Motorcycle and car accidents are common occurrences in California. In both types of collisions, there is a risk of severe injury or death. Since most auto accidents result from negligence, you can recover compensation for your injuries by filing a claim or lawsuit against the party liable for the accident.
By nature and design, motorcycles are a more dangerous means of transport than cars. The only protection offered to motorcycle riders is the helmet, which only protects them from head injuries. If a motorcycle collides with a vehicle or hits an uneven part of the road, the motorcyclist could suffer catastrophic injuries.
As you pursue a claim for a motorcycle accident, you must understand the many factors that set your claim apart from normal car accident claims. This enables you to understand how to prove your damages and recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Hiring and retaining a skilled personal injury attorney is one of the wisest decisions you can make as you battle for compensation for your motorcycle accident. The following are some of the ways your motorcycle accident differs from a car accident in a personal injury lawsuit:
Motorcycle Accidents Cause More Serious Injuries
When a motorcycle collides with a vehicle, the motorcycle rider is at a higher risk of suffering severe injuries than the vehicle’s occupants. There are a wide variety of reasons why motorcyclists suffer more severe injuries, including:
- Lack of Protection. The only protective gear for motorcycle riders is the helmet, which some riders do not wear. While you are protected from head and brain injuries, the impact from a motorcycle collision could cause other serious injuries.
- Driving Skills. Operating a motorcycle on the highway requires more skill than driving. Therefore, a lack of the necessary skills for a motorcycle rider will result in more catastrophic accidents.
- High-risk Driving. Most motorcycle riders do it for the thrill and fun. Therefore, having a super-speed sports bike could tempt the rider to go over speed. When a motorcycle moving at high speed collides with a vehicle or another obstacle, the risk of severe injury increases.
When you file a claim for a motorcycle accident, you will seek to recover compensation for various catastrophic injuries, causing your case to be more complicated. Some of the severe injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents include:
- Spinal Cord Injuries. The spinal cord is a critical part of the body. An injury to the spinal cord occurs when one of the discs or bones of the vertebrae is damaged. An injury to the spinal cord may result from blunt trauma to your back or a sharp object penetrating your body. Although a helmet may protect your head, trauma to the back is inevitable. Depending on the extent of the injury, damage to your spinal cord can affect your ability to move your limbs. Additionally, a spinal cord injury could affect bladder and bowel function.
- Organ Damage. Since motorcycle riders do not have the protection offered by vehicle walls, their bodies absorb all the blunt force trauma from the accident. Since physical wounds do not accompany organ damage, the injuries are difficult to detect and thus more catastrophic. Spleen, liver, or other internal organ damage may include spleen rupture. When left untreated, organ damage is likely to result in death.
- Severe Road Rash. Road rash is a common injury in motorcycle accidents. This injury occurs when your skin comes into contact with rough road surfaces. Car accidents are not likely to result in road rash. In minor accidents, road rash can heal without much treatment. Unfortunately, most motorcycle accidents are severe, and road rash could cause other complications like infections or scarring.
- Broken Bones. In addition to internal organ injury, trauma to your body could cause broken bones. While broken bones are common in all types of accidents, they are more severe in motorcycle accidents. Broken bones could range from minor to severe, depending on the seriousness of the accident. Severely broken bones can take a while to recover and sometimes cause disability. Therefore, you will be claiming more benefits in your motorcycle accident claim.
Motorcyclists are at a Higher Risk Of Accidents Caused by Poor Roads
There are many similarities in the causes of motorcycle and car accidents in California. Identifying the cause of an accident helps you determine the liable party and file a claim against them for compensation. Some common causes for both of these accidents include:
- Intoxication. Intoxication of a driver or motorcyclist can be a significant cause of collisions. An intoxicated driver or rider lacks the mental capacity to make sound decisions on the road. Additionally, the injuries from drunk driving are more severe.
- Speed. The collision is likely fatal when a motorcycle or vehicle moves at high speed.
- Distraction. When road users are distracted, their reaction times are slower, and the likelihood of colliding with other vehicles or motorcycles is high.
One factor differentiating motorcycle accident claims from car accident lawsuits is that motorcycles are more prone to poor road conditions. There are times when an accident’s cause is external. When there are uneven roads, poorly constructed roads, or unmarked construction sites, motorcyclists are likely to suffer more. You should not accept liability if you have suffered an injury from a motorcycle accident caused by poor road conditions. You can name the road designer or government entity responsible for road maintenance as the liable party in your claim.
Filing a lawsuit against a government entity is complicated. In addition to the short statute of limitations to file your claim, you must battle some of the most brutal lawyers and insurance companies to recover your compensation. Sometimes, liability is shared between the government entity and other parties. Therefore, you can file a claim against multiple defendants.
Identifying a liable party for your claim is critical in determining compensation. If you have multiple responsible parties, they can share liability for your injuries and compensation. Other parties that could be held liable for your motorcycle accident include:
- Manufacturer of Bike Parts. If a faulty motorcycle part causes your motorcycle accident, you can file a claim against the manufacturer. Your injury claim, in this case, will be based on the fact that the company violated its duty to produce safe products. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are quick to repair their motorcycles. This can wipe away the evidence needed to support the fact that the faulty bike parts caused your accident.
- Other Drivers. Many people will quickly blame the motorcycle rider when an accident happens between a vehicle and a motorcycle. However, if you can prove that a driver breached their duty of care, they can be held liable for your injuries.
Motorcycle Riders Are Prone to Unfair Prejudice by Jurors
Liability is a vital part of recovering compensation after an accident in California. Negligence is the basis for all liability claims. Unlike in car accident lawsuits, liability in a motorcycle accident claim is complicated to establish. Jurors handling your lawsuit may move forward with cultural prejudices around motorcycle accidents. It is challenging to prove that you are not liable for the accident and recover compensation. Some of the common stereotypes about motorcyclists include:
- Recklessness. Most people view using motorcycles as a quest for thrill and fun instead of a means of transport. When jurors think that all motorcycle accidents are reckless, it will be challenging to argue that another person’s negligence caused your accident and injuries.
- Speed. Unknown to many people, the stability of a motorcycle increases with speed. However, the jurors will view speed as a reckless disregard for safety.
Discrimination against motorcyclists goes beyond the jury. The accident witnesses and police reports may have discriminated against the riders when offering their account of events. One way you can handle prejudice from jurors on your motorcycle is by hiring a skilled personal injury attorney and retaining them throughout your lawsuit. In addition to investigating the factors of your case and negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries, your attorney will perform the following functions:
- Eliminate Prejudice. Many people unfamiliar with motorcycles view motorcycle riders as thrill seekers instead of as a way to move around. The bias created among the people involved in determining your compensation makes it challenging for you to argue your case. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help eliminate individuals who bring prejudice to your case from the jury.
- Educate Jurors. Many people who bring prejudice to motorcycle accident lawsuits do not know any better. If someone has never ridden a motorcycle, it may not be easy to understand how they work. Your attorney can try to change the negative beliefs against the motorcyclists by educating the jurors and other individuals involved in your case.
- Increase your Chances of Recovering Maximum Benefits. Motorcycle bias is one of the challenges you might face in your attempt to recover compensation for your injuries. Therefore, when the jurors are enlightened, they can understand your position better, which increases your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Sneaky Insurer Tactics
Every motorcyclist understands the risk associated with this means of transport. Regardless of your level of competence, you cannot control how other road users act, making some motorcycle accidents unavoidable. Whether you file a claim with the insurance company or file a lawsuit in a civil court, the at-fault party’s insurance company compensates you for your injuries.
Insurance companies do not look forward to spending money on compensation. Therefore, they send an adjuster to complicate your case and ensure a low settlement. Dealing with insurance adjusters is a significant hurdle in your battle for compensation after a motorcycle accident.
Insurance companies understand the bias associated with motorcycle riders and may try to use the bias to lower or deny you the compensation you deserve. Many victims of motorcycle accidents opt to go to court and hire legal guidance after realizing that insurance companies are not offering a reasonable settlement. Some of the tactics that the insurance companies could use to dispute your claim include:
Force you Into Accepting Liability for the Accident
Unlike car accidents, the causes of motorcycle accidents are mostly unknown. With the prejudice that motorcyclists are reckless and tend to over-speed, the insurance adjuster may try to make you accept some liability for the accident.
California functions on comparative negligence. Therefore, if you accept liability, the settlement you stand to recover is lower. Even if you played a part in your accident, you should leave it to the insurance company or the liable party to prove it.
Interrogate you Without a Lawyer
The moments following a motorcycle accident are filled with confusion and trauma. Insurance adjusters may attempt to contact you when you are vulnerable. Since most people do not want to deal with legal issues while nursing injuries, you can easily fall victim to these adjusters. You must understand that any information you disclose to these individuals could be used to deny your claim. The best thing you can do is only speak with the adjusters after consulting your lawyer.
Force You to Admit That You Are Not Injured
All motorcyclists must wear a helmet for protection in case of an accident. Failure to wear protective gear could make you partially liable for motorcycle accident injuries. Insurance companies are not present at the accident scene and only move forward with the information you provide. Therefore, if you did not have a helmet or acted in any other way to jeopardize your safety, you should never admit this.
Additionally, it would be best if you never admitted to not being injured. Few motorcycle accidents escape an accident without injuries. Even if you may not feel pain after the accident, seeking medical care is vital. Therefore, if the insurance adjuster asks you to comment about your injuries, you should decline the request and ask them to wait for your medical report.
Motorcyclists Stand to Recover More than Car Occupants in an Accident Lawsuit
When filing a lawsuit in California, motorcycle riders stand to recover more from the case. A successful personal injury claim allows you to recover compensation for your injuries and the losses resulting from these injuries. Some of the factors that increase the amount a motorcyclist stands to recover are:
- High Cost of Medical Bills. The cost of medical bills is a significant part of your compensation. In a motorcycle accident, the motorcyclist suffers severe and lifelong injuries. Most of these injuries require long-term treatment. Additionally, it would be best if you underwent extensive surgery, which may be financially draining. The best thing you can do to ensure maximum compensation for motorcycle accident injuries is to seek immediate medical attention after the accident. During your doctor’s visit, you must ensure that all your injuries are documented. The insurance company and court may need to see evidence of your injuries and treatment before you recover compensation for the medical expenses.
- Long-term Injuries. Most injuries that result from a motorcycle accident take some time to recover. As you nurse your injuries, you may be unable to return to work or earn an income. Failure to return to work after an accident may cause you to lose your income from monthly salary, bonuses, and income from self-employment. Understanding that you must prove your loss before recovering compensation is essential.
- Emotional Suffering. Severe injuries and trauma are accompanied by serious emotional pain and suffering. Having to remain in the hospital for weeks or months could take an emotional toll on you. Although pain and suffering cannot be quantified, victims of motorcycle accidents can recover from pain and suffering.
- Permanent Injury and Death. Motorcycle accidents result in some of the most severe injuries seen on the roads in California. If you survive the accident, you may sustain permanent injuries that cause disability. Most motorcycle accident claims aim to recover compensation for permanent damage or death. A wrongful death claim differs from an accident injury claim because the primary victim cannot testify. Additionally, you can recover more from such a claim.
Find a Skilled Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Car collisions and motorcycle accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Involvement in any of these accidents is a devastating experience. The injuries resulting from an auto accident are severe and life-changing.
Fortunately, victims of a car or motorcycle accident are eligible to file a claim or civil lawsuit against the at-fault party in their accident. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you must understand that claiming compensation in this type of case can differ from traditional car accident lawsuits.
Recovering compensation from a car accident or motorcycle accident is an uphill task. It would be best if you dealt with dubious insurance adjusters and the prejudice that motorcycle accidents are reckless and disregard safety. Hiring an attorney willing to dig deep into the factors of your case and secure a settlement for you is critical.
At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we understand the dynamics of motorcycle accidents and the unique prejudices held by jurors against motorcycle riders. We offer competent legal guidance and representation to all our clients battling personal injury lawsuits in Los Angeles, CA. Contact us today at 310-935-0089 for much-needed legal counsel.