Motorcycle accidents are different then car accidents for obvious reasons. Motorcycles are smaller, lighter, usually only have two wheels, and do not enclose the rider in a strong metal box to protect them. It goes without saying motorcycle riding is riskier than riding in a car.
Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death as compared to car accidents. Per vehicle mile travelled, motorcycle riders are 8 times more likely to be injured, but 35 more times likely to be killed!1 That means per accident, the risk of death is significantly higher in motorcycle accidents compared to others.
This article provides an overview of California motorcycle accident cases and what you need to know to ensure your rights are protected. If after reading this whole article you still have unanswered questions, contact a personal injury attorney in your area immediately. Consultations are free, so it won’t cost you a thing.
There are specific risks unique to motorcycles. Already mentioned above motorcycles are smaller, lighter, and therefore harder to see. Contrary to urban legend drivers of cars don’t really want to crash into motorcycles. They just can’t see you.
Motorcycles are at much higher risks of a crash due to debris, uneven road surfaces, or slick pavements.
2 wheels are less stable than 4. Quick changing road or traffic conditions can cause a bike to go down.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a victim injured in a motorcycle accident may sue a number of parties responsible:
The obvious parties to sue are the other driver, or drivers, involved in the accident. Identifying fault after a motorcycle accident is critical to determining who you can sue, so take the time to understand how the accident was caused and what other drivers are liable for your injuries before filing the suit.
If the motorcycle accident was caused by faulty equipment on the bike, you may be able to sue the bike manufacturer and/or the manufacturer of the particular piece of equipment that failed.
In most states, product liability law allows you to sue the dealer of the motorcycle should a defect in the bike cause the motorcycle accident.
If a condition of the road caused the motorcycle accident, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against whatever government authority was responsible for maintaining it. Lawsuits against the government are very difficult to navigate, and require an attorney’s assistance.
While a motorcycle accident lawsuit will not remove the pain and suffering experienced by the victim, the damages paid should compensate the victim all costs, attempt to assign monetary value to the physical and emotional pain associated with the injury, and, on rare occasion, punish the responsible party for serious acts of negligence. The following damage categories are available:
Compensatory damages are the straightforward repayments of all costs associated with the injury including medical expenses, cost of vehicle repairs, lost wages while unable to work, and diminished earning capacity for permanently injured victims. For the most part, compensatory damages are calculated by adding up the invoices and receipts for all costs paid.
General damages are more difficult to calculate because the victim is not being repaid for costs paid during the recovery. General damages include payment for pain and suffering, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, anguish, fear, and loss of quality of life. When calculating general damages owed a motorcycle accident injury victim, a court or a jury will consider the circumstances of the accident and how much the victim has suffered afterwards. General damages are not consistent, and seriously injured victims should use an attorney.
Victims don’t get these types of damages unless the act was intentional or so bad that it was despicable. In other words, if somebody purposefully throws open their door in front of a motorcyclist who’s lane sharing because they want to scare him and he gets hurt, then that is clearly on purpose and may warrant punitive damages.
Not always. If you are not injured or your injuries are very very minor, then it is possible to handle the case on your own. Call the insurance adjuster up, tell them what costs you’ve incurred (damage to your bike, medical bills) and they might settle your case for a reasonable amount. If they do not pay a fair amount, you may be able to pursue the case through Small Claims.
But if you did suffer injures that are more significant, you might not need or want a lawyer but it is highly suggested that you do. The sooner after the accident the better. You don’t have to hire the lawyer right away, but consulting with a lawyer isn’t going to hurt and can only help. We don’t charge for initial consultations so it won’t even cost you any money.
A 30 minute consultation and case review will point you in the right direction. If after the initial consultation it looks like you have a solid case, a longer more intensive meeting will be immediately scheduled.
If you do hire us, we can: