Riding a motorcycle is more than a means of transportation. It is a symbol of freedom and a way for riders to enjoy the open air and the scenic views of Los Angeles and the rest of the beautiful Golden State.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists are at a significantly higher risk of injury compared to the operators of other vehicles. In the event of an accident, serious and catastrophic injuries – as well as fatalities – are the rule rather than the exception. And often the first instincts of many is to blame the motorcycle rider instead of those who may be truly at fault.
If you have been hurt or a loved one died in a motorcycle crash, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can collect crucial evidence, build a strong claim, and pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf.
Please contact California Truck Law at (213) 214-1234 today for a complimentary evaluation of your case. Motorcycle accident lawyer Kate Harvey-Lee serves clients throughout Los Angeles and nearby areas of California.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accident claims are often complicated. Factors such as the high likelihood of serious injuries, extensive damages, and issues of complex liability all make it difficult for victims to pursue the compensation they deserve.
Given these challenges, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident. The lawyer you choose should be well-versed in representing motorcyclists in claims involving:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- And More
Prompt investigation is key to the successful resolution of motorcycle accident claims. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the sooner she can begin assessing what caused the motorcycle accident and who is at fault.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Multiple factors can cause a motorcyclist to crash. Some accidents involve collisions with another vehicle, but in a number of cases only the motorcyclist wrecks.
The majority of motorcycle accidents occur due to driver error. Some of the most common issues of negligence we see in these claims include:
- Excess speed by cars and trucks
- Distracted driving (texting and driving, talking on the phone, etc.)
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Errors in turning (especially when a driver makes a left turn in an intersection without looking at the oncoming traffic)
- Errors in changing lanes (drivers who fail to look in their blind spots and fail to see motorcycles)
- Aggressive driving (tailgating, improper passing of motorcycles, etc.)
- Opening the door of a vehicle in the path of a motorcycle
- Drunk driving/driving while impaired by drugs
Motorcyclists may struggle to avoid the hazards posed by reckless and aggressive drivers. Therefore, it is crucial for riders to take every precaution they can to avoid an accident. Wearing a helmet and other protective gear, riding defensively, and ensuring that your bike is well-maintained can all help reduce the risk of a crash.
Increasing your visibility is also key for minimizing the risk of a motorcycle accident. Using the legally required lights and reflectors improves your visibility to drivers at nighttime. In addition, although the practice of lane splitting is legal in California, many people may still try to blame the motorcyclist when the driver of a car or truck changes lanes directly into them.
Who Is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?
For many years, motorcyclists have been saddled with a reputation for taking risks and endangering themselves and others on the road. This is a stereotype, and it unfortunately can make it difficult for injured riders to pursue the compensation they deserve after an accident.
In reality, the majority of accidents involving motorcyclists occur because of negligence on the part of the driver of another vehicle. Additional parties that may also be at fault include:
- The manufacturer of the bike and its parts. Defects in a motorcycle’s brakes, steering, chain, tires, and other key components may cause the vehicle to fail or result in more serious injuries in the event of a crash. Multiple parties may be liable in defective product claims involving a faulty or malfunctioning motorcycle.
- A business that hires a negligent driver. Generally, employers are legally liable if a worker causes an accident on the job. Commercial vehicle accident litigation is a complex area of law. Comprehensive investigation is often necessary to determine how the accident occurred and to establish the liability of the company that hired the driver.
- The government entity responsible for a dangerous roadway. The majority of vehicles are able to navigate changes in the road surface without incident. However, motorcycles have greater difficulty passing over potholes, cracked pavement, loose gravel, and other hazards. If you were in a motorcycle accident caused by dangerous road conditions, the government agency that built and maintained the road may be liable.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it can be difficult to tell who is at fault. By contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer, you will have a dedicated advocate who can gather evidence, ascertain what caused the crash, and identify the party or parties responsible.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
The majority of motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries to the motorcyclist. Most riders require treatment in an emergency room. Tragically, many motorcyclists are killed as a result of injuries sustained in accidents, with the California Office of Traffic Safety recording approximately 500 motorcycle fatalities each year.
Motorcyclists may suffer a range of injuries in accidents, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones, especially in the legs, pelvis, arms, and wrists
- Spinal cord injuries, potentially resulting in paralysis
- Road rash
- Internal bleeding and damage to organs
- Amputation injuries
- Burn injuries
Treatment of these injuries can be expensive, with victims often incurring short-term and long-term costs. Severe trauma may limit your ability to work, depriving you of much-needed income to cover the bills. Physical pain and psychological issues are also common issues after a motorcycle accident.
A personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle accident claims will understand the medicine behind TBIs and other types of catastrophic injury. The lawyer you hire should have the knowledge and resources to assess the severity of your injuries and hire experts to provide testimony in support of your claim.
What Is the Helmet Law in California?
California law requires motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets while riding. Helmets must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Riders who fail to wear a helmet may be fined.
Helmets are crucial for protecting motorcyclists from some of the most serious injuries that occur in accidents, including TBIs and damage to the spinal cord. The question of whether you were wearing a helmet may also affect your accident claim.
Personal injury claims in California are subject to a comparative negligence standard. If you are determined to be partly responsible for your injuries in the accident (such as by not wearing a helmet), the damages in your case will be reduced according to your degree of fault.
Remember, wearing a helmet might save your life.
Contact a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Motorcyclists and their loved ones often face a number of difficulties getting the compensation they deserve after a crash. Choosing the right lawyer is crucial for achieving a successful resolution.
Attorney Kate Harvey-Lee has extensive experience handling complex accident claims involving motorcycles and other vehicles. She understands the devastating effects of serious injuries on victims and their families, as well as how the wrongful death of a loved one can turn life upside down.
Ms. Harvey Lee combines compassion, professionalism, and extensive experience to provide high-quality legal service to each client. When you hire California Truck Law, the full extent of our firm’s knowledge, resources, and tenacity is at your disposal.
For a complimentary evaluation of your case, please call California Truck Law at (213) 214-1234 today. Our motorcycle accident attorney serves clients throughout Greater Los Angeles and California.