People ride motorcycles for many different reasons. Some enjoy the ride, others like the fuel economy. But even the most experienced veteran riders can be hurt in an accident. In the accident between a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist usually loses.
A motorcycle doesn’t have the protection offered by an enclosed vehicle, so injuries tend to be more catastrophic than auto accidents. The strong impact can force a rider from the motorcycle and lead to serious injuries, even with a helmet.
The at-fault the driver of the auto will probably claim that they “didn’t see the motorcycle.” Unfortunately, that’s not much solace to the badly injured rider and his or her family whose life has been upended. A rider may have injuries with lifelong consequences, such as paralysis or a missing limb. He or she may even be disabled and unable to return to work.
A seriously injured motorcycle rider will need financial compensation to help recover from his or her injuries, as well as other compensation. Future income, or the absence of, is also a consideration.
Many of these accidents are preventable, and caused by inattentive, distracted, or careless drivers. Drivers texting or talking on cell phones are not giving their complete attention to the road.
Despite the widespread belief that motorcycle riders are “daredevils,” most practice motorcycle safety, are safety conscious and obey the traffic laws. About 50% of accidents involving a motorcycle are because a driver failed to see the bike or misjudged its speed.
Crashes frequently happen when a car or truck is making a left turn. The driver fails to yield when turning in front of the motorcycle, and the rider is unable to avoid a collision. A similar situation results when a larger vehicle turns unexpectedly in front of the bike, or moves into the rider’s lane without realizing the bike is already there.
Weather conditions and road hazards can also cause a motorcycle accident, as well as a bike that has been incorrectly serviced.
Riders who are injured have many of the same kinds of injuries as those in other accidents:
- Skin injuries, including “road rash”
- Broken bones
- Lost limbs
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spine and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Paralysis and other disabling injuries
Even with protective gear, you may still be seriously injured in the event of a crash.
Lane Splitting Is Legal Here
Unlike the other 49 other states, lane splitting, or driving in between cars in traffic, is actually legal and permitted in California.
The practice is both controversial as well as dangerous for motorcyclists. Guidelines from CHP indicate that a rider should go no more than 10mph faster than surrounding traffic, and never over 50 mph.
Riders should always be aware of a driver’s blind spot, and drivers are not allowed to block a rider from lane splitting. Should a driver block a rider and cause an accident, they will become liable for the accident and the rider’s injuries.
Damages, or compensation, is the money you receive to pay your accident-related expenses as well as other monies. For a motorcycle accident, this can include:
- Medical expenses, present and future
- Lost wages, present and future
- Property damage, including the motorcycle as well as other property
- Other accident-related expenses
- Pain and suffering
If you’ve received a phone call from an insurance adjuster who “just wants to help,” politely refer them to your legal counsel, and say nothing else. No matter how friendly they may seem, the adjuster has one job: to deny your claim and make sure you never receive anything.
When Should You Hire A California Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Immediately. If you have to file a lawsuit, your attorney will need plenty of time to investigate and build your case. He or she can gather up all needed evidence before it becomes lost, and file your case long before the deadline.
As a rule, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim under California’s statute of limitations. Miss that deadline, and you lose your right to sue, and the compensation you would have received.
The exceptions are:
- Wrongful death, which is two years from the date of death, and may not be the same as the date of the accident
- A governmental body, such as a city, municipality, or the state of California, which has a statute of limitations of just six months.
- If the accident victim is a minor, a parent can sue on their behalf before they turn 18, or they can file within two years of their 18th
An attorney will also file your insurance claim on your behalf, negotiate with the insurance company, and work to get you the compensation you need so you can fully recover from your injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Recovery In California
If you or your loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, our accident attorneys are ready to help you get the money you need to recover from your injuries. When we handle the legal side, it’s one less thing for you to worry about while you heal.
Call us today or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment and discuss your case with our California auto accident attorneys.