Contra Costa & Alameda County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Riding motorcycles, for those who love them, is one of the most exhilarating experiences in the world. The speed, the wind, the freedom is a bit like flying. Unfortunately, the most exciting part of the ride, being unencumbered by the metal “cage” of a car, with nothing between you and the open road, also makes motorcycles considerably more dangerous than most other vehicles. If you have suffered serious personal injuries while riding a motorcycle accident in California, you should contact California Trial Law Group, PC in order to protect your rights and receive any monetary compensation you may be owed.
If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, the first few weeks after the collision are crucially important. It is essential that you contact a competent personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your repair estimates are not too low and that the right steps are taken to protect your future settlement. Remember that the attorneys at California Trial Law Group work on contingency, meaning you will not be charged any fee until we win your case.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Are Especially Dangerous
Motorcycles are not just perceived as hazardous by a good percentage of the population; they are so designated by statistics compiled by the federal government. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 30 times more fatalities result from motorcycle accidents than from car accidents.
Besides not being enclosed by a metallic structure, motorcyclists are at increased risk on the highway because:
- Motorcycles have two wheels rather than four, and are therefore considerably less stable than cars
- Motorcycles, because of their smaller size, are less visible to drivers of other vehicles
- Driving a motorcycle requires more skill than driving other vehicles
- Motorcyclists too often yield to the temptation of riding around or between other vehicles
The frightening statistics are that you are nine times more likely to be injured while riding a motorcycle than while driving a car and 37 times more likely to die. Moreover, as with all drivers, your chances of dying greatly increases if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Of motorcyclists who die in single-vehicle collisions, nearly half are alcohol-impaired.
Reasons for Motorcycle Accidents
As with all vehicular accidents, some motorcycle accidents are due to unavoidable circumstances, such as a deer in the road, an unexpectedly slippery road surface, an unanticipated obstacle falling onto the pavement, an enormous pothole, or suddenly terrible weather conditions. However, most motorcycle accidents are caused by negligent drivers, due to:
More than 50 percent of motorcycle deaths result from collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles. Unlike other vehicular accidents, 78 percent of the time motorcycles are hit from the front, while only 5 percent are impacted from the rear. The awful truth is that head-on collisions are more commonly fatal to the cyclist.
Of all motorcycle accidents, the most common are those involving cars making left turns. Such crashes account for 42 percent of all car-motorcycle accidents. These accidents usually take place at intersections when the car making the left turn doesn’t see the motorcycle going through the intersection because of its smaller size.
Motorcycle lane-splitting is not illegal in California, as long as it is done safely. While it is tempting for cyclists to try to maneuver through and around traffic jams, the diminished space they occupy and the fact that they are not easily seen, make them vulnerable to making contact with the cars they move between.
Single Motorcycle Accidents
As with other vehicular accidents, it is possible for only one driver to be involved in a motorcycle collision with a road hazard (a deep pothole, an animal, an unexpected objects) or with a stationary object, such as a telephone pole or tree. In any such collision, a motorcyclist is far more vulnerable than the driver or passenger in an automobile would be in a similar situation.
Reckless and/or Intoxicated Driving
It is estimated that approximately half of all single motorcycle accidents results from speeding and/or alcohol abuse. Motorcycle accidents, like all vehicular accidents, are much more likely to occur when drivers are impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs, or when they are speeding and engaging in risk-taking behavior like tailgating, acting out road rage, or driving while distracted by texting or eating.
Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
As many people have noted, there is no such thing as a fender bender when you’re riding a motorcycle Without being enclosed by an automobile, you are likely to suffer much more serious injuries. Although some motorcycle injuries may be minor, there is a high risk of more severe, even catastrophic injuries. Motorcyclists are at risk of suffering one or more of the following:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Facial fractures that may result in disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries, potentially resulting in paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Even considering the added risks involved in riding a motorcycle, the driver of the other vehicle is very often responsible for the collision. If you have suffered a serious injury during a motorcycle accident, your best bet is to contact our competent, compassionate attorneys as soon as possible. We are on your side, always remembering that you have a legal right to ride a motorcycle, and that other drivers, in addition to being preoccupied, frequently have an underlying mistrust, or even animosity, toward motorcyclists, refusing to “share the road” with them in a respectful manner. The more quickly we start investigating your case, the more quickly we can build a strategy to win you the highest compensation.
Damages You May Win if You Are Seriously Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If the driver of another vehicle is determined to be responsible for your injuries, you are legally entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are those that can be calculated in financial terms:
- Medical and rehabilitative costs
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Property damage
- Care for long-term disability
Non-Economic Damages are those that must be arbitrarily assigned financial worth, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and/or mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (companionship, emotional support, spousal relationship)
Punitive Damages are also sometimes awarded in cases of egregious conduct on the part of the defendant. If the driver who injured you is impaired by drugs or alcohol and traveling the wrong way on the roadway, for instance, you may be awarded a substantial amount in punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for extreme negligence (or even malice in cases involving road rage or other violence) and to serve as a warning to any driver who might engage in similar blatant disregard of the law.
California is a comparative fault state, meaning that the court may determine that both parties in an accident share responsibility for the collision. What this translates into in terms of compensation is that if the court decides that you bear 20 percent of the responsibility for your own injuries, the amount of damages awarded to you will be reduced by 20 percent. If the court awards you $100,000 in damages, for example you will actually receive $80,000.
Why You Need the Services of California Trial Law Group, PC
Assigning responsibility can be particularly complex in motorcycle accidents. Because the court, like the general public, may unfairly (however subconsciously) perceive all motorcyclists as daredevils, it is all the more important that you have a savvy personal injury attorney working with your best interests in mind. At California Trial Law Group, we have the experience and know-how to put together the puzzle pieces of road and weather conditions, obstacles, driver inattention, reckless or inept driving, and equipment failures. We also have the resources to investigate, record data, photograph the accident site, interview witnesses, and bring in any necessary mechanical or medical experts whose testimony will corroborate your version of events.
We understand your legal options, are adept at challenging possible mistakes in police reports and know precisely how to deal with insurance company adjusters. We will always advise you to make no agreements, nor sign any documents, until you confer with our learned team. Remember — the insurance company wants to give you as little compensation as possible; we want to get you every dollar you deserve. It is also important to bear in mind that your consultation with us will cost you nothing. We work on contingency, so you will only pay us a fee when we win your case. Please contact California Trial Law Group by phone or fill out a contact form on our website. We are here to help.