Many people living throughout Southern California enjoy riding motorcycles. Some ride for leisure, while others use their bikes as their primary transportation. Whatever your reasons for riding a motorcycle in California, it is vital to acknowledge the risks you face every time you ride on the road.
Each year, roughly 2% of all motorcyclists in California experience accidents. While this may not sound like very much, when you consider that there are more than 800,000 registered motorcycles in California, this amounts to thousands of motorcycle accidents each year. Therefore, all riders need to know what they can do to limit their risk of having an accident and what to do when someone else causes a motorcycle accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California
Motorcycle accidents happen in many ways throughout California each year. When one party’s actions directly cause a motorcycle accident, that party becomes liable for the damages resulting from the accident. In California, the most commonly reported causes of motorcycle accidents that generate legal claims for damages include:
- Distracted driving. This is the top reported cause of motor vehicle accidents in the US. A few seconds of distracted driving can be enough to cause a serious accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Such substances diminish judgment and reaction speed. DUI is illegal and incredibly dangerous. An at-fault driver in a motorcycle accident claim faces criminal charges in addition to civil liability.
- Speeding. This reduces the window of time a driver has to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions. Speeding is one of the most commonly cited contributing factors in motorcycle accidents in California.
- Moving violations. When drivers fail to abide by traffic laws and commit moving violations, they can easily disrupt traffic around them and cause an accident.
The driver responsible for causing a motorcycle accident absorbs liability for all the resulting damages. Therefore, while their auto insurance may cover some of the victim’s losses, they may need to pursue further legal action in the form of a personal injury suit to secure full compensation for their damages.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Every driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and attentively at all times. This responsibility extends to motor vehicle drivers as well as motorcyclists. While you cannot always anticipate how other drivers will behave around you at all times, and your risk of a motorcycle accident is statistically low, there are a few things you can do to limit your risk of experiencing a motorcycle accident:
- Make yourself more visible. Wearing brightly colored clothing and ensuring all the lights on your bike function correctly are good ideas for ensuring other drivers can notice you in congested traffic.
- Drive defensively. Unfortunately, motorcycles’ light, fast, and maneuverable nature encourages risky behavior, but all motorcyclists should operate their vehicles defensively. This means riding at safe speeds, abiding by posted traffic signals, and keeping to the right whenever possible.
- Don’t rush. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so you do not feel compelled to speed or make hasty decisions in traffic.
- Wear appropriate safety equipment. A properly fitted helmet can reduce your risk of a fatal head injury if an accident happens, and high-quality riding gear can potentially mitigate injuries from hitting the road surface after an accident.
Hopefully, these best practices can help you limit your risk of experiencing a motorcycle accident in California. First, however, you should know what to do if an unexpected accident occurs due to another driver’s actions.
Recovery From a Motorcycle Accident
If another motorist bears fault for your recent motorcycle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney is the best resource to consult when it comes to recovering your damages. Your attorney can help you identify the party or parties responsible for your accident and assist you in determining the full amount of damages you can seek from them. Auto insurance is typically your first recovery option after a vehicle accident, and you have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. However, their insurance may only cover a portion of your total losses, so you must file a personal injury claim to recover the rest.
An experienced attorney can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible for all the economic losses you sustained because of their actions. These damages can include medical expenses, ongoing costs for medical treatment, lost income and lost future earning capacity. You can also hold them accountable for your vehicle repair costs. Beyond these economic damages, California law allows you to seek pain and suffering compensation in your claim.
Q: How Long Will a Motorcycle Accident Claim Take to Resolve?
A: You will likely need to deal with insurance companies and the civil court system to fully recover from your accident. Depending on the clearness of liability for the incident and the scope of your claimable damages, it can take weeks to months to resolve your case. If you cannot settle and your case proceeds to litigation, this can take several months to resolve.
Q: How Much Can I Obtain in Pain and Suffering Compensation?
A: Your attorney can help you determine a reasonable amount of pain and suffering compensation to seek in your claim based on the severity of your injuries and whether you experienced any long-term effects from them. Pain and suffering typically form the lion’s share of the plaintiff’s total recovery in a personal injury case.
Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
A: Legal counsel you can trust from an attorney experienced in handling motorcycle accident claims is an invaluable asset as you work toward obtaining compensation for your losses. Your legal team can handle case proceedings on your behalf so you can focus on recovery, and a good attorney also increases your chances of securing maximum compensation for your losses.
Q: How Much Will a Lawyer Cost?
A: Easton & Easton offers personal injury clients contingency fee billing. There are no upfront costs for our representation, and we only charge a fee once we win your case. This contingency fee is a percentage of the final case award. This ensures our legal services are accessible to those who need them most after damaging accidents.
We can provide the answers you need to your most pressing legal questions after a motorcycle accident in Orange County. Contact Easton & Easton today to schedule your consultation with our team.