What Should You Do After a California Motorcycle Accident?
- Escape Immediate Danger: The scene of a motorcycle accident is a dangerous one, since nearly 62% of wrecks involve fuel leaks and spills. Therefore, your first step should be to distance yourself from any fire hazard.
- Get Medical Care: If you are injured in the motorcycle crash, you should be taken to an emergency room for prompt medical care. Head and chest injuries are among the primary causes of death in motorcycle accidents, so you should undergo examination by doctors and obtain necessary diagnostic tests (like x-rays and MRIs) without delay.
- Report the Accident: Unless you are transported from the scene by ambulance, call the police and report the motorcycle crash. A police report will document the facts of the wreck and will identify the parties involved, along with any witnesses. All too often, a motorcycle accident is blamed on the rider of the bike, which makes it critical that you protect yourself early on.
- Call a Reputable Attorney: Contact a reputable California motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you possibly can. There is a great deal of investigation that must be done after a motorcycle crash, and it is best to start it before evidence and witnesses disappear. A knowledgeable California Motorcycle Crash Attorney will not only make sure your claim is competently handled from the outset, but will help you obtain the proper medical care that you need.
Maximizing Sources of Recovery for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Drivers, Owners, and Employers. Drivers and owners of vehicles who cause a motorcycle accident are responsible for the injuries the wreck inflicts. But responsibility does not end there. If your motorcycle accident was caused by a driver who was on the job or driving a company car or truck, you would be able to pursue compensation not just against the driver, but his or her employer as well.
- Governmental Entities. If defective design, construction, or maintenance of public roadways constitutes a dangerous condition, the governmental entity that exercises dominion and control over those roadways bears blame for your motorcycle accident. Claims against governmental entities, however, have strict filing deadlines, usually as short as six months. It is imperative that you consult a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer right away, so as not to miss these deadlines and lose your claim rights.
- Manufacturers. If bike failure due to defective motorcycle design, manufacture, or assembly contributed to the crash, the maker of the motorcycle would be a target defendant in your case. If a failure in safety gear, such as a helmet, exacerbated your injuries, then the item's makers and sellers would serve as further sources of recovery.
Many motorcycle accidents tragically end in death. If someone you love has suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle crash, you can learn about your rights regarding this loss by clicking here.
Studies have shown that the losses from motorcycle accidents can be 4 to 12 times higher than losses from other vehicular accidents. A skilled motorcycle crash attorney, however, can help you recover:
- Medical Bills. Serious injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash can trigger astronomical bills. For example, hospitalization at a trauma center for a head injury can costs upwards of $30,000 to $40,000! An experienced California Motorcycle Crash Attorney will help you recover the costs for any hospital stay, surgery, doctors' visits, diagnostic tests (like x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans), physical and rehabilitative therapy, and chiropractic care. You may further be entitled to the costs of future medical care, if your conditions will require ongoing treatment.
- Pain and Suffering. A motorcycle accident may inflict a wide range of injuries, whether they be temporary (such as road rash), longer-term (such as broken bones), or disabling (such as a severed spine or trauma to the brain). The law allows for compensation for the pain and suffering associated with such motorcycle accident injuries, yet it does not provide a fixed formula to calculate that compensation. To recover the maximum amount that your injuries warrant, you will need the help of an expert motorcycle injury lawyer who is equipped with the knowledge and experience to best evaluate your claim.
- Wage Loss. If your motorcycle accident injuries prevent you from working, then all your lost wages may be included in any claim for recovery. Even if you used sick leave or vacation time during the recovery period, reimbursement may be available. What if your injuries leave you permanently disabled and unable to work ever again? In conjunction with an economist, a well-qualified motorcycle accident lawyer can calculate your future losses and recover for your diminution in earning capacity.
Although punitive damages - that is, damages aimed at punishing a party at fault - are rare in motorcycle accident cases, they may be appropriate in certain instances, such as when a driver who caused the motorcycle crash was motivated by road rage or was driving while under the influence of alcohol.
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Investigating the Motorcycle Accident
In order to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, the law of negligence requires you to prove that the crash was the fault of another driver or entity.
A thorough investigation of a motorcycle accident is usually complicated, requiring the services of a capable California motorcycle accident lawyer and his team of experts to establish driver fault or find an alternative cause for the motorcycle crash, such as a dangerous road condition or a vehicular defect.
- Establishing Driver Fault. Statistics show that nearly 70% of motorcycle accidents involving multiple vehicles are caused by drivers who violate a motorcyclist's right of way. In fact, the failure of car drivers to see motorcyclists in traffic is a leading cause of motorcycle crashes. Failing to check blind spots, misjudging the speed of a motorcycle, and tailgaiting can often lead to motorcycle accidents.
- Assessing Road Conditions. Studies repeatedly confirm that roadway conditions - undivided highways, curves, and defects (like potholes and pavement ridges) - are contributing factors in motorcycle crash injuries and fatalities. Motorcycles, being two-wheel vehicles, are less stable than full-sized cars and vulnerable on poorly maintained roads. Intersections, for example, have a high incidence of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, while many single-vehicle motorcycle accidents occur along curves and on undivided highways. Why? Is there a problem with the design or construction of these roadways? Are they furnished with appropriate signs? Do their traffic controls function properly? These are key questions for your motorcycle accident lawyer to answer in the course of a full investigation.
- Inspecting Bikes and Safety Gear. Up to 3% of motorcycle accidents are caused by vehicle failure, necessitating prompt inspection of the bike by qualified experts. Similarly, the makers of safety gear must comply with applicable government standards to ensure a rider's safety in case of a motorcycle crash. For instance, all helmets have to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. In case of a head injury, then, a conscientious motorcycle accident attorney would engage the services of an expert to assess the helmet's performance in the crash by examining its style and weight, the thickness of its lining, and sturdiness of its chin strap and rivets.
While tracking down all responsible parties for a wreck, an astute motorcycle accident lawyer will make sure that no blame is assigned to the motorcyclist himself. Oftentimes, bikers are partly blamed for a motorcycle crash based on arguments that they were driving too fast or veering in and out of lanes in an unsafe manner. Comparative negligence on the part of the motorcycle rider may result in a reduction of damages! If the motorcyclist is found to be 10% at fault for the accident, then his recovery is reduced by 10%. If he is deemed 50% at fault, then his damages are cut in half! A vigilant motorcycle accident law firm will protect their client's interests by making every effort to negate any comparative negligence arguments.
Choosing the Right California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
To prevail in your motorcycle accident claim, you must choose the right motorcycle accident lawyer. A reputable motorcycle accident lawyer will
- Investigate the motorcycle accident promptly and thoroughly;
- Preserve evidence of the motorcycle crash before it is lost;
- Locate witnesses to the motorcycle accident;
- Obtain photographs of the motorcycle crash scene;
- Establish the defendants' fault for the motorcycle accident;
- Inspect the motorcycle and safety gear for potential defects;
- Protect you from filing deadlines;
- Sue all responsible parties;
- Hire the right experts;
- Recover your medical expenses and lost wages; and
- Maximize your pain and suffering damages for your motorcycle accident injuries.
The Reeves Law Group is staffed with high-caliber attorneys who have handled thousands of accident cases and have particular experience in handling injury claims arising from motorcycle crashes. Well-staffed, well-financed, and well-reputed, The Reeves Law Group has all the resources to properly handle your claim from the very beginning and to help you obtain the highest recovery possible. For a legal consultation on a motorcycle accident case, please call us at (800) 644-8000 or e-mail us.