Many people are passionate about riding motorcycles and the freedom they feel while riding. However, other motorists often fail to pay attention to motorcycles due to their size. This lack of attention or difficulty anticipating that a motorcycle may be in a space may lead to collisions. A motorcyclist has no protection against the force and weight of a larger vehicle. While the driver of a car or truck may walk away from an accident unscathed, motorcyclists face the possibility of devastating injuries, such as paralysis, brain injuries, and even death. Enlisting an experienced personal injury attorney is critical to asserting your rights. Sacramento, California motorcycle accident lawyer, Travis G. Black, will be able to help you recover compensation.
Establishing Liability for a Motorcycle Accident
Most of the time, it is the fault of an automobile driver in causing a motorcycle to crash. Often, a driver’s defense is that a motorcyclist was at fault or that they didn’t see them. They will attempt to argue the motorcycle must have been speeding because they just never saw them. If you are a motorcycle rider and are involved in an accident, avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company before you have a chance to consult your own Folsom motorcycle accident lawyer. The other driver’s insurer owes you no loyalty and may try to use statements you make as admissions of liability to reduce your payment. Anything that you say to the other parties’ insurance company can and will be used against you.
Often, multiple other people or entities are at fault for a motorcycle accident, such as when the road presents hazards that should have been fixed or a driver of a larger vehicle fails to use reasonable care. California follows the rule of joint liability with respect to your damages. This means that one defendant may be held responsible for 100% of the damages, even if that defendant is only 50% at fault for the accident. This is what could happen when no other defendant has the ability to pay.
If a city or county should have fixed a dangerous condition on their roadway but didn’t and the driver of an automobile fails to obey the law and causes an accident with a motorcycle rider, the government entity could be responsible for damages. The motorcyclist could collect from both the city or county, as well as the automobile driver.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for many different reasons. A motorcycle accident personal injury attorney in Folsom, California, can help a motorcycle accident victim determine their best options for pursuing legal action after a motorcycle accident occurs. Depending on how the accident occurred, liability could fall to another driver, the motorcyclist, the entity responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred, a parts manufacturer, or a combination of multiple defendants.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle collisions in the Folsom area include:
- Open door accidents. When motorcycles travel through busy city streets, they must be careful of drivers who have recently parallel parked on the side of the street. Drivers getting out of their vehicles should be careful to check to see if anyone is coming from behind them before opening their doors. A motorcyclist could sustain grievous injuries if they drive into a car door that opened too suddenly for them to avoid it. The driver who opened the car door could sustain injuries as well.
- Left turn collisions. Statistically, left turns are some of the most dangerous maneuvers for a motorcyclist to make. In many cases, left turns are possible with a “yield” condition, meaning drivers may turn left at an intersection if there is no opposing traffic continuing straight through the intersection with right-of-way. However, since motorcycles are hard to see, some drivers may not notice a turning motorcycle in time to avoid a crash.
- Broadside collisions. This type of accident occurs when a motorcycle strikes another vehicle on its side. While this may sound like it would be the motorcyclist’s fault, this is not always the case. Many broadside accidents involving motorcycles happen because of other drivers running red lights, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, driving under the influence, or driving while distracted.
- Intersection accidents. Intersections tend to function on a round-robin basis. Traffic signals indicate to drivers when it is their turn to proceed through the intersection, and drivers must pay close attention to these signals. Intersection accidents involving motorcycles tend to be quite damaging. Generally, such accidents involve multiple vehicles. These accidents can happen due to a driver’s failure to pay attention to the intersection’s traffic signals, aggressive driving, or other negligence behind the wheel.
- Crashes near driveways. While a residential area may seem safer than busy city streets when it comes to accidents, the reality is that crashes near residential driveways are a serious hazard for smaller vehicles like motorcycles. If a driver fails to pay attention or notice a motorcyclist as the driver pulls out of their driveway, the motorcyclist could suffer serious injuries.
- U-turn accidents. A U-turn allows a driver to turn around and start driving the opposite direction, but California law limits where and when drivers may perform this maneuver. However, many drivers perform illegal U-turns to save time, and they may not notice a smaller vehicle such as a motorcycle when doing so.
- Failure to signal. Some of the biggest hazards for motorcyclists in the Folsom area are unsafe lane changes. When another driver fails to signal for a lane change, this can surprise other drivers and lead to a crash. Additionally, some drivers are too aggressive when changing lanes, weaving in and out of traffic. Doing so is inherently dangerous. A driver engaging in this type of behavior may think there is a big enough gap for a lane change and not notice a motorcyclist occupying the lane in time to stop.
When a motorcyclist has an accident with any larger vehicle, the motorcyclist is at an extreme disadvantage. A motorcycle offers virtually no protection to the rider, so a motorcyclist will likely suffer severe injuries from such accidents. Anyone who experiences a motorcycle accident in the Folsom area should consult with a motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer in Folsom, California, as soon as possible. These accidents can lead to serious injuries, some of which may be fatal or life changing.
Potential Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
The auto insurance system in the US exists to provide financial security to drivers who experience accidents. Ideally, an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy should cover damages that another driver experiences in a crash. However, motorcycle accidents tend to cause serious injuries and substantial economic losses. Because of this, the insurance available in a motorcycle accident may not be sufficient to cover a victim’s damages. Additionally, there is a possibility of an uninsured or underinsured driver causing a collision with a motorcyclist.
When a motorcyclist suffers injuries and economic damages and insurance is not enough to cover their losses, a motorcycle accident personal injury attorney in Folsom, California, can be an invaluable asset. The attorney will assess the evidence available in the case to determine what kind of damages the client can claim through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party (or parties, in cases involving multiple defendants).
Damages claimable through a motorcycle accident lawsuit in California include:
- All short and long-term medical expenses resulting from the accident. This can include anything from hospital bills to the cost of ongoing physical therapy or other necessary rehabilitative treatments.
- Lost wages from missed time at work. Severe injuries will leave a motorcycle accident victim unable to work for quite some time while they recover. The victim can hold the defendant in the claim responsible for income lost during this time. Additionally, if a victim’s injuries are so severe that they are unable to work in the future, the victim can sue for lost future earnings.
- Property damage. Damages, such as the cost of repairing or replacing a motorcycle damaged or destroyed in the motorcycle accident, could be avenues for compensation.
- Pain and suffering compensation. The California justice system recognizes that the experience of a traumatic accident and the resulting pain from severe injuries can be some of the worst losses experienced from a motorcycle accident. A victim can claim compensation for physical and psychological suffering resulting from a motorcycle accident in the Folsom area.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish those who harm others intentionally or through engaging in willfully dangerous behaviors. A plaintiff cannot directly claim punitive damages, but the judge hearing the case may award punitive damages to discourage similar behavior in the future.
A motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer in Folsom, California, can review the details of a motorcycle accident claim and help a client determine which damages are available in the claim. The right attorney can help a client focus on their recovery by handling the legal side of resolving a motorcycle accident claim in Folsom.
Consult a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Folsom, CA
Attorney Travis G. Black worked for the insurance industry and served as a police officer before establishing his own firm. He investigated hundreds of motorcycle accidents. He now his knowledge insight that he gained in these industries to serve accident victims. You should consult the California motorcycle accident attorneys at Black & DePaoli if you have been hurt or lost a loved one because of a careless driver. Based in Folsom, our firm offers knowledgeable and comprehensive legal counsel. Contact us online or call Black & DePaoli at 916-962-2896 for a free consultation with a Folsom personal injury attorney.