Most motorcycle accidents have detrimental outcomes. Even if an accident occurs at a low speed, the impact may lead to severe injuries for the motorcycle rider. When a motorcycle accident occurs, the motorcyclist suffers the most. Unlike vehicle occupants, a motorcyclist does not have any form of protection except his/her clothing. Many reasons may lead to a motorcycle accident. However, most accidents revolve around drug and alcohol use by vehicle drivers who then collide with motorcyclists. If you have suffered injuries in a drug-related motorcycle accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights. San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm can help you seek the rightful compensation.
Motorcycle Accidents in California
In most drug-related motorcycle accidents in California, young drivers are often at fault. Most young people do not have ample driving experience. Also, most young people tend to consume controlled substances. Most drivers fail to recognize motorcyclists when under the influence of drugs and do not yield right of way to motorcyclists. Intoxicated drivers are more likely to violate traffic laws.
Older drivers may also cause drug-related motorcycle accidents. For instance, if a person uses prescription medicine in the wrong way, it may impair his/her driving. With the wrong dosage, the body may not be able to break down the drugs effectively. This may make a person engage in impaired driving without intending to.
In California, drug-related motorcycle accidents are common. The victims, often the motorcyclists, suffer detrimental consequences. Without proper legal representation, most victims may not get the compensation they deserve.
When the Motorcyclist is at Fault
A motorcyclist might be at fault in a drug-related motorcycle accident if he/she was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. However, California is a shared fault state, meaning that even if the victim is partially at fault, he/she may recover damages. For instance, if a motorcyclist is 30% at fault, he/she can recover 70% of the damages.
A rider requires a combination of cognitive, hearing, judgment, and vision abilities to operate a motorcycle effectively. The motorcyclist has to be alert to ensure that in case of an emergence, he/she can react promptly. When a motorcyclist consumes drugs, the drugs impair these skills.
Drugs that Impair Driving and Riding
Certain drugs may affect the ability of a person to operate a vehicle leading to impaired driving. If a motorcyclist consumes certain drugs, it may affect his/her ability to operate a car. Besides alcohol, some other drugs that may contribute to drug-related motorcycle accidents in California include prescription medication, cocaine, and marijuana.
In most cases, people consume drugs alongside alcohol, and this heightens the level of intoxication. Just a small amount of prescription drugs, narcotics, or alcohol may affect a person's driving or riding ability. After consuming certain drugs, they remain in the body for many days and continue to affect a driver's ability to operate a vehicle.
Some of the drugs that may contribute to drug-related motorcycle accidents include:
Marijuana causes impairment and limits a person's ability to drive a vehicle or operate a motorcycle. The drugs affect concentration and make it difficult to perceive time and distance. This may lead to impaired reaction time, lousy judgment, drowsiness, inability to read road signs and traffic signals, and distraction. A combination of marijuana with alcohol creates a greater impairment making a driver or a rider unable to coordinate and react on time.
Combining marijuana with opiates and sedatives can cause an increase in anxiety. In extreme cases, combining marijuana with opiates and sedatives may lead to hallucinations. The effects of marijuana may be hard to predict if you combine the drugs with stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and amphetamines. These factors affect a person's ability to concentrate on the road.
Cocaine is also a common drug, which leads to drug-related motorcycle accidents. Upon consuming cocaine, it may temporarily mask fatigue. However, the consumption of cocaine in high dosage can impair a person's judgment and hinder a driver's ability to concentrate on the road. Cocaine impairs a person's vision and coordination. Consuming cocaine is associated with impulsive behavior. When a person is high on cocaine, he/she tends to engage in risky activities and may also experience confusion. After using cocaine, a person gets an illusion of being stimulated and alert. However, in the real sense, the person's ability is usually impaired.
The effects of cocaine can be particularly detrimental due to combining cocaine with over-the-counter products like antihistamines and diet pills. Taking cocaine together with antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs can be detrimental.
As the effects of cocaine wear off, a person may experience a feeling of agitation or depression. To help prevent this feeling, many people combine cocaine with sedatives and alcohol. Mixing cocaine with alcohol may lead to additional antagonistic and additive effects. The strong effects of cocaine impair a driver's ability to concentrate on the road leading to accidents.
Tranquilizers may also affect a driver's or a motorcyclist's ability to concentrate on the road leading to drug-related motorcycle accidents. Other typical effects of tranquilizers include slower reaction time, memory impairment, lack of coordination, and impaired perceptions. For drivers, tranquilizers may lead to difficulty in maintaining lane position, difficulty in following roadside signs, and poor tracking.
Combining tranquilizers with alcohol or other nervous system depressants may be fatal. Many people who consume stimulants may also take tranquilizers to reduce sleep and agitation. Even if a person may feel fine after consuming tranquilizers, the tranquilizers impair a person's ability to remain attentive on the road.
Opiates may lead to visual impairment, drowsiness, and mental confusion if a person takes them. The effects are apparent even at a lower or moderate dosage. Drowsiness may make it hard for a driver to keep his/her vehicle in the correct lane and end up colliding with motorcycles. An impaired driver has a higher likelihood of making errors in judgment. Alcohol increases the effects of opiates and may lead to respiratory difficulties.
A driver or a motorcyclist may have limited concentration and impaired vision. The drugs increase the driver's tendency to take risks. It is advisable to avoid taking amphetamines alongside MAO inhibitors. Their potential to cause hypertension is a growing crisis. Most people who use amphetamines switch to marijuana and depressant drugs to avoid its adverse effects. The consumption of multiple drugs leads to enhanced dependence on drugs and impairs a driver further.
The Era of Prescription Drugs
Surprisingly, a significant portion of drug-related motorcycle accidents may occur due to intoxication with prescription drugs. We are in the era of prescription drugs, and there is widespread consumption of regulated and restricted medication. Therefore, it is common to find chemically stimulated and sedated individuals operating vehicles and motorcycles. This, thus, increases the likelihood of accidents.
Prescription drugs may affect a person's attention, wakefulness, and general behavior. A driver who has consumed certain prescription drugs may exhibit all the common signs of intoxication. For instance, a driver may find it hard to keep his/her eyes open after consuming certain prescription drugs.
Many states in the U.S have made it illegal for drivers and riders to have any level of prohibited drugs in their system. However, it is difficult to regulate the consumption of prescription drugs because the effect of drugs depends on a wide range of factors. The factors include the nature and the dosage of the drugs. The effects of prescription drugs will also depend on the physiology of the person consuming the drugs. The chemistry of prescription drugs is complex, and the drugs may last in a person's system for many days or even weeks after consumption.
Unlike alcohol and marijuana, which have similar effects on different drivers, prescription drugs may affect drivers differently. The effects will depend on the type of prescription drugs the defendant consumes. For instance, anti-anxiety drugs may make a person exhibit slow responses. If a driver consumes stimulants, the stimulants may make him/her take more risks with the car. If a person combines prescription drugs with very high levels of alcohol, it may result in extreme impairment and increase the likelihood of an accident.
Currently, there is no accepted standard on the level of prescription drugs in a person's system that may impair the person's driving. However, the charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs is becoming more and more common in California. Regarding drug-related motorcycle accidents, it does not matter whether the defendant was impaired with legal or illegal drugs. A defendant will be held liable even if he/she had consumed legal prescription drugs because the drugs impaired their ability to operate a vehicle.
Common Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcycle accident occurs, motorcyclists suffer the worst injuries. When the accident involves a motorcycle and a vehicle, the vehicle occupants may not suffer as much as the cyclist. The accident may result in fatalities, mainly if it involves a high impact.
Typical injuries that you may suffer in a motorcycle accident include neck and head injuries. Road rash is also a common injury, which occurs when a motorcyclist slides on the road's surface. Road rash may vary in severity, depending on the impact of the accident.
Leg injuries are also common because when an accident occurs, the cycle is tripped over. This often pins the motorcyclist's leg beneath the frame and the engine of the motorcycle. A motorcyclist may also suffer burns and broken bones.
Proving Liability in Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
It is important to note that the intoxication of a vehicle driver in a drug-related motorcycle accident is not guaranteed proof of liability. When an accident occurs, most drivers are usually quick to deny responsibility. However, the intoxication of the vehicle driver may help the victim build a strong personal injury case. You will require an experienced attorney to handle the vehicle driver on your behalf.
The presence of drugs or alcohol in the defendant's system may be an indication of negligence on the driver's side. The intoxication of the defendant can make it easy for the victim to win a personal injury case.
Just like in the other accident cases, you have to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Under California law, drivers owe a duty of care to other road users, including other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Therefore, you will not have a hard time proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care.
You also have to prove that the defendant failed to honor or exercise his/her duty of care, leading to the accident. The fact that the defendant was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident is enough proof that he/she failed to exercise the due duty of care. The presence of any level of drugs or alcohol in a driver's system may be an indication of his/her negligence.
It should be evident that the defendant's failure to exercise the due duty of care led to the accident. The defendant will be held liable if his/her negligence was a substantial contributing factor in the accident.
Proving Intoxication in Drug-related Motorcycle Accidents
Unlike intoxication with alcohol, which is hard to prove, it may not be easy to prove intoxication with drugs. First, it is not possible to administer roadside tests for drugs like in the case of alcohol testing using a breathalyzer.
A blood test is necessary to prove that a driver was under the influence of drugs. It is hard to detect drugs through breath tests and urine tests. The police may look for signs of intoxication before recommending a blood test.
A driver may exhibit physical signs of intoxication, including bloodshot eyes, slurred, poor coordination, and drowsiness. The police may also notice a smell of drugs in a driver's breath, which may prompt a drug test. If the defendant manifested the said signs of intoxication, the police may suspect that he/she is under the influence of drugs and recommend a drug test.
Reckless driving may also be a sign of intoxication. If the defendant is high on drugs, he/she is not likely to pay attention while operating a vehicle. A drugged driver is likely to violate a wide range of traffic laws. An intoxicated driver is likely to engage in careless driving, including drifting between lanes, running the red light, or speeding. Reckless driving may lead to a collision with motorcycles.
Steps to Take After Involvement in a Drug-related Motorcycle Accident
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident may go a long way in determining your likelihood of getting the compensation you deserve. Some of the critical steps to take after an accident include:
After involvement in a drug-related motorcycle accident, it is advisable to gather all the possible evidence. For instance, you may take photographs of the scene of the accident or request another person to take the pictures on your behalf. Take photos of your motorcycle wreckage and also your bruises.
If your injuries are severe, you should not wait for the police to arrive, but you should proceed to the hospital. However, ensure that you give your contact information to the other parties involved in the hospital. At the hospital, you may request a written report of your injuries. You may also request the doctor to take photos of your bandaged body parts. This evidence will come in handy for your injury attorney while he/she will be preparing your case.
Get Witnesses' Contact Information
When you get into an accident with an intoxicated driver, witnesses are likely to crowd at the scene of the accident. When the police arrive and clear the accident scene, the witnesses will disperse, and you may never trace them again. It is important to be prompt and get contact information of the witnesses present at the scene of the accident.
When preparing your injury case, it will be easy for your attorney to contact witnesses from the scene of the accident who can provide them with valuable information.
Avoid Exchanging Information
After involvement in a drug-related motorcycle accident, the vehicle driver and his/her insurance company may attempt to obtain information from you. It is advisable to ensure that you do not give any information to the vehicle driver or insurance company regarding the accident. It is advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to handle the insurance company on your behalf.
For instance, the defendant may enquire about the extent of your injuries. Immediately after an accident, the body is often numb, and you are not likely to experience intense pain. However, as the numbness wears off, you are likely to experience extreme pain. Therefore, even if you feel like you are okay after an accident, you should not admit that you are not hurt. The defendant and his/her insurance company may take advantage of your declaration and use it to deny you compensation.
You should not apologize to the other parties involved in the accident. You should not apologize even if you feel that you may be partly to blame for the accident. The other party may interpret your apology as an indication that you are to blame for the accident. Therefore, you should remain quiet and avoid any act that may suggest that you are responsible for the accident.
Damages Available in a Drug-related Motorcycle Accident
With the help of your injury attorney, you may be able to recover some damages after involvement in a drug-related motorcycle accident. You can seek compensation for both compensatory and non-compensatory damages. Some of the available compensatory damages include:
After involvement in an accident, you are likely to incur costs in seeking treatment for the injuries you sustain. You are entitled to compensation for medical expenses. When seeking compensation, you should not only focus on the past and the current medical expenses. You have to include all factors, including the medical services you may require in the future. For instance, in the future, you may have to undergo months of physiotherapy before you recover fully. You may also have to be on medication for a long time. The compensation for medical expenses should include all expenses you are likely to incur in seeking any treatment.
You may not be able to go to work normally after suffering injuries in a drug-related motorcycle accident. You may have to take some time off until you recover from the injuries sustained. You are entitled to compensation for lost wages. The computation of lost wages entails considering a person's hourly rate of pay and multiplying it with the number of hours worked per day and then the total number of the day the victim stays away from work.
The court may also consider other factors including commissions, bonuses, and other incentives the victim may have been entitled to at work. As evidence for lost wages, the court may request for your employment records and other work records.
Lost Earning Capacity
Even after recovering from the injuries of a drug-related motorcycle accident, you may not be able to go back to work. Even if you go back to work, you may not be as effective as you were before the accident. Therefore, you may not be able to earn the money you used to earn before the accident. You may seek compensation for lost earning capacity. In determining compensation for lost earning capacity, the court may consider certain factors including the period to retirement.
A victim may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages including
Pain and Suffering
Pain and Suffering is the compensation for the pain and suffering a victim of motorcycle accident experiences. It may be hard to determine the compensation for pain and suffering due to the absence of methods of measuring the extent of pain. However, doctor's reports always come in handy in establishing pain and suffering.
Other non-economic damages available to victims include emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact a San Diego Personal Injury Near Me
After a drug-related motorcycle accident, the defendant may not always be willing to admit fault. However, with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can get the compensation you deserve. San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us at 619-478-4059 and talk to one of our attorneys today.