The California Motorcycle Accident Guide was created by our attorneys to help residents obtain maximum compensation from the negligent party. If you have been seriously injured, contact our office for a free consultation.
Have you ever been on the 101 and seen tire marks and debris as you drive? You know that in a few seconds, you’re going to see a brutal accident. No one wants to imagine that happening to us, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been involved in one. Motorcycle accidents in L.A. are horrifying. People drive like maniacs and some drivers have no regard for motorcyclists.
If you were seriously injured by a driver who was acting carelessly or recklessly, you may have a claim. These accident cases are complex ones and we have the added potential challenge of fighting off bias from jurors who might believe that you, as a motorcyclist, are inherently at fault for the accident. Please call our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer Mindy Bish today. She will protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Let her experience make this a successful endeavor for you.
With the help of Mindy Bish, you can recover what you need to get back on your feet. California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence meaning you can recover regardless of your percentage of fault, but you want to ensure that a lawyer keeps you from getting the accident pinned on you. You don’t want to have your compensation reduced if you can avoid it. The way it works is if you are, for instance, 10% at fault, your award will be reduced by 10%. You would be recovering $9,000 of an award of %10,000. Get a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights of a full recovery.
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Why Motorcycle Accidents Are Often Fatal or Life-Ruining
As previously stated, drivers in L.A. can be downright reckless. Some people zip through traffic with no regard for safety. Motorcyclists are at a higher risk for life-ruining injuries and fatalities. We just want to say, if you are here on behalf of a loved one who has been killed in an accident, we are truly sorry and we want to take on your wrongful death claim to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by automobiles and only a small percent of the accidents are due to a motorcyclists running into a median or something of that nature. It’s rare for a crash to be caused by a bike malfunction. Unfortunately, about half of the time, motorcyclists get into an accident because of rider error, but just about as often, these motorcyclists have no choice but to lay down their bike and take a hit because of another driver’s error. Above all, the most common cause of accidents is when a driver doesn’t look for a motorcycle and hits them either while merging or turning. Because motorcyclists have roughly two seconds to react defensively in order to avoid getting hurt from another driver’s error, these crashes take place often. That is such a quick window of time for anyone to try to avoid getting hurt and it is especially scary for those who are on a bike with no addition protection from impact.
According to California statistics, an average of 97% of accidents involving motorcycles cause injury and almost half of these injuries are serious. Half of motorcycle injuries are to the lower extremities of the rider, in those cases, not wearing a helmet won’t really matter in terms of compensation for your injuries. Another reason why these accidents prove to be so horrific is because our roadways are designed to protect cars, not motorcycles. There are bars up on the freeways that, if a car is rammed from the right, the bar on the left will stabilize the car, sometimes preventing worse damage. For motorcyclists, that bar on the road is just another hazard. If hit, they can be flung from their bike or crash into it with their whole body.
Any way you put it, these motorcyclists are coming out of these accidents in bad shape. There isn’t much they can do to prevent most injuries such as broken arms and legs, but there are some ways to prevent some injures. Wearing thick clothing can prevent road rash which can leave permanent scarring; some people wear leather gloves, jackets, and pants and others go for thick cut denim. Wearing a helmet is also going to be of benefit to the rider who does not wish to suffer permanent brain damage.
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How to Ensure a Successful Claim
At the scene, there are a few things that you should get done if you can. What I mean by “if you can” is that you may be physically unable to do anything but wait for the ambulance. In that case, that is your vital first step.
If you are able to function after the accident, collecting evidence is going to be paramount to your case. Talk to your witnesses and gather their contact information. Get the police on the scene to get the accident recorded. In the meantime, it is important to take as many photos and videos as possible. You can do this on your phone if it has those features, which most phones do these days. This evidence will be beneficial to you and your attorney down the road when you have to go up against the insurance company of the driver who hit you.
Make sure that, if you’re not taken by an ambulance to seek medical care, at the very least you see your primary physician or visit an Urgent Care to get your injuries checked out. Do this for your own wellbeing, but also because you need to get these injuries officially recorded so we can use that information to show the insurance company that you need rightful compensation.
You also need to know how to handle the phone calls from the insurance companies when they come calling, which they will. They are trying to get a statement out of you to make you either seem at fault for the accident or make it seem like you aren’t as injured as you claim to be. The first call they make to you, you don’t have to pick up, but if you do, we suggest you tell them that you have obtained counsel and all communication can go through your lawyer from now on. Do not give them any information about your injuries or the accident or the aftermath of it.
Frequently Asked Motorcycle Accident Questions
What If I’m Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident?
People who are involved in motorcycle crashes are usually badly injured, much more so than a car accident. The thing that I would tell victims in a motorcycle accident is the first thing you should do is find a good lawyer. Very often, the knee-jerk reaction by the witnesses, the police, and anyone who was involved in the crash, is to blame the motorcyclist. That’s our human nature. There are more cars on the road than motorcycles and as a collective, car drivers will blame motorcyclists, even if the motorcyclist did everything right. Because the injuries are more severe, my recommendation is that you find a lawyer you trust and who’s familiar with motorcycle cases. You hire them to be able to then redirect your focus on getting better and healing, because that will be the most important part for you.
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What’s the Difference Between Motorcycle and Car Accidents?
When dealing with motorcycle collisions, as opposed to car accidents, we have to consider the severity of injuries. A motorcycle rider does not have the benefit of the protection of the car around them. They’re exposed to the elements, they’re exposed to the road and other vehicles, so the injuries tend to be more severe, more visually apparent, and more immediately critical. Also, the public perception is one that is against motorcycle riders. Even though a motorcycle rider may follow all the rules of the road, do everything their supposed to, and wear the proper gear, unfortunately the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to blame the motorcycle rider, and that is not usually the case with car accidents. There’s usually a clear delineated person to blame. When you’re looking for an attorney to represent you in a motorcycle crash, it’s important that you find somebody that you’re comfortable with and somebody who understands the challenges presented by you being on a motorcycle.
How Do I Pick a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
My number one answer is you want to pick somebody you’re comfortable with. Second, you want to look for an attorney who specializes in not just motor vehicle accidents or personal injury, but has experience with motorcycle crashes, because they are nuanced. Typically, the deck is stacked against the motorcycle rider, even if they did everything right, so there are certain steps that must be taken early on in the case to set up the case in a way that results in a positive outcome for the victim.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
Typically when I talk to people who were involved in a motorcycle crash, I notice certain mistakes they make, and it tends to happen to almost any person. One, because of the adrenaline, if they’re capable of talking at the scene, they tend to say things that can be misconstrued by the police or the witnesses against them, because public perception is also against motorcycle riders, so if they can find any statement that can be used against the motorcycle rider, to blame the motorcycle rider, they will do that. It’s important that you stick to the basic facts, you don’t overreact, you present in a calm fashion, and you immediately seek medical attention. Injuries tend to be very severe. Then get a hold of an attorney that is comfortable representing motorcycle riders so they can get ahead of the typical pitfalls that face motorcycle collisions.
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Should I talk to the insurance company?
You should never speak to the insurance company on your own without first consulting with an attorney. This is especially the case with motorcycle accidents because public perception is against motorcycle riders and questions will be asked in such a way to have you answer in a way that incriminates you or causes you to be at fault for things you didn’t do. I would always recommend that, before you speak to an insurance company, you consult with an attorney you trust, and I am sure that that attorney would instruct you not to speak to the insurance company without their presence, or if you do speak to them, it’ll be through the attorney.
Can I Bring a Claim If I Was a Passenger on a Motorcycle?
If you’re a passenger on a motorcycle and you were injured as a result of a crash, there potentially exist two possible claims, at least, that you can make; one against the other vehicle involved and one claim could be against the rider of your motorcycle, depending on whether or not they followed the rules of the road. It is important to gather the facts, meet an attorney who can put together a case and a strategy, and determine who’s at fault, how many parties were involved, and who the claim can be made against.
What If I Was Run Off the Road?
If you’re involved in a motorcycle collision where you’re run off the road and the car took off, and there was no contact, it is very important that you gather as much information at the scene as possible. You can make a claim, but you will either have to speak to witnesses, get video footage of the collision or the person running you off the road, their license plate number, and any information that could help your attorney in finding the person who caused the injuries and the collision.
Do I Have a Claim If Bad Road Conditions Caused My Accident?
If a motorcycle rider is injured due to poorly maintained roads, the claim is to be made against a government entity. The trick with those claims is determining ownership of that road. It can be Caltrans in California, or it can be the local municipality. The first step is to find an attorney who can start the investigation in determining who had ownership or control of the road where the incident occurred, and then the claim will be expedited because a government claim is required to be filed within six months, as opposed to the typical two-year period, so it is important that very shortly after the incident, you get ahold of an attorney who can start doing the work and determining who controlled the property to make the proper claim.
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How Much Will My Claim Be Worth?
The other day, I was asked by a victim in a motorcycle collision how we will evaluate and determine the amount of a claim. The insurance companies will look at the severity of the injury, the fault of the parties involved, the treatment provided, the necessity for future treatment and costs associated with that treatment, and the emotional component; if there’s visible scarring or an inability to work, things like that. Things that will affect your day to day life will be evaluated, and the more evidence we can present to show those losses, the greater the compensation for the claim.
How Long Will My Case Last?
One of my clients who was involved in a motorcycle collision wanted to know how long it’s going to take to resolve the claim, and that’s a very valid question because until the claim is resolved, that person has no closure. There are things in their life, factors that change day to day that won’t be resolved until the claim is resolved. The answer is not so simple. Typically, claims get resolved at the earliest opportunity, when all the treatments are completed, when we have an understanding of the extent of injuries and damages suffered, and they usually resolve within the first year or two.
Oftentimes some cases, on rare occasions, have to go to trial and that could take two to three years from the time of the claim. It’s important to start early in lining up the case for a quick resolution by getting all the evidence, getting all the treatment, following doctor recommendations, and staying in contact with your attorney at every step of the way to make that process is as quick as possible.
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If you are suffering from serious injuries, please call our California motorcycle accident lawyer Mindy Bish for dedicated support. You are a priority to us and we will help you get the compensation that you rightfully deserve. Don’t let the insurance company hassle you into a low settlement. Call today to make a full recovery.
About the Author
Mindy Bish made the best decision of her life when she decided to attend law school in her thirties. She has been practicing law since being licensed in 1993, and specifically been fighting for injured people since 1995. She has always strongly believed that injured people should be awarded fair compensation both for their medical bills, but also their pain and suffering. This belief was strengthened when Mindy suffered from her own collision, when driving 50 miles per hour on the highway, she was struck by a semi-truck. This led to multiple surgeries and an even stronger conviction to helping clients after being on the other side of a lawsuit.
Mindy has devoted her life to the practice of law, staying up to date on the new ways of practicing and how she can assist clients. She has graduated from the Trial Lawyer’s College and is co-dean of the Keenan Trial Institute and is qualified to teach seven of their twelve available courses. Mindy also monitors a California Listserve for trial attorneys, as well as a national one.