Motorcycles may be fun to ride, but they are also some of the most inherently dangerous vehicles on the road. A motorcycle offers virtually no physical protection to a rider or their passenger, leaving anyone on the bike extremely vulnerable in the event of an accident. California has the highest rate of motorcycle accidents in the United States, so it is vital for all riders and motorcycle passengers to know how to avoid motorcycle accidents and what they can do after experiencing them.
If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, it’s vital to seek legal counsel from a trustworthy and experienced El Dorado Hills motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, we understand how complex motorcycle accident claims can be and the substantial damages they often entail. We can help you recover your losses as expeditiously as possible with comprehensive and detail-oriented legal representation in the California civil court system.
WHY HIRE AN ATTORNEY?
It’s not uncommon for accident victims to wonder why they need legal representation, especially when fault for their accidents seems abundantly clear. The reality is that no matter how certain you are of a defendant’s fault for causing your motorcycle accident, these cases can be very complex and require navigating difficult procedural requirements. Without an attorney, you would run the risk of jeopardizing your own claim on a technicality, such as making a mistake when filing your claim paperwork with the court.
Hiring an experienced El Dorado motorcycle accident lawyer ensures you have the professional guidance you need to successfully navigate the civil court system with confidence. Additionally, it would be very difficult to manage your own legal affairs without an attorney while simultaneously dealing with the pain of your injuries. Your attorney can handle your legal affairs on your behalf and provide you with case updates while you rest and focus on your recovery.
HOW DO MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS HAPPEN?
Motorcycles are some of the most vulnerable vehicles on the road due to their small size. They are harder for other drivers to see than typical passenger vehicles, especially in poor visibility or at night. Motorcycle accidents can happen for many different reasons, but the causes that most often lead to motorcycle accident claims against other drivers include:
- Distracted driving. It is vital for all drivers to pay attention while operating their vehicles. Even a few seconds of distracted driving is enough to cause a devastating accident. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to distracted driving due to the small size of their bikes. They are harder to notice than larger vehicles, so while a driver may snap out of their distraction in time to notice a passenger vehicle, they may not have the same reaction time for a motorcycle that is much smaller.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal and dangerous for anyone to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Intoxicated drivers have slower reaction speed than sober drivers and are more likely to speed and commit moving violations. This places every other driver around them at severe risk, especially motorcyclists.
- Vehicle defects. If a mechanical failure occurs and causes a motorcycle accident, liability for the resulting damages may fall to the manufacturer of the defective vehicle or part under product liability laws.
- Dangerous road conditions. Potholes and road debris can easily cause a motorcyclist to crash. If a motorcycle accident happens due to the poor state of the road, liability may fall to the government entity responsible for managing the road. This can complicate the victim’s ability to claim compensation for their losses as there are special rules for filing civil claims against government agencies, and many such agencies have sovereign immunity that insulates them from civil claims filed by private citizens.
- Speeding. Drivers who exceed posted speed limits may be unable to slow down or stop in time to prevent a collision with a motorcycle. Every driver has a duty of care to abide by posted speed limits and other traffic signs at all times.
- Aggressive driving. Unfortunately, some drivers are reckless in operating their vehicles and engage in dangerous maneuvers. Swerving between lanes, cutting off other drivers, and tailgating are just a few examples of aggressive driving that can easily cause a serious motorcycle accident.
These are just a few examples of the ways motorcycle accidents can happen on California roads. In any accident resulting from the negligence of another driver, the injured motorcyclist should know their rights to legal recourse and the value of legal representation as they navigate their claims.
POTENTIAL DAMAGES IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM
Motorcycle accidents tend to be very damaging. Statistically, motorcycle accidents are vastly more likely to cause severe and fatal injuries than accidents involving enclosed passenger cars. Some of the injuries a motorcycle accident victim can potentially experience include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can potentially have life-threatening implications for victims, and even mild brain injuries can entail long-term symptoms that alter the victim’s life for years to come.
- Spinal injuries. The human spinal cord is highly susceptible to physical trauma. If the spinal cord is damaged severely enough, the victim may experience paralysis, loss of sensation, and other irreversible neurological effects.
- Internal organ injuries. Crash forces can cause severe harm to the rider’s internal organs. Internal organ damage can be life-threatening without immediate medical intervention and can result in permanent medical complications.
- Broken bones. Some bone fractures can heal completely, while others may result in permanent nerve damage, loss of range of motion, and impaired motor control.
- Secondary impact injuries. When a motorcycle accident happens, the motorcyclist will sustain injuries from the primary impact with the other vehicle and additional injuries from the secondary impact of hitting the ground. Secondary injuries can include more broken bones, facial injuries, soft tissue damage, and friction burns from sliding on asphalt, commonly called “road rash.”
Ultimately, a motorcycle crash has the potential to cause severe injuries to the rider, some of which may be fatal.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A NEGLIGENT DRIVER KILLS A MOTORCYCLIST?
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents have a much higher fatality rate than accidents involving standard passenger vehicles. When a motorcyclist dies because of the negligence of another driver, their surviving loved ones may file a wrongful death claim to secure compensation for their losses as well as losses incurred by the deceased’s estate.
A wrongful death claim effectively takes the place of the personal injury claim the deceased could have filed if they had survived their injuries. California state law allows the deceased’s surviving spouse, child, parent, or other representative of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death claim, and state law also dictates the damages available from such claims. A wrongful death claim can offer compensation for losses incurred by the deceased’s estate, such as medical expenses and lost income resulting from their final injury, and it may also provide economic relief to the surviving family to compensate their loss of affection, guidance, and household services provided by the deceased.
PROVING FAULT AND WINNING YOUR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CASE
If you decide to take legal action against the driver responsible for causing your motorcycle accident, it is crucial to work with a reliable El Dorado Hills motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to prove the defendant’s negligence and establish the full scope of your claimable damages.
Success with your motorcycle accident claim requires proving the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, breached this duty of care in some manner, and directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. The plaintiff must establish causation between the defendant’s negligence and their claimed damages, proving the damages solely resulted from the defendant’s breached duty of care and not some other cause.
Some motorcycle accident claims are more straightforward than others. When you face a difficult motorcycle accident claim and are unsure how to prove fault for your damages, the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC can provide the professional guidance you need to navigate your case with confidence. We can coordinate expert witness testimony from medical professionals, engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and other professionals to ensure the court can easily understand how your accident happened and the effects it has had on your life.
FIND YOUR LEGAL COUNSEL NOW
California provides a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This time limit begins on the date your motorcycle accident occurred. It may take some time to determine the full scope of your claimable damages, but you should not delay obtaining legal counsel for your case. The sooner you secure legal representation from a reliable El Dorado Hills motorcycle accident lawyer, the better your chances are of succeeding with your claim.
If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an attorney after a motorcycle accident in El Dorado Hills, contact the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC today and schedule a consultation with our team. We can help you understand your legal options and what to expect from filing your claim.