motorcycle rider taking a turn on a windy roadWith over 800,000 registered motorcycles, California has more motorcyclists than any other state in the U.S.—Florida is second with over half a million cyclists and Texas is third with 445,000.

Because California has so many bikers, it stands to reason that it also leads in motorcycle accident deaths every year. In 2022, California saw over 10,500 motorcycle accidents that resulted in more than 8,000 injuries and 532 fatalities.

In the second it takes to be involved in a motorcycle-vehicle collision, your life can be changed forever. Because the aftermath can be confusing and overwhelming, it’s important to hire the experienced Orange County motorcycle accident injury attorney team at Case Barnett Law. They have helped many San Juan Capistrano injured victims recover fair compensation after a motorcycle crash, and they can help you, too.

California Motorcycle Accidents

As California motorcycle accident attorneys, we know how catastrophic motorcycle crashes can be. A motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to be killed in a collision than the driver and passengers in a car. Because of that statistic alone, we believe it’s important for all motorcycle operators and vehicle drivers to know the primary causes of motorcycle accidents and how they can avoid or eliminate the risk of being involved in them. 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California

  • Alcohol. Reaction time and driver judgment can be impaired if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Speeding. A leading cause of motorcycle accidents is excessive speed—cars driving over the speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions may not be able to avoid hitting a biker.
  • Distraction. A driver may be less attentive to motorcycles on the road if they are texting, checking GPS, or simply looking away from the road. These increase the risk of a crash.
  • Inexperience. Drivers who have little experience or skill in operating a car may be less aware of the presence of motorcycles and the importance of giving them plenty of space.
  • Road hazards. Motorcycle riders can lose control of their bike if they encounter debris and/or potholes. In some instances, municipalities might be liable
  • Weather conditions. Driving in rain, fog, or other inferior weather conditions increases the risk of an accident with a motorcyclist.
  • Left turns. Crashes often occur when a car driver fails to yield the right of way while turning left

Why Motorcycle Crashes Cause More Serious Injuries Than Car Accidents

Without the protective features of a car—hard metal frames, airbags, doors, and bumpers—a motorcycle rider is significantly more vulnerable in a crash. They can be thrown off the bike, thrust into other objects, such as trees or walls, or crushed by the other vehicle. Because of these factors, motorcycle riders involved in a crash are very likely to have more than one injury and need long-term medical care.

Common California Motorcycle Accident Injuries

  • Road rash. One of the most common motorcycle crash injuries is road rash. This type of skin abrasion happens when the rider is thrown from the bike and skids across asphalt or cement, stripping one or several layers of skin. Some road rash injuries may be mild, but some can be very serious and cause infections or nerve damage. Severe cases may scrape the layers of skin all the way to the bone, requiring plastic surgery.
  • Brain injuries. Although motorcycle helmets significantly reduce the risk of a head injury in a crash, not all bikers wear them. Thus, when they’re in an accident, they can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or skull fracture. These types of injuries can be life-changing and result in long-term physical and mental impairment.
  • Spinal cord and back injuries. Motorcycle accidents often result in riders suffering spinal cord or back injuries. These can include herniated discs, torn ligaments, or spinal cord damage. If the rider suffers spinal cord damage, they could also suffer paralysis.
  • Broken bones. Shins, forearms, femurs, and shins are all common bones that can be fractured or broken in a motorcycle accident.
  • Hand and arm injuries. Motorcyclists use the reflexive action of throwing their hands out to break the fall when crashing their bikes. That’s why arm, wrist, and hand injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents. Riders can also suffer “Rider’s Arm,” which is a type of nerve damage that occurs when the rider lands on their arm. 
  • Leg and foot injuries. Although motorcyclists likely put out their hands to break the fall in an accident, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that motorcyclists suffer more injuries to their feet and legs. The heavy weight of the motorcycle can pin the operator’s legs and feet when it rolls over on them. 
  • Dental and facial injuries. Broken cheek and jaw bones, eye damage, vision loss, missing teeth, and facial scarring are possible injuries during a motorcycle crash. Because these injuries can be disfiguring, they can negatively impact your quality of life.

When You Need a Lawyer After a California Motorcycle Accident

After a motorcycle accident, it’s important that you call a motorcycle accident lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Because this type of accident can result in expensive medical bills, missed time at work, and a great deal of pain and suffering, you need to seek compensation for damages right away.

Potential Recoverable Damages

  • Medical costs associated with the accident and any future medical costs
  • Lost wages, including bonuses and raises, and loss of future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Transportation to and from doctor appointments
  • Future health needs, such as rehabilitation
  • Assistive devices such as wheelchairs or door ramps
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Possible punitive damages

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Juan Capistrano Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

At Case Barnett Law, our experienced motorcycle accident legal team understands just how difficult it can be after suffering an injury from a motorcycle crash. We know how to help you find a legal strategy that can see you through the trauma and help get you the compensation you deserve.

You can find out whether you have a valid case at no cost to you. That’s because we offer free consultations. To request a free consultation with our team, reach out by calling 949-409-0055 or filling out the online contact form below. We proudly serve clients in San Juan Capistrano, throughout Costa Mesa, and in the surrounding areas.

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