Motorcycles may be fun to ride, but they are inherently dangerous to even the most experienced motorcyclists. Each year in California, many riders and motorcycle passengers have accidents that result in life-changing injuries and tragically, fatalities. While it is difficult to determine what was the deadliest motorcycle accident in Riverside, it’s important to acknowledge that these incidents occur relatively frequently. For example, a recent single-vehicle motorcycle crash in Riverside caused the death of a 51-year old rider, and responding officers attributed the fatal accident to excessive speed.
This recent crash is just one example of the risks facing motorcyclists throughout California. While single-vehicle motorcycle accidents are possible in many circumstances, it is also very likely for drivers of larger passenger cars to cause accidents with motorcycles in numerous ways. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you should know how to determine liability for the accident and what you can do to recover.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Riverside?
Some of the most commonly cited causes of motorcycle accidents in the Riverside, CA area include:
- Poor visibility. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and thus harder for other drivers to see. A driver could hit a motorcycle next to them if the bike lingers in their blind spot, and motorcycle accidents are also common in congested intersections where it is harder to see smaller bikes around nearby larger vehicles.
- Speeding. Motorcycles are fast and maneuverable, and this, unfortunately, encourages some riders to engage in risky behaviors on their bikes. Driving at excessive speeds is dangerous for all drivers, but especially motorcyclists.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal to operate any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and even some drugs available with a doctor’s prescription. Anyone who causes a motorcycle accident because of DUI will not only face civil liability if they harm anyone else, but also criminal prosecution for violating California DUI laws.
- Lane splitting. The term “lane splitting” refers to motorcycles traveling side-by-side in the same lane or weaving between lanes of slower-moving vehicles. While California does not have a law expressly prohibiting this practice and it is technically protected legally, it is still very dangerous and should only be used with the utmost caution.
These are only a few examples of the ways motorcycle accidents occur in Riverside, CA. If you recently experienced a motorcycle accident and believe another driver is to blame, it’s essential to know your rights and how to go about securing compensation for your damages.
Commonly Cited Damages in Riverside Motorcycle Accident Cases
A motorcycle accident can easily lead to substantial damages. Motorcycles offer virtually no physical protection to riders when accidents occur, and even the best safety gear can only minimize injuries, not prevent them entirely. If you intend to file a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident, some of the damages you could potentially recover include:
- Medical expenses, both immediately following your accident and those you are anticipated to incur in the future for ongoing treatments you may require. Motorcycle accident victims often sustain several injuries, many of which are life-threatening without immediate emergency care and are capable of causing permanent disabilities.
- Lost income and lost earning potential. Your motorcycle accident could force you to stay home from work while you recover. You have the right to claim the wages lost during this time as well as compensation for your lost future earning potential if you are left unable to work in the future, due to the severity of your injuries.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing a motorcycle damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover compensation for physical pain and emotional distress. The amount received generally depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the likelihood of long-term or permanent medical complications.
In addition to these damages, plaintiffs in motorcycle accident claims can also face additional penalties in the form of punitive damages depending on how their accidents occurred. For example, if a defendant caused a motorcycle accident due to illegal activity such as DUI or fleeing police, the defendant would likely face restitution to the victim in their criminal case, or the judge overseeing the personal injury claim could award punitive damages to punish the defendant’s behavior.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Riverside
Motorcycle accidents have a much higher chance of causing severe injuries and fatalities than accidents involving other motor vehicles. If you or a loved one experiences a motorcycle accident, it is crucial to know the vital first steps you need to take to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your losses.
Your personal health and safety should always be your priority after a motorcycle accident. If you suffered severe injuries, you may be unable to move after a crash, and you will need to wait for paramedics to assist you. If you are able to move without aggravating your injuries, you should report the accident to 911 immediately and wait for emergency responders to arrive. The other driver should stop and remain at the scene as well. You can use the time while you wait for police and paramedics to take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the damage to your motorcycle. These photos may be useful later if you need to prove how the accident happened to secure an insurance settlement or file a personal injury claim.
Motorcycle accidents tend to cause severe injuries to riders, so it’s likely for responding paramedics to transport the injured rider to the nearest hospital after a crash. The police will want to take statements from the drivers involved in the accident, and it’s vital that you answer their questions honestly without admitting fault. Even if you think you may have contributed to the accident, do not say anything that the police might interpret as an admission of guilt. Once you have received medical care and a copy of the police report for the accident, you should reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Riverside to discuss your options for recovering your losses.
Chris and Frank know the devastating losses that can result from a Riverside motorcycle accident. Our firm has successfully represented many motorcycle accident claims in the past and can apply this experience to your claim. Contact us today if you are ready to discuss your legal options for recovery after a Riverside motorcycle accident.