Involvement in a motorcycle accident could result in fatalities or severe bodily injuries. As a result, victims involved in the accident should seek compensation for the harm caused to them. The compensation helps them recover and handle certain bills. When seeking redress for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, you want to work with a highly experienced personal injury attorney. At Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm, we work hard to ensure all our clients receive the best personal injury law assistance they require. Our work ethic also involves handling all clients' cases closely, to ensure they receive quality legal counsel.
The Nature of Motorcycle Accidents
Typically, road users are prone to various dangers while driving or riding motorcycles, especially where a disregard for road regulations exists. Consequently, outcomes like motorcycle accidents will happen, resulting in serious injuries and property damage to the affected persons.
Motorcycle accidents involve high-impact collisions with the rider, mainly because they lack a protective body around the motorcycle compared to cars. As a result, most riders involved in crashes will sustain serious bodily harm that requires intensive treatment.
Further, motorcycle accidents are high in California, with over five thousand fatalities reported in 2016/2017. This indicates a high safety risk that may claim the lives of affected motorists. Thus, motorcycle accidents are classified among the most dangerous due to the increased exposure to harm to the rider and the high number of recorded incidents.
Motorcycle accidents are also associated with hit and run incidents, whereby the liable party evades the accident scene to avoid responsibility. This is common when a car or truck user drives off, leaving the rider without assistance or information to file claims.
Based on these characteristics, you want further to understand the causes and effects of motorcycles on victims. Thanks to this knowledge, you will better understand how to seek court redress as an aggrieved party in a personal injury case.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are caused by varying factors ranging from inattentiveness on the road to adverse external conditions. Your attorney will encourage you to familiarize yourself with the various accident causes. The details will play a primary role in helping you establish the possible liable party in your case.
Further, learning of common causes of the accident will help you avoid conditions or behaviors that may expose you to danger in the future. The following are common motorcycle accidents in California:
Riding a Motorcycle While Intoxicated
Operating motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited under the California Vehicle Code and is classified as an offense. Nevertheless, some motorists will occasionally violate the regulations and drive or ride their motorcycles while intoxicated.
Due to this, innocent road users are exposed to potential safety hazards because an intoxicated driver's judgment and motor skills become limited. A motorcycle accident involving a DUI(driving under the influence) may affect you or your loved ones. If so, you want to inform your lawyer of the specific details of the possible liable party’s actions to ensure you prepare a strong case when seeking compensation.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Unlike car or truck drivers, motorcycle riders are susceptible to weather conditions, regardless of the slightest changes. This is because the motorcycle body is unguarded, meaning that the rider’s balance, vision, and speed are affected by external conditions. Therefore, using a motorcycle during adverse weather conditions is classified as a safety hazard because it may quickly result in a serious road accident.
For example, using the motorcycle during a heavy downpour will limit your visibility to other road users and your line of vision. Further, the friction required for safe and effective braking reduces due to the road wetness, meaning you cannot stop as required. Strong winds may also throw you off balance on the motorcycle, meaning you need to remain extra cautious.
On top of this, the reduced visibility of your motorcycle to other road users may further increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. Most accidents will involve a driver failing to notice an oncoming motorcycle until it is too late to react, leading to a collision. Hence, avoiding motorcycle use until the weather is calmer is advisable.
Failure to Observe Traffic Regulations
All road users should observe road regulations to prevent chaotic incidents on the road. The regulations may be in the form of traffic lights, signs, and deployed traffic officers’ directives. Despite the mandate for compliance, some drivers may defy the rules, increasing the risk of motorcycle accidents occurring.
Intersections are among the road zones where drivers must exercise the most caution, even where the traffic signs or lights allow you to have the right of way. Many drivers and motorcycle riders will be accessing the intersection from all directions, so traffic rules must prevail. If not, a motorcycle rider may suffer serious injuries from collisions like T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, and rollover accidents. Although you may not be at fault as the motorcycle rider, you still have to be extra cautious about navigating different road sections to uphold your safety.
Exceeding Speed Limits
Engaging at high speeds is often linked to the most severe road accidents, mainly because the motorist cannot control the vehicle before a collision occurs. The law aims to prevent speed-related accidents by imposing speed limits on various road sections. In doing so, drivers and motorcycle riders are expected to exercise extra caution and comply with the requirements.
However, upholding the speed requirements is often undermined, meaning that many drivers will use excessive speed. Consequently, their reaction time is reduced in case of the need to brake suddenly. If a motorcycle was ahead close to the vehicle, the rider will feel the impact and suffer damages, mainly because of the high speed engaged by the driver. Therefore, many fatality cases are associated with using high speeds on the road, so you want to remain cautious and focused.
Poor Road Conditions
As a motorcycle rider, you may also be prone to poor road conditions, milky because the motorcycle’s stability greatly depends on how smooth the road is. Therefore, deteriorated road sections may trigger the motorcycle to veer off the designated lane and potentially cause a collision.
For example, if potholes exist in the rider’s lane, they may try to avoid them by steering the motorcycle in the opposite lane. If a vehicle is moving along the lane without noticing the motorcycle, a crash may occur. Similarly, road debris can cause punctures on the motorcycle tires, resulting in loss of balance.
An accident may quickly occur in this scenario, making you a victim of the poor road maintenance efforts applied. Thus, you can rightfully seek compensation after the incident to help you recover damages for the harm.
Tailgating Other Drivers
Tailgating is a practice involving following a vehicle too closely, giving you little to no reaction time in case the vehicle ahead engages the brakes suddenly. Motorists are discouraged from tailgating based on its risks, but many drivers and riders will practice it. This is often apparent in heavy traffic conditions, as each driver fights to take up a new position to keep the traffic moving.
If you suffer harm from an accident caused by tailgating, you can successfully present a suit against the liable party to help you recover damages. Thus, you will need your attorney to help you determine the best approach to take in presenting the matter for effective case preparation.
Lastly, motorists are likely to be distracted for a few seconds when driving, owing to different causes. For example, receiving a phone call or replying to a text when operating a vehicle causes visual, mental, and physical control distractions. Therefore, a driver may contribute to a motorcycle accident owing to their lack of attentiveness, resulting in serious outcomes for the victims.
For example, distracted driving can cause a driver to brake suddenly in unforeseen circumstances, meaning you will need to stop while it is too late. Similarly, you as a riser may lose focus for a small period, making you run into objects on sidewalks or other cars. Thus, you want to remain focused and avoid engaging in any known causes of distractions.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Naturally, most parties involved in road accidents are disoriented immediately after the incident, making them slower in reaching decisions. However, understanding what to do after the accident can make a significant difference for you, especially in pursuing judicial redress. This is because you will have gathered the required information and taken adequate steps in helping you regain your health. The most important steps to take after the accident are:
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
A motorcycle accident victim is likely to sustain serious injuries, meaning they require urgent medical attention. If authorities quickly respond to the collision, an ambulance will be dispatched to your location to help you reach the hospital. However, if the assistance is delayed, you will need to find the nearest hospital and request a medical exam to determine the best treatment to apply.
Taking this step is important because it helps you begin your journey to recovery. Furthermore, you will have undertaken your duty to mitigate the accident outcomes, making you a valid claimant if you file a case. This is because courts expect a claimant to present evidence on the steps they took to reduce the possibility of further damage, with medical assistance being a major point of concern.
Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney
Once your wellbeing is confirmed to be stable, you want to contact your personal injury attorney as soon as possible and inform them of the incident. By calling your lawyer, you help them prepare for the subsequent events that require their input. For example, they can deploy someone at the accident scene to document any important details to help with your compensatory suit.
Moreover, your attorney’s experience is useful in working with traffic officers who create a report for the court’s reference. Through the reported details, you can trace the probable causes of your accident to help in determining the liable party to seek compensation from.
Obtain Information About Other Involved Parties
If you are present at the accident scene moments after the collision occurs, you should also collect details from other parties involved in the incident. This includes the primary motorist whose vehicle crashed into your motorcycle or vice versa. Further, you also want to collect details regarding any witnesses and third parties afflicted by the accident.
In doing this, you want to ensure you obtain the full names, contact information, ID card details, and insurance details of the involved party, as the information forms the basis for subsequent communication. Collecting the details is also important in holding the liable parties accountable, as they will need to hold meetings with you or share essential details about their insurance providers.
Avoid Giving Details About the Accident
Sometimes, other involved parties may approach you to try and discuss what happened just before the accident or who you think is to blame. You may also feel the need to approach the involved parties to apologize, especially if you strongly believe you were to blame for the incident.
However, you should avoid these interactions as they may weaken your case if you decide to file a lawsuit against the presumed liable party. This is because the persons you communicate with may quote your words and try to prove them as showing your liability, especially if you agreed to part of or total liability.
Hence, your attorney will advise you to avoid unnecessary interactions with other parties after the accident. Instead, you can offer them your attorney’s contact details to give them an avenue to channel their concerns. This way, you do not have to worry about providing contradictory remarks that may reduce your credibility in court when seeking compensation.
Record Evidence of the Accident Scene if Possible
Your evidential sources play a crucial role in the strength of your case, especially as a claimant. This is because you have the burden of proof to show that the presumed liable party for your accident was negligent or reckless. Thus, the quality and weight of your evidence should be sufficient for the judge to issue a judgment in your favor based on a balance of probabilities.
When you record the immediate outcomes of the motorcycle accident, you increase the credibility and authenticity of your sources in readiness to present the evidence in court. Some of the records to take include photographs of the accident scene and the impact on your motorcycle.
Taking clear and up-close photographs is essential, as they reveal crucial details that help prove your points in court. For example, if you claim that the respondent was moving at high speed, you can verify this by showing the magnitude of impact on your motorcycle.
Further, you can record any witnesses' details, as they may be available to testify in your favor once the trial begins. However, if you think the persons present are reluctant to testify on your behalf, you can request your injury attorney to intervene and ask the potential witness for their input.
Common Injuries Sustained After a Motorcycle Accident
Learning of the common injuries sustained by motorcycle accident victims will help you prepare your claims as they justify your medical expenses. You should note that most motorcycle riders involved in collisions face the more extreme versions of the listed injuries, as their bodies are unprotected from external impact.
Consequently, if you or your loved one suffered a more severe complication owing to the initial injuries sustained, you can include the details in your submissions to justify your demands. Having a medical doctor verify and provide reports on the nature of your injuries is also helpful when presenting your case in court or to insurance adjusters.
The doctor's input is validated by their professional role and qualifications, meaning you do not have to justify all your claims. Commonly reported injuries after a motorcycle accident includes:
Bone and Joint Fractures.
Traumatic Brain Injury.
Deep Tissue Wounds.
Internal Bleeding and Hemorrhage.
Amputations from Severe Limb Injuries.
Possible Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident
After establishing that you have an excellent case to present and request for personal injury compensation, you will serve it to the liable party to help them prepare for the upcoming court case. Thus, determining the most appropriate party to sue is essential, as it entitles you to pursue legal action in court without worrying about case disqualification. Your attorney should help you identify the possible liable parties in your suit, as the matter may require an in-depth analysis of various elements of negligence. Commonly responsible parties in motorcycle accidents are:
Motorists Involved in the Accident
A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents will involve vehicle drivers, mainly because they are more prone to distracted driving, DUIs and speeding. Therefore, the liable party will be answerable for the accident depending on their actions in negligence of the existing duty of care.
Upon establishing that the duty of care was imposed on the driver, you can then present their actions in breach and the causation linking them to liability for the accident. Lastly, you will need to prove that you suffered harm based on their actions for your case to prevail.
Pedestrians Occupying Unauthorized Road Sections
A pedestrian may also be answerable for a motorcycle accident, especially if they were walking in unauthorized road areas designated for vehicles and motorcycles. The basis of your suit will be their violation of the law, meaning they should be answerable for the damage caused.
Road Maintenance Authority
The road maintenance authority tasked with ensuring highways and roads on streets are safe and well maintained may also be respondents in your suit. This is because they hold a duty of care to uphold reasonable road standards for the sake of drivers. Therefore, presenting a case against them is valid, provided you understand the specific shortcomings of their duty performance.
For example, you can sue them if potholes and road debris caused your accident, leaked water or sewage onto the road, destroyed road signs, and cracks. Furthermore, your case should show that the authority tasked with road maintenance was aware of the poor road conditions but failed to undertake any significant projects to restore them.
You will have shown that the liable party knew of the risk they put motorists at, and if they had responded to the call for action, your accident might not have occurred.
Damages to Recover After a Motorcycle Accident
Lastly, you want to present the damages you seek to recover from the respondent if your case is successful. This acts as a reference point for the judge as they award compensation, especially if you specify the monetary amounts you would require from the respondent. Usually, all claims should be supported by the documentary, witness, or footage evidence for credibility before you can recover for the harm you suffered. Some claims to present include:
Loss of Wages and Earning Capacity.
Medical and Hospital Bills.
Pain and Suffering.
Physical Therapy Sessions.
Loss of Consortium.
Medical Appliances and Secondary Care Expenses.
Scarring and Disfigurement.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Doubtless, the effects of a motorcycle accident can result in serious injuries. Victims may be unable to continue with their lives like in their pre-injury state. Seeking legal redress for suffering after a motorcycle accident is therefore advisable to enable you to persuade the court of your right to compensation. With the right attorney, you significantly increase your chances of a positive case outcome compared to the defendant’s presentation. At Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm, you will work with experienced lawyers specializing in personal injury law. Our goal is to help clients seeking legal guidance after motorcycle accidents fight for their rights and seek compensation. For more information on motorcycle accidents and how to recover damages, call us today at 916-313-4859.