Riding a motorcycle is a wonderful sensation, but there are a lot of dangers associated with them. Because of a motorcycle’s size, other drivers have a harder time seeing them on the road. If a collision occurs, motorcycles provide almost no protection from injury. If you or a loved one have experienced a motorcycle accident as the result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. By using the services of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Dan Higson, you will increase the likelihood of getting the most compensation possible.
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
Even if you’re the safest driver in the world, accidents can happen to you. It’s impossible to control all of the factors around you, including road conditions and other drivers. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
Inattentiveness. Inattentive drivers account for a large amount of motorcycle accidents each year. Inattentive drivers are often responsible for head-on collisions and left-turn collisions. They happen when a driver is not fully aware of their surroundings. With the ever-increasing presence of smart phones in drivers’ hands, this hazard has become even more commonplace.
Recklessness. Many collisions occur because of reckless driving. Examples of this include drivers going over the speed limit or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Bad communication. It’s important to be able to communicate with other drivers around you. Whether you’re riding with a group of motorcyclists or determining whether another car is taking a turn in front of you, communication, such as properly using signals, is key to surviving on the road.
Road hazards. Hazardous road conditions include loose gravel, potholes, uneven asphalt, and other issues. State and local governments maintain most roadways, but government agencies often fail to address problems on the road. Unaddressed road hazards are responsible for many motorcycle accidents.
What to Do When in a Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcycle accident occurs, it’s important to understand that the other driver and the insurance companies are not necessarily on your side. Because of this, there are several important steps to take after an accident occurs to protect your personal and legal safety. If you are seriously injured, wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene and worry about legal issues after your safety is ensured. If you are able to, acquire further information. Below, are some steps to keep in mind after you’ve been in a motorcycle accident:
- Seek medical attention. Even for minor injuries, it’s important to get official medical records that can be used to support your claim. Sometimes injuries do not become apparent until days or even weeks after an accident, so have these injuries checked out as soon as they develop.
- Gather information. Accurate, detailed information is crucial for your case. If safe to do so, take photographs of the crash site, the condition of your motorcycle, and your injuries. Get the contact information of the other drivers involved and any witnesses.
- File a police report. If possible, call the police to the site of the accident. By cooperating with the police and making a statement, you provide even more evidence for your case. Make sure to inform the police of any witnesses that might have relevant information.
- Hold off on repairs. Hold off on making any repairs to your motorcycle until an insurance claim is opened. If you preserve the damages done to your motorcycle throughout the examination process, it will make it easier to determine what compensation is needed. If this is not possible, keep detailed records of all repairs that are done.
California Motorcycle Laws
California has a few unique motorcycle laws that don’t necessarily exist in other states. In California, lane-splitting is legal. Lane-splitting is when motorcyclists ride between the lanes of traffic when it has slowed down. This practice is risky to the motorcyclist, so be careful whenever you attempt to do so. When lane-splitting, the motorcyclist can be ticketed if they drive recklessly. Thus, it is advisable that motorcyclists travel at a safe speed when lane-splitting so that he/she can react to sudden movements by the surrounding cars. Surrounding cars are not allowed to impede motorcycles between lanes, and they can be punished if they attempt do so.
Motorcyclists should also be aware that any negligence on their part, such as unsafe operation of your motorcycle while lane-splitting, could be used as evidence to reduce their recovery in a subsequent trial. This is because California uses the “comparative fault” system to offset an injured person’s recovery for any percentage of negligence that is attributed to their own conduct. For example, if a person suffers $50,000 in damages and is determined to be 50% at fault for their own accident, they would only be entitled to recover $25,000.
More up-to-date information can be found online at the California Department of Motor Vehicles motorcycle handbook page.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence, let Dan Higson help you get through the paperwork and insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve. It’s possible to receive compensation for a variety of damages such as medical expenses, motorcycle repair, lost wages, therapy, disability, and pain and suffering.
Getting yourself and your motorcycle back in peak condition after an accident can be expensive. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can mean the difference between fully covering your accident costs and paying everything out of pocket.