Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycles are popular in Los Angeles for many reasons. Some consider motorcycling and working on their bikes as hobbies, others use them because they are smaller and more maneuverable than larger passenger vehicles in dense urban traffic, and some ride touring bikes through the outskirts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area during their free time. Whatever your reasons for riding a motorcycle may be, it’s important to know the risks you face every time you take your bike out on the road.
Helping Injured Motorcycle Accident Victims Recover in Los Angeles
A motorcycle does not provide the same level of physical protection in an accident that a passenger car provides. While most modern passenger vehicles include crash-absorbing frames, airbags, and seatbelts, a motorcycle offers none of these safety features. Because of that, a rider involved in a collision is likely to suffer injuries from the primary impact with the other vehicle and the secondary impact of hitting the ground. Ultimately, the risk of catastrophic or fatal injury is much higher in a motorcycle accident than in most other vehicle accidents.
Easton & Easton can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Our firm has provided many past clients with personal injury representation in Los Angeles, and we can apply this experience to your claim. Recovery from a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles is likely to require an auto insurance claim against the driver who caused the collision, but if insurance cannot fully compensate your losses, you will need to file a personal injury claim. Our firm can help you navigate your recovery efforts more easily and increase your chances of maximizing your recovery.
Benefits of Hiring a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Technically, it’s possible to pursue recompense for your recent motorcycle accident by yourself, as there is no law requiring you to hire legal representation. However, it is vital to understand the benefits of having reliable legal counsel on your side if you want to maximize the results of the recovery efforts you attempt.
If you tried to manage your case by yourself, you would be faced with strict procedural rules and filing deadlines while also struggling with medical complications from your accident. In addition, motorcycle accidents tend to cause severe injuries, so you could potentially face a host of serious medical issues after your accident, making handling your case proceedings even more challenging.
Along with the challenge of handling your medical needs and your legal issues simultaneously, you would also face the risk of unintentionally settling for less compensation than you are legally allowed to claim from the at-fault driver. You could also make procedural errors that jeopardize your ability to recover compensation, potentially losing your chance to hold the at-fault driver accountable.
When you hire legal counsel you can trust, your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can handle your recovery efforts on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind. Easton & Easton will carefully review the details of your recent accident and guide you through the process of ensuring the at-fault driver’s accountability. We have helped many past clients face the largest auto insurance carriers in the state, and we know the tactics they often use to try to avoid liability for legitimate claims. After we help secure as much compensation as possible through insurance, we will assist you in building a strong personal injury claim that seeks maximum recompense for your losses.
Proving Liability for a Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles
The first challenge you face in recovering from a motorcycle accident that someone else caused is identifying the at-fault driver and proving exactly how they caused your accident. Most motor vehicle accidents reported in Los Angeles each year are the result of negligence or failure to use reasonable care in specific situations. However, it is also possible for a motorcycle accident to occur from intentional and illegal misconduct. A few of the most commonly cited causes of motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles include:
- Distraction while driving. Whenever a driver is not paying attention while driving, they put themselves and all others around them at severe risk. Your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can seek cell phone records, traffic camera video recordings, and eyewitness statements that can help prove the at-fault driver was not paying attention when they caused your crash.
- Reckless driving. Unfortunately, some drivers are willfully reckless behind the wheel, creating a severe risk for an accident to happen with devastating effects. Excessive speeding and intentional moving violations often lead to criminal charges for drivers who cause reckless driving accidents, and they will also face liability for the damages they inflict on others.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Drunk driving and drugged driving are illegal, and the penalties for DUI conviction can include a heavy fine, driver’s license suspension, incarceration, and mandatory drug and alcohol treatment. Judges also have discretionary power to add penalties based on the details of a case, and penalties automatically increase when DUI results in injury or death.
- Poor visibility. Motorcycles are smaller than most other vehicles, taking up less space in a lane, and therefore they are easier for other drivers to overlook. Unfortunately, they can also slip into other drivers’ blind spots relatively easily. Because of that, visibility may be diminished during inclement weather, at night, and in periods of heavy traffic congestion.
If you were seriously injured and do not remember the exact details of how your motorcycle accident happened, your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to prove liability and help secure recompense for your damages. If you were injured but are lucid and well enough to move safely, try to take photos of the scene of the crash, your injuries, and the damage to your vehicle. These can help tremendously in both an auto insurance claim and subsequent personal injury suit against the at-fault driver.
When negligence has caused your recent motorcycle accident, you will need to identify the driver who caused the crash and then prove they held a duty of care they failed to fulfill in a manner directly resulting in your claimed damages. Additionally, if your accident was the result of illegal misconduct, the state is likely to file criminal charges against the defendant, and their criminal case could unfold alongside your civil suit, potentially influencing your recovery.
What to Expect With Your Auto Insurance Claim for a Motorcycle Accident
California law requires every driver to have auto insurance that includes minimum coverage amounts for property damage and bodily injury liability. Under state law, a minimum coverage policy must provide at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage to compensate another driver for their vehicle repair costs, at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage to repay medical expenses for a single person injured in an accident, and at least $30,000 to cover all the medical expenses of multiple persons injured in a single accident.
Drivers are not required but are strongly encouraged to purchase uninsured motorist coverage as well. The state has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, and this coverage allows the policyholder to claim against their own insurance if an uninsured or underinsured driver causes a collision. Drivers who are caught operating their vehicles without insurance coverage and/or cause accidents without insurance not only face complete liability for all the damages they cause, but also driver’s license suspension until they are able to produce proof of insurance.
You have a limited time in which to report your motorcycle accident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but there is also a chance the insurer may reach out to you once they learn of the accident, offering a settlement. Therefore, make sure you report the accident as required but refrain from discussing a settlement with the other driver’s insurance carrier until you speak with an attorney.
Your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help file your claim and resolve any issues that arise with the insurance carrier. The attorneys at Easton & Easton routinely assist our clients in Los Angeles with insurance claims against the largest carriers in the state, and we know they tend to look for all the reasons they can find to reduce a claim offer or outright deny a claim. Once we have helped you secure a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, we will assist you in proceeding with a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, seeking compensation for the damages that insurance won’t cover.
How to Build Your Case in Los Angeles
California’s personal injury laws require plaintiffs to file their claims within two years of their injuries. This may sound like more than enough time to file your personal injury claim, but the reality is that time is a critical factor, and you must take legal action as swiftly as possible to have the highest chances of recovering fair compensation from the defendant. Your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help construct your initial complaint, identifying the driver or drivers responsible for your accident, explaining the scope of the damages they caused, and clearly defining the recovery you are seeking.
Once you file your complaint with the court, the defendant has the opportunity to respond. If they accept responsibility for their actions, the case can proceed to settlement negotiations. A private settlement process allows all parties involved in the case to reach a mutually agreeable set of terms without the stress and expense of litigation. However, this requires both parties to be willing to compromise on the final terms of the settlement. In the event that the defendant denies responsibility for the personal injury or disputes the compensation sought by the plaintiff, the case will proceed to litigation, and the judge will have the final say regarding liability for the personal injury and the compensation the plaintiff may claim from the defendant.
Neither party in a personal injury case should make the mistake of assuming that litigation will offer a better result than settlement. In settlement negotiations, the plaintiff may need to accept slightly less compensation than they might win at a trial in exchange for faster recovery of their damages. Conversely, the defendant may need to part with more than they would like in exchange for a release of future liability for the incident in question.
If the case proceeds to litigation, this will take much longer to complete, and the judge will decide every aspect of the case. Therefore, when you choose Easton & Easton to represent your motorcycle accident claim, we will do everything possible to settle your case swiftly, but if litigation is unavoidable for any reason, we will provide the representation you need to approach your courtroom proceedings with confidence.
Economic Damages Claimable in a Personal Injury Case
The purpose of a personal injury case is for the plaintiff to recover compensation for the damages they suffered because of the defendant’s negligence or misconduct. Under state law, a plaintiff may claim full repayment of their economic damages, including:
- Medical treatment for their injuries. Motorcycle accidents have a very high chance of causing severe injuries like broken bones, friction burns, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. The defendant who caused the accident is responsible for all associated medical treatment costs, both immediate and future, resulting from the crash. For example, if you require extensive hospital treatment followed by long-term ongoing rehabilitative care, the defendant who caused your accident is liable for all these medical expenses.
- Lost wages and earning potential. Many people who suffer injuries in motorcycle accidents are left unable to work as they recover. Whether you are only unable to work for a limited time during initial recovery or you have been left permanently disabled and unable to work at all in the future, the defendant is fully responsible for any and all income you are no longer able to earn because of the defendant’s actions.
- Property losses. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy may cover some of your vehicle repair costs, but any remainder and the expense of replacing other personal property damaged in the accident are claimable economic losses in your personal injury suit.
The average person might be able to calculate their immediate economic damages accurately without assistance, but it can be very challenging for them to assess the long-term financial impact of their accident when it comes to ongoing medical expenses and lost future earning capacity. Therefore, the attorneys at Easton & Easton strive to help each of our clients recover as fully as state law allows from their injuries.
Claiming Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles
California’s personal injury laws not only allow the plaintiff to seek full repayment of their economic losses but also compensation for non-financial damages. These typically include physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional trauma suffered because of a defendant’s negligence or misconduct. Many people wonder how one can translate intangible losses like these into monetary terms, and your attorney can provide valuable guidance on this aspect of your case.
Attorneys in Los Angeles typically use one of two methods to calculate pain and suffering compensation for their personal injury clients. First, if the plaintiff has suffered permanent injuries that will negatively impact their ability to work, live independently, and their overall quality of life, their attorney is more likely to use the multiplier method. This involves multiplying the plaintiff’s total claimed economic losses by one to five to represent the severity of the plaintiff’s condition following the accident.
Alternatively, if the plaintiff suffered injuries that are expected to fully recover in the near future, their attorney would be more likely to seek a per diem pain and suffering settlement. This awards a predetermined amount of compensation for each day the plaintiff spends recovering from their injuries, terminating on the date they reach maximum medical improvement. Again, your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can advise you as to which method would be most suitable for your case.
Ultimately, your motorcycle accident claim could potentially be worth far more than you initially expected, and you have the highest chances of recovering maximum recompense for your losses with an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney representing you. The attorneys at Easton & Easton have the skill, professional resources, and practical experience you need on your side to navigate your case with peace of mind, and the sooner you reach out to our team, the quicker we can start guiding you to the recovery you rightfully deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer FAQs
Q: Do I Really Need to Hire a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
A: There are no laws that require you to hire legal representation for any type of motor vehicle accident claim, so you have the right to pursue compensation by yourself without an attorney. However, you must acknowledge the risks you would face in doing so. The average person is likely to struggle with the procedural aspects of their case and may make unintentional errors that either diminish their recovery or jeopardize their ability to claim compensation at all. You have the highest chances of success with your recovery efforts with legal representation you can trust to guide you through these proceedings.
Q: What Happens if I Am Partially Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
A: The state upholds the pure comparative fault rule, and this can come into play in any civil claim in which the plaintiff is partially to blame for the damages cited in the case. Under this rule, the plaintiff will have a portion of fault assigned to them by the judge that reflects their level of responsibility for causing the incident in question. This percentage is then deducted from their final case award. So, for example, if the judge deems you to be 10% at fault for your motorcycle accident, you lose 10% of the final case award obtained from the defendant.
Q: What Can I Do if I Lost a Family Member in a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?
A: Unfortunately, the risk of fatal injury is much higher in a motorcycle accident than it is in any other type of motor vehicle accident. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident caused by another driver, you would still have the right to file an auto insurance claim against the liable driver for some initial recovery. However, you would need to file a wrongful death suit in place of the personal injury claim that could have been filed by the victim if they had survived.
Q: How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth in Los Angeles?
A: Your claim may be worth more than you expect at first, and a seasoned Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help unlock the full potential of your claim. Your attorney can help you recover compensation for all the economic losses you suffered, but you also have the right to claim pain and suffering compensation from the defendant. In addition, your attorney can examine the details of your injuries and other losses and provide an estimate of your claim’s total potential value if you win.
Q: How Much Does a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney Cost?
A: It’s natural to worry about the expense of legal fees if you need to hire an attorney after an accident, especially in the face of extensive economic losses that are already causing financial strain for you and your family. However, this is no cause for concern if you hire Easton & Easton as your legal counsel. We take personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you only pay a fee if we win your case, and the fee paid is a portion of the final case award we obtain on your behalf.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have the professional legal experience you need on your side to reach the optimal outcome for your impending motorcycle accident claim. However, you could face many legal challenges when it comes to proving liability, establishing the scope of your claimable damages, and navigating the various recovery efforts you must attempt to secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Our team is ready to assist you, so contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about the legal services we can provide to help you recover.