Accidents, by their very nature, are unexpected and unplanned. It is not uncommon for our clients to tell us that the circumstances that led up to their accident literally came out of the blue. They were driving to work, driving home, or going to a social event when the vehicle in front of them lost control, a motorist was not paying attention, or weather conditions suddenly changed and they found themselves face-to-face with the reality that they were going to be a victim of a motorcycle accident.
Just because a motorcycle accident is unexpected does not diminish the negative impact it has on a person’s life. Motorcycle victims are left worrying about:
- Medical Bills
- Recovering from Their Injury
- Lost Employment
- Lost Mobility
- Long-Term Pain
- Being Paralyzed
- Other Accident Related Complications
If you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, no doubt you are asking yourself many questions, such as:
- How can I get compensated for my damages?
- Will I be held responsible for part of the accident, or will the other party behold fully responsible?
- Can I afford a lawyer?
The best way to get your questions answered is to speak to one of our experienced attorneys. Through the initial consultation process, we can determine if your case is one that meets the criteria we set for the cases we accept or not. From there, we can begin to answer the questions you have about your case.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Thanks to movies and television that depict motorcyclist as reckless drivers seeking speed and adrenaline, many people mistakenly believe that motorcycle accidents are primarily caused by the motorcyclist themselves. The reality is that the majority of motorcycle/passenger car collisions are caused by the negligence of the driver of the passenger car.
Drivers of passenger cars may fail to completely stop at a red light or may turn while the light is still red without seeing a motorcycle. Many drivers are distracted because they are using a cellular phone, adjusting the radio, or sending and receiving text messages on a mobile device. A motorcycle may be in a passenger vehicle driver’s blind spot, and for this reason they may fail to yield the right-of-way while changing lanes. A good portion of motorcycle collisions with passenger vehicles happen because the driver of the passenger vehicle was driving at a fast speed and ignored posted traffic signals.
Motorcyclists understand that they are in a vulnerable position when compared to passenger vehicles. For this reason, most motorcycle drivers are extremely cautious and are aware of their environment. The same cannot always be said for automobile drivers.
The Need to Take Immediate Action
The state of California puts a limit on the amount of time a person can wait for filing a motorcycle accident case. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. However, if the liable party is a public entity, such as a government vehicle or a school bus, then the claim must be filed within six months from the incident. Failure to meet this deadline could result in you getting barred from pursuing compensation.
Should You Seek Compensation If the Insurance Company Offers a Settlement?
Accepting compensation from an insurance company without first consulting an attorney is ill advised. Although accepting compensation may bring a quick end to the case, it is likely you will end up with insufficient compensation to cover your financial needs. Insurance adjusters are never looking for your best interests. Their priority is to protect the interests of their employer. You will never regret consulting an attorney prior to accepting an insurance settlement.
What Type of Damages Can You Seek?
The damages you can seek are determined by the circumstances of your accident. They include but are not limited to:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- and in Certain Cases Punitive Damages
Can a Motorcycle Rider Collect Compensation If They Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
Not wearing a helmet may impact the amount of damages you can collect. But it does not prevent you from collecting damages. In California damages are awarded on a comparative negligence standard. What this means is that if both people are deemed to be responsible for the accident, the court has the responsibility to examine the details of the case and assign a percentage of fault to each individual involved. Then the damages that the plaintiff receives will be decreased by the percentage of their fault. This means that even if a person was deemed 99 percent at fault for the accident, they still may be entitled to compensation.
Our personal injury attorneys have the responsibility to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent in the events that caused the accident. We also must prove that our client’s damages resulted from the accident and the other party’s negligence. Because motorcycle drivers do not have the same protection that an automobile driver or a truck driver has, the injuries they sustain are often quite substantial.