If you or a loved one was recently involved in a motorcycle crash, you should know what actions to take and when to contact a Mission Viejo motorcycle accident lawyer.
Are Motorcycle Crashes Common in Mission Viejo?
Motorcycles offer a unique feeling of freedom while riding down the Antonio Parkway or County Highway S19, but they also provide precious little protection when a collision occurs.
A helmet and leathers are no match for a steel cage and airbags, making motorcycle crashes some of the most deadly accidents.
Some of the worst local motorcycle accidents in the past few years have included:
- In May 2022, a white sedan turned left onto Marguerite Parkway from Tres Vista and crossed into the patch of an oncoming motorcycle. The 60-year-old motorcyclist was rushed to a local hospital but died hours later due to his injuries.
- In 2015, a Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a Toyota Prius at Alicia Parkway and Olympia Road. The 29-year-old motorcyclist, a Mission Viejo resident, was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver of the Prius was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
- In 2012, a man on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle suffered a severe head injury after hitting several vehicles on Alicia Parkway. The rider allegedly struck two cars causing minor damage, before turning down a side street and crashing near Alicia Park.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Collision in Mission Viejo?
A motorcycle collision can be a traumatic experience, our personal injury attorney adds, leaving riders feeling overwhelmed and confused about what to do next. After an accident, it's essential to take care of yourself first and then focus on the steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. With that in mind, it is equally important to know the actions you should and shouldn't take after this kind of crash:
- Call 911. Our no-win, no-fee injury attorneys always suggest that accident victims gather evidence at the crash scene, such as photos of the vehicles involved, the scene of the accident, visible injuries, skid marks or debris on the road, and anything else that could be relevant to your injury claim. However, motorcyclists are often severely injured after an accident and may be unable to protect vital evidence. In these cases, calling 911 can bring an ambulance to get you the care you need while also summoning the police to make a crash report and take witness statements.
- DON'T admit fault. If the police, at-fault driver, or someone else approaches you, do not apologize—even if you think your actions could have contributed to the accident. What you say when you're in shock or pain can still be used against you, so don't say anything the police could misunderstand as an admission of guilt.
- Seek medical attention. If you aren't transported by ambulance, go directly to the hospital for immediate medical help. Even if you don't think you are seriously injured, you must get checked out by medical professionals who can evaluate your condition. Some injuries can have latent symptoms, such as head injuries or internal bleeding. Even if your injuries are straightforward, a doctor can create a medical report describing the extent of your injuries related to the accident and your chances of future complications.
- DON'T fix your bike. You may want to get back on the road as soon as possible, but your motorcycle is an important piece of evidence. Dents, scratches, missing paint, and broken glass can show the extent of the damage and help an expert reconstruct the accident, giving a blow-by-blow account of what happened.
- File an insurance claim. In California, if someone else's negligence caused your accident, you can file an insurance claim under their policy. If you have comprehensive or uninsured motorist coverage, you can also file a claim under your own insurance company policy.
- DON'T fall for an insurer's tricks. Insurers often try to deny or minimize compensation for injured motorcyclists in any way they can. This includes blaming you for causing the accident, tricking you into giving a recorded statement, or offering fast lowball settlements before you know the full extent of your injuries. If the insurer tries to contact you for more information, don't reply until you have spoken with an attorney.
Should I File a Lawsuit After a Motorcycle Crash in Mission Viejo?
Under California law, victims of negligence have the right to seek compensation for various damages arising from an accident. These may include medical costs, lost wages due to time off work or disability leave, permanent harm or disfigurement, and emotional anguish caused by the incident. If the at-fault driver's insurer refuses to pay your claim, you may need to file an injury lawsuit to take the insurance company to court.
The good news is that California operates on the theory of pure comparative negligence in car accident cases. You can still recover compensation if you are partially to blame for the motorcycle crash. The bad news is that it falls to the victim to prove the at-fault driver's negligence, forcing them to adhere to strict deadlines and unfamiliar legal procedures when recovering from severe trauma.
Hiring a Mission Viejo motorcycle crash attorney puts someone on your side who has experience with:
- Dealing with insurance companies. Many victims see an increase in settlement offers when they hire an attorney to represent them. A good attorney will negotiate on your behalf to recover compensation for your losses.
- Identifying the cause of the accident. An injury lawyer should investigate the details of the crash to discover whether the at-fault driver was speeding, driving under the influence, texting, or breaking traffic laws when the incident occurred.
- Calculating damages. Victims can be owed various damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, future lost income, disability, permanent disfigurement, or pain and suffering caused by the crash.