The fun and thrill of riding a motorcycle is irreplaceable. However, when you get into an accident while riding one, you can suffer grave physical injuries and emotional trauma and financial strain. It is important to be aware of the right legal actions to take and other helpful information should you find yourself a victim of a motorcycle accident.
Get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. He/she will assess your case and help you choose the best claims for the injuries and property incurred from the accident. At San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm, we offer personalized legal options for motorcyclists who are victims of negligence caused motorcycle accidents—helping them get justice and adequate compensation.
What are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Lane splitting is whereby a motorcyclist can change lanes moving from one with slow traffic and navigating into a fast one. It is a major cause of motorcycle accidents, and it is no wonder that it is a traffic crime in most states. However, lane splitting is legal in California, and it accounts for most of the motorcycle accidents due to poor road sharing habits of motorists.
Ignoring motorcycle riders on the road also leads to motorcycle accidents. Accidents may happen when a driver texts or receives a call while driving or gets distracted and loses direction colliding with a motorcycle rider. Other drivers may also fail to see motorcyclists changing lanes.
Reckless Driving and Over Speeding
Accidents that occur when either party was over speeding are frequently deadly. The impact caused by the crash leaves adverse life-altering outcomes on the victims. Reckless drivers inconvenience other road users when they fail to give way or ignore traffic rules.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme weather conditions may cause slippery roads or blurred vision. Rain and snow cause roads to be slippery, causing motorcycles and vehicles to lose grip of the road and accidents occur.
Driving Under Alcohol or Drug Intoxication
Drugs and alcohol impair the proper functioning of the body and brain. It leads to poor vision and poor judgment while driving, causing accidents. Also, drunk drivers are oblivious to traffic rules.
Vehicle or Motorcycle Impairment
Defects in a car or a motorcycle also cause a motorcycle accident. The brakes may be faulty, or some parts of the machine or engine could malfunction due to the manufacturer’s incompetence and, when put on the road, lead to an accident.
Are there Differences Between Motorcycle Accidents and Car Accidents?
The major difference between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is in terms of exposure of the victims to severe injuries. Cars have protective gear such as safety belts and airbags that reduce the fatality of injuries in case of an accident. At the same time, the driver is covered from environmental danger by the car's external metallic surface. On the other hand, motorists' protection in case of an accident is limited to protective wear such as leather gloves and jackets, knee guards, and helmets. When car accidents occur, injuries are rarely severe except in extreme accidents. On the other hand, motorcycle riders are prone to critical injuries, even when the accident may seem mild.
When it comes to compensation, motorcycle accident victims have a harder time than car accident victims due to the prejudiced notion that motorcyclists are careless on the roads. They have to rub shoulders most times with insurance companies and guilty parties to get their rights to compensation met.
What Types of Motorcycle Accidents Happen in San Diego?
These are the various ways in which motorcycle accidents occur in San Diego. Determining how a motorcycle transpired is important when dealing with a case. It can help prove that the defendant`s error or carelessness leads to the accident. Below are various types of motorcycle accidents that happen on San Diego roads.
Head-on Collision Accidents
These types of accidents mostly come about when a car collides head-on with an oncoming motorcycle. The vehicle and motorcycle are usually moving in opposite directions when the head-on collisions happen. Sharp bends and intersecting roads are black spots for this type of accident. Head-on collisions result in gruesome accident scenes, with the motorcyclist being on the receiving end, suffering deadly wounds, and sometimes succumbing to them at the accident scene. The accidents may also occur when a driver tries to overtake slow traffic and meets head-on with a motorcycle and vice versa.
Rear-End Collision Accidents
These happen when a motorist crushes a motorcycle from behind. The major cause is tailgating, which leaves no space for an emergency move if anything goes wrong. If the rider suddenly halts, then an accident happens within a fraction of a second. It also occurs due to sudden change of lanes by the motorist or motorcycle riders. The impact often ejects the motorcyclist from the bike as he/she is propelled onto the roadway leading to a high possibility of head injury and or other fatal injuries.
T-Bone Motorcycle Accidents
T-Bone accidents, also called Side-Impact collisions, are common at San Diego's intersecting roads. They are deadly and severe as compared to Rear-End collision accidents. These accidents happen when a motorist hits a motorcycle on its side with the vehicle's anterior end. Breaking or negligent traffic rules such as ignoring a red light, overspeeding, and distracted driving are some causes of these types of accidents.
Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents
When a motorist hits a motorcycle and runs from the scene of the accident, the motorists flee due to panic, being under drug influence, or fear because they have no insurance cover.
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Your health and compensation case can be put at risk if you don't know what steps to take after falling victim to a motorcycle accident. If the disregard caused the accident by a person or entity, you are entitled to compensation accorded dually as per the injuries and loss suffered. Acquiring evidence at the scene will aid in your injury case. Most insurance companies find the slightest faults on the plaintiff's side to evade or cut the insurance payments. Here are a few steps to follow after you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
Seek Medical Care
Call an emergency hotline and ask for medical assistance. Most motorcycle accidents leave you with severe injuries. Prompt medical care can save your life and lessen the worsening of the wounds. Even when you feel no pain or don't feel injured, it is still important to get medical care and be sure.
Gather as Much Information as You Can
It helps to have first-hand evidence of the accident scene. If you have a phone with a working camera, take photographs of the vehicle’s position in different angles, license plate numbers, the damage they have sustained, and the injuries you and others have sustained. All this will make it easier to prove the liability of the party at fault. However, if you are critically injured, this may not be possible, so the police report on the accident will help in your case.
Call the Police
Inform the authorities of the accident and where it has occurred. Police analyze the accident scene and write down notes and give a report regarding the people involved in the accident and also eyewitnesses. Ensure your account of what happened is in the police report.
Get Contact Details
Ensure you collect the contact information of the people involved in the accident and the eyewitness's contacts and addresses. It will make it easier to trace them when necessary. Also, obtain the insurance information of the motorists involved in the accident.
Write Down What You Remember
As soon as you can put down all the details, you can remember how the accident occurred. It helps you have a clear flow of the events, and this way, in case the defendant tries to twist the events to their favor, you will be aware.
Keep Count of All Costs Incurred
Record all expenses and losses that come about as a result of the accident. Include all direct costs such as medical bills and indirect costs such as loss of wages.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
It is advisable to contact a competent personal injury attorney in San Diego after being involved in a motorcycle accident. He/she will ensure you are well informed of your legal rights and guide you to get justice for the injuries trauma suffered.
What Should You Avoid After a Motorcycle Accident?
Refrain from following a motorcycle accident since it may tamper with evidence or give the defendant chances to fault you for what occurred.
- Refrain from answering any questions asked by an insurance company or the defendant's lawyers after the accident without your injury attorney.
- Do not make any apologies or try to engage in confrontations to fault the malefactor.
- Do not move the vehicles or motorcycle from the scene of the accident before the authorities arrive unless for safety reasons.
- Avoid accepting any settlement terms before consulting your injury attorney.
Which Types of Injuries are Caused by Motorcycle Accidents?
Injuries range from minor skin abrasions to serious physical impairments or brain damage. The amount of financial compensation you receive from a defendant depends on the extent or severity of the injuries you have suffered.
Skin abrasions occur when your skin is slightly or extremely scraped off from the impact of rubbing against a rough road. Commonly known as road rash, it can result in inflammation, rash development, or severe trauma. It also leads to damage to the skin such that inner layers of the skin are left open or nerves and blood vessels impaired.
It may damage the whole tooth, fragments of the tooth, or tooth dislodgement, which require dental reconstruction.
Exposed Bleeding Wounds
Open wounds often result from deep cuts that may have been caused by exposed sharp objects coming into contact with a victim's body during the accident.
Broken bones are common when a motorcycle rider experiences high impact collisions. They mostly occur on the legs, arms, neck, crushed limbs, arms, or feet. There are compounds and primarily broken bones. The compound is when the bones penetrate the skin and create an open wound, while broken bones are primarily contained from the skin's exposure.
The spine helps convey motor instructions from the brain to the limbs and the whole body in general. The injury’s seriousness depends on whether the injury has occurred on the sacral, cervical, thoracic, or lumbar areas of the spine. These injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis.
Head Injuries and Brain Damage
Motorcyclists may incur serious head injuries, particularly if they had no helmet on. These include open head wounds where the skull cracks open on the cranium exposing the brain or the brain damaged by objects from the accident scene penetrating the skull. This type of damage can cause severe mental and physical malfunctions to the affected victim in the present and future.
Due to the great exposure cyclists have on a motorcycle, some may be amputated in extreme accidents. Amputations of whole and parts of the legs and arms are most common since the rider might use them to break a hit or a fall.
They may be caused by chemicals or fire breakouts from spilled gasoline or exposed electrical wirings.
How is Fault Established after a Motorcycle Accident?
Determining who is to blame for a motorcycle accident can be direct or intricate, depending on how the accident occurred. Some accidents involve double tragedies, especially on busy roads or when multiple parties are involved; therefore, it can be hard to establish who is responsible for causing the accident and who is not. To decide who gets compensation from insurance companies and what amount of compensation is deserved, the California law weighs the extent of fault between the plaintiff and the defendant. Here the eyewitnesses' accounts of the accident and evidence you might have gathered or CCTV record and police reports from the day of the accident, are imperative.
If it is established that you suffered injuries and losses as a result of the negligence of the other driver(s), then jurors rule in your favor, and you receive full compensation. Supposing both you and the defendant are found to have some fault, that is comparative negligence, then the percentage of fault is determined. After a percentage fault is established, both the plaintiff and the defendant can compensate each other.
In a case where it can be proven that the defendant caused the motorcycle accident intentionally or due to wilful carelessness or malice, then punitive damages apply. Punitive damages apply whereby the party at fault must compensate the litigant and receive punishment for their recklessness, causing damages and anguish. The plaintiff can file a case at the Superior Court of California.
When an accident is caused by other factors such as a defective road or your motorcycle experienced mechanical problems, you can claim compensation from involved parties. For instance, you can file a claim with the manufacturer of your motorcycle for defective tires or engine that is proven to cause your accident. Your mechanic or the garage you get services from can be held liable for poorly servicing your motorcycle or tampering with its mechanical functioning. If your motorcycle skidded or lost control due to poor roads, you can also file a claim with a road servicing entity responsible for maintaining the roads.
Can I File a Case if I am Partly at Fault for Injuries I Suffered?
Even the slightest blame from the defendant for the injuries you sustained, such as failing to wear a helmet, can greatly impact your case. Lack of protective gear is proportional to increased chances of fatal head injuries. However, California’s comparative negligence law allows for each party to be compensated by the other according to the extent of the fault. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the prospects of your case if you were not wearing protective gear such as a helmet when the accident happened.
Why is a Personal Injury Attorney Important in Motorcycle Accident Cases?
Motorcycle accidents can be physically and emotionally devastating, especially if someone else's careless mistakes put you in those circumstances. Reaching out to a San Diego Personal Injury attorney will save you the confusion and frustration of dealing with insurance companies and the defendant's lawyers. Personal injury attorneys are well exposed to the language of pushing for justice after personal injuries and will be more suitable in fighting for your rights. Under a personal injury attorney, you are also more likely to receive a great compensation settlement.
When Does Your Case Go to Trial?
After discussing with your lawyer and getting legal guidance, you may agree on the terms of compensation with the defendant's lawyer or insurance company, therefore settling your case without a court's involvement. However, if no fair solution is reached, you might want to take the matter to court. The defendant may deny the accident's responsibility, or the insurance company refuses to agree to your filed claim. At this point, a lawsuit may be necessary to get the settlement you deserve.
What Losses Can You Claim and be Compensated for in a Motorcycle Accident in San Diego?
Proving liability in a motorcycle accident entitles the plaintiff to be compensated. You can make several claims for compensation that will help you and your loved ones take care of financial constraints caused by accident. Considering the nature of your injuries and losses, here are several claims you can make to get the compensation you need.
Medical Expenses Claim
Medical expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, or will incur if a doctor ascertains it necessary in future can be compensated. It should include any medical expenses you or your family have spent, be it dental work for loose or chipped teeth or major surgeries, and medical care finances.
Injuries (Physical and Emotional Suffering)
Although pain and suffering you endure as a result of an accident can't be compared to any monetary amount, the financial compensation you get from filing a claim can help you cater for professional help you may need. You can file a claim for temporary or permanent injuries caused by the accident that robbed you of going about your life comfortably. A certified medical practitioner has to ascertain the severity of your injuries. You can also file a claim for the physical and emotional pain endured.
Property Damage Claims
Motorcycle accidents in San Diego almost always end with a wrecked motorcycle. You can get compensation from the insurance company or the guilty party to help replace your motorcycle.
Loss of Income Claim
The fatality of motorcycle accidents can often leave the victim in the hospital for long periods such that they may lose their jobs or put their jobs on hold until they recover. If the accident left you, for example, with a broken limb and losing your source of income due to that, you can file this claim.
Loss of Ability to Work for Income Claim
This claim is different from the loss of income claim. It is applicable if the accident has tampered with your ability to work and earn a living. It could be applicable if the accident left you with impairments that hinder you from earning an income, such as visual impairments, limb impairments, or mental impairments.
Loss of a Loved One
You can also file a claim if you have lost a loved one due to a motorcycle accident. Such claims could be the loss of companionship and your source of emotional support or financial support.
How Long Can You Take Before Filing a Claim after a Motorcycle Accident in San Diego?
It is suitable to file a claim against the guilty driver or entity as soon as possible since the accident’s events are still fresh on your mind and the witnesses' minds. Less effort will be required to find the party at fault if you have all the details of the accident. The longer you take before filing a claim, the more your high compensation chances fade. However, if it is impossible to file a claim soon, the California Statute of Limitations allows two years from the accident to file a claim against the guilty party. Discuss with your injury lawyer the next best time to file the claim. Exceptions to this time limitation to file a claim can be applied if the victim sustained a severe injury that hinders them from taking legal steps.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
We understand that being a victim of an accident, particularly motorcycle accidents can be hard to deal with, whether it temporarily or permanently affects your life. We encourage you to file a compensation claim and get the justice you deserve. At San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm, we have professional and experienced attorneys who will help you take legal steps in ensuring your compensatory rights are met. Contact us today at 619-478-4059.