When a motorcycle accident occurs, the motorcyclist suffers extensive injuries. Unlike a motor vehicle, a motorcycle does not offer a rider any form of protection. When an accident occurs, a rider could encounter debris, asphalt, or other vehicles. This lack of protection puts riders at a higher risk of suffering severe or even fatal injuries. Therefore, the majority of motorcycle accidents lead to higher settlements because the injuries are more severe. If you suffer injuries in an accident, it will be in your best interest to speak to a personal injury attorney. An attorney will determine whether your claim is valid and fight to seek compensation for your injury. For the best legal representation in personal injury cases, you can count on Orange County Personal Injury Attorney.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
In an accident, motorcycle riders are more likely to die or to suffer injuries than occupants of an enclosed vehicle. Most people understand the seriousness of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, the majority of people do not understand the severity of being involved in a motorcycle accident. A motorcyclist could suffer different injuries in an accident. However, some of the most common injuries are:
The human body contains more than 600 muscles; any of these muscles could suffer damage in a motorcycle accident. If you experience muscle injuries at a young age, the recovery period is likely to be shorter. However, if you suffer muscle injuries at an advanced age, you are likely to take longer to recover from the injuries. Muscle injuries from a motorcycle accident could range from simple sprains to large muscle tears. Hard riders are more likely to suffer extensive muscle damage in case of an accident.
You are likely to suffer head injuries in a motorcycle accident, even if you have protective clothing like a helmet. However, protective gear is still necessary because it will limit the extent of your injuries. The severity of head injuries could vary from minor cuts or bruises to advanced injuries like concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a protective helmet and eye protection could help reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury in case of an accident. An impact on the side of the road could also affect your ability to hear because it can damage your eardrum. The effects on your hearing could range from a temporary loss of hearing to permanent hearing loss.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, a rider is likely to shield himself or herself with the arm. This often leads to arm injuries, commonly referred to as biker's arm. A biker's arm could comprise many injuries on the arm, including muscle and tendon injuries, bruises, and broken bones. The human inclination is always to put the arms down to break a fall; this is the reason why biker's arm injuries are common. The arm mainly suffers from the forceful impact of breaking a fall.
In addition to preventing head injuries, helmets could also help to prevent facial injuries. However, even if a helmet protects the top of your head, it may not be able to protect your jaws and some other parts of the face. You could still receive some bruises and cuts on your face, even if you have a helmet. A significant percentage of motorcyclists who suffer injuries in an accident sustain facial injuries.
In case of a motorcycle accident, the feet are the first to touch the ground. Therefore, the majority of motorcyclists suffer lower extremity injuries when an accident occurs. The injuries could include sprains, cuts, muscle injuries, or bruises. Feet injuries could have long-lasting effects, including permanent disability. Riders could suffer injuries like fractured and shattered bones in the legs and knees. Protective clothing like kneepads and leather clothing could help reduce the extent of feet injuries in case of an accident.
Following an impact between a motorcycle and a vehicle, a motorcycle rider could fly over the handlebars or slide sideways on the pavement. The effect on sliding on the pavement or surface of the road could lead to a road rash. A road rash occurs when a rider's bare skin rubs on the pavement at high speed. The pavement could scrape off the rider's clothing and expose the skin, especially if the rider is wearing thin clothing. You should never dismiss a road rash as a minor cut, scrape, or bruise. A road rash could have more advanced implications like infections, skin irritations, or nerve damage. To avoid infection, you should have a road rash inspected and treated by a medical expert.
You are not likely to suffer severe road rash injuries if your skin is covered by protective clothing, especially denim or leather. It is also advisable for a motorcyclist to wear high shoes, preferable knee-high shoes. Proper gloves not only offer a perfect grip while riding but also help to prevent injuries on the palms of the hand in case of an accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are common catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle accident. If you suffer spinal injuries due to the impact of an accident, you might suffer paralysis. This form of injury could lead to permanent disability. You might have to rely on a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might no longer be able to work or engage in any income-generating activity.
You could also suffer internal injuries in a motorcycle accident. For instance, blunt-force trauma could lead to internal bleeding and damage to internal organs. A blunt-force trauma refers to trauma that results from a blow on something that does not break the skin. Internal injuries could also result from penetration trauma, which occurs when sharp objects like debris or broken glass penetrate the victim's skin in an accident.
Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The majority of motorcycle accidents involve vehicles and mainly occur due to reckless driving. The leading causes of motorcycle accidents in California are:
Abrupt Lane Changes
It is common for vehicle drivers to make abrupt lane changes without looking out for motorcycles.
Most drivers do not check their blind spots while changing lanes, and this often leads to a collision with motorcycles.
Careless Opening of Car Doors
Motorcycle accidents occur when vehicle drivers open the doors of parked vehicles in the path of oncoming motorcycles. When a driver opens the door abruptly, a motorcyclist could come crashing on the door leading to injuries. This is a common cause of motorcycle accidents.
When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he/she is not likely to exercise the due duty of care on the road. An intoxicated driver is more likely to cause an accident than a sober driver. In California, it is illegal for a driver to drive if his/her blood alcohol content exceeds 0.08%. Impaired drivers make poor decisions and are not alert while driving.
Driving at a very high speed is a form of reckless driving and is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. When a vehicle driver is speeding, he/she is not likely to see a motorcyclist. In case of an emergency, the driver might not be able to react promptly and prevent a collision. By operating a vehicle at high speed, the impact and the damages are often high when an accident occurs. While driving at a slower speed, a driver is more in control of a vehicle and is not likely to strike a motorcyclist.
Motorcycle accidents could occur if vehicles make abrupt stops without warning the motorcyclists behind them. Sudden stops often lead to rear-end collisions involving motorcyclists smashing the back of vehicles. This form of impact could lead to severe injuries or even death of a motorcyclist.
Motorcycle accidents could occur when drivers engage in distracted driving. For instance, if a driver texts or eats while driving, he/she might not be able to pay attention to the road. The situation could be worse if an inexperienced driver engages in distracted driving.
Establishing Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
When pursuing a claim for compensation, one of the most important things to do is determine the liable party. After suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident, it is in your best interest to consult a personal injury attorney. An attorney will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the party at fault.
Several parties could be liable in a motorcycle accident:
- A vehicle driver if the motorcycle accident involves a vehicle
- If the accident occurs due to poor roadways, the parties responsible for the maintenance of roadways could be to blame for the accident.
- If a motorcycle accident occurs due to a defective motorcycle, the motorcycle manufacturer could be to blame for the accident.
- The manufacturer of motorcycle components could also be liable for an accident.
- The repair shop or company responsible for maintaining the motor vehicle could also be to blame
Before the court grants you financial compensation for your injuries, the juries must first determine who is to blame for the accident. If more than one party is responsible for the accident, each party will be liable depending on the degree of fault. The judge will determine each party's degree of fault and multiply it with the total damages the victim suffers.
At times, you could be partly to blame for the motorcycle accident. Any degree of negligence will cause a decrease in the damages you will receive for your injuries. For instance, if the court establishes that you are 20% at fault, your compensation will reduce by 20%.
In a motorcycle accident involving reckless driving, you will have to show that the vehicle driver was negligent and that the negligence led to the accident. There are four elements of negligence. First, it should be apparent that the vehicle driver owed you a duty of care. Every driver should be careful and prevent accidents from occurring. When determining if a vehicle driver was negligent, the court will consider how a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances.
You should also be able to prove that the vehicle driver breached his duty of care. A vehicle driver could breach his/her duty of care by engaging in reckless driving. A driver could also breach the duty by speeding and failing to follow the traffic rules.
Causation should also be evident; this means that the vehicle driver's breach of duty of care should have caused or significantly contributed to the occurrence of the accident.
You must have suffered damages because of the accident. There are various ways of proving damages, including presenting medical bills and other relevant information. Your personal injury attorney can help you determine and prove the damages you suffer in an accident.
Factors that Determine the Amount of Compensation
Most people consider motorcyclists reckless; when a motorcycle accident occurs, the blame is often on the motorcyclist. However, accidents are not always the fault of the motorcyclist. When you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, you have every right to seek compensation for the injuries you suffer. The best way to seek compensation is through a personal injury attorney. Even with the help of an attorney, certain factors will determine the amount of compensation you receive:
Your ability to Prove Fault
The most important aspect of a motorcycle accident involving a reckless driver is to prove that the driver is at fault. Traffic citations could come in handy in proving the fault of the driver. When an accident occurs, the law enforcement officers issue a traffic citation to the liable driver. This proof of negligence will play a major role in determining the extent of compensation.
Impairment of the at-fault Driver
If the at-fault driver in a motorcycle accident was impaired at the time of the accident, it would increase your chance of getting decent compensation. Most drivers opt to avoid trial, especially if they were impaired at the time of the accident. The driver's attorney could negotiate and agree on a settlement out of court. Certain factors could constitute a driver's impairment, including intoxication with alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving.
Insurance Coverage of the Defendant
When receiving compensation for damages in a motorcycle accident, the damages cannot exceed the insurance limits of the defendant's insurance. Therefore, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the defendant's insurance coverage. This fact will apply, especially if the defendant does not have other assets that could help make a settlement. After your attorney presents your personal injury case in court, the judge might award you the compensation that exceeds the insurance coverage of the defendant. However, you might not be able to recover this compensation as a lump sum.
However, if you have a competent personal injury attorney, you do not have to give up. In such a case, the expertise of a personal injury attorney will come in handy to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Your Degree of Fault
The amount of compensation you receive after a motorcycle accident will also depend on your degree of fault. When determining your compensation level, the judge will decide whether or not you are partially to blame for the accident. If you are partly at fault, the compensation you receive could be lower depending on your percentage of fault.
This consideration is known as comparative negligence law. This law dramatically affects the amount of compensation for a victim.
The Extent of Your Injuries
Your compensation will also depend on the extent or the level of your injuries. You are likely to receive a higher payment if you suffer extensive damages, which could have a far-reaching impact on your life.
Some of the factors that will influence the compensation amount include the medical bills you pay to meet the cost of treatment as well as rehabilitation costs. If you are unable to work due to the injuries, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages. You could also receive compensation for lost earning capacity if you are not able to continue working in the future.
The compensation could also depend on your level of pain and suffering after the accident. The damages you suffer in a motorcycle accident might not just be physical but also emotional. You are likely to experience psychological discomfort after the accident.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
You should follow specific steps after a motorcycle accident. The steps you take after an accident could go a long way in supporting your personal injury claim. Your steps will also have an impact on your rights and legal actions. Some of the crucial steps to take after a motorcycle accident are:
Move to a Safe Place
If a motor vehicle hits you while on a motorcycle, you and the motorcycle could roll on the road, this could place you at risk of colliding with other vehicles, which could escalate your injuries. If you can move, it is advisable to move to a safe place, preferably to the side of the road. However, you do not have to move the motorcycle because the wreckage will act as evidence when the police arrive.
Seek Medical Attention
It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention, especially if you have suffered catastrophic injuries after the accident. You could request the people at the scene of the accident to call an ambulance for you. However, before you leave the accident scene, ensure that you leave behind your contact information. You should also ensure that you get the contact information of the other parties involved in the accident.
Informing the Police
It is important to call the police after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident. The police will investigate the accident scene and come up with a police report outlining the facts of the accident. The facts of the report will come in handy in helping your attorney support your personal injury case. The police report will act as proof of the damages you suffered, including the damage on your motorcycle, your clothing, and your medical costs. You could note down the police officers' badge numbers and names. These details will make it easy for your attorney to follow up on the case and collect the necessary information from the police.
It might be challenging to document the scene of the injuries, especially if you have severe injuries. However, you could try to note some important information regarding the accident. You could take pictures of the accident scene or request another person to take the images for you. Ensure that you take pictures of the vehicle and your motorcycle wreckage. You could also take pictures of your bruises and injuries. If you are not able to take pictures, you could request another person to take the pictures for you. Ensure that you note down the vehicle registration number of the defendant’s vehicle.
Talk to Witnesses
In any legal matter, the eyewitnesses of an accident are essential in supporting a case. Therefore, you should interact with the witnesses who might have gathered at the scene. Ensure that you obtain the contact information of the witnesses. When the witnesses leave the scene, it might not be possible to reach them in the future.
Do Not Admit Fault
You should never admit fault even if you feel that you are partly at fault in a motorcycle accident. For instance, you should avoid apologizing to the other party. The other party could interpret an apology as a way of admitting fault in an accident. The best thing would be to speak to your attorney. Your attorney will be able to deal with the defendant and the insurance company.
Avoid Discussing Your Injuries
After a motorcycle accident, the vehicle driver could try to get close to you and ask about the extent of your injuries. However, it is wise to avoid discussing your injuries with the vehicle driver or his/her insurance company. Immediately after an accident, you will have a rush of adrenaline, and your body will be numb. You might only realize the extent of your injuries when the numbness wears off.
Find an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Through a personal injury attorney, you are more likely to get the compensation you deserve. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, Orange County Personal Injury Attorney can help to evaluate your case. Our attorneys will also help you to file a claim for compensation. Reach us at 714-876-1959 and talk to an experienced attorney today.