Motorcycle accidents make up a significant percentage of all road accidents that occur in California annually. While there are many causes of these accidents, rear-end collisions also play a significant role in fueling the statistics to include more reported cases. Motorcycle riders are prone to higher accident exposure than vehicle drivers because they have more flexibility on the road that allows them to maneuver in between highway lanes. The ability to interchange positions on the way is an advantage to most, but it also poses a significant danger to you as a motorcyclist. Owing to several reasons that cause motorists to get distracted, you could easily find yourself on the receiving end of a gruesome and high-impact collision.
When you suffer personal injuries as well as property damage from a rear-end motorcycle accident, we recommend contacting a personal injury attorney immediately. The best personal injury lawyer will ensure that he/she prepares submissions that indicate your innocence in causing the accident, as well as laying out the compensatory claims you seek. At the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we purpose to aid all our clients in filing a compensatory suit that will reimburse all the expenses you incurred because of the accident. After scheduling a meeting with us, we will get into the specifics of your case and provide personalized options that are legally abiding, to get you the justice you are entitled to receive.
The Definition of a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
A rear-end motorcycle accident occurs when a vehicle crashes a motorcycle from behind, causing the rider to fall off or lose control of the bike. It often causes very severe injuries to the motorcycle rider from the high impact that pushes the bike out of balance. Several reported cases are also fatal to the rider, especially if he/she hits another can in front of the bike. Rear-end accidents present worse results when the vehicle that runs the motorcycle is a heft truck at a high speed. While you could leave the scene of the accident with mild to moderate injuries, the most significant percentage of rear-end accident victims experience a total life change.
Different types of highways and roads are hotspots for motorcycle rear-end accidents, especially if they have intersection designs. State roads, inter-county highways, and local roads along a street are all locations where traffic reports indicate the occurrence of rear-end motorcycle accidents. Therefore, motorists and riders alike should pay attention to the cars ahead and behind to reduce the risk of a collision.
How Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents Occur
Several scenarios lead to a rear-end accident, mainly caused by a failure to observe the traffic rules or confusion on the road. When you fall victim to such a severe collision, you need to have a recollection of how you remember the moments just before the accident happened. This way, your personal injury attorney will have a better starting point in tracing the wrongful actions that the defendant chose to engage in, whether negligently or not. Some of the frequent events that lead to an accident are:
When There is a Sudden Change of Lanes
On the freeway, motorists are free to switch lanes when the current one is crowded or has slow-moving cars. The allowance extends to motorcycle riders as well, to ease up the traffic. While you may have made a successful lane-change, a driver behind you may fail to notice you and ram right into the rear of your motorcycle. Alternatively, if you maintain a single lane, you could still fall victim to a collision because of a negligent driver who does not check to confirm whether or not the new lane is free or not. Most defendant drivers blame the small compact size of a motorcycle is not easy to spot, especially at night, as an excuse to let them out of liability. However, every motorist has to stay alert and cautious on the road.
When a Vehicle Tailgates You
The act of tailgating involves one motorist closely following the car or motorcycle ahead, and failing to take note of all the pending dangers. Tailgating is not recommended to any driver, regardless of the reason behind the action. Discouraging such a mode of driving is necessary because reckless driving leaves little to no space for the driver on the back to react in case of an emergency.
The most common occurrence involves the need to stop immediately, which requires the adequate distance between the vehicle and the motorcycle for the avoidance of an accident. Thus, when a driver tailgates your bike, he/she puts you in danger, along with any other motorist who may fall victim to the ripple effect of sudden impact.
Rear-end Motorcycle Accidents at Intersections
While intersections serve a useful purpose in linking several roads together, they are also a hotspot for multiple traffic accidents involving vehicles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. The different lanes that make up the intersections have continuous and dotted lines that indicate where a motorist can turn, and where such an action is not allowed. Also, traffic lights regulate the movement of cars and motorcycles headed to various directions by indicating that vehicles should stop or move at a specified time. As a result, when you have to brake suddenly because of a slow-down of the traffic movement that blocks you from proceeding on time, the vehicle behind you may hit you and cause a severe impact on your motorcycle.
The accident does not arise from vehicle confusion only, but also from pedestrians who may get caught up in the middle of the crosswalk when it is your turn to proceed. In this case, you will have to engage emergency brakes to avoid hitting the pedestrian. While your sudden action is the right choice to make, you may suffer from the rear-end accident that probably follows afterward.
Other times, another emergency accident may occur straight ahead, leaving the oncoming motorists oblivious of the temporary roadblock from all the debris lying on the road. If you are among the first motorists to approach such an accident scene, logic requires you to apply brakes to avoid ramming into the damaged vehicles. The move often causes a ripple effect, as the driver behind you may not have enough reaction time to swerve and avoid hitting you.
What are the Common Causes of Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents?
After analyzing the prevalent scenarios that lead to rear-end accidents, identifying the common causes is easier. Most factors fault the defendant, who, in most cases, is a vehicle driver. Just like other road accidents, the common causes of rear-end motorcycle accidents that involve motorcycles revolve around negligence and distractions. If a motorist is not keen enough, he/she will probably cause a high impact collision that will affect you. However, you do not have to worry about the liability, because if there is enough evidence to prove that a driver was negligent per se, he/she carries the total responsibility. The common causes of rear-end accidents are:
Driving Under the Influence
Drivers who operate cars while drunk or high expose other road users to imminent danger, as they are usually not in the best state of mind. Their eyesight and body-coordination are often on the minimum, which leaves them incapable of making rational decisions on the road. Accepting to drive drunk is an act of negligence in itself because it breaches the duty of care that is expected of every road user. Additionally, a drunk driver is incapable of spotting an approaching motorcycle, and you may become the victim of trusting the competence of such a driver. No doubt that driving under the influence raises several safety concerns, yet motorists often engage in risky practice. A drunk driver may even hit your bike and speed off, leaving you in pain and without any help.
Driving amid distractions is among the leading causes of most road accidents. Specific to rear-end motorcycle accidents, the motorist behind you may cause a lot of chaos and destruction because of a few seconds of distraction. Commonly, when a driver looks away and fails to notice that you have engaged emergency brakes, he/she may hit your motorcycle.
A driver who uses aggressive tactics not only violates traffic restrictions but also fuels the probability of an accident occurrence. Offensive tactics are always unethical and push other drivers to the edge of the lanes. The standard practices that will lead to a rear-end accident are:
- Running red lights
- Overlapping other cars
- When a driver blows the horn at vehicles moving at a moderate speed.
When an aggressive driver ends up behind your motorcycle in traffic, he or she may even hit you on purpose, to try and push you to speed up. Such a practice is unlawful and negligent, apart from being a gross violation of traffic regulations.
When the vehicle on the rear of your motorcycle suffers from brake failure, it will inevitably hit your bike and cause an accident. However, such a scenario may not impose full liability on the defendant, especially if he or she can prove that the brake failure was genuine, and was not a cause of prior negligence to maintain the vehicle.
What To Do After Involvement in a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
After falling victim to any kind of accident, there are several actions you should undertake if you are conscious and robust enough to follow through with them. Ensuring that you take these steps will give you an easier time in following up on your suit, because you will have all the necessary details. After the rear-end accident, ensure that you:
Contact Medics Immediately
Regardless of how mild your injuries may appear, it is always better to contact ambulance services that will rush you to hospital for several tests. The confirmation will rid you of any underlying conditions that arise from failure to detect them early. Seeking medical attention also serves as evidence in court to prove that you took all the necessary steps required to ensure your safety.
Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney Immediately
If your lawyer’s offices are close to the scene of the accident, he or she can show up to the scene promptly and help you capture vital details that will be useful for later application. Also, contacting your lawyer after the accident gives him or her the green light to begin preparations for a probable compensatory suit, so that you both have enough time to prepare adequately.
Collect the Other Motorist’s Contact Information
The driver or fellow motorcycle rider who hits you will also have to stop after the occurrence of an accident, because his/her vehicle may also stall from the high impact of the collision. Take this opportunity to request for the drivers:
- Phone number
- Physical address
- Full name
- Insurance company name
- Vehicle registration number
Letting the driver go before collecting this information is very disadvantageous to you because tracing the person afterward could be tricky.
Available Witness Contact Details
If anyone was close when the accident occurred, he/she could be instrumental in steering your suit in the right direction and pushing for your compensation. A witness statement adds to your list of evidence, and should not be neglected despite the common notion that they are often inaccurate.
When you panic, your brain is instantly clogged, leading to several regrettable actions. For example, you may fail to pay attention to vital details around the accident scene that could have been of use later. Also, panicking may cause you to confront the driver who hit you and force him/her to admit to fault. There is no need to engage in too much conversation with the defendant outside court because he/she could gather statements that shift partial blame to you, even when you were not in the wrong.
Establishing the Parties at Fault after a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
Confirming that the defendant in your suit was to blame for the accident is not always easy, especially if there was a ripple effect of actions leading to the accident. An excellent example is when you have to make a sudden stop that results in the other diver hitting you. However, you can gauge whether the defendant’s actions were negligent. Subsequently, a proper case presentation by your lawyer will influence the percentage of liability that the defendant will carry.
For the presiding judge to place liability on the defendant, your attorney must prove that the driver owed you a duty of care and that the motorist’s actions breached the burden of responsibility. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency that regulates all traffic operations in California and the entire country as well. It enforced several traffic rules that are enshrined in the California Vehicle Code.
The regulations prevent drivers from exceeding speed limits, making sudden turns, and ignoring traffic lights, among other rules. If evidence can prove that the defendant violated any of these rules, he or she is negligent per se. The status of being negligent per se means that your attorney does not have to go out of his/her way to prove the points of negligence that caused the motorcycle rear-end accident as the driver was already in violation of traffic rules.
However, if the circumstances leading to the accident are quite unclear and cause several dissenting statements from both parties, you can introduce further sources of evidence. For example, most roads and highways in Orange County have surveillance cameras that collect daily footage of the traffic movement. One of their primary purposes is to serve as evidence in case of a road accident because they are reliable sources of information.
Your attorney can obtain a court order that allows a request to the highway authorities for a copy of the footage that displays the circumstances around your case. The explicit video footage is very instrumental in proving that you played no role in the motorcycle rear-end accident and that the defendant carries the blame for negligent driving.
Also, you can involve the opinion of an expert mechanical analyst who can determine how much force or impact that the vehicle behind you caused on your motorcycle. Such information is essential when you are trying to prove that the defendant was driving at high speed, causing the impact. The analyst identifies the dents and distraction of the metallic structure both on your motorcycle and on the defendant’s vehicle. Therefore, you should be prompt in requesting the other party not to make any repairs until the analyst does his/her examination on the impacted vehicles. Similarly, you should wait until after the analysis to proceed with any repairs on your motorcycle.
While the judge holds the final verdict, obtaining all these sources of information will go a long way in ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Injuries Sustained After a Motorcycle Rear-End Accidents
When you or your loved one suffer injuries from the force experienced during a motorcycle accident, you may suffer moderate to severe injuries. While some take a short while to heal, others will leave your life completely different from usual. The common injuries after an accident are:
Back injuries are some of the most severe effects of a road accident and are even worse when you fall off the motorcycle because you have a higher exposure to the falling force. Severe spinal injuries lead to neural disorders, as well as paralysis. If the impact was not high, you may be lucky enough to escape full-body paralysis but may suffer temporary paralysis on the most affected parts of the body. The severity of the injuries is caused by the delicate nature of the spine, which holds most nerves and bone structures together. Consequently, spinal injuries could leave a victim bed-ridden for a long time, causing a loss of wages for workers in active workspaces.
If you happen to land on the hot motor system that powers your motorcycle, your exposed skin may suffer severe burns that often cause permanent scarring. The injuries take a long time to heal and pose a new threat to infections because they expose inner tissue to bacteria if not well bandaged.
The force that your bones take on when you fall is often too much then it can take, leading to broken bones. The common fractures affect your limbs because you are likely to protect yourself from high impact by extending your arms and legs for a safe landing. Additionally, your rib cage may suffer several broken ribs that may be fatal if they pierce your delicate organs-the the lungs and the heart.
Thus, while fractures are relatively bearable, they could pave the way for worse conditions, depending on the affected area. Also, the injuries may hinder you from partaking in routine activities without help from another person. For example, you will find it difficult to shower alone if you have a plastered arm or leg.
When an affected body part suffers from high impact force that ruins most nerves and disfigures most of your bone structure, the only viable option may be amputation. The adverse effect is life-altering and forces you to adapt to a different lifestyle altogether.
What Compensation to Seek After a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
Suffering from all these injuries, along with other economic effects, warrants a justifiable compensation on your side. Some of the compensatory claims you can raise against the defendant are:
Compensation for Incurred Medical Expenses
The follow-up process that comes after involvement in an accident includes seeking medical attention. The expensive services that include buying medicine, staying in the hospital bed for days or weeks, or taking on recurrent therapy sessions to get you back on your feet all require a lot of funds. Your insurance cover may cater to some services, but you will still have to spend extra from your account. You deserve compensation for all the costs incurred, primarily because the accident was not your fault.
Loss of Wages
If your job description requires you to be on your feet regularly, your career will be cut short suddenly from a life-altering paralysis or amputation. The defendant needs to pay a sum that will cover a significant duration of your working life, to ensure that you never lack funds because of the accident.
Loss of a Loved One
You can also bring a suit on behalf of the deceased. If you are a child, spouse, or direct dépendant to the accident victim, you can file a lawsuit that offers enough compensation to cater to the survivors’ needs, as well as the pain and suffering caused by the death of a loved one.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
We understand the difficult times that you face after falling victim to a motorcycle rear-end accident. Deciding to seek compensation for the severe injuries, pain, loss of wages, and damage of property is the best step to take to ensure that you get back to your life comfortably. At the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we offer you the best litigation services that will assure you adequate compensation for all the harm done. Reach us today at 714-876-1959.