People who are injured and survivors of those killed in motorcycle accidents can seek fair compensation for damages and losses under California law. There are many important factors that apply to motorcycle accident claims that should be understood before taking legal action to recover expenses or punitive damages. An experienced California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer can guide you through this process at every step, and they will be ready to represent you in litigation if a settlement is not reached prior to court.
California Motorcycle Accidents
Over 830,000 motorcycles are registered in California, more than in any other state, and there are over 1.4 million riders enjoy traveling the roads and highways of this scenic area. Unfortunately, accidents do a happen, causing death to several hundred motorcycle enthusiasts each year and injuries to thousands more.
Motorcycle accidents of any kind result in damage, either to the bike or the riders, because motorcycles offer very little physical protection. Even a simple slide-out can leave the rider with deep wounds, road rash, or painful scrapes and bruises. More serious accidents result in even greater injuries or death.
Motorcycle Accident Attorney
When you have been injured or a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, one of the first things to do is to consult with an experienced California Motorcycle Accident Attorney. When you work with a legal professional who has handled and won many similar cases, you can have confidence that your case will also be successful. The attorney will want to know all the facts about your accident, and they can use all documentation you have, such as photographs, damage estimates, police records and medical reports. Since they are experienced with this type of case, they also will be able to give you an idea of what claims are reasonable and what to expect in a settlement offer.
Factors in Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims
Many factors will be part of your claim, including hard facts like medical expenses and repair bill receipts. It is well-known that motorcycle riders and their passengers are more likely to suffer physical harm or death in an accident than are people in other larger and more protective vehicles, like cars and trucks. The very freedom that attracts people to motorcycle riding is a factor that increases injury damage potential. The riders have nothing around them for protection, as you have in other vehicles. If motorcyclists are in a collision, they are likely to be thrown off the bike and into other vehicles or stationary objects like signs, poles or trees.
- Medical care expenses and related income losses are a primary factor in any personal injury case.
- Jury Sentiment – Above those hard facts are certain factors that are less tangible. This includes how the jury might feel about motorcycles and motorcycle riders. Many people just don’t like bikes and riders, so they are already prone to deliver lower awards in a motorcycle accident case. A strong presentation and your evidence can go a long way towards overcoming this factor.
- Liability – How responsibility for the accident is assessed is another important factor to consider. Are you partly at fault or was another person definitely in the wrong and caused the accident? How likely is the defendant to accept responsibility and therefore liability for your claims? This also can affect how quickly a case may be settled or reach a jury verdict.
- Plaintiff’s Damages – How did the accident affect this plaintiff, including financial expenses as well as their lifestyle and future abilities to enjoy life. If the victim died, survivors can ask for compensation for various losses associated with their loved one, such as companionship, income and guardianship of minor children.
- Insurance – Does the defendant have insurance coverage or assets that could be used to provide payment to the plaintiff?
- Benefits of Settlement – How would agreement benefit the defendant and make them likely to settle early in the process?
California Motorcycle Accident Claims
Since the policy this state follows is a pure comparative negligence rule for determining liability, you may have your award reduced by a percentage if you are partially at fault. It still is worth pursuing a settlement or court award when you have been involved in a California Motorcycle Accident and have injury or other damage claims. Expense can be very high and long-lasting, especially if the accident left you unable to return to work or you are left permanently disabled.
Claims will include these and other areas of expense created by the accident event:
- Medical – immediate and long-term
- Work Loss – income lost due to your injuries, rehabilitation and/or retraining for another type of work, total disability that leads to no work potential
- Special Needs – equipment, training, therapy and medical care
- Other Claims – property damage, pain and suffering, loss of lifestyle, and more
Despite compliance with all California motorcycle laws and safety training for riders, motorcycle accidents still claim thousands every year. The court awards can be in the millions, but on average most run around $74,000, according to a Jury Verdict Research study conducted from 1999 to 2006. Even if you have no apparent immediate physical injuries, some problems only appear later on. Get a medical checkup and contact your attorney to discuss the incident promptly. If you have been injured or a loved one died in a motorcycle accident, this is an essential step to make.
If you are injured in an accident that is due to the negligent behavior of another person or a company that produced defective equipment, you deserve justice. Fair compensation for your accident expenses, medical treatment, recovery and a return to enjoyment of your lifestyle are fair outcomes. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and fees based on contingency for personal injury cases – no fees unless you win. It is in your benefit to work closely with an experienced California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer immediately if you are in a motorcycle accident.