motorcyclist on coastal roadAfter a motorcycle accident in Lake Forest, our Orange County personal injury attorney says, you're likely dealing with an array of emotions.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and unsure of what steps to take next, we promise you are not alone.

In this blog post, a Lake Forest motorcycle accident lawyer explains the dangers facing local motorcyclists and how to navigate the aftermath of a traumatic motorcycle accident.

Canyon Roads Lead to Lake Forest Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Every year, motorcycle enthusiasts are drawn to the allure of scenic roads and challenging terrain. But these routes can quickly turn dangerous with winding curves, steep grades, and unpredictable wildlife. The many canyon roads stretching from Lake Forest to Trabuco Canyon and beyond can be hazardous or even fatal to riders, including:

  • Live Oak Canyon Road. Sections of this road have speed limits over 50 mph, combining twists and turns with limited stopping distances. Motorcyclists often have to "lay the bike down" to avoid a sudden obstacle, forcing them onto the shoulder, into the steep sand barrier, or over the guardrail.
  • Santiago Canyon Road. One of Orange County's deadliest highways, Santiago Canyon Road spans several miles and creates numerous inch points between a steep hill and sharp dropoff. The highway is particularly hazardous at the intersection of Jamboree Road, and long stretches without shade put road users at risk of glare and sun-blinding accidents.
  • Trabuco Canyon Road. Although much shorter and narrower than other canyon roads, every corner on Trabuco Canyon Road allows for little or no visibility. Cars, trucks, pedestrians, animals, or any other obstruction could be waiting around each bend.

Lake Forest Motorcycle Accidents Declining But Still Likely to Be Fatal

The congested roads and highways in our community see a high number of traffic collisions per year, including motorcycle crashes. While there were 26 recorded motorcycle crash injuries in 2018, reported injuries dropped to 12 in 2020 and are expected to drop further with awareness campaigns and road projects.

However, these crashes are still overwhelmingly likely to be fatal for the biker. Even if motorcyclists are wearing their helmets, they are unlikely to absorb the impact of a collision as well as the steel frame of a car. Some notable motorcycle collisions in the past few years have included:

  • A 2012 crash between a truck and a motorcyclist on the northbound lanes of Trabuco Road left the biker with serious leg injuries. According to reports, the accident was caused by a trucker turning in front of the motorcycle, forcing the biker into the driver's side of the heavy vehicle.
  • In 2017, a young motorcyclist was declared dead at the scene after a collision with a Hyundai on Trabuco Road. The three passengers in the car, trying to turn left onto Rimhurst Drive near El Toro Memorial Park when the crash occurred, were not injured. Later that year, a 17-year-old from Lake Forest lost control of a high-performance motorcycle on Jeronimo Road and was killed when the bike hit a light pole.
  • In 2022, A 59-year-old Lake Forest man died after his bike left the roadway on Live Oak Canyon Road and struck a wooden power pole. A June collision near the intersection of El Toro and Trabuco Road also involved a motorcycle.

What Do I Need to Prove in a Lake Forest Motorcycle Accident Case?

Motorcycle crashes are unfortunately common and cause disproportionately severe injuries for the rider. Even a minor collision can result in serious injuries, leaving you with mounting medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing pain and suffering.

You have the right to seek compensation for damages, but you will have to make a compelling case to prove the at-fault driver's negligence.

To recover a financial award, victims in Lake Forest motorcycle injury cases are expected to provide clear and convincing evidence of the following:

  • Injuries. Motorcycle crash victims must follow their prescribed course of treatment and obey any medical restrictions from their doctors. If you miss any appointments, attempt to go back to work, or try to go out riding again, the defense might argue that your injuries aren't that severe.
  • Liability. Liability is an at-fault party's legal responsibility for an incident that caused harm. A defendant could be liable for intentional harm or through negligent actions, such as texting, speeding, driving under the influence, or violating traffic laws. In many cases, more than one party can share liability for a crash. You will need an experienced attorney to identify all potential parties who could share the accident's liability—and the financial costs.
  • Causation. You must show that the other party's recklessness or misconduct was responsible for your injuries to win your case. Many at-fault parties refute these claims by arguing that your injuries were caused by pre-existing conditions or something else unrelated to the accident. You will need to present evidence, such as medical bills, expert witness testimony, and photos of the scene, to prove that the other party is indeed responsible. If you are partially to blame for the motorcycle crash, you can still recover compensation due to California's comparative negligence laws.
  • Damages. Damages are compensation paid to the successful party in a lawsuit. Economic damages are your actual losses, such as medical expenses, motorcycle repair costs, and lost wages from your time off work. Non-economic damages compensate victims for their pain, suffering, emotional distress, or psychological trauma. You will need receipts, invoices, bank statements, and other financial documents to prove the amount of your damages. 

Talk to a Lake Forest Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

One of the essential roles a motorcycle accident lawyer can play is providing emotional support. After a traumatic experience like a motorcycle accident, it's vital to have someone you can trust to listen to your concerns and offer guidance. Our no-win, no-fee injury attorneys can provide this support, answering any questions you have and guiding you through every step of the legal process.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law