In California, motorcyclists suffer severe injuries every year due to motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders often receive an unjustified reputation as risk-takers, traffic laws flouters, and reckless. Most motorcycle riders in California have acquired a bad reputation from the insurance companies that cover them and the general public. However, most motorcycle accidents are not usually the fault of the motorcyclists but that of other road users. This is why if you find yourself a victim of a motorcycle accident, it is critically important to have a competent and qualified attorney on your side.
It can be an overwhelming task trying to fight an insurance company by yourself while at the same time nursing your injuries. However, a competent attorney will help you get your deserved settlement that will pay for the damages to your motorcycle as well as your medical bills. For reliable legal representation in Long Beach, CA, Contact the Overett Group Attorneys. We will help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Leading Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents in California
Most motorcycle accidents in California involve collisions with vehicles, usually passenger vehicles. This is according to the study carried out by the University of Southern California (USC). In most of these accidents, vehicle drivers violate the motorcyclists’ right-of-way and cause crashes. The study by USC further revealed that failure by motorists to detect and recognize motorcyclists in traffic was the primary cause of motorcycle accidents.
Because of their small size, motorcycles are inherently prone to accidents caused by vehicle drivers. A vehicle driver is often unaware of the motorcycle before the crash or learns about the motorcycle's presence when it is too late to avoid the accident. This is because it is easier for a motorcycle to fit into the blind spot of typical passenger vehicles. The most common causes of motorcycle accidents in California include:
Powerful and modern motorcycles (supersport and sport bikes) encourage speeding and other high-risk behavior. When an accident happens when a motorcyclist is at high speed, it causes significant impact and damage. Motor vehicle speeding also increases the risk of collisions that can kill or severely injure motorcyclists. In addition, speeding affects the motorists’ and motorcyclists’ ability to react promptly to avoid a crash. It is easy for a motorcyclist to control a motorcycle at a low speed and avoid crashing into other motorists. Likewise, it is also easier for a vehicle driver to control a vehicle at a low speed to avoid accidents.
Lane Splitting Incidents
Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between cars in adjacent lanes when traffic is slow-moving or stalled. When an accident happens while a motorcyclist is lane splitting, whether the vehicle or motorcycle is at fault depends on whether lane splitting is acceptable in that State. It also depends on the judge’s view on lane splitting, the views of the law enforcers, and the actions of both the motorcyclist and the motorist before the accident. However, lane splitting is illegal in California. Motorcyclists who practice lane splitting run the risk of being struck by a vehicle driver who is least expectant of a motorcycle to ride up beside them.
Left Turn Accidents
Left turns are among the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in California. A left turn accident occurs when a vehicle makes a left turn across a traffic lane and collides with or is impacted by a motorcycle heading in the other direction. Collisions involving cars making left-hand turns contribute to many motorcycle accidents in California. These collisions account for most accidents between motorcycles and other mobiles. The California VC 21801 calls on motorists making a left turn to maintain a right of way to other road users and only start or continue turning when there is ample distance between them and other road users.
Distracted And Impaired Driving
Distracted and impaired driving often leads to fatal motorcycle accidents in California. Distracted driving occurs when a driver operates a vehicle while eating, listening to music through the earphones, or texting on the phone, which could take away their attention from the road. Impaired driving is the term used in California to describe the criminal offense of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The accident could be worse if distracted driving involves an incompetent driver. This behavior is punishable under multiple offenses in the criminal code, with hefty penalties depending on the harm caused to the motorcyclist.
Often, roadway hazards of all types could cause motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to hazardous roadway conditions like potholes and debris than passenger vehicles. A typical pothole is often a few inches deep, but it could also be several feet wide, making it a serious road hazard for passing motorcycles. Roadway debris includes objects, materials, and substances foreign to the road. Anything that covers a roadway posing a risk of causing motorcycle accidents is considered roadway debris. With only two wheels supporting a motorcycle and no protection for the rider, road hazards can lead to severe crashes and injuries. Poor roadway maintenance by government officials or other agencies is a significant concern for motorcyclists.
As the name suggests, a sudden stop is an act of a driver braking a car or otherwise stopping abruptly, giving an oncoming motorcyclist little time to react. This incident often causes rear-end collisions, in which the motorcyclist slams into the back of a vehicle. A motorcyclist could suffer severe injuries or die in this form of impact. It could also raise tricky questions about who is liable. For example, it could not be clear whether the motorcyclist could have avoided the crash by acting more cautiously in the moments leading up to the accident. It could also not be clear whether the driver who stopped suddenly was responsible for the crash. You need to consult a competent personal injury attorney to determine liability in such an incident.
Injuries You Could Suffer In A Motorcycle Accident
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, never hesitate to seek medical attention. Many people overlook their injuries until much later, when the symptoms manifest. A significant percentage of people involved in motorcycle accidents get rattled and are usually so scared and numb that they feel fine. They often head home, sleep it off and embark on their daily chores the next day. When most victims experience pain, they consult their friends and family members, who tell them to take it easy since the pain will vanish with time. This is wrong advice. You could have suffered internal injuries that could turn out to be significant or life-threatening problems. It is wise to seek medical treatment even if you feel okay.
When a motorcycle accident happens, you could sustain several injuries. Some of the common injuries include:
Often, a serious problem most victims overlook is an internal head injury. Just because your head is not bleeding after a motorcycle accident does not mean that you are fine. Symptoms of internal head injury often manifest later after the motorcycle accident. They do not show up immediately. You could suffer internal head injuries when you thrust your head on a hard surface like the vehicle or the road surface.
Head injuries that do not penetrate the skull could be underestimated at first. Accidents of this type will most likely cause internal injuries within the brain. Some of the symptoms of internal head injuries include mood and behavioral changes, thinking slowly, loss of hearing, and being slow in speaking. Other signs of internal head injuries you could experience include fluid drainage from the ears or nose, lethargy, bleeding in the face or the head, and confusion.
Spinal Cord Paralysis
Temporary or permanent paralysis is another traumatic injury you could suffer after a motorcycle accident. When a nerve is pinched or inflamed, temporary paralysis occurs. When the vital nerves that control various body organs are severed or damaged, permanent paralysis is eminent. This often happens if there is a traumatic impact on the spinal cord or neck. The impact could render the body parts unable to retain the sensations or normal mobility they once had. You should seek medical attention immediately if this happens. Paralyzed victims need constant, round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives since they are faced with lifelong challenges.
Severe skin abrasions called ''road rash'' could occur when a motorcyclist makes contact with the road surface during a crash. The severity of road rash ranges from severe to mild injury and requires immediate medical attention. In addition, road rash could lead to permanent scarring and severe infections.
Never overlook a road rash as a bruise, scrape, or minor cut. To avoid more complications, you must seek immediate medical attention after sustaining a road rash.
During a motorcycle accident, it is common to suffer injuries to your lower extremities, including ankles, calves, feet, and knees. Often, the legs are the first body parts that touch the ground in a motorcycle crash. As a result, you could suffer sprains, muscle injuries, bruises, or cuts. Most of these injuries are not severe, but they can cause permanent disability if not accorded proper care. As a motorcyclist, you can avoid this type of injury by wearing knee pads and leather clothing to minimize impact in case of an accident.
Also known as rider's arm, a biker's arm is an injury to the nerves in the upper part of the hand. It occurs when a motorcyclist lands on their arms during an accident. This type of injury also occurs when a motorcyclist naturally attempts to brace for a fall and shields themselves with the arms. This causes nerve damage in the arm that could lead to limited mobility and, in severe cases, cause permanent or temporary paralysis of the arms. In addition, other injuries like broken bones, bruises, muscle injuries, and tendon injuries could lead to a biker's arm.
Motorcycle Gear and Safety
Ensuring that you were in the right motorcycle gear could help you avoid liability in a motorcycle accident. Quality motorcycle gear combines durability, comfort, weather protection, fit, armor, and style. However, the bottom line about motorcycle gear is that you could fall, and you will most likely land on the pavement when you do. A motorcyclist is also at a greater risk of sustaining injuries or even death when a car hits them. So they need maximum impact and abrasion resistance as possible.
An armor is an extra pant or padding sewn into the jacket to protect the areas of impact on the body. This protective clothing could help minimize the extent of road rash, whose effects can lead to fatal and sometimes severe internal damage. The knees, elbows, buttocks, and shoulders are the common impact parts on the body that should be well cushioned. A motorcyclist can easily get bruises on all of these body locations in an accident. Other parts of impact are the collarbone, back, and chest. This is the reason why armor is essential.
Most motorcyclists always overlook the importance of motorcycle helmets. Motorcycle helmets are essential for motorcycle riders because they contain sty foam layers that cushion the motorcyclist’s head in case of a crash. Most medical reports in California support the use of motorcycle helmets. They believe that the helmet reduces the chances of brain and head injury when an accident occurs.
Motorcycle gloves cushion the motorcyclist's hands from impacts and abrasions. Gloves are also worn to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), leading to more severe complications. Gloves also protect the skin from heat damage and reduce the likelihood of injuries, pricks, and other unsafe elements.
Six Things You Should Do After A Motorcycle Accident
Because of their small size, motorcycles are hard to see, and they often get lost in the passenger vehicles’ blind spots. This is why they are side wiped by other motorists. You should take the following steps after your involvement in a motorcycle accident:
- Call or report the accident to the police — The police will come up with a conclusive report on the cause of the accident, which will come in handy in the future while seeking a settlement for damages. The report will also be resourceful to your personal injury attorney in determining liability.
- Move to a safe place — After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial that you move to safety, particularly on the roadside, if you can move.
- Record the statements and take the names of the witnesses to your accident — Record any unusual circumstances that could have contributed to the accident and, if possible, take pictures of the accident scene.
- Avoid speaking to any insurance agents that could surface at the scene of an accident. They use malicious tactics to get the victims to say things that could hurt their claim or lead to fault.
- Make a call and report the accident to your insurance company. Avoid speaking to the other party's insurance carrier. Instead, allow your injury attorney to deal with them.
- After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial to get checked out by a physician, even if you have not sustained a severe injury. Some injuries do not manifest right away, and the insurance company could hesitate to pay for the injury later.
Damages Available in A Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident victims are lucky to be alive after their involvement in an accident. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize that other parties are liable for their debilitation. If motorcycle riders get involved in an accident with a car, it can be catastrophic. Various damages occur, ranging from property damages to personal injury. Often, claiming compensation is the only way of getting your life back on track. After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, you must hold the liable parties responsible by filing a compensation claim. Some of the damages you can claim include:
The first issue a motorcycle accident victim needs to worry about after the accident is money. This is because you would not return to work as usual after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident. Financial shortcomings add enormous stress and can seriously water down the recovery process. However, you can seek your compensation for lost wages through your injury attorney as you recover from injuries.
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, any medical or physiotherapy expenses should not be on your shoulders. This goes along with family stress, general mental anguish, and missed time at work. It is not your fault to be in such a situation; therefore, you should not bear the responsibility to pay for it. Therefore, you qualify for medical expenses compensation. When seeking compensation, you should include any expense you are likely to incur in seeking any medication.
Other damages that you could claim after a motorcycle accident include:
- Wrongful death.
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
- Loss of consortium.
- Lost earnings.
Find A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
If you sustain severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, failing to hire an attorney to stand up for you could cost you more than just money. It could also cause you a great deal of heartache and headaches. You should contact an attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the way forward. Through your attorney, you will receive the settlement you deserve. Overett Group Attorneys has experienced attorneys who can help you submit a claim in Long Beach, CA. Contact us at 562-986-9864 and speak to one of our attorneys.