Motorcycle enthusiasts ride for many reasons, including the sense of freedom they feel on the open road. Others choose to ride a motorcycle because this type of transportation can be more affordable and has better fuel economy than a car.
Whatever the motivation people have for riding, motorcycles offer some advantages over other vehicles, but they also carry a higher level of risk. Without the metal protection and airbags provided by a car, a motorcyclist involved in an accident will likely suffer catastrophic injuries.
If you’re injured in a motorcycle crash that was not your fault, it’s important to contact the skilled California motorcycle accident attorney team at Case Barnett Law to help you obtain fair compensation for damages. They have helped many Laguna Hills injured victims recover the settlement they deserve and have likely handled a case similar to yours.
Motorcycle Accidents in the U.S. and California
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more motorcycle accidents happen in the U.S. on weekends than on weekdays. There were approximately 5,600 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2020, and over 2,800 happened between Friday and Monday morning. In California, the major contributing factors in serious-injury and fatal car-motorcycle collisions include:
- Car driver negligence—failure to yield, failure to see the motorcyclist
- Car driver not accounting for poor weather conditions
- Dangerous roads that need repair
- Car driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
California has over 800,000 registered motorcycles, and the Golden State saw over 10,000 motorcycle accidents, 8,000 injuries, and 539 fatalities in 2022.
Motorcycle Crashes Vs. Car Accidents
With only two wheels, no seatbelts, no airbags, no doors, and no protective frame, a motorcycle cannot protect its rider, and an accident is far more dangerous than if they were riding in a car. Injuries are almost always catastrophic for the motorcyclist with life-changing consequences. But there are other differences between a motorcycle crash and a car crash.
Differences Between a California Motorcycle and Car Crash
- Because motorcyclists may suffer a permanent brain or spinal cord injury, they often need long-term financial support.
- Many motorcycle crashes result in wrongful death.
- Motorcycle accident victims will likely face “motorcycle bias” by jurors who believe bikers are dangerous and reckless.
What Is Motorcycle Bias?
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney handles critical elements of your settlement or injury case, but they also know how to deal with motorcycle bias. This term is used to describe the biases many people have about motorcycles and bikers. This bias can interfere with your ability to get a fair settlement after your crash. Unfortunately—and unfairly—many juries, police officers, and insurance companies believe that motorcycle riders are reckless, dangerous, and always at fault when they are involved in a crash with a car.
These biases aren’t rational and have no real data backing them up, but they can interfere with a fair and impartial judgment in your case. That’s why it’s important to hire Case Barnett's Orange County auto accident attorney team to fight for your rights. They have experience handling motorcycle bias and will gather the necessary proof to help beat this preconceived idea.
California Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A common motorcycle crash injury is road rash. When a rider is thrown from their bike and slides across a hard surface, cement, or asphalt, the friction can strip layers of skin off the body. Hands, knees, and elbows are common body parts that are usually impacted. Some cases of road rage can be severe and cause infections or nerve damage, and some may require plastic surgery.
Other Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Burn injuries. If the crash causes the motorcycle’s gas tank to spill, the biker can suffer severe burns. These burns often require skin grafts.
- Leg and foot injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30% of motorcycle crash injuries are to the biker’s feet and legs. If the motorcycle rolls over on the biker, it can pin their legs and feet.
- Broken bones. Pelvic bones, shins, forearms, and femurs are all bones that can be fractured or broken in a motorcycle accident.
- Brain injuries. Although wearing a motorcycle helmet can significantly reduce your risk of a head injury, not all bikers use them. Thus, when they’re in an accident, they can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or skull fracture. These types of injuries can change your life and result in long-term physical and mental impairment.
- Spinal cord and back injuries. These common injuries can include herniated discs, torn ligaments, and spinal cord damage. If the rider suffers spinal cord damage, they could also be paralyzed.
- Hand and arm injuries. Motorcyclists often put out their hands to break the fall when crashing their bikes. Doing so often results in wrist and hand injuries. Riders can also suffer “Rider’s Arm”—a kind of nerve damage that happens when the rider lands on their arm.
- Facial trauma. Disfiguring and life-altering injuries, such as missing teeth, broken cheek and jaw bones, eye damage, vision loss, and scarring, are possible during a motorcycle crash.
Causes of Laguna Hills Motorcycle Accidents
Statistics show that approximately 75% of motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle, and in two-thirds of those crashes, the car driver violated the motorcyclist’s right of way. We know how severe motorcycle crashes can be, and it’s important for motorcycle operators and vehicle drivers to know the primary causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California
- Drunk driving. Reaction time and spatial judgment can be impaired if a driver of a car is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Improper lane change. If the driver of a car makes a lane change or turns without first doing a head check and a mirror check, they can easily run into a motorcyclist.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is considered anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road. This can be texting, using a GPS system, changing the radio, or eating and drinking.
- Failure to yield. This is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. When the driver of the car fails to yield, the motorcyclist who has the right of way may be struck in a T-bone collision.
- Tailgating. Some drivers tailgate motorcyclists or follow at an unsafe distance. If the motorcyclist has to brake suddenly, the car driver will cause a rear-end collision.
When You Need Compensation After a California Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle crash, it’s important to call a California motorcycle accident lawyer right away. This type of accident can result in expensive medical bills and missed time at work, and you need an attorney to start investigating the accident before crucial evidence is lost. Additionally, you need legal representation to protect your right to fair compensation.
Potential Recoverable Damages
- Property damage
- Medical costs associated with the accident and any future medical costs
- Lost wages, including bonuses and raises, and loss of future earnings
- Transportation to and from doctor appointments
- Future health needs, such as rehabilitation
- Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life