The Golden State’s sunny weather and scenic highways afford Californians a great place to ride a motorcycle. Nearly one million people in CA own a motorcycle and use this popular form of transportation to get to work, drive to and from the homes of friends and family, and simply enjoy the freedom of traveling in a way more connected with nature. However, motorcycle riding comes with an increased risk of suffering catastrophic injuries in an accident. In 2022, California saw over 10,000 motorcycle accidents that resulted in nearly 9,000 injuries and over 500 fatalities.
If you were in a California motorcycle crash, you must take decisive steps soon after your accident to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Speaking with the experienced motorcycle accident lawyer team at Case Barnett Law right away is the best way to improve your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
Types of Injuries You Can Suffer in a CA Motorcycle Crash
Any moving vehicle accident can leave you with injuries. However, the injuries you can suffer in a motorcycle crash may be life-changing, and your recovery may take years. Because some injuries can be permanent, you may experience depression and emotional trauma as you try to deal with the long-term nature of your wounds. There are many types of injuries you can suffer in a motorcycle accident, including the following.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common and serious injuries you can suffer in a motorcycle crash, even if you’re wearing a helmet. The force of the impact can cause your brain to shake back and forth against the skull, resulting in a TBI or concussion. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a helmet is over 35% effective in preventing motorcycle accident fatalities and over 65% effective in preventing brain injuries, not all helmet models will protect you in an accident. Choosing a helmet that meets all safety standards is necessary to reduce your risk of a head injury.
When you’re thrown from your motorcycle, you may suffer road rash when your body scrapes against the pavement, and the force of the impact drives gravel, dirt, and debris into your skin. Bikers without full protective gear or who get dragged during the crash suffer the most severe cases of road rash, especially to the shoulders, palms, arms, legs, and face. Some cases require plastic surgery and skin grafts.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If you’re in a head-on motorcycle collision, you are more likely to suffer a spinal cord injury, especially if both drivers are traveling at high speeds. This type of collision exerts severe physical force on the body.
Hand and Arm Injuries
Motorcyclists often put out their hands when attempting to break their fall during a crash. Because the hands and arms take the brunt of the impact, these body parts are at an increased risk of injury. These injuries include muscle and tendon damage, torn rotator cuffs, and “biker’s arm,” when the crash causes shattered bones and results in nerve damage.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a CA Motorcycle Crash
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident that was the fault of a negligent driver, or you were partially at fault for the crash, you may be able to recover two types of damages: economic—those that can be quantified—and non-economic, which are of a subjective nature. Here are some of the types of damages you might recover:
- Medical expenses—past and future
- Lost wages—past and future
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
The compensation you can recover depends on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the need for long-term care, and the percentage of fault you share in the accident.
Determining Fault in a CA Motorcycle Accident
Every driver has a duty to adhere to traffic laws and ensure the safety of other drivers. But often, motorcycle accidents occur because another driver is negligent. If you were injured in a California motorcycle accident caused by another party and are seeking compensation, you need to prove the following:
- The driver owed you a duty of care. The law requires that a driver show reasonable care when behind the wheel.
- The driver breached their duty of care. The driver violated traffic laws, was distracted, or was driving recklessly.
- The driver’s breach of care caused your injuries. The driver’s speed, distraction, or recklessness caused them to hit you.
- You were injured and suffered losses. You must show you suffered damages as a result of the accident.
Evidence That Helps Prove Fault
To help prove that the other driver was negligent and is at fault for the accident, it’s important to have critical evidence to support your claim. The following evidence can be used to help strengthen your motorcycle accident case:
- Photos and videos from the accident site, including the position of the car and motorcycle, damage to your property, skid marks, road signs, and your physical injuries
- A copy of the police report
- Footage from nearby security cameras, traffic cams, and dashcams
- Medical information, such as test results, bills, and treatment records
- Witness testimony to corroborate your account of what happened
Having adequate proof of the at-fault party’s negligence isn’t easy. Often, victims need an accident reconstruction specialist to help provide evidence. That’s why it’s important to hire our California motorcycle accident attorneys. We can employ specialists and gather the necessary evidence to help you obtain a fair settlement.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer When You’re Injured in a CA Motorcycle Accident
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident is a stressful time. Expensive medical bills are piling up, you’re likely in pain with severe, extensive injuries, and you’re dealing with extreme emotional distress. Handling all the components of a personal injury claim can be nearly impossible if you’re doing it alone. There are benefits to hiring a motorcycle accident attorney, including the following.
Your Attorney Will Handle Communication With the Insurance Company
The insurance company for the at-fault party has one goal: to pay you as little as possible in compensation. They will often try to talk with you at the hospital to offer you a low-ball settlement or a quick payout if you agree not to pursue legal action. At first, the offer might seem reasonable; however, it’s important to know that it won’t be fair and won’t cover the real value of your claim.
Additionally, the insurance company may pressure you to make a recorded statement or give them access to your medical records. These requests may take place while you’re trying to recover from your injuries—during a time when you’re vulnerable and in a weakened state. Victims often make critical mistakes when speaking with an insurance adjuster, giving information that will be used against them later.
One major benefit of hiring a personal injury attorney is having legal counsel talk for you. Your attorney will communicate with the insurance company, knowing how to avoid their underhanded tactics. You can rest easier knowing a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer is handling this part of your claim.
Your Attorney Knows How to Calculate the Maximum Compensation You Deserve
Our Costa Mesa motorcycle accident attorney understands that your injuries may require long-term health care needs. You may need rehabilitation, future treatment, additional surgeries, and medical attention for years to come. Determining the compensation you deserve requires a comprehensive analysis of how seriously you were injured, how those injuries affect your daily routine, and what lies ahead for you from a medical perspective. Our attorney will not only consider the current physical, mental, and emotional challenges you face but will look ahead at the challenges you may face later. Our attorney will evaluate every aspect of your accident to determine the maximum compensation you deserve.