Seasoned California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
While automobile accidents occur on the same highways and roads as motorcycle accidents, the results can often be drastically different because motorcyclists lack almost all of the protective coverings and safety features that come standard with an automobile.
Three Things You Should Know After A Motorcycle Accident Has Occurred
Gather the contact and insurance information of any parties or witnesses to the accident.
Do not talk to the insurance company or give a written or recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to the Easton & Easton, LLP.
Call Easton & Easton, LLP as soon as possible so we can advise you what to do next.
$3,060,000 Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accident in Carpool Lane
In 2016, Easton & Easton acquired $3,060,000 for a client who had suffered a traumatic motorcycle accident when a shuttle bus illegally changed lanes across the double yellow lines into the carpool lane of the 405 freeway. Our client was lane splitting on the edge of the carpool lane at the time, which is why the shuttle bus did not see him. While the bus company initially disputed liability due to our client’s lane splitting, we were ultimately able to show that the bus driver’s illegal action was the true cause of the collision and they accepted full liability.
As a result of this accident, our client slammed into the side of the bus and then crashed onto the roadway, suffering a fractured pelvis, torn ACL, internal degloving wounds, and various shearing wounds. He underwent three surgeries and more than a year of physical therapy, and incurred $300,000 in medical bills. After demonstrating the significant effect that this accident had on our client’s life, the shuttle bus company sought an early mediation and paid $3,060,000 without our client having to undergo a deposition or trial.
Motorcyclists Face Increased Risk on the Road
Motorcycles can be incredibly fun to drive, and motorcycling is as much of a hobby as it is a conveyance for many Californians. However, motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than motor vehicles for one simple reason: they offer virtually no protection to their operators in the event of a crash. While a passenger vehicle is enclosed and has various safety features such as seatbelts, front and side airbags, and crumple zones built into the vehicle’s frame designed to absorb the force of impact from various directions, a motorcycle has no such safety features.
Motorcyclists not only face a serious risk of injury or death when their bikes collide with larger vehicles but also from falling off of their bikes at considerable speeds. Some of the injuries possible in a motorcycle accident include:
- Broken bones. A motorcyclist may suffer crushing fracture injuries from the force of impact with a larger vehicle or bone fractures from the force of hitting the ground after being thrown off their bike.
- Traumatic head injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can reduce the chance of a fatal head injury by nearly 40%. Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmets can protect the head, face, and brain from fatal injuries in a serious accident.
- Spinal cord injuries. Any damage to the spinal cord is permanent. A motorcyclist could suffer a spinal injury upon impact with another vehicle or from the force of impact of hitting the ground.
- “Road rash.” If a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike during a crash at considerable speed, they may slide along the asphalt or concrete until their momentum fades and they come to a stop. During this slide, they may suffer friction burns on their skin. The speed with which they slide can tear open non-protective clothing, resulting in serious abrasions.
Ultimately, motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable drivers on the road in Orange County. It’s vital for every motorcyclist to take reasonable precautions, wear appropriate safety equipment, and operate their vehicles as safely as possible. Unfortunately, despite all the precautions a motorcyclist may take, there is no way to predict what other drivers on the road might do at any given time.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The chief factor in most motorcycle accidents is visibility. Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see than typical passenger cars, and some drivers may not notice them before it’s too late to avoid a crash. Motorcycles have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as other drivers. Traditional vehicles should always be on the lookout for motorcycles who are sharing the road.
One of the most dangerous situations for a motorcyclist is making a left turn. When a motorcyclist intends to complete a left turn with a yellow “yield” turning arrow signal, traffic may still be coming from the opposite direction. The way may look clear at first, but the turning motorcyclist will be harder for other drivers to spot than larger passenger cars. Left-hand turns are also dangerous situations for motorcyclists when they attempt to overtake a car in the adjacent lane.
Another common cause of motorcycle accidents in Costa Mesa, California is head-on collisions. More than half of all motorcycle accidents occur from cars hitting motorcycles head-on, and this is incredibly dangerous for the motorcyclist in this situation.
Some of the other common causes of motorcycle accidents are the same as the common causes of typical motor vehicle accidents, such as distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. The main difference is that motorcyclists caught in accidents such as these face a significantly higher risk of serious injury due to the minimal protection their vehicles provide.
Handling Serious Injuries After A Motorcycle Crash
Motorcyclists are openly exposed to the hard concrete road and the other fast moving vehicles traveling on that road. Even when motorcyclists in an accident are wearing proper protective pads and a helmet, they still often suffer extremely severe injuries resulting in serious spinal cord trauma, painful burn injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or even the wrongful death of the motorcyclist.
In addition, because of the motorcyclist’s increased exposure to the road, defects in the road that would not affect an automobile can have devastating consequences for a motorcycle rider. In such cases, the city or government entity responsible for maintaining the roads may be held liable for causing the accident. However, proving liability in such cases can be difficult and will usually require the skill of experienced experts, like those that work with Easton & Easton, LLP.
Despite the increased potential for injury and the additional hazards for motorcycle riding, these cases can also be very difficult to win because of the stigmas that have been attached to motorcyclists and motorcycle riding. Because we have all seen some motorcyclists zoom past us on the freeway, weaving in and out of traffic, all motorcyclists have been stigmatized and this stigma can even reach their meritorious lawsuits. Even some Highway Patrol officers will approach accidents involving motorcyclists with preconceived suspicions that the motorcyclist may be at fault. For this reason, it is imperative that you have attorneys who are experienced in these types of cases and who are able to overcome these stigmas to prove the merits of your claim.