Potential Damages Claimable in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Orange County, CA
An Orange County motorcycle accident attorney who accepts a motorcycle accident case will review the details of the case with the client and determine the damages available. Most motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries, and a motorcycle accident lawyer can breakdown the available damages in a claim, such as:
- All medical expenses resulting from the accident. If a motorcyclist suffers severe injuries, it’s possible to claim not only immediate medical costs such as ambulance or airlift fees, hospital bills, and prescription costs but also long-term expenses for necessary rehabilitative treatments, multiple surgeries, and any other care needed for the victim to reach maximum medical improvement.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the plaintiff’s motorcycle. A personal injury claim can potentially recover compensation unavailable through insurance.
- Lost wages. If a motorcycle accident victim cannot work during their recovery, their attorney can claim their wages lost during this time as damages in the personal injury claim. Many serious motorcycle accidents result in permanent disabilities that may interfere with victims’ ability to work in the future. If the plaintiff’s earning potential is negatively impacted due to a defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney can potentially secure compensation for the income the plaintiff would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
- Pain and suffering. When a motorcyclist suffers severe and painful injuries, they will likely experience not only physical pain but psychological trauma as well. The California legal system allows plaintiffs in personal injury cases to claim compensation for pain and suffering, and the court will determine an appropriate amount based on the amount of compensatory damages in the claim and the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.
The plaintiff’s attorney will need to provide documentation to prove the full extent of the plaintiff’s claimed damages, and the court may award additional compensation as well depending on the behavior of the defendant. For example, if the defendant was grossly negligent, caused the accident while in the process of committing another crime, or driving with a restricted or suspended license, the court may award punitive damages to discourage that kind of behavior in the future.
Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim After a Motorcycle Accident
State law requires every driver to have auto insurance, and an individual policy must meet basic minimum coverage requirements. At the very least, an individual auto insurance policy in California must include:
- At least $15,000 to cover bodily injuries to a single person.
- At least $30,000 to cover bodily injuries to multiple persons in one accident.
- At least $5,000 to cover property damage, including vehicle repair costs.
These minimum coverage requirements could be enough to fully compensate the victim of a minor accident, but many motorcycle accident cases involve substantial damages that insurance alone cannot cover. Additionally, the state has a very high number of uninsured drivers, so there is no guarantee that insurance will be available at all after your accident.
Although not strictly required by law, drivers in the state are encouraged to purchase uninsured motorist coverage to their policies. If you have this coverage and an uninsured driver causes an accident with you, you can file a claim against your own insurance policy to recover from your accident. If you do not have this insurance, a personal injury claim will be your only option for recovering compensation from an uninsured driver.
Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, and while most insurance company representatives handle claims in good faith, some will attempt to take advantage of desperate claimants, offering lowball settlements or outright denying their claims, sometimes engaging in bad-faith tactics to minimize liability for claimant’s damages.
When you have an experienced Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer representing you, you will be far less likely to encounter any bad-faith handling of your claim. The insurance carrier will be more likely to process your claim efficiently and in good faith, delivering a fair and reasonable settlement offer. After you succeed with your insurance claim and recover as much as you can, your attorney can help you seek compensation for the remaining losses in a personal injury suit.
How to Succeed with a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claim in Orange County, California
Motorcyclists throughout Orange County need to know their rights when it comes to handling accidents that leave them injured and in financial uncertainty. An experienced Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer can handle a motorcycle accident victim’s legal concerns so they can focus on their recovery. The first step in succeeding with such a claim is identifying the party or parties responsible for causing the accident. Potential defendants in motorcycle accident cases could include other drivers, the organization responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred, or other related parties.
The next step is to gather as much evidence and documentation as possible that prove the full extent of the plaintiff’s claimed damages. For example, if the plaintiff had a preexisting medical condition or injury that the accident in question worsened, it is possible to secure compensation for the treatment necessary to repair this exacerbated condition, but not for any outstanding medical bills the plaintiff held prior to the accident. Personal injury law in Orange County, California allows plaintiffs to recover the damages that directly result from defendants’ negligence.
The plaintiff’s attorney must prove the defendant or defendants in a motorcycle accident lawsuit held a duty of care they failed to uphold and directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases
Some vehicle accidents happen solely because of the actions of individual drivers. If another party is entirely at fault for your recent motorcycle crash, they are entirely liable for all resulting damages. However, it is possible for multiple parties to share fault for a vehicle accident, including a plaintiff. The state upholds a pure comparative fault rule that you must understand if you are concerned that you bear partial liability for your recent accident.
Under the pure comparative fault rule, each liable party has a fault percentage assigned based on their level of responsibility for causing the accident. If it is determined that a plaintiff is partially responsible, their fault percentage is deducted from their total compensation as a penalty. There is no fault threshold at which the plaintiff is barred from recovery under the pure comparative fault, so it’s possible for them to bear more fault than a defendant and still recover damages.
Comparative fault can negatively impact the final settlement you receive from an auto insurance carrier as well as your personal injury claim award. The greater the value of your case, the more you lose if you bear even slight fault for the accident. If you have any concerns about bearing partial liability for your recent motorcycle accident, your Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer is your optimal asset for minimizing any fault percentage assigned to you.
A Recent Orange County Motorcycle Accident Injuries Client
For example, as the video above explains, attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP achieved a $1,000,000 settlement in 2009 for a motorcyclist who was found at fault for the accident by the CHP.
In that case, our client was in a head-on collision with another motorcyclist on a canyon road. The collision resulted in the death of the other motorcyclist. Our client suffered numerous injuries, including head trauma that resulted in amnesia surrounding the accident. Based on a set of skid marks going across the double yellow lines, our client was found at fault for the accident by the CHP. Because of this CHP finding, our client’s insurance carrier settled a claim by the heirs of the other motorcyclist who died for approximately $300,000.
About 1 year after the accident, the client came to us for help. Within a short period of time, through a proper accident reconstruction, we were able to determine that the skid marks the CHP relied upon were not even motorcycle skid marks at all, but had in fact been created by a braking semi-truck long before this accident. With this analysis, we were able to debunk the CHP’s accident report and prove instead that the other motorcyclist had actually caused the accident.
With this information, we settled our claim against the other motorcyclist’s insurance for the full policy limit of $30,000. Thereafter, we were able to settle an underinsured motorist claim with our client’s own insurance carrier for the full remainder of the policy- $970,000. This client came to our office with significant medical bills and a CHP report blaming him for the accident, and he left our office just a few short months later with a $1,000,000 settlement and the comfort of knowing that he was not at fault for the accident.
FAQs About Orange County, CA Motorcycle Accident Laws
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident in Orange County, CA?
First thing to do after a motorcycle crash in Orange County is to make sure you and others are safe. Even if you’ve only suffered minor injuries you should call for medical and police help. You may not realize the severity of your injuries at the time due to heightened adrenaline. Police are needed to record accident details to prove fault for courts and insurance companies. Follow up with your medical doctor afterwards to fully access your injuries and keep track of your expenses. Then contact a motorcycle accident attorney to help you recover damages from the accident to navigate the legal process and deal with insurance companies.
What Is The Average Payout For A Motorcycle Accident in Orange County?
The average payout for a motorcycle accident varies greatly depending on your injuries and property damage that occurred. For instance, the most commonly suffered injury is whiplash which average payouts can be a few thousand dollars for a minor case – to around $30,000 for severe cases. Broken bone injuries can reach up to $100,000 depending on recovery time. Recoverable spine injury average around $50,000. Brain injuries can be a few hundred thousand dollars. Paralysis and death settlements often reach millions of dollars.
What You Should Look For A Orange County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP have many years of experience in handling motorcycle accident cases. Our motorcycle accident lawyers know how to use the tools of the law and reputable experts to our clients favor in proving the true cause of a motorcycle accident. Our years of experience also allow us to seamlessly assess and coordinate medical care to make certain the full extent of our clients’ injuries are identified, treated, and provable.
When Should I Call A Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
You should call a motorcycle accident attorney immediately if you’ve suffered severe injuries or if the accident was your fault. A lawyer will help determine fault of the accident and get you the most compensation possible if you’re found not at fault. You want to move quickly on your case while the accident details are fresh in the minds of witness if they’re called to give a statement.
If I Get Into An Accident On My Motorcycle, Should I Get A Lawyer To Help Me?
Lawyers can help you deal with insurance companies and opposing lawyers to make sure your case is handled fairly. Accident and injury details need to be conveyed to courts and insurance companies to receive maximum compensation. Insurance companies seek to payout as little as possible so having a skilled professional attorney on your side can help greatly in your case.
Do I Really Need A Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If there were no damages in the accident and no injuries occurred, you may not need an attorney. When injuries and damages are present, an accident attorney is often necessary to navigate the legal process. You can represent yourself, but this process is often confusing. Opposing attorneys and insurance companies can try to minimize the seriousness of your case to avoid a high payout. A professional attorney is your best bet for a fair outcome.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Case?
You can receive your first settlement offer from the insurance company within the first month or two. You can then decide whether the offer is fair or not and accept or reject it. Even if rejected, this process often moves fast especially when injuries occurred in the accident.
What If My Motorcycle Accident Was Caused By A Hit-And-Run Driver?
You should treat a hit-and-run accident similar to a regular accident. First, if you suffered injuries alert medical help. Then call the police to report the incident. You will need the police report to send the accident details to your insurance company. If you are able, take pictures of any damages that occurred to send to your insurance provider. Write down all the details you have on the other driver. Get witness statements, if any, to document the accident details. Send a detailed statement of what happened to your insurance company and then contact a lawyer to help you with the legal process to hold the other driver responsible and manage your case.
What If My Loved One Was Killed In A Motorcycle Accident?
If a family member was killed in an accident you may seek compensation for medical costs and damages that occurred. Acquire as much detailed information about the accident as possible as evidence in your case. During this emotional time if may be tough to talk to an attorney but it’s necessary to have a skilled and informed professional on your side to hold the other party to account in a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Do I Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident?
California law does not enforce a cap or limit on pain and suffering compensation in most personal injury claims. This means a plaintiff may seek as much as they want in pain and suffering compensation, but the amount sought should reasonably reflect the overall severity of the harm they experienced. Your Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer can help determine a fair figure based on the severity of your injuries and your expected recovery time.
Will the Defendant Go to Jail for Causing My Motorcycle Accident?
After proving fault for a motorcycle accident, the at-fault driver faces liability for all of the victim’s damages they caused. However, if they broke the law in causing the accident, they are also likely to face criminal prosecution. The penalties for breaking the law can increase significantly when a defendant’s actions have caused great bodily harm or death to a victim. Your attorney can explain how any such factors in your case may influence your recovery.
Contact an Orange County, CA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
We understand the tricks, stratagems, and defenses the insurance companies and their attorneys use to defeat or minimize a claim, and at Easton & Easton, LLP, we utilize our experience, skill, and dedication to make certain our clients do not fall victim to the insurance companies’ tricks and stratagems.
Please call us at 800-461-8259 for a free initial consultation. If we do not take your case, there is no charge.
Orange County, California Motorcycle Accident Resources