Motorcycle accidents in California have significantly increased over the last couple of years. California Highway Patrol records show an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities. When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the effects you suffer are devastating to you, your family, and loved ones.
Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling experience that you enjoy when the wind rushes against you while you ride away. This exciting experience can be fatal if you are involved in an accident. With no walls around and to offer you protection, you are more vulnerable in the event of a road accident. Most accidents involving a motorcycle leads to the motorcyclist obtaining injuries that are minor and also life-threatening.
You will need an attorney who understands the pain accidents cause to represent you and ensure that you receive compensation. At Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, you will receive an opportunity to concentrate on recuperating as we fight for your rights.
Overview of Motorcycle Accidents
Statistics show that most road accidents in California involve motorcycle riders, even though these riders follow most of the state's safety rules laid down by the government. According to California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles has experienced an increase in motorcycle accidents over the years. California saw a spike of 23% from 2003 to 2012 in motorcycle accidents.
Los Angeles county experienced increased motorcycle accidents by 49% from 2003 to 2012, which is alarming. 2012 saw a 59% increase in motorcycle accidents than those experienced in 2010. This rate shows how many people have suffered and are undergoing the impacts of motorcycle accidents.
With the alarming increasing numbers of motorcycle accidents, you must be armed with the information on what to do if you are involved in an accident. The list below shows you the steps you need to follow if you get into a motorcycle accident.
What to Do After A Motorcycle Accident
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, make sure to take the following steps:
Ensure that the Scene of the Accident is Safe
If you are not severely injured, ensure that you remove your motorcycle from the road to pave the way for other road users.
Seek Medical Attention
What makes motorcycle accidents fatal and severe is the fact that the rider comes into physical contact with the road, car, or other structures when the accident takes place. Without the protection that a vehicle offers its occupants, a motorist receives a blunt impact when the crash happens.
Protective gears will reduce the impact to some extent, but a motorist will still suffer from fractures, skin rash, and head injuries when an accident occurs. When involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is check whether you, your passenger or anyone have sustained injuries. If there is someone who has been hurt, call 911 for emergency care.
In most cases, when the accident occurs and involves several motor vehicles, the other road users can call the p[olice, or the patrol police could be in the area where the accident takes place.
When the accident causes over $500 damage, ensure that reflects in the police report file. You can do this by filing a report to the police, or if the police are already at the accident scene, request them to give you a copy of the same.
This report is essential to your lawyers when they make your case later on. Ensure that you take the name of the responding police officer and his badge number; this information will be used by your attorneys when following up on your case later on.
Ensure that you receive a doctor's opinion even if you feel well. Some injuries exhibit their symptoms later on, and if you do not seek medical attention right away, it could lead to complications where you could lose on any insurance claim.
Collect Relevant Information
Once you have assessed the level of your injuries, take relevant information, or let your family and loved ones gather information on the accidents if you cannot. The relevant information includes the following:
- Images of injuries you sustain in the accident
- Pictures of your motorbike, the accident site, and that of the other motor vehicle(s) involved
When taking photos of the accident site, take details like your motorcycle's position and the other vehicles involved in the accident. Take your pictures from different angles to best capture the road's condition, the surrounding area, and the damage to your motorcycle.
In most cases, the police officer patrolling that area might show up, and when they do, they make an official report, which includes details of the people involved and their vehicles. They also collect information from all the involved parties. Ensure that you give a detailed description of the event as it took place and request a copy of the report they make for your reference.
- Details of the other parties involved in the accident include; their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and information on the vehicles involved in the accident, including the type of vehicle, its model, the insurance details of the vehicle involved, and the number plate of the car.
- Interview Eyewitnesses if you are not much injured, try to interview those people that witnessed the accident and have the interview on a phone recorder, or you can jot it down on a piece of paper. Try to interview as many witnesses as possible immediately after the accident when the details are still fresh in their minds. Ask for their contact information, as this might be helpful to your lawyers later.
File a Claim with Your Insurance Company
When you are involved in an accident, it is essential to notify your insurance provider of the accident, even if you were not its cause. Ensure you read your insurance policy well and understand what it covers. It is crucial to report an accident to your insurer even if your policy does not cover it or is not the cause of the accident.
Failure to adhere to your insurance policy terms will have adverse effects on your legal rights and limit you against the other parties involved.
When notifying your insurance company about the accident, let them know about the facts of the accidents only. Any offhand comment you make about your condition can be used against you later on and limit the amount of compensation you receive. Also, do not speculate or discuss with your insurance provider who you think was at fault during the accident. Anything you say might negatively affect you and limit you from receiving higher compensation later on.
When you notify your insurance provider, never admit to being at fault. You are only notifying them to follow up on the case on your behalf. Let them decide on the amount of compensation you are due.
Obtain Legal Representation
After you have collected all the necessary information, had a medical evaluation done, the next step is to find a law firm that will advise you on what to do next. You will need to hire an attorney who will understand the pain you and your family are going through.
When hiring an attorney, research thoroughly for one with an excellent track record dealing or handling motorcycle accident cases; if you can get a referral from a former client, the better for you since you will know that your lawsuit will be handled excellently. Always hire an attorney who will ensure that you will receive the full compensations for your losses, injuries, and other damages that you obtain during the accident.
An attorney will represent you in court and deal with your insurance provider. The lawyers should ensure that you receive benefits that the law makes available to you regarding:
- Medical bills.
- Personal injuries.
- Any loss of income caused by accident; this income loss could be in the future or both past and present income.
- The pain and the suffering you will go through in the present and the future due to the accident.
After you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, recovery of full compensation can take some time. But there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you receive maximum benefits and, at the same time, attain full recovery to your health if you were significantly injured. These steps are:
Get Proper Treatment Immediately
You should seek medical attention, whether you think you have injuries or not. Sometimes, you might feel no pain after an accident and decide not to seek medical attention. If you do not seek medical intervention, it could lead to complications later on that could have severe repercussions on your health. It will also negatively affect the amount of compensation you will receive from the accident.
Discuss your injuries with your doctor and attorney only
When involved in an accident, it is essential to avoid discussing your condition with other people apart from your doctor and your lawyer. Whether in writing, any information you give out, an offhand comment, or even answering a call would later be used in court against you. It is, therefore, prudent to seek medical attention and legal representation immediately.
Discuss with your doctor medical issues only
When receiving medical care, it is easy to recount the accident's details to either the doctor or the nurse on duty. Try as much as possible to give details that involve your injuries and leave the rest details for your legal representative. The personnel at the medical facility take down notes, and sometimes they might get the facts wrong. The notes that they write down could be used in your case as evidence and hurt your case's outcome.
Keep a record of your medical expenses.
Ensure that you have records of all the medical treatment that you have received. Have a list of the medical providers, appointment dates, the charges, and why you took medicine.
It is crucial to keep all your medical documents like bills, laboratory tests, x-ray results, dental tests, and physical therapy results in a folder where they can be easily accessed whenever required during your case hearing.
Keep medical evidence safe
It is easy to discard medical evidence like; casts, medicine containers, braces, and other supplies prescribed by a doctor. You should keep all these medical evidence safe as they will be useful during your case.
Keep a record of lost time
It is essential to record all the days you have missed work or school due to the accident. When you keep a track record of the lost time, ensure to include the loss of income caused or the school time lost due to the personal injury received. You can use the lost time to claim more compensation for your loss and pain.
Keep a record of all expenses incurred due to the injuries
Keep a record of all the expenses that relate to the injury well. The costs include but not limited to:
- Motorcycle repair charges
- Rental car charges
- Cost of damaged items
- Incidental costs like; ace bandages, heating pads, and child-care charges
This documentation makes your claim much more robust, thereby increasing your chances of receiving full compensation.
Benefits of Hiring A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
One of the obstacles that motorists involved in motorcycle accidents face is the jury's prejudice and a courtroom that sees them as thrill-seekers who are careless on the roads. This misconception will hinder an accident victim from receiving full benefits available to them by the law if they are not well represented. Hiring competent attorneys will ensure that any misconception that would cause any prejudice is handled and that you will receive the following benefits:
- The legal representation will be a burden taken off from your shoulders and allow you to put your effort into improving your health, giving your family some peace of mind.
- Ensuring that your insurance company gives you a fair settlement offer, and if not, take the insurance company to court. The law firm will make sure that the court awards you a fair share of compensation from the insurance company.
- Allow you to afford quality medical attention and ensure that you receive quality life after the accident.
- Ensure that you receive fair compensation for all the property damage and that the settlement will cater to the loss experienced when your motorcycle sustains injuries from the accident.
- Assist you in bringing the parties involved in your accident to justice, protecting other motorcyclists from undergoing the same suffering as you in the future.
You should hire an attorney who has experience dealing with motorcycle accidents and knows the law's ins and outs that govern them. The law firm should help you to receive full compensations available to you under California law.
Most insurance companies will deny your claim when an attorney doesn't represent you and will not let you know about comparative fault. Most insurance companies will blame you as the injured motorist claiming that you split lanes, made an illegal turn, or even caused the accident by running around the vehicle involved in the accident. If you are not keen and well represented by a lawyer, the insurance company may deny liability, making you lose the compensation you are entitled to by the law.
File A Claim in Court
The law gives you two years to file your claim under the CCP 335.1. During this period, your attorney should gather relevant information regarding your motorbike accident.
The first step you need to take is to file a claim with the responsible driver's insurance company to prepare and submit all the necessary documents. You should know that the insurance company will try to reject your claim or make a low offer.
It is advisable to have a legal representative file a claim on your behalf as they know what is required by the law and how to deal with insurance companies. Settling out with the other party can be more comfortable, but in most cases, it will lead to you forfeiting any other claim that you might have with your insurance company, and it is, therefore, not advised to do it.
To fully recover compensation, you and your attorney will need to prove the following:
The breach of duty on the road was caused by the other party, which led to your motorcycle accident.
- You have legal standing to sue
- The other party drove carelessly and recklessly.
- Your losses are due to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Types of motorcycle accident claims
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, there are two types of claims that you can make.
This claim covers personal injuries and losses that you receive from the other vehicle's driver's accident. For this claim to go through, you will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other motorist was responsible for the accident.
You can make this claim if your motorcycle receives damages during the accident. If your bike suffers damages due to your own mistake or fault, you can claim your insurance provider, provided you have an insurance policy that covers it. When the damage to your motorcycle is due to another driver's fault, you can make your claim against their insurance provider.
Compensation for property damage claim
When calculating your motorcycle value after an accident, you consider the amount you would sell at the market at the time of the accident and not its previous value when you bought it.
You should receive full compensation when you claim another motorist's insurance provider. But when the claim is against your insurance provider, your payment will significantly depend on the type of policy you have covering your motorcycle.
You can have the following policy covering your motorcycle:
- Comprehensive coverage covers damage that you receive but is not due to a direct collision. For example, if you receive damages on your motorcycle when you wipe out a curve, you can collect compensation under comprehensive coverage.
- Collision coverage applies when you are involved in a crash with an object fixed or another vehicle.
Your insurance policy determines the amount you can collect after an accident. Most insurance policies include a deductible cost, which is the amount you use from your pocket before the insurance company pays you. You should note that if the deductible cost is more than the amount of the repair work or the motorcycle's total value, you will end up losing it.
You can save money when you pay for the repairs yourself and avoid paying high premium rates afterward.
Find A Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
In Los Angeles, presenting a motorcycle accident claim to a jury is challenging. You want to hire an experienced attorney who understands the law governing motorcycle accidents to maximize your chances of obtaining justice.
The effects of a motorcycle accident are far-reaching and will affect you and your family as well. You could end up with substantial post-accident expenses, which would deplete your savings. With a qualified attorney’s help, you can obtain a compensation settlement that will not only lessen your financial burden but also help rebuild your life.
A personal injury attorney can represent you and make claims on your behalf. You should contact Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney at 424-237-3600 to set up a free consultation and discuss the way forward regarding your case.