Motorcyclists often get involved in reckless driving accidents in California. When you get involved in a collision with a rash or careless motorist, the accident's consequences are severe. This type of accident often results in catastrophic injuries or the death of the motorcyclist. The resulting devastating injuries to the motorcyclist require extended time in treatment, and the cost is high.
Compensation is available for motorcyclists involved in this type of accident. California is a fault state, requiring the party responsible for your accident to pay you damages. We invite you to contact us at San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm to help you gather the relevant evidence and pursue fair compensation.
Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident Behaviors
If a motorist carelessly or recklessly operates their vehicle, you will likely end up in an accident. Particular behaviors are prohibited in California and are responsible for many motorcycle accidents. Some of these include:
The thrill of speed on a highway often leads motorists to drive at high speed that makes it impossible to control their cars. One of the most common and dangerous reckless behaviors to engage in is speeding. If a driver suddenly comes across an emergency or you on the road, the chances of causing an accident are high instead of controlling their speed.
Speeding, however, does not only happen in less busy roads but in busy ones as well. Navigating the road when on high speed is tricky and a danger to other road users as it is to you. When an accident occurs due to this behavior, the injuries you would suffer are often catastrophic, and in some cases, death.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited for vehicle drivers and other road users, including motorcyclists. An impaired driver is a danger to themselves and others; hence the state has strict laws forbidding impaired driving.
It is essential to understand that impairment does not only occur when you take alcohol or narcotics. If a driver is unwell and has been for prescribed drugs, asking if they cause drowsiness is critical. Equally, if you buy pills, ask to know if they are safe to take and ride your motorcycle. When drivers are impaired, their vision may be blurred; they may feel sleepy and have delays in responding to the road's situations. As a result, you get involved in an accident caused by a reckless behavior of impaired driving.
Disobeying of Traffic Rules
Traffic laws or rules are designed to create order on the roads and enhance road users' safety. There is a tendency of motorists to assume they can speedily jump a light and not end up in an accident. Others fail to give way when they should or stop at an intersection. This behavior is reckless for any road user and ends up causing catastrophic accidents to a motorcyclist.
Drivers can be subjected to many types of distractions. Trying to use their phone, drinking, or eating as they drive are prevalent distractions. Distracted behavior often results in accidents on the road. When a driver is distracted, they will fail to see you overtake or make a turn. As a result, they will crash into you, causing you unnecessary damages. When operating a vehicle, a driver is encouraged to avoid behaviors that take their focus off the road. If they must, pulling over and attending to what may cause them to get distracted is better.
This is a common yet dangerous and reckless behavior by drivers. This involves a motorcyclist riding behind a vehicle that makes sudden stops. If the car comes to an abrupt halt, rear-end collisions happen where you get severely injured. The types of injuries you can sustain from these accidents range from concussions, broken bones, or more catastrophic ones involving your spinal cord.
Failing to Signal
Signals are designed to communicate your intentions to other road users and keep you safe. When a driver plans to take a left turn, they must let the other drivers know by signaling their intentions. When a driver fails to do this and takes an abrupt turn, an oncoming road user can easily crash into them, resulting in a devastating crash. Motorists sometimes think they can quickly navigate corners or turns due to their speed. This is a reckless way of thinking that results in unfortunate accidents.
As a motorcyclist, you expect the driver to signal any intentions they have on the road. If they fail to do this, you can easily collide with them, and you sustain injuries. In such a case, the driver is to blame for the accident and the injuries you suffer.
Street racing is prohibited in California, irrespective of where it is done. Street racing involves high speeds and dangerous navigations that result in some of the most devastating accidents for motorcyclists and motorists. If a driver is caught street racing, they will be prosecuted for the offense, and the penalties may include the suspension of their license.
Types of Accidents due to Reckless Driving
If a vehicle is driven recklessly, different kinds of accidents can occur. The injuries sustained from these accidents are often significant and cause high losses to motorcyclists. Some accidents you can get involved in with a reckless driver are:
This is one of the most violent types of an accident involving a motorcycle. The extreme nature of this kind of accident leads to catastrophic injuries and, in many cases, death. When a driver engages in any of the above discussed reckless behaviors, you can find yourself in this accident with them. One of the common causes of this accident is speed. When a driver is moving at rates that are difficult to control, they cause the accident. This is especially when they are suddenly faced with an oncoming motorcyclist.
Left Turn Collisions
Accidents, when a motorist is turning left, are rampant. When they fail to signal their intentions to turn left or completely disregard waiting for the road to be safe, they can get into this type of accident. Some drivers are also notorious for driving on the wrong side and passing a vehicle ahead of them. Some incidents that result in left-turn collisions include:
- When overtaking the car and it suddenly makes a turn without signaling
- When a driver decides to go through an intersection or crossroad
- When the driver is passing a vehicle or a motorcyclist wrongly.
Vehicles are typically larger than motorcycles. Blind spots for these vehicles are also extended, making it difficult for the drivers to see you. Knowing this, you should practice care when overtaking or driving next to such vehicles and avoid accidents due to their carelessness.
You can also get into this type of accident with a vehicle driver. Intersections are a common location where these accidents happen. Reckless behavior such as jumping a light or failing to stop at an intersection, results in these accidents. Vehicle drivers often fail to wait and see if the road is clear, and sometimes fail to see a motorcyclist. Their assumption that all is well can lead them into a collision with you.
Rollover accidents are also common among motorcyclists and sometimes involve intoxicated drivers. An impaired driver always has challenges navigating the road, making decisions, or responding to emergencies. As a result, you may end up in this type of a violent accident that leaves you with substantial injuries.
Rules Designed to Enhance your Safety as a Motorcyclist in California
Because of many motorcycle crashes due to carelessness, California has designed various laws that enhance your safety as a motorcyclist. Unfortunately, some motorcyclists disregard these safety measures that can significantly reduce the injuries they sustain. Some of the precautionary rules include:
- Every motorcyclist, just like motorists, must have minimum insurance coverage before operating their bikes. As a motorcyclist, you can be responsible for damages to other people as well. Compensating for their damages will require you to have coverage according to the law. The state also encourages motorcyclists to have underinsured or uninsured coverage. This is essential for motorcyclists because the injuries often sustained require higher amounts in treating them than is covered under a basic policy.
- While riding your bike, whether during the day or night, wearing reflective clothing is critical to your safety. These types of clothing enable other road users to notice you and practice care. Riding with your headlights on is also encouraged at all times.
- If you decide to have handlebars on your bike, you must ensure they are not above your shoulders when on the bike. This makes it easier for you to control your motorbike when a reckless driver hits you.
- Avoid line splitting and tailgating on the road. Most drivers are often distracted and may fail to see you. As a result of their distraction, they can crash into you and leave you with significant injuries.
- Every biker is required and encouraged to have eye protection on. A reckless driver can also throw something from their vehicle, and it hits you in the eye. This is likely to cause you to lose control of your bike, and you crash.
- There is no restriction of age for a passenger on your motorcycle. However, you must ensure a comfortable seat and footrest to be used by your passenger.
- Before you start riding your bike, you must go through a rider education course. This course prepares you for defensive riding, where you can protect yourself against reckless drivers.
- You must ensure to fit your bike with mufflers to limit the noise and side mirrors. Side mirrors help you see what is happening behind you. If you notice a reckless driver through your side mirror, you can easily avoid them or let them pass and prevent an accident.
Liability in Motorcycle Accidents
Whenever you get on a motorbike, you know you are exposed to more danger than a regular motorist. Many people enjoy the thrill of a motorbike ride and forget safety precautions to stay safe. Unfortunately, the injuries you would sustain as a motorcyclist are more significant than those of vehicle passengers. A simple vehicle accident that would result in minor tissue injuries or no injuries can be fatal to a motorcyclist. This makes it more critical for motorcyclists to be more careful on the roads, and avoid reckless drivers.
California is a fault state. This means the person or party responsible for an accident is liable for the damages that follow. When you are involved in a motorcycle crash, the party responsible must be established to recover your losses.
If other road users were careless, your lawyer can establish this and seek damages from them or their insurance providers. Although it is legal for a motorcyclist to have minimum auto coverage, it is not a legal requirement to have health insurance. However, having health insurance coverage is encouraged because the cost of treating your injuries is often high. It is essential to understand that the amount of compensation you receive is up to the insured liability.
Most motorists will take the minimum insurance coverage in California. Often, the cost of treatment and other damages exceeds the coverage amount in a motorcycle accident. This is caused by the substantial injuries commonly sustained by motorcyclists.
If you have no medical coverage and have sustained significant injuries, you may have to turn to the government-sponsored programs to pay for your medical bills. This happens when the insurance coverage by the at-fault driver is not sufficient to cover your treatment bills. However, these programs do not cover for other damages you may sustain, such as damage to your motorcycle, lost wages, or earning capacity.
Although California adheres to the fault theory in compensating for damages, the comparative negligence theory is also applied in seeking damages. This makes it essential for you never to admit fault when involved in a motorcycle accident, even when you think you are to blame. This is because you are not aware of what the other party to the accident was doing before the accident.
Before you conclude to be responsible for your motorcycle accident, allow your lawyer and the police to establish the accident’s cause. Even when you were speeding, the fault for the accident may not be yours. If another party were also to blame for your accident, they would be held partly responsible for the damages following the accident.
The jury following a claim suit listens to both sides and establishes fault and the degree of responsibility. Once this is determined, you will get compensation for the damages according to your degree of error.
What you should do Following a Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident
What you do immediately following the accident contributes to your receiving damages. You may believe you partially caused the accident due to your behavior, but this is not always the truth. Some of the things you should do are:
- Not leaving the accident scene – Sometimes, you may assume you are not injured and decide to leave the accident scene after talking to the other road user. Leaving the accident scene may affect the chances of getting compensation unless you were seeking medical attention. When the accident occurs, you must call for help and wait for the emergency personnel to arrive. Reporting the accident also enables the police to come to the scene and establish the accident's cause. It is important to note that most insurance providers rely on the police report, among other details, to compensate you for the damages.
- Gather evidence – As you wait for the police or the ambulance, collect as much evidence as possible. If you can take photos, do so. Ensure to capture the various angles and the surroundings as well as the accident. Pictures often tell a story, and in them, it is possible to find the cause of the accident, that was reckless driving.
- Gather crucial details – These details involve those of other parties to the accident. If a vehicle was part of the accident, get the driver's details and their insurance provider. Details of the car involved are also crucial and ensure you share your details as well. If there was an eyewitness to the accident, get their details and ask them if they can offer a written account of what they witnessed.
- Do not engage in small talk – Talking with others involved in an accident can result in you carrying the accident's burden. Do not accept fault or apologize for the crash. If the other party is aggressive and blames you for the crush, avoid them, and stay at a safe distance.
- Seek medical care – Often, motorcycle accidents result in devastating injuries as earlier stated. Sometimes the injuries may not be apparent, but this is not to mean you are uninjured. Always ensure to get medically examined and treated for any injuries sustained. Some crashes may result in internal organ injuries that become apparent later or can lead to death. Let your doctor document every finding concerning your accident and write a comprehensive report. When seeking damages for medical bills, a report from a doctor is crucial.
- Engage a lawyer – Seeking damages is not always straightforward, especially when there is a need to establish fault. Most insurance providers avoid paying for costs or find reasons to blame you and deny you compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney understands the tricks used and the law enabling you to recover your deserved damages.
Common Injuries in Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists are prone to some of the most devastating injuries. Even when you have a helmet on, it is not enough to protect you from injuries following your accident. Because your body is directly exposed to the accident elements, the injuries you sustain are often substantial. Some of these include:
- Traumatic brain or head injuries – These are significant injuries that often leave the victims with permanent disabilities. Traumatic brain injuries can leave you in a vegetative state requiring round the clock care and medical treatment. This is costly and will need you to be financially able to get attention. Equally, these injuries can leave you unable to work, causing you to lose earnings for your life.
- Fractured or crushed limbs and other body parts and dislocations – These injuries can require extended periods of recovery. Surgical procedures may also be required to correct the broken bones. All these results in medical costs and lost wages as you recover from the injuries.
- Internal bleeding and injuries to the internal organs – Many people die from these injuries because they are not apparent, and can be realized later if you do not go to the hospital immediately. Your organs are critical to your being alive. When these organs are injured, getting treatment for them is costly and takes a long time.
- Spinal cord injuries that can lead to paralysis – These types of injuries will significantly change your life. Most injuries to the spine affect your nerves, which results in paralysis. Partial or full paralysis may mean you lose the feeling and functioning of part or all of your body parts.
- Soft tissue injuries, muscle tears, or strains – These injuries are not as severe but will require treatment and a stay from work. The costs, as a result, are compensable as well.
If you sustain catastrophic injuries, you may require extended periods of treatment and rehabilitation. The cost of treatment is often high, demanding compensation for the losses.
Compensable Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
As earlier stated, you will receive damages for your injuries from the party responsible for your accident. If responsibility for the accident is shared, you will receive partial compensation for your costs based on your degree of blame. Compensable damages in California include monetary and non-monetary damages.
In monetary damages, the costs are evidenced by documents and are based on the actual costs incurred. Some of these costs include:
- Your hospital bills
- Your lost income
- Cost of repairing your motorcycle
- Future medical expenses from the injuries
- Funeral costs to your loved ones in case you die from your injuries
- Medical rehabilitation costs, among others
Non-monetary costs, on the other hand, involve costs that are not supported, but you incur them as a result of the injuries. Some of these costs include:
- Emotional or psychological anguish
- The value for your pain and suffering
- Lost consortium to your spouse or partner
- Wrongful death to your family in case you die, among others
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Motorcyclists often suffer injuries from reckless drivers. The cost of treating these injuries and other damages is often extensive. Compensation for the losses becomes crucial in facilitating treatment and recovering financially. Establishing fault in a motorcycle accident is never easy and can cost you your damages. Fortunately, with an experienced lawyer from San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm, you can establish fault and recover your losses. Call us at 619-478-4059 and allow us to pursue your damages.