motorcycle rider on rural back roadPeople love to ride motorcycles for many reasons. Feeling the wind against your face and escaping the routine of daily life appeal to many riders. Some people love the sense of community from being part of a bike rally or motorcycle club. Others enjoy their connection to nature that can't be felt inside a car. Exposure to the great outdoors and feeling immersed in the sun, wind, and environment can be especially peaceful and enjoyable.

Motorcycles offer some advantages over riding in a car; however, they also carry an increased risk of danger. Without the protective structure and safety features of a car, a motorcyclist involved in an accident will likely suffer catastrophic injuries.

If you're injured in a motorcycle crash, it's essential to contact the skilled San Clemente motorcycle accident attorney at Case Barnett Law to help you obtain a fair settlement for damages. They have helped many injured victims recover the compensation they deserve.

Motorcycle Accidents in the U.S. and San Clemente

Statistics show that about 75% of all motorcycle accidents involve a crash with another vehicle, and approximately 25% are single-vehicle accidents. In multi-vehicle accidents, two-thirds are caused by the car violating the motorcyclist's right of way.

Other Causes of San Clemente Motorcycle-Car Accidents

  • The driver of the car was distracted. They were texting while driving, using GPS, or were not focused on the road.
  • The car of the at-fault driver needed maintenance work.
  • The driver of the car was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The driver of the car was negligent. They may have run a red light, made a quick lane change, or failed to see the motorcyclist.
  • The driver of the car was reckless while driving in poor weather conditions.

California has over 800,000 registered motorcycles, and in 2022, the Golden State saw over 10,000 motorcycle accidents and 8,000 injuries.

Motorcycle Crashes Vs. Car Accidents in San Clemente

Even with helmets and protective gear, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable on the road than occupants of cars and trucks. A motorcycle accident is far more dangerous, and injuries are almost always catastrophic for the motorcyclist with life-changing results. But there are other differences between a motorcycle crash and a car crash.

How a San Clemente Motorcycle and Car Crash Differ

  • Because motorcyclists may suffer a permanent brain or spinal cord injury, they often need long-term financial support.
  • Many motorcycle crashes result in fatalities.
  • Motorcycle accident victims will likely face "motorcycle bias" by jurors who believe bikers are dangerous and reckless.

Managing Motorcycle Bias

A key element your attorney will likely face in a motorcycle accident case is motorcycle bias. This term describes the perception that even experienced motorcyclists are irresponsible and reckless. This bias goes further with the belief that motorcyclists are dangerous drivers and shouldn't be allowed on the road. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney knows the importance of dealing with this type of bias because it can work against your case and make obtaining a fair settlement problematic. 

Different Kinds of Motorcycle Bias in California

Two basic types of motorcycle bias that personal injury lawyers deal with from juries, judges, and insurance companies are cognitive bias and emotional bias. Each can play a significant role in interfering with a fair settlement after your crash.

Cognitive Bias

This is typically a preconceived idea about motorcyclists that isn't based on any real data. For example, a juror may have seen a television show that characterized a motorcyclist as a speeder or a daredevil. Even if that juror never knew anyone who drove a motorcycle or read credible statistics about biker safety, they might still bring that preconceived notion to the trial.

Emotional Bias

Emotional bias can be seen in someone who has certain feelings or opinions about motorcyclists based on fear or anger, or some other emotion. For example, a juror might believe that motorcyclists are negligent, too adventurous, and foolhardy because of how they look or what they feel motorcyclists represent. The jurors may be biased because they're afraid of people who ride motorcycles.

Additionally, some juries, police officers, and insurance companies believe that the fault of any motorcycle accident is the fault of the motorcyclist.

Most of these biases aren't based on reality, but they can hurt your ability to obtain fair compensation. Without a fair and impartial jury or judge, you might lose the financial support you deserve. That's why hiring legal representation is critical. Case Barnett's motorcycle accident attorney team has experience managing motorcycle bias and will provide the necessary proof to help change the preconceived ideas people have about motorcyclists.

Injuries in a San Clemente Motorcycle Accident

A common motorcycle crash injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although most motorcyclists know that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury, not all bikers choose to use them. However, while wearing a helmet helps protect your head and reduce the chances of a TBI, it's not foolproof. Sometimes, motorcyclists with a helmet might get thrown from their bikes, and the force of the landing can still cause a TBI. Sometimes, the helmet comes off the motorcyclist if the crash is especially violent. And if a motorcyclist is wearing the wrong-sized helmet or one not approved by DOT or SNELL, it may not protect your head. If the rider suffers a TBI, they may face long-term mental impairment.

Other Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

  • Face and neck injuries. Motorcyclists often suffer neck injuries and whiplash if they're hit from behind. They can also suffer damage to the ligaments, nerves, bones, and muscles around the neck. A serious neck injury could cause spinal cord damage and partial or total paralysis. Other common injuries include broken noses, jawbones, and teeth, which can cause permanent disfigurement or scarring.
  • Burns. A motorcyclist can suffer what's known as a "thermal burn" during a crash. These burns can happen because of chemicals, fire, or hot metal, such as the exhaust pipe. 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. Shins, forearms, femurs, and pelvis bones are all bones that can be fractured or broken in a motorcycle accident.
  • 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. This is known as road rash. Common body parts affected by road rash are the hands, knees, and elbows. Some cases of road rash can be severe and cause infections or nerve damage, and some may require plastic surgery.
  • 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 break a fall by putting out their hands. Doing so can result in wrist and hand injuries. Riders may also suffer "Rider's Arm"—nerve damage that happens when the rider lands on their arm. 

When You Need Compensation After a California Motorcycle Accident

A motorcycle crash often causes serious injuries, and it's important to contact a San Clemente motorcycle accident lawyer right away. This type of accident can result in costly medical bills and lost wages, 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

  • 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
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Pain and Suffering in San Clemente Motorcycle Accidents

Even if you suffer serious injuries in a car accident, you may not recover pain and suffering damages. Not every accident victim qualifies to recover those types of damages. While your attorney may include pain and suffering in your case valuation, to demand compensation far above the amount needed for medical expenses and property damage, you have to show that you were seriously injured and suffered severe physical pain and mental anguish. This won't happen if the property damage is superficial or you suffered a minor injury.