Motorcycling is fun, economical transportation. It is also one of the riskiest ways to get places. If you’re injured by a negligent driver while motorcycling in southern California, you’ll need to discuss your rights and options with an Orange County motorcycle accident attorney.
There are no “fender-benders” in motorcycling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that eighty percent of motorcycle accidents – four out of every five – end with a death or a serious injury to a motorcyclist or a passenger.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that anyone who is on a motorcycle is 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic collision than someone who is in an automobile. In 2017, more than 16,000 accidents involving motorcycles were reported to California authorities.
Those accidents caused more than 15,000 injuries – and they caused 541 deaths. If you are injured by a careless driver while you’re motorcycling, what are your rights? Can you be compensated for your medical expenses?
What Are Your Rights As A Motorcycle Accident Victim?
In California, every injured negligence victim is entitled to compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and all other accident-related damages, but the victims of motorcycle accidents may face additional challenges.
Motorcycle collision victims often sustain traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other severe injuries. Motorcycle crash victims must be advised and represented by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who understands how to win the maximum compensation available.
Evidence from the accident scene must be collected and scrutinized immediately. Witnesses must be identified. If you do not speak to an attorney as soon as possible, the evidence – along with the recollections of the witnesses – may deteriorate or completely disappear.
How Is Liability Determined – And Proven – In Motorcycle Accident Cases?
Motorcycle crashes can raise complicated legal questions, but determining which party was liable is the key to awarding damages fairly. The right injury attorney will review every aspect of a crash to determine liability and to develop a strategy to win the compensation a victim needs.
If you are injured while motorcycling in California, and if you choose to pursue an injury claim, your personal injury lawyer must prove:
- that the driver who injured you – the “defendant” in your case – was driving negligently
- that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of your personal injury or injuries
- that the precise compensation amount you are seeking is just and fair compensation
How Are These Cases Resolved? What Can Victims Expect To Win?
Most personal injury claims arising from motorcycle accident injuries are resolved out-of-court in negotiations between the attorneys for both sides. In those rare instances where no acceptable settlement figure is offered, your attorney should be prepared to take your case to trial.
If you are curious about what a motorcycle crash victim can obtain through a personal injury jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement, there is simply no way to determine that amount without knowing the details of the accident. Every case is different.
An injured motorcyclist must be compensated for their medical costs and lost income, but the insurance coverage, its limits, and its restrictions also must be taken into account. If there are other possible compensation sources, your lawyer will find them and determine if they can be held liable.
For example, if you were injured by a commercial driver who was “on the clock,” that driver’s employer may have liability.
What Steps Should You Take If A Motorcycle Crash Happens?
No personal injury lawyer will be there to guide you at the scene of an accident. If you’re not incapacitated, take photographs of the vehicles, damages, and the overall accident scene. Try to obtain the names of eyewitnesses, if there are eyewitnesses, and details about how to reach them.
You’re required to inform your auto insurance company about a traffic accident, but you must not make any statements or sign any insurance papers until you have consulted an Orange County motorcycle accident attorney.
What If You Are Wrongly Blamed For A Motorcycle Accident?
Especially in personal injury cases arising from motorcycle collisions, a defendant’s lawyer or lawyers will probably attempt to blame the injured victim for the collision.
Old stereotypes about motorcyclists being reckless and rebellious may even be used or hinted at, but the right personal injury lawyer will steer a motorcycle accident case away from any biases – and back to the truth and the facts.
If the case goes to trial, a jury may focus on anything that hints at a motorcyclist’s negligence or irresponsibility. That’s why it is imperative for motorcyclists to wear helmets, obey all the rules of the road, and operate their motorcycles with care and caution.
The Importance Of A Helmet – And Some Other Safety Tips
California requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets that meet federal safety standards. California passed its mandatory helmet law in 1992, and the next year, motorcycle accident fatalities in California dropped by 37 percent.
A motorcyclist who doesn’t use a helmet is in violation of state law, and if a crash occurs, an unhelmeted motorcyclist could be blamed for his or her own personal injuries. Here are some other tips that can help you stay safe on a motorcycle:
- Don’t cross an intersection the instant the light changes. Take a moment to ensure that all crossing vehicles have completely stopped.
- “Blind spots” still cause too many collisions. Being aware of the other vehicles around you – and their blind spots – is essential.
- Avoid motorists who are making “blind turns” out of parking lots and driveways.
How Will A Southern California Injury Lawyer Help You?
After sustaining a motorcycle crash injury, and as soon as you’ve been examined by a healthcare professional, arrange to meet with a southern California personal injury attorney. After reviewing the details of the accident, your attorney will determine the best way to move forward.
California personal injury lawyers work on a “contingent fee” basis. Your first consultation with a personal injury attorney in southern California is free, and you will pay no attorney’s fees unless and until you are compensated.
That levels the playing field, gives everyone a day in court, and makes it easy for motorcycle accident victims. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence while motorcycling, it costs nothing to learn more about your options or to take legal action to recover compensation.
If you’ve been injured by negligence while riding a motorcycle in southern California, compensation is your right. So is a good attorney’s help.