California has many motorists and motorcyclists using the roads. Because of many motorcyclists using the roads, motorcycle crashes are inevitable. Many motorcycle injuries that do not result in death leave the riders paralyzed or with other permanent injuries like brain injuries.
Passengers and motorcycle riders have higher risks of dying in accidents than those in cars when a traffic collision happens. Motorcyclists’ deaths account for a significant percentage of the number of people who die on California roads every year.
San Diego ranks among the top counties in California to record a high number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities. Accidents and deaths happen to any level of riders, whether beginners, experienced or hardcore riders. Motorists’ negligence and failure to comply with traffic rules are significant causes of motorcycle accidents in San Diego, California. If you get injured in a motorcycle accident, get in touch with us at the San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm to seek compensation.
Causes of Catastrophic Motorcycle Accidents
There are different causes of a motorcycle accident that increases the risk of death or injury. They include:
Motorcycle accidents that happen as a result of speeding contribute to the majority of deaths. Speeding becomes dangerous when a driver finds himself or herself in an emergency and has to swerve to avoid hitting you. It happens because speed reduces the time of reactions for drivers and motorists, making the accidents more catastrophic; it increases the force of impact during collisions leading to injuries and fatalities.
Driving under the influence accounts for a large number of fatalities that result from motorcycle accidents. Alcohol leads to poor judgment when using the roads, and the driver ends up making the wrong decision that affects you.
Crash at Intersections
When you stop at an intersection, drivers may fail to notice their presence. The drivers end up crashing you and your motorcycle from the rear end. In such a case, you are at a higher risk of sustaining fatal injuries, while those in the car are left with minor or no bruises.
Unsafe Change of Lanes
Lane splitting in California is legal. It calls for extra care while changing lanes, to avoid accidents. Drivers and motorists are advised to use their mirrors in case they want to change lanes. Unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to the mirror rule; they expose motorists to the risk of accidents since they have to find a way to swerve and avoid collision with the vehicle.
When drivers turn either to the left or right, they tend to do it when an oncoming motorcycle is too close to them. It may be because they did not see the motorcycle coming or did wrong calculations regarding the speed of the oncoming motorcycle. As a motorist, you are forced to swerve to avoid collision with the vehicle and, in the process, suffer severely due to traffic rule negligence by the driver.
Motorists have some limitations when it comes to road conditions. Poor roads can be due to debris or weather conditions. Debris leads to accidents since they do not provide much grip on the tire to the ground. It may lead to your instability, causing an accident. Weather conditions, especially the cold seasons, may make the road slippery, making it hard for you to ride.
Catastrophic Injuries Sustained After Motorcycle Accidents
During a motorcycle injury, any part of the body can be injured, depending on how catastrophic it was. Catastrophic injuries are mostly sustained when the impact happens on the front side of the motorcycle. The severity of injuries determines the amount that you will be compensated and the seriousness of your injuries and their causes by the other party. Compensation also depends on the cause of the motorcycle accident. Catastrophic injuries that are sustained after a motorcycle accident by riders are:
1. Head Injury
It is a shock to the brain, scalp, or the skull, caused by severe concussion. A head injury can be open or closed. Open injury happens when you are hit hard on the head, but the skull did not crack, while closed head injury occurs when the skull cracks after a hit on the head. Hard knocks and concussions can lead to different types of head injuries. They are classified as:
Hematoma: It is caused by blood clotting outside the vessels in the brain. The fatal injury makes the blood pressure rise, making you unconscious. This type of injury can cause permanent brain injury.
Concussions: Concussion happens when there is a severe impact on the head, which may trigger brain injury. The brain hits hard on the skull’s surface, causing a short-term disability, which, if not well treated, may lead to permanent head injury.
Diffuse Axonal Injury: It occurs when the brain cells are damaged yet no bleeding, causing brain malfunction. This type of injury makes your head swell, making it the worst kind of head injury. It can be detrimental since if you do not seek medical attention, it may lead to death.
Hemorrhage: This is a fatal head injury that causes uncontrolled bleeding around the brain. It may not be easily noticed, but some symptoms of the illness are vomiting and headaches. You should seek medical attention if you feel these symptoms after a motorcycle accident.
Edema: Edema occurs when your head or the brain is hit hard on an object during an accident, causing its swelling. Swelling may cause a pile-up of pressure, which may lead to the brain bulging out and later death if you have not visited a physician.
Skull Fracture: The skull is fractured when the head is hit hard on an object and cannot withstand the blow. The fractured skull exposes brain cells, making them vulnerable.
It occurs when somebody loses sensation and when there is muscle dysfunction. With this type of injury, you will not feel anything in the body parts affected. Paralysis is majorly caused when there is spinal damage at the spinal column of the neck. The severity of paralysis depends on the duration and location of occurrence. Therapeutic intervention by a qualified physician is required with type of injury. This condition can be traumatic to the sufferer since some severe cases may lead to the loss of both legs
3. Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury occurs when you are hit hard during an accident. Slamming may cause your brain to lose its functioning leading to a long-lasting effect on the victim. Catastrophic accidents cause traumatic brain injuries, such as:
Concussion: A brain injury that makes your brain lose its functioning is caused by a closed head injury.
Shaken Baby Syndrome: This type of injury occurs in children due to the excessive shaking of the brain.
Contusion: It occurs when the brain bleeds due to hitting the skull.
4. Severe Burns
Motorcycle accidents may cause burning in that; you can be burned by flames or chemicals that may spill from either the motorcycle or the car involved. It dramatically affects the skin, causing wounds that will need special care to heal. Depending on the location and degree of burns, you could get scarred, infections, and long life disability.
Severe burns may affect your epidermis, dermis, and other internal organs, causing nerve damage, neuropathic pain, impaired movement, and even scarring. Burns require urgent attention by a physician for skin grafting, surgery, and physical therapy.
5. Fractures and Amputation
These are the most common injuries that victims survive when a motorcycle accident happens. Fractures can occur in two ways. The bone may break, but the skin still intact, or the bone may break and the skin wound. The wounds become a concern due to potential infections that may be caused by contaminants. In cases of fractures, you will require special metal plates and screws that will strengthen your weak muscles.
6. Neck and Spinal Trauma
The spine helps in communication between the body and the brain. When a motorcycle accident happens and causes spinal injuries, the brain fails in its sensory function. Spinal treatment may become a nightmare since it depends on what part of the spine has been damaged. Lifetime disability may also occur when there is damage to the crucial components such as nerves and tendons found in the neck. Such cases call for medical attention that may be necessary. Compensation will also be considered for the quality of life that has been altered.
7. Lower Extremity Injury
They are the most common injuries sustained by motorists after a motorcycle accident. Lower extremity injuries mostly affect the legs, where your bone fractures leading to difficulties in movement. As a motorist, you find that your motorcycle does not have a safety metal guard to protect you from hard crashes on the roads. Despite having your protective gear, you still end up having fractures since your legs hit the ground first.
8. Road Rash
Severe skin abrasions occur when a motorist falls on the surface of the road during a crash. Depending on how tragic the motorcycle accident was, abrasions can be severe, and you need a serious medical check-up to ensure that no soft tissues are badly injured. Road crashes can lead to permanent scars, changing your physical look.
9. Hand Degloving
Whenever a motorcycle accident happens, you are knocked off and tend to support yourself with your hands to reduce the crushing impact. It may lead to your skin getting torn, severely affecting the tissues underneath the skin and hence damage to the blood vessels. Hand degloving may also happen that when you are knocked off, you fall, but there is no skin tearing. The nerves, in this case, maybe severely damaged, a condition that may lead to complicated situations like an amputation.
Amputation is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a part of the body underneath the skin. A motorcycle accident that leads to this type of injury causes a lifetime of misfortune since the victim's way of life has been changed. Dependency now becomes the main reason why you should claim for compensation, to take care of your needs in the future.
What to Do After an Accident Occurs
Before even thinking of compensation, anyone involved in a motorcycle accident is supposed to:
Seek Medical Attention
Motorcycle accidents lead to injuries that are usually catastrophic and require immediate medical attention. Calling 911 is the fastest way to seek medical attention, and also as a way to alert the police to the accident site. Even if you may feel like you are okay, a physician should evaluate you to confirm that there is no internal injury that may affect your body functioning in the latter days. If you find yourself not in a position to call, look for someone who will help in calling the medical team to the site. The medical record will be used to show the severity of your injuries and, in turn, determine the amount you will be compensated. Your health should be a priority.
Contact the Police
The police will help in the investigation and determining the cause of the accident by interviewing the parties involved. The police will file a report on the crash liability and give you a copy of the same to help in your claim. In most cases, after a motorcycle accident happens, the parties involved tend to exchange bitter words, forgetting that the same words can be used against them in court. Therefore, you should be careful not to say a single word even if the other driver yells at you.
Do not apologize when an accident happens, as it is proof that you are most likely to be the one at fault. During your interview with the police, you should be calm and provide answers to any question that they may ask.
To get your compensation, you will be required to have gathered enough information that will be used as evidence. The useful information includes photos of the accident scene, witnesses and their contact information, and the specific location where the accident happened. The color, make, and model of the vehicle, vehicle identification number, and insurance information of the driver are vital in supporting your claim.
Call A Personal Injury Attorney
You should contact your injury attorney if you are in a position to do so. Your attorney will establish the facts required and negotiate with your insurance company for your compensation.
Factor Considered for Motorcycle Accident Compensation
For the parties involved in an accident, Liability determines fault. In California, the party who causes injury to the other is liable for any damages to the other party. Liability determination is done by proper examination of the accident by looking at the evidence provided, such as the photos, witnesses, and accident reports. You want the party at fault to be considered as 100% negligent, and you will, therefore, be required to have as much information as possible. The more proof you have against the driver at fault, the more liable they became for your damages, and so will the insurance company be liable to pay for your damages. In some instances, your case may be disputed, and the insurance company is hesitating to do the compensation. Consult your personal injury attorney who well knows the injury laws and will find facts to make your case a success.
Proper filing of your case with enough evidence can make your insurance company compensate you for your injuries. The critical evidence required is:
Documentation: This form of evidence involves documentation of the scene where the accident occurred. You are supposed to take the photos immediately after the accident to support your compensation claim. The photos should capture the damage caused to the vehicles, which caused the injury to the parties involved, vehicle position, and any mark that may be left after the accident. Photos are clear evidence and are used to determine the person at fault.
Witnesses: Your rights can be proven by those people who witnessed the accident. Therefore, you must get all the information required from the eyewitnesses. The most important information includes names and their contacts.
Medical Records: You have the right to get compensation depending on the severity of your injuries. To prove the amount that should be paid, you are supposed to keep all the medical records to receive reimbursement. The records include doctors visit reports, prescriptions, treatment records as well as the travel costs.
Testimonies: Witnesses can support your compensation claims by offering objectives in support of the claim; they provide evidence of the victim.
The severity of damages caused determines how much you will be compensated. Motorists who are involved in accidents get financial compensation for the damages caused to them. For maximum compensation, you will be required to have enough evidence to support your claim. The factor that determines damages are:
Current Medical Expenses: This is the primary care given to the motorcycle accident victim, which includes ambulance services, physician bills, and medication.
Future Medical Expenses: Most catastrophic accidents cause injuries that are both short term and long term. Your compensation will, therefore, depend on how long the injuries will affect your way of living. After examination, a physician will assess the severity of your injuries and estimate how long after the accident, you will need help.
Lost Wages: Injuries sustained after a motorcycle accident may keep you out of work for some time. The lost wages include the current time you are out for treatment and for the future if you sustained long term injuries.
Pain and Suffering: The type of compensation for this type of injury cannot be associated with monetary value. So, it is paid for the aches and difficulties of life after the motorcycle accident.
Catastrophic injuries are handled like any other claim, which means that you will be claiming compensation for the impact caused economically and non-economically. It is on rare occasions where victims are awarded punitive damages after the trial. The disciplinary charges are initially not included during the damage compensation agreement since it is not usually requested.
Economic damage can be easily calculated since there is the actual value for the same. The charges include medical and recovery expenses such as:
- Surgeries and associated costs
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Follow-up visits to the doctor
Economic damage compensation also covers effects that are income-based; for example, you will be compensated for long-time disability and the time that you will miss work as a result of the injuries. Personal injury law firms help you identify many other economic damages you need to be compensated for.
For non-economic damage, compensation is generally for damages caused physically and emotionally by accident, such as:
- Physical suffering
- Loss of healthy quality life
This type of compensation is hard to come up with an agreement since there is no fixed price to it. Therefore, these create a need to involve your personal injury law firm, whose experts well understand how compensation is calculated to ensure you are fully covered as per the extent of injuries caused. The amount that you will be compensated will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries. Catastrophic injuries’ value of compensation is high since you may end up with a long-term disability.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
After you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is advisable to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to help you understand the legal process of filing a lawsuit and fighting for compensation. Contact the San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm today at 619-478-4059, and it will be our pleasure to help you file for your compensation.