact a lawyer out of concerns of parting with a significant retainer fee or needing to go through a protracted suit that ends up in a courtroom. Your concerns are understandable. However, we want to clarify that we do not charge any costs or fees upfront. There aren’t any significant hourly costs or retainer fees associated with retaining an experienced lawyer from the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney law firm. This is because we work under contingency fee agreements, meaning you won’t pay anything upfront, and you will only pay your attorney if your lawsuit is successful. There are many advantages associated with retaining an unsafe left-hand turn motorcycle crash lawyer.
Firstly, an attorney can help you understand the complexities that come with seeking financial compensation through an injury claim. For instance, we have filing deadlines to be complied with, insurance policies to be observed, proof that has to be gathered, etc. This is the point an attorney can be of significant assistance.
Once retained, they’ll work for you through all of this. They’ll coordinate with investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and other professionals to develop a compelling personal injury case on your behalf, which shows the driver’s liability. This is critical since a strong case will increase your chance of obtaining maximum compensation for the injuries to which you were subjected.
Statute of Limitations in Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
A statute of limitations is the timeframe within which you must file a claim for damages recovery against the liable party. The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim after an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident is two years from the time of the collision. And when you are bringing a wrongful death claim to recover damages for your loved one’s death, the timeframe to do so is two years from the day of death, which may differ from the exact day of the collision. And if you need to bring a suit over the damage done to your motorbike, the law allows you up to three years to do so.
However, the state allows for exceptions to the statutes of limitations mentioned above in specific circumstances. These exclusions allow for the timeframe of bringing the lawsuit to be paused or extended. They include:
When the victim is below eighteen years: If this is the case, the statute of limitations doesn’t run until the victim reaches eighteen years old.
Mental or physical incapacitation after the collision
When the liable party is out of the state: In this situation, the timeframe will be paused until the guilty party returns.
If you file your suit after the stipulated statute of limitation has elapsed, the court is likely to decline to hear your case except if it falls under the above exceptions that’ll pause or extend the running of the statute of limitations clock. This is why you have to know how the timeframe applies to your case.
From a strategic point of view, you want to spare yourself enough time to bring your suit if you’ll need to, even if you’re confident that your case will be resolved via the insurance claim process. Preserving the option of going to court and bring a suit will give you more leverage during settlement negotiations.
If you’re worried that the timeframe is about to elapse, contact an expert motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer to talk about your situation and ensure your rights are well-protected.
Hire an Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
California traffic rules are straightforward. They spell out what a motorist should do and when to make a left turn. However, some drivers negligently disregard these regulations and end up causing accidents by making unsafe left turns, in which motorcyclists are most of the victims.
As a motorcyclist, an accident like this can be life-changing. For instance, you may never resume your usual duties, and the medical expenses may deplete your savings. Additionally, you may be distressed because someone’s negligence caused your life to change for the worse. However, all is not lost. You can still hold the negligent party responsible and make them compensate you for your losses.
At the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, our job is making negligent motorists take responsibility for their actions while at the same time ensuring you receive fair compensation. If you are in Los Angeles and have been involved in an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident, contact us at 424-237-3600 for a free initial consultation.