A Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Protect Your Interests
With its gorgeous roadways hugging the Pacific coast and mountain ranges, California is a particularly diverse and attractive place for motorcycle riders. However, the joy of riding through dramatic and challenging landscapes can be heavily marred by the increased risk of accidents that motorcyclists face.
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney from our firm in San Diego, CA, can help you secure the compensation that you are entitled to if you have been in a motorcycle accident. California has some unique motorcycle laws that can be confusing to navigate without the help of a qualified attorney. Our legal team, led by Kerry Steigerwalt, can help guide you to the best possible outcome.
Increased Risk of Motorcycle Accidents
The speed and relatively small size of motorbikes can be both a blessing and a curse. While riders can cut their commute times by zipping through traffic with ease, the inconspicuous presence of motorbikes can also lead to collisions with other vehicles on the road, especially if the other driver is distracted.
With the rise of motorcycle riding in California, the number of accidents and fatalities has also increased over the years. There were 462 fatalities related to motorcycle accidents in California in 2015, and the in 2014 more than 4,500 motorcyclists were killed all over the country in traffic crashes.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders often face bias when being evaluated to determine the cause of an accident. It is a myth that motorbike riders speed excessively and flout rules and therefore are involved in traffic crashes. In actuality, the main causes of motorcycle accidents include the following.
Driver negligence: When drivers of other, bigger vehicles fail to see motorcyclists due to inattentiveness, it can lead to a road accident. This negligence is often caused by the driver eating, using a cell phone, or otherwise not concentrating fully on the road. The other driver also may not observe the surroundings carefully before changing the speed or direction of his or her vehicle.
Reckless driving or driving under influence: Reckless motorists who speed, fail to check before switching lanes, or drive erratically are a major cause of road accidents involving motorcycles and bigger vehicles. Drivers under the influence or alcohol or drugs are also a huge risk factor for motorcyclists, with several collisions or crashes being attributed each year to impaired driving.
Poor road conditions: Damaged roads can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, as they do not have the support or the safety features of four-wheeled vehicles. Potholes, slippery or badly-maintained roads, poor lighting, and inclement weather conditions can all increase the risk of an accident.
Defective motorcycle products: Properly designed and manufactured products such as handlebars, wheels, and tires are essential for the safety of motorcycle riders. Defective or badly designed products can endanger the safety of the motorcyclist, and the manufacturer or maker of that faulty product can be held responsible for the injuries and losses caused by the accident.
Your skilled motorcycle accident attorney can ascertain the true cause of the accident and hold the guilty party responsible for your losses.
Injuries Caused by a Motorcycle Accident
When a collision or accident does occur, the injuries sustained by the motorcyclist can be catastrophic, or even fatal. Without the protection of an enclosed structure and safety features such as safety belts and airbags, the victim of a motorcycle accident can sustain injuries such as:
- Mild or severe head trauma, or traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries, which can sometimes lead to paralysis
- Internal injuries to organs, or heavy internal bleeding
- Broken or crushed bones
After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in an accident while riding a motorcycle, there are several steps that you can take to help ensure a favorable outcome for yourself. It is of utmost importance that you do not provide insurance companies with any statements, particularly pertaining to responsibility for the accident. The main goal of an insurance adjuster is to save their company money. The adjuster will try to find flaws in your statements that they can use against you. Simply respond to any requests by saying that you are represented by counsel and that you would like to consult with your legal team before making any statements.
Immediately following an accident, there are several things that you should do.
- Talk to Witnesses: You should do this as quickly as possible, since witnesses may leave the scene fairly quickly. Make sure you get contact information from any potential witnesses, as they may prove invaluable to your case later.
- Take Photos: After an accident, take pictures of the damage to your bike and pictures of the other driver’s vehicle. You may want to return to the scene later, preferably during the same time of day, and take pictures of the area from several different angles.
- Obtain the Other Driver’s Information: Following any type of accident, it is imperative to get the name, address, driver's license number, and insurance information of the other driver.
- Document Your Injuries: Once the initial shock of the accident wears off, you may want to go to the emergency room or schedule an appointment with your doctor to treat any injuries and evaluate any pain you may experience.
A motorcycle crash can cause debilitating injuries that can result in extended hospitalization and costly treatments, as well as impair your ability to work. When we build your case, we will take into consideration all the monetary losses suffered by you or your family due to the injuries caused by another person's negligence. Your attorney can secure maximum restitution for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Lost Potential Income
- Cost of Rehabilitation
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Trauma
- Loss of Spousal Consortium
- Property Damage
California's Unique Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycle riders in California should be familiar with the state laws governing them, since they differ from those of many other states.
Some states allow riders who have reached a minimum age to drive without a protective helmet. In California, all riders are required to wear helmets at all times, regardless of age or level of experience. Additionally, riders who use speakers or earphones inside their helmets are only permitted to use one while driving so that they can still hear oncoming sirens and car horns.
In California, motorcyclists are legally allowed to engage in lane splitting. Also called lane sharing, this refers to the practice of motorcycles driving between roadway lanes, typically to pass slow or stopped vehicles that are traveling in the same direction. Motorists who attempt to impede or block riders as they pass may risk legal penalties.
Contact Us to Learn More
Our attorneys have years of experience with motorcycle accident cases. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries. If you have been involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle, contact us immediately for a free consultation.