Motorcycles are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road today. While they are extremely fun to ride, motorcycles offer little protection in comparison to fully enclosed automobiles. Seatbelts, airbags, windshield, an enclosed shell, and any other safety feature commonly found on passenger vehicles are all conspicuously absent on motorcycles. Because of the lack of safety measures, most motorcycle riders exercise an abundance of caution to avoid serious injury. Unfortunately, motorcycle crashes are often not due to carelessness of the rider but are instead attributed to careless motor vehicle drivers.
Rocklin motorcycle accident lawyers can help you secure compensation after being injured in a motorcycle accident. Recovering after a motorcycle accident can prove to be difficult without help. Personal injury lawyers are there to help you assess your injuries and expenses, determine the party or parties at fault, and calculate compensation for your claim. Instead of worrying about complicated legal processes yourself, rely on a Rocklin motorcycle accident lawyer to secure you the compensation you need during your recovery process.
What Is the Number One Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are more often fatal in comparison to car crashes, since high speeds and a lack of protection makes motorcycle riders vulnerable to serious injuries. It is worth noting that motorcycle riders themselves are not the cause of most motorcycle accidents. In fact, distracted drivers are the primary cause of many motorcycle accidents. Drivers who are not paying attention to their surroundings can easily clip a motorcycle rider or force a bike off the road. To combat going unnoticed, it is even a frequent practice for riders to modify their muffler, making the bike louder and more noticeable to drivers—despite such modifications being illegal in some states.
Despite increased engine noise, motorcyclists are still frequently hit by larger vehicles due to their small size. Limited visibility and enhanced maneuverability make even the most attentive drivers struggle to keep up with a motorcyclist’s movements. Together these factors combine to make motorcycle accidents a relatively frequent occurrence, despite their limited numbers on the roads.
Are You More Likely to Get into an Accident on a Motorcycle?
Not only is a motorcyclist more likely to experience an accident than a typical car driver, the rider is more likely to experience severe injuries or death. In fact, motorcycle riders are five times more likely to experience injuries than other drivers, and almost thirty times more likely to experience fatal injuries in an accident. Motorcycle crashes account for over 14% of all crash-related injuries while only being 3% of the total number of vehicles on the road.
Over 75% of motorcycle accidents involve at least one other vehicle, and crashes between a motorcycle and another vehicle make up 56% of motorcycle rider deaths. Meanwhile, almost 80% of these crashes are head on collisions that often prove fatal to the rider.
If you are a motorcycle rider, it is imperative that you remain vigilant of other drivers to protect yourself against serious accidents.
Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?
Recent studies have revealed that in most severe or fatal motorcycle accidents involving multiple vehicles, the driver of the car is to blame. In some cases, motorcyclists may share fault if riding above the speed limit or executing illegal merges. However, a leading cause of motorcycle accidents is drivers not spotting the biker until it is too late.
To help motorcyclists recover compensation for the damages they experience in these accidents, personal injury attorneys must focus on negligence. Motorists have a duty of care to drive safely and avoid injuring other motorists and breaching that duty of care by failing to drive carefully constitutes negligence. If an automobile moves into your lane without using a turn signal or checking their mirrors resulting in an accident, their negligence caused your injuries, and they must compensate you for the damages. For example, one of the more common multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents is a car making a left turn in front of a motorcycle, which demonstrates negligence on the part of the driver.
California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the law calculates negligence and liability of both the defendant and the plaintiff. If the plaintiff is found to be at fault for a portion of the accident, their overall compensation amount is reduced. For example, if a driver fails to check for motorcyclists before merging, but the motorcyclist was driving recklessly, the motorcyclist may be 15% at fault for the accident. Therefore, if the motorcyclist’s damages reached $10,000 at maximum, their compensation would decrease to $8,500 due to their liability. Of course, if the driver of the other vehicle were found to be fully at-fault, the compensation would not decrease.
What Happens If You Hit a Motorcyclist?
If the motorcyclist you hit files a claim for their damages, you could be liable for their collision-related expenses. Depending on the evidence provided, the courts will consider the severity of the accident and the level of negligence that led to the accident to determine the compensation the motorcyclist deserves. Per California law, anyone experiencing a personal injury has a maximum of two years from the date of the injury to file a claim seeking compensation. After this statute of limitations is up, the case is invalid, and they will not be able to seek compensation from you unless unusual circumstances exist.
If you are liable for the accident, the necessary compensation you must pay the motorcyclist can be significant. The average motorcycle settlement in California is $200,000, but you could be held accountable for much more depending on the calculated compensation. Compensation is intended to account for the economic and non-economic damages the victim accrued immediately after the accident as well as potential expenses to come in the future. Damages may include:
- Immediate medical expenses. These cover a wide variety of charges, including on-scene treatment, ambulance trips, emergency medical treatment, physician bills, or any other related treatment.
- Long-term or future medical expenses. Serious injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, and many of these injuries require future treatment like surgeries, physical therapy, or medication. Expert medical witnesses can help the courts calculate the extent of future medical expenses.
- Lost wages. When injuries result in a loss of time at work, whether a matter of days or long-term, lost wages are compensable damages.
- Permanent loss of earning capacity. If disabilities prevent a motorcyclist from returning to work or result in a lower paying job, permanent wage loss at the result of an injury is a compensable damage.
- Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, disfigurement, and life-altering injuries. Unlike medical bills, these non-economic damages do not have a clear price tag. Instead, they are based on the change in quality of life after the accident.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are issued at a judge’s discretion and assigned to those who are found to be under the influence or otherwise negligent to an extreme degree. These damages often involve paying for the other party’s legal fees and are intended as a punishment to deter future similar behavior. A Rocklin motorcycle accidents lawyer can help you assess the likelihood of punitive damages in your case.
Since California law requires all drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance in case you cause an accident and injuries to another driver, your insurance will cover the other party’s physical damages up to your policy limits. Minimum policy requirements are 15/30, or $15,000 for a single wrongful death or injury and a total of $30,000 for multiple injured parties. You must pay any damages above these limits out of pocket.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, you should immediately call 911 to request medical attention, even if you do not believe you are seriously injured. Aside from receiving immediate medical attention, you will benefit from the police who arrive at the scene and produce a report regarding what they find. This report is material evidence that gives the court a clearer idea of the circumstances of the accident. It may be critical to establish the liability of the other drivers involved.
After ensuring your safety and having your medical condition assessed, contact a personal injury attorney before you speak with the other party’s insurance company. It is also important to note that, while you should call the police to make a report, do not admit fault immediately after any accident. Your attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process and prevent you from accepting liability for the accident. Begin this process as soon as possible. Failure to make a claim within the statute of limitations (two years from the date of the accident) or accepting liability means that you will lose valuable compensation for the damages you received in the accident.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Lawyer
Rocklin motorcycle accidents attorneys are here to help you in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. You can concentrate on recovering from your injuries while a team of experienced attorneys ensures the proper filing of your case. At Kreeger Law Firm, our lawyers specialize in personal injury cases of all kinds and have the skills necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve. If you have recently experienced a motorcycle accident injury and require assistance to file your personal injury claim contact Kreeger Law Firm today.