While riding a motorcycle can be a fun way to see California’s beautiful scenery and a cheap form of transportation, it can also be dangerous for motorcycle riders. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle rider fatalities occurred 29 times more often than passenger vehicle occupant deaths in accidents in 2015, with 4,976 motorcyclists being killed and 88,000 suffering injuries.
Motorcycle accident victims who survive their accidents caused by negligent drivers can suffer catastrophic injuries that can limit or prevent their working and can require long-term medical care. If you were hurt in a motorcycle wreck, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Case Barnett Law are here to help you fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our passionate legal team will guide you through the process of filing your claim. We will keep you informed about the progress of your case, and we will thoroughly build your case to hold the negligent party accountable for compensating you.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and the Injuries That Victims Suffer
Some people are under the misconception that motorcycle riders cause their crashes by their own reckless or negligent driving practices. While it is true that some accidents are caused by the motorcyclist, most are caused by car and truck drivers.
There are many types of motorcycle accidents. Rear-end collisions, side impact wrecks, and head-on collisions are a few. Common reasons that negligent drivers cause these tragic wrecks include:
- Speeding. When a driver speeds, he has less control of his vehicle or ability to slow down or stop when traffic conditions require. As a result, he may not have time to stop if he is racing through an intersection when a motorcyclist has the right of way or a rider ahead of him must slow or stop suddenly.
- Distracted driving. In many of these accidents, the motorist does not even see the motorcycle rider that he hits. Distraction is a common element with car and truck collisions. A driver’s eyes and mind cannot focus on the road when he is eating or drinking, talking on a cellphone, texting, or engaging in other distracted-driving practices.
- Intoxication. A driver who is intoxicated because of alcohol or drug use does not possess the driving skills necessary to drive safely around motorcycles. Vision, reaction times, and good judgment may all be impaired.
- Fatigue. Driving when fatigued can pose the same dangers as driving when drunk, with a tragic motorcycle accident a likely consequence.
- Unsafe lane changes. A driver can cause a motorcycle accident when changing lanes by cutting in front of a motorcycle, failing to signal before moving into another lane, or not checking his blind spot first.
- Open car doors. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result from drivers and passengers of motor vehicles failing to check for oncoming traffic before opening their doors when parked on the side of the road. The car door can slam into an unsuspecting motorcyclist, sometimes hurling him into other vehicles.
Motorcycle riders have only their helmets—if they are wearing them—and their clothes to protect them when they are struck by a massive motor vehicle. As a result, they can suffer much more devastating injuries than victims of other accidents. Common injuries caused by negligent drivers include:
- Traumatic brain injury and other head injuries.
- Bruises and lacerations.
- Road rash.
- Broken bones and fractures.
- Neck and back injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries, which may result in partial or complete paralysis.
- Internal bleeding and organ damage.
Types of Compensation Awarded in Motorcycle Accidents
In California, victims of motorcycle accidents are entitled to compensation for their losses. If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck, the specific types and amounts of compensation that you will be entitled to will depend on your particular situation. However, you could receive these types of compensation:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Past and future wage losses, which may include lost vacation and sick pay, commissions, bonuses, and other perks of your job.
- Lost earning capacity losses if you must make a career change or are permanently disabled due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering damages to compensate you for the emotional distress, pain, and suffering that you endured due to your accident and your injuries.
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one died in a motorcycle accident
Five Reasons That You Need an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney When Filing a Claim Following a Motorcycle Accident
There are a few situations where you may not need to retain an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. In minor accidents where you only had small medical expenses and only injuries like a sprained wrist or a cut requiring stitches, you can probably settle your claim on your own. However, in most cases, you would be a serious disadvantage if you tried to negotiate your settlement with the insurance adjuster. Even if the other driver’s negligence is clear-cut, the adjuster will look for disputes to use to deny or reduce your claim.
You do not want to go it alone if you suffered any serious injuries, especially when the insurance company is trying to deny or reduce your claim. Even if the insurance company offers you a settlement, you do not have the experience to know whether the offer really compensates you fairly for your losses.
Here are ways that retaining an attorney can strengthen your claim:
- Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to prove the other driver’s negligence.
- Your attorney can collect your medical records, employment records, the police report, and other evidence that you will need to prove liability, your injuries, and the amount of compensation that you are owed.
- Your attorney can retain expert witnesses that you may need, such as a doctor, accident reconstruction expert, or economic expert.
- Your attorney can guide you through the process of filing a claim and negotiate your settlement.
- Your attorney can file a civil lawsuit and litigate your right to compensation when the insurance company will not pay you what you deserve.
Call Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
If you must file a claim for compensation following a motorcycle accident, the process of settling your claim could be complex and lengthy. At Case Barnett Law, we have an extensive checklist—over 250 items long—of all the critical steps we take to successfully resolve our clients’ cases. To build a strong case, our legal team will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident, hire experts who could help you prove a disputed issue, and attempt to negotiate your claim once we know the amount of your past and future damages.
Unlike other attorneys, we will not try to quickly settle your claim if the insurance company is not offering you a fair settlement. In this situation, we will aggressively litigate your claim. This involves filing a civil complaint and engaging in discovery, which may include written questions to answer, requests for production of documents, and depositions. While many cases will settle during this phase of a lawsuit, our experienced attorneys are not afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests. We enjoy conducting jury trials and have a track record of success at trial as well as settlement of our client’s claims.
We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your accident, your legal options, and what you can expect if you retain our firm. To schedule your appointment, call our office today.