Most motorcycle/vehicle collisions occur at intersections, especially on urban and non-interstate roadways. In a busy intersection, drivers tend to check their phones or focus on something besides the motorcycle coming up beside them. Lane-splitting is legal in California, but many drivers seem to conveniently forget that in intersections
Why Motorcycle Accidents Are More Serious
By their very nature, motorcycle accidents tend to be more serious (and therefore more expensive). They also mean much longer rehabilitation periods, and more chances that the victim may not have a full recovery. According to a comprehensive insurance industry survey, the following facts were found to be true:
- 23% of motorcycle claimants have injuries in multiple locations.
- 18% suffer head injuries, including closed head injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and minor traumatic brain injury (MTBI) with permanent disability.
- 10% of claimants have injuries to the back or spine, a frequent cause of paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Wrongful Death in Motorcycle Crashes
Emotionally and mentally coping with the unanticipated death of a loved one is hard enough‚ but the unexpected costs that may arise after the person’s passing and the long-term financial toll it may take makes this tragic situation even more difficult. Though pursuing legal action may be the last thing you and your family want to do‚ it can certainly be beneficial in the long run and can help alleviate the financial stresses you may encounter. In a fatal traffic accident lawsuit‚ you can be awarded compensation for different things‚ including: loss of companionship‚ death and burial expenses‚ loss of benefits‚ pain and suffering‚ medical expenses‚ and loss of income.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of California‚ state laws outline who is able to file a wrongful death claim against any parties who may be responsible for the death of their loved one. The “proper parties” who can file a wrongful death lawsuit include the victim’s immediate family members‚ such as the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner or children. Also‚ if one or both parents or stepchildren were financially dependent on the decedent‚ they may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim‚ as well as any minor who has resided in the home of the decedent for the prior six months and been dependent upon the decedent for at least one-half or more of his or her financial support.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Crashes
Q: Is there a deadline for filing a motorcycle claim?
A: Yes. Every state has “statutes of limitations” that set a time limit on filing a personal injury claim. In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit against a private individual or company, and only six months to file a claim against a government-owned vehicle or employee.
Q: What if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
A: Motorcycle operators and their passengers are required by law to wear helmets, and if they don’t, they can be ticketed by a police officer. If you weren’t wearing a helmet, it’s likely that you’ll suffer worse injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries. The insurance company for the defendant may argue that you are partially at fault for your injuries, and since California follows a comparative negligence model, a jury may decide to diminish the amount of money you win in a verdict to reflect your percentage of fault. If you were judged to be 10% at fault, you would only recover $90,000 of a $100,000 verdict.
Q: What if I don’t have motorcycle insurance?
A: California does require you to buy a liability insurance policy specifically for your motorcycle, and the limits are the same as for a car: $15,000 for injury to another person, $30,000 for injury to two or more people, and $5,000 for property damage. Your regular car insurance policy won’t cover any damage you do to someone else while you’re riding your motorcycle. However, if another driver hit you or caused the accident, their insurance policy should be the one paying for it. Since there are so many underinsured drivers in the San Diego area, it’s a good idea to get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy. This can help cover you in a motorcycle collision.
Q: What Exactly is a Hit and Run?
A: A hit and run occurs when a motorist flees the scene of an accident before the authorities arrive. According to California state law‚ when a motorist is involved in an accident‚ no matter how trivial‚ he or she must remain at the scene. If anyone at the scene is injured‚ the motorist must contact the appropriate medical response services. Drivers choose to flee the scene for a variety of reasons. Fear of prosecution‚ initial panic‚ lack of insurance‚ and intoxication are just a few of the most common reasons.
When a motorcycle and vehicle collide‚ the motorcyclist is more likely to sustain serious injury. This means that if a motorist flees‚ a severely injured motorcyclist can be left behind to fight for their life. No one should have to face this prospect‚ especially when another person caused the accident in the first place.
Q: I’m the Victim of a Hit and Run; Am I Entitled to Monetary Compensation?
A: If you are a motorcyclist who has been involved in an accident‚ you may be entitled to monetary compensation if the motorist at fault fled the scene. Whether you receive compensation or not will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding the crash. By working with an experienced lawyer‚ you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills‚ loss of income‚ general expenses‚ and pain and suffering‚ but you must act fast. Even if the responsible driver cannot be identified or lacks insurance‚ your own insurance policy may be able to provide financial compensation. The amount of compensation that you receive will depend on the circumstances of the case.
What Kind Of Compensation Can I Get for My Motorcycle Injuries?
The type and amount of money you could gain through a settlement or suit greatly depends on the extent of your injuries and how they were caused by the defendant’s careless actions. In almost every situation however‚ because a motorcycle is involved‚ the damages are likely to be severe to catastrophic‚ which can warrant significant medical treatment and continued aid. Some of the more common injuries that we represent include:
Severe Trauma to the Brain‚ Neck‚ Spinal Column
Motorcycle accidents often result in a powerful impact that severely injures the brain and neck. If the brain is slammed into the skull‚ it can lead to the loss of basic functions and have long-lasting effects that leave the victim dependent on long-term care. Within the neck are a number of components that are crucial to the body’s function‚ including the spinal cord‚ nerves‚ ligaments‚ muscles‚ intervertebral discs‚ blood vessels‚ tendons‚ esophagus‚ and windpipe. If any of these become damaged‚ it can mean a lifetime of disability or death.
Motorcycle crashes are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The spine plays a vital role in communicating with the brain about the body’s motor function control. This is what makes injuries to the spinal column so catastrophic. Spinal injuries are either determined to be complete or incomplete‚ which distinguishes whether or not the brain is still able to send messages for motor and sensory function. When the spinal column is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident‚ it can lead to a great deal of problems‚ such as osteoporosis‚ intestinal issues‚ and paraplegia. There are four main areas of the spine – cervical‚ thoracic‚ lumbar‚ and sacral – and the outlook of the diagnosis will generally depend on which of these locations has been injured.
Degloving of the Hand or Other Extremity
In motorcycle accidents‚ it’s common for those riding the bike to get knocked off and hit the ground at excessive speeds. When this happens‚ the skin is highly vulnerable to the consequences of colliding with rough pavement. Degloving is a common injury in situations like this‚ which can occur in one of two ways. The first is when the skin gets torn off from the extremity‚ severing the blood supply to the tissue that lies underneath. The second involves the skin remaining intact but the blood vessels getting severed beneath. In either case‚ the victim may suffer from nerve damage‚ scarring‚ or the need for amputation.
In addition to completely altering the lifestyle of the injured party‚ the loss of a limb is likely to cause serious psychological damage. No longer having all four limbs in good working condition significantly changes how one is able to function in everyday life‚ from doing simple tasks to working in the same occupation. Limb amputations may require‚ prosthetics‚ physical therapy‚ and long-term care.
Paralysis is diagnosed when there is a loss of sensation and muscle function in certain areas of the body. Whether partial or total paralysis is suffered in a motorcycle accident‚ the aftermath is devastating for the victim. Paralysis is caused by a spinal cord injury that can take place in either the neck or the spinal column. If the cervical fragment of the spinal cord is severed in the neck‚ this could lead to permanent paralysis of the body from the neck down. If the injury is in the spinal column closer to the waist‚ this is usually a paraplegia situation where the victim loses control of both their legs.
Fractures‚ both Simple and Compound
Fracture injuries are frequently found on motorcycle accident victims due to the force of the collision with a car or the ground. Fractures can turn out to be simple or compound. A simple fracture means there is a break in the bone but it has not pierced through the skin. A compound fracture is when the broken bone actually punctures through the skin‚ which leaves the wound site exposed to contaminants and the potential for infection.
Burn Injuries; Flame‚ Chemical‚ and Electrical
Motorcyclists are more likely to see burn injuries than other kinds of motorists due to not being protected within a vehicle. Burn injuries can occur when the victim comes into direct contact with flames that break out after a collision‚ chemicals that have spilled from a car or the motorcycle‚ or exposed electrical wiring.
Any type of burn injury can result in painful skin grafts‚ chronic pain‚ severe scarring‚ and daily wound care.
Because of the serious nature of almost all injuries in a motorcycle wreck‚ the at-fault party will be expected to cover a great deal of the expenses involved. This includes economic‚ non-economic and punitive damages:
- Economic: hospital bills‚ long term medical care‚ extensive surgeries and treatment
- Non-economic: pain and suffering‚ counseling‚ loss of mobility‚ employment and loved one
- Punitive: if the courts find that the negligence involved in the accident was particularly heinous‚ the judge will award punitive – or punishment – damages on top of the expenses already covered
Get the Compensation You Need to Rebuild Your Life
Because motorcycle accidents almost always involve serious injuries, the compensation you’ll need to put your life back together will be significant. Motorcycle accident victims often require multiple surgeries, and extensive time in the hospital and out of work. In addition, a motorcycle accident can leave you with permanent injuries that will impact your way of life and your ability to earn a living. All of these losses are worthy of compensation from the liable party or parties and the insurance companies that represent them. While they have a moral obligation to pay you for the losses they’re responsible for, that doesn’t mean they will offer it willingly. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to lowball accident victims and pay them much less than their losses merit.
And our legal team at Jurewitz Law Group hates to see this happen. When we take on a motorcycle injury case, we do a thorough assessment of the ultimate costs of your injury, including current and future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, mental trauma, changes to lifestyle, and much, much more.