In many parts of the country, the number of motorcycle accidents declines sharply beginning in mid-fall, because it is too cold to ride. But here in the Riverside area, bikers can enjoy riding almost twelve months a year. Due to the serious nature of their injuries, most motorcycle crash victims are entitled to compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Additional punitive damages may be available as well. And a California motorcycle accident attorney at Russell & Lazarus APC will know how to get you the most money possible.
What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
According to the landmark Hurt Report, about a third of motorcycle crashes occur when a tortfeasor (negligent driver) makes a left turn against traffic and crosses directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
Such crashes may be even more common today. The Hurt Report, while still authoritative, is several years old. Back then, most people drove passenger cars or other such vehicles. Today, many drivers operate large SUVs or pickup trucks that are difficult to see around.
Indeed, most riders who have gone down probably heard the tortfeasor make a weak excuse like “I never even saw you” or “You just came out of nowhere.” Such statements imply that the victim was riding recklessly. Of course, that may be true in a few cases. But much more often, the tortfeasor didn’t see the victim because the tortfeasor was not on the lookout for motorcycles.
Alcohol is a common cause as well, as it is a factor in about another third of motorcycle-vehicle crashes. To establish liability in these cases, California motorcycle accident attorneys often use the negligence per se shortcut. If the tortfeasor was driving under the influence, the tortfeasor is responsible for damages as a matter of law, regardless of any other negligence.
What Should I Do After a Crash?
Before you talk to the insurance company, talk to a California motorcycle accident attorney. Insurance company telephone operators often trick unsuspecting victims into making damaging statements about their cases that can be used against them later.
Similarly, avoid interacting with the tortfeasor except on very basic items, such as insurance information. Do not argue over who was at fault and do not apologize if you believe you were at fault.
Finally, do your best to collect evidence, such as witness contact information. If you are too hurt to do such an investigation yourself, do not panic. A California motorcycle accident attorney can partner with a private investigator.
Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Because they can operate at high speeds and the riders have almost no protection, motorcycle riders are twenty-seven times more likely to die in vehicle-bike collisions than vehicle occupants. Some of the serious injuries these victims include:
- Road Burns: Although they are generally not life-threatening, these large abrasions are almost impossible to treat with medicine or therapy. And while they slowly heal, they significantly impair mobility.
- Head Injuries: Motorcycle helmets do not protect against neck injuries. They also do not protect against the sudden jarring motion that victims experience. Essentially, this movement is like shaking an egg, because the yoke (brain) crashes against the shell (skull).
- Internal Injuries: Riders are often thrown off their bikes in these crashes. When that occurs, internal organs rub against each other and begin leaking. Many times, this bleeding may go on for quite some time before doctors identify and stop it.
- Exsanguination: Because of the serious injuries, victims usually lose massive amounts of blood. In fact, by the time emergency responders arrive on the scene, the victim may already be in the early stages of hypovolemic shock.
All these injuries usually add up to a hospital bill that exceeds $100,000. This figure does not include follow up medical care, physical rehabilitation, and other such expenses.
The aforementioned causes — failure to yield the right of way and driving under the influence of alcohol — are classic instances of negligence. In many of these cases, because of the negligence per se rule, victims need only prove cause to establish liability.
But these cases are not always easy to prove in court, mostly because of the motorcycle prejudice. Although this attitude is not as pervasive as it once was, many jurors still believe that motorcycle riders are reckless and dangerous. The best way to deal with this prejudice, and other such biases, is not to convince the jurors that they are incorrect. Such an approach could anger the jurors. Instead, a California motorcycle accident attorney can convince the jurors that the victim in that case does not fit the “motorcycle gang” profile.
Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle crashes cause serious injuries and usually involve complex liability issues. For a free consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney, contact Russell & Lazarus APC. After-hours visits are available.