Motorcycles are fun to ride, but they are also inherently more dangerous than passenger vehicles due to the potential for serious injuries when accidents happen. Due to the many risks of riding a motorcycle, many people assume that the risk of having an accident on a motorcycle must be very high. However, the actual data is a bit more complex, and all motorcyclists should understand the risks they face every time they take their bikes on California roads.
Available data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the California Department of Transportation report that there are roughly 800,000 registered motorcycles in California, and the number of reported motorcycle accidents each year is about 2% of the total registered motorcycles in the state. This can be interpreted as a 2% chance of having a motorcycle accident, but things are more complicated than this, and it’s vital to understand the unique risks faced when riding a motorcycle.
Most Frequent Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can happen for most of the reasons that passenger vehicle accidents happen. However, motorcycles are more vulnerable than cars in various situations, and a motorcycle accident is likely to lead to far worse damages than an accident involving an enclosed passenger car. Some frequently reported causes of serious motorcycle accidents in California include:
- Distracted driving. Even momentary distraction can lead to a catastrophic accident. Distracted driving is far and away the most reported cause of motor vehicle crashes in the United States each year.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, which is illegal and incredibly dangerous for the impaired driver and others around them.
- Speeding. Accidents can easily happen if drivers do not have time or space to slow their vehicles to stop quickly enough to avoid a crash.
- Lane-splitting, a term used for traveling between slower-moving lanes of traffic. While no law in California explicitly forbids this practice, it is very dangerous for motorcyclists and can easily result in a serious accident.
Whenever a motorcycle accident happens due to a driver’s negligence, the victim has the right to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, and they can pursue further legal action if insurance cannot fully compensate their losses.
Potential Consequences of a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists face many inherent safety risks on their bikes, and when accidents happen, the effects can easily exceed those of a standard passenger vehicle accident. Motorcycles have no safety features like those found in enclosed passenger vehicles, such as crash-absorbing vehicle frames, airbags, and seatbelts. As a result, motorcyclists often sustain severe injuries from the primary impact of contact with another vehicle and the secondary impact of hitting the ground.
It’s easy for any motorcycle accident to cause life-changing injuries for the rider. Broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord damage, and internal organ injuries are commonly reported motorcycle accident injuries in California. These injuries, in turn, generate expensive medical bills. The victim may not only require extensive medical treatment to recover and manage their symptoms, but they may also be unable to work for extended periods while recovering from their injuries.
A civil claim can potentially enable the motorcycle accident victim to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. California state law also allows the plaintiff of a personal injury case to seek compensation for their pain and suffering in proportion to the severity of their injuries.
It is common for serious motorcycle accidents to cause permanent disabilities for victims. They may be unable to work or even live independently and manage everyday tasks on their own because of their injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, you must consult an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly as possible to have the best chance of recovering maximum recompense for your losses.
Q: What Is the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injury?
A: Traumatic brain injuries are the most common injury reported from motorcycle accidents in California. These injuries are difficult to treat and have a high chance of causing permanent complications to the victim. Broken bones, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries are some other commonly reported injuries from motorcycle accidents.
Q: When Should I Hire an Attorney After a Motorcycle Accident?
A: If you think you have grounds for legal action in response to a motorcycle accident you had recently, it’s vital to consult an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible after you address your immediate medical concerns. The right attorney will help you determine your best options for legal recourse. In addition, the sooner you secure legal counsel, the more likely you will succeed with any legal actions you must take after your injury.
Q: Can a Motorcyclist Be at Fault for an Accident?
A: Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of passenger vehicles. This means that if a motorcyclist is negligent in any way that causes an accident, they can face the same type of liability as a motor vehicle driver. A motorcyclist may also bear some liability for an accident in which they were injured, and they would obtain less compensation from a civil claim to address their shared liability.
Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
A: If you or someone you love is struggling in the aftermath of a damaging motorcycle accident someone else caused, an experienced lawyer can offer you the best chance to secure recompense for your losses. Even after accounting for the cost of hiring your legal representation, you are most likely to maximize your recovery from a personal injury with the help of an experienced attorney.
Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys has extensive professional experience handling complex personal injury claims on behalf of clients in Orange County, CA, and surrounding areas. We know the challenges and opportunities facing victims of motorcycle accidents in Southern California. To explore your legal options with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team.