While riding motorcycles is an enjoyable experience, the inherent risk of being involved in an accident is always present. And while motorcyclists are required to wear helmets in California, this does not always prevent serious or fatal injuries from occurring. The good news is that if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our experienced Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We will not rest until we get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Many different factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident. In some cases, the actions of another driver may be the cause, such as if they fail to yield the right of way or make an illegal turn. In other cases, road hazards such as potholes or debris in the roadway may cause an accident.
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Speed: The chances of an accident increase at higher speeds. Many motorcycles are capable of quick acceleration and maintaining high top speeds, but braking correctly takes practice and coordination. Other drivers who speed around motorcycles may also cause accidents.
- Poor visibility: Motorcycles are harder to spot than passenger vehicles due to their size, so riders must pass with care and execute lane changes safely.
- Road hazards: Motorcycles are more vulnerable to road debris and inclement weather. The risk of accidents increases around construction zones, during heavy rain, fog, or other types of severe weather.
- Lane sharing: While lane sharing or splitting is legal in California, it poses a great danger. In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 51 into law, which defined lane splitting as “driving a motorcycle … that has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on either divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways.” When lane splitting, be aware of your surroundings, avoid lane splitting between large vehicles, and danger increases at higher speeds.
What Are the Injuries Associated with Motorcycle Accidents?
Due to the lack of protection around them, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injuries in accidents than other motorists. The most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries can be extremely serious, and in some cases, they may result in death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
How Can I Protect Myself from Motorcycle Accidents?
There are certain steps you can take to protect yourself from motorcycle accidents. These steps include:
- Wearing a helmet: In California, all motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets that meet federal safety standards.
- Wearing protective clothing: Wearing long pants and sleeves, as well as gloves and boots, can help protect you from road rash and other injuries in an accident.
- Being visible: Wear bright colors or reflective gear so that you are more visible to other motorists.
- Driving defensively: Drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Avoiding lane splitting: Lane splitting, or driving between lanes of traffic, is illegal in California and can be extremely dangerous.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Report the accident to the police: It is important to have an official report on file so that there is a record of the accident.
- Get medical attention: Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, it is important to get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or concussion, may not be immediately apparent.
- Gather evidence: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and get the contact information of any witnesses. This evidence can be critical in building your case.
- Speak to an attorney: An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
It’s important to act quickly after a motorcycle accident. In California, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you wait too long, you may be barred from recovering any compensation at all.
Comparative Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
California is a comparative fault state, which means that you may still be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Your recovery will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident that caused $10,000 in damages, you will only be able to recover $8,000 from the other parties involved.
It is important to note that California also has a “pure comparative fault” rule, which means you can recover compensation even if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the specific facts of your case. Some of the factors that may be considered include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The amount of property damage you’ve suffered
- Whether the other driver was at fault
- Whether the other driver was intoxicated
In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. They are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are typically only available in cases of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Motorcycle Accident?
Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can help you in a number of ways. First, they can investigate the accident to determine who is at fault and gather evidence to support your claim. They can also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Additionally, an attorney can help you understand the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected at every step. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t wait to get help. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today.
The Insurance Company Not Your Friend
After a motorcycle accident, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company. But unfortunately, that’s often exactly what you’ll have to do. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims. So, they will often try to lowball you or deny your claim altogether.
That’s why it’s important to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side. An attorney can deal with the insurance companies for you and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Wait to Get Help for Motorcycle Accidents
Pathway Injury Law is here to help if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident. Our Bakersfield CA motorcycle accident attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of cases and know what it takes to get results.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all potential clients. This gives you an opportunity to learn more about your legal rights and options without any pressure or commitment. To schedule your consultation, call us at 1-888-414-3898 or fill out our online contact form today.