Motorcycle accidents may result in catastrophic injuries, due to the lack of an enclosure or barrier between the rider and the force being applied by another vehicle or the ground. Often, insurers are biased against motorcyclists, and they may have a fixed idea of what your case is worth based on the types of injuries involved, without looking at you as an individual. If you suffer some of the common injuries in motorcycle accidents, you should retain an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney. Travis G. Black is a former insurance adjuster and police officer who has a substantial knowledge of the kinds of damages that may be available for these types of injuries. When appropriate, he can negotiate for a greater settlement or take your case to trial.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Common motorcycle accident injuries include head injuries, leg injuries, road rash, biker’s arm, broken bones, and muscle damage. These injuries may be life-threatening, and it is crucial to take appropriate precautions if you ride motorcycles. For example, your head provides a home for your skull and your brain, and if your brain becomes swollen or your skull is cracked, your life may be permanently altered. Head injuries may range from mild concussions to serious brain damage, but you should have these injuries evaluated and monitored. Often, when the head is injured, the neck is also injured. This may result in paralysis or death.
Under California Vehicle Code section 27803, all motorcycle operators and their passengers must wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle, and it is illegal for a passenger wearing a helmet to ride with a driver who is not. This is an important law because if you are a plaintiff who was not wearing a helmet, the defendant may argue that you were comparatively negligent.
Generally, as with negligence claims, a defendant trying to show comparative negligence will need to show that you owed a duty to use reasonable care, you breached that duty, and thus you contributed to your injuries. However, when you fail to wear a helmet as required by statute, you may be held negligent as a matter of law. Negligence per se applies when there is a violation of a law, a person who is in the class of people that a law was designed to protect suffers injuries of the type that the law was designed to avert, and the party’s violation of the law caused those injuries.
Similarly, a failure to wear protective gear may affect your recovery with regard to other common injuries. For example, road rash injuries involving concrete rubbing on skin are quite common. These may be mitigated somewhat with protective clothing, such as motorcycle jeans, kneepads, jackets, and gloves made of leather. Similarly, wearing earplugs may protect you from eardrum damage, since wearing a helmet may increase your exposure to sound.
Biker’s arm is also among the common injuries in motorcycle accidents. It occurs when a biker lands on their arm during a collision, resulting in permanent nerve damage to the arm and upper body. In some cases, jackets and elbow pads may guard against significant damage.
If you are able to establish liability in a case involving a common injury, you may be able to recover damages. During negotiations, insurers for at-fault parties will often look at past recoveries and jury verdicts to determine what to offer. However, what is offered may not address unique aspects of your damages. For example, if you are someone who was previously quite active, and you are suddenly faced with permanent nerve injuries or paralysis, your quality of life may drop significantly. In California, you may recover not only for economic damages but also for noneconomic damages.