A motorcycle accident can involve the rider hitting a pedestrian or a collision between the motorcycle and a vehicle. A resulting accident could be fatal due to the lack of a shield on the motorcyclist or pedestrian. Although motorcycle accidents are not common, they could result in severe bodily injury. If you or your loved one gets injured in a reckless driving motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation. In Los Angeles, you can recover the compensation when you file a personal injury claim against the party liable for your injuries. At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we will guide you and represent you in the claim to ensure maximum benefits.
Overview of Motorcycle Accident
Over the past couple of years, the number of motorcycle accident injuries and death has been on the rise. Motorcycles are less visible to vehicles, and thus the incidences of a collision are high. Also, motorcycles are less stable and lack the protection of an enclosure. This makes motorcycle riders prone to serious bodily injuries when involved in an accident. A reckless driving motorcycle accident occurs when a reckless driver gets into a collision with the motorcycle or causes a crash in which the motorcycle is involved. If you are injured in such an accident, you can file for compensation in a civil lawsuit.
There are several ways in which a motorcycle accident can occur, including:
- A vehicle could pull out in front of a speeding motorcycle, causing it to crash from the front.
- When a reckless driver merges onto the motorcycle lane, they could hit the rider from behind, causing a serious accident.
- When two vehicles get into an accident, they can rollover the road and hit a motorcycle.
All motorcycle riders are at risk of injury and death from a collision. However, the following factors may increase the risk of a motorcycle crash:
- Intoxication - Driving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the main causes of recklessness on the road. When a driver is drunk, it is likely that their judgment is impaired and can crash into a motorcycle. Also, if the motorcycle rider, their ability to operate safely is impaired and could get into a crash. If your accident and injuries result from a driver’s alcohol use, you can sue them for compensation.
- Over speeding - When a vehicle is moving at a very high speed, it may be difficult for the driver to stop in case of an emergency. Since motorcycles are less visible on the road, a speeding vehicle may crash into it, causing a serious accident.
- Distracted driving - One of the ways drivers who exhibit recklessness on the road is by distracted driving. There are several ways through which a driver’s attention can stray from the vehicle. When a driver uses a cellphone or reaches out to get something, their physical and mental attention gets off the road. This could cause them to hit an obstacle or a motorcycle rider.
- Failure to yield the right way - There are set rules that each road user is required to follow to ensure safety. When a vehicle fails to give way to a motorcycle rider, they can get into a collision. Also, drivers who swerve into motorcycle lanes can end up causing a motorcycle accident.
Liability in a Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident
If you or your loved one gets injured in a motorcycle accident, you will want to get compensation for the injuries. By filing a lawsuit against liable parties, you can recover the damages. In California, most accidents are based on a negligence theory. Therefore, you will be required to show how the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in injuries. Negligence is behavior that disregards the safety of other people. The following are the elements of negligence you need to prove in your claim:
The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care
The duty of care is a responsibility that each road user has to ensure the safety of others. A driver is required to exercise their duty of care towards you by driving at a reasonable speed. Also, they need to have their focus on the road and follow all traffic rules. When driving, a driver should keep a proper distance with the motorcycle rides and avoid swerving into other lanes. When filing a compensation lawsuit, you need to prove that the defendants owed you a duty of care.
Breach of Duty
When a person’s actions put you in danger of getting injured, it is considered a breach of duty. When determining whether an individual exerted reasonable care, their conduct is compared to that of a reasonable person. Some of the ways through which a reckless driver breaches their duty of care towards you are by:
- Driving under drug or alcohol influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to follow traffic rules
- Over speeding
All the above behaviors could cause the driver to get into a collision with a motorcycle, causing an accident and serious injuries. Breach of duty could be difficult to prove, and guidance from an attorney could be of great benefit for your claim.
Before you get compensation for reckless driving motorcycle accident injuries, it should be clear that the actions of the defendant caused your injuries. The negligence does not have to be the only cause of the accident. However, your injuries should be a direct contributing factor to the defendant’s actions.
You Suffered Injuries
When filing a compensation lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, you must show that the defendant’s conduct caused injuries. Some of the ways through which you could prove that you suffered injuries are by presenting the records of your treatment. Also, you can prove the monetary loss you suffered as a result of the injuries.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Even though motorcycle accidents are not as common as other motor vehicle accidents, they are often a result of reckless driving. Injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are often very severe. This is the case especially for motorcycle riders who lack a protective layer. Some common injuries you may suffer from such an accident include:
When you get involved in a motorcycle accident, you likely get thrown to the ground. Road rash is a skin injury caused by abrasion with rough road surfaces. Sometimes the rash is mild, but in serious accidents, the rash may require emergency medical treatment. The skin is the largest organ of your body, and severe road rash treatment could take a long time. If the motorcycle accident resulted from the negligence of another person, you are entitled to compensation.
Motorcycles are not stable, and neither do they have seatbelts. Therefore, during an accident, they tend to fall over and throw you off. Our bodies are built to withstand pressure. However, when you get thrown around, you could suffer fractures or broken bones. A substantial impact on your body could cause even the strongest bones in your body to break. The severity of the damage on your body will depend on the force exerted and the speed of vehicles.
Broken bones take a long time to heal, and you may have substantial time in the hospital. Also, treatment for these injuries could be excruciating. You can file a claim against the liable party if you or your loved one suffers broken bones from a negligent accident.
Internal bleeding and damage to the internal organs could occur from blunt trauma or sharp objects. Not all injuries are visible, and a physical wound is not necessary for internal organ damage to occur. A heavy impact may be exerted on the motorcycle rider when an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and the motorcycle. Internal injuries are often fatal since it is not easy to detect them. Therefore, after an accident, getting medical care is of great importance to detect and treat the injuries before they escalate.
Brain injury is a common occurrence in accidents that cause trauma to the head. In motorcycle accidents where the rider does not have a helmet, they could hit their head from all the pressure surrounding the accident. When a sharp object penetrates your skull, you may end up with an injury to the brain. When the injury is mild, temporary dysfunction of the brain cells could occur.
On the other hand, severe brain injuries cause long-lasting effects or even death. When you put your head during a motorcycle accident, you should look out for the following signs of a possible brain injury:
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
An injury to your brain will have a significant impact on your life. You may not be able to get back to your job or do other daily activities. Therefore, you can get compensated for the losses by filing a claim.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injury to the spinal cord is one of the most devastating injuries you can suffer after a motorcycle accident. The spinal cord is a vital organ that regulates different functions in your body. Injury to this part occurs when you suffer a traumatic blow to the spine. Injury to the spine could be in the form of broken vertebrae or tearing of the tissues.
The severity of the injuries to your spine ranges from mild to complete severing of the spinal cord. For mild injury, motion is affected below the point of injury. Complete damage occurs when you are unable to control motion and sensation. Also, sexual and bladder function could get impaired.
When you get paralyzed, you may have to depend on other people for simple grooming activities. Also, there is no cure for spinal cord injury, and the results may last a lifetime. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the parties liable for the accident, you can recover compensation for the injuries.
Crucial Evidence in Motorcycle Accident Claims
When filing a personal injury case after a reckless driving motorcycle accident, you can prove your entitlement to compensation by presenting relevant evidence. The evidence you present will help support your version of events. Most of the evidence should be collected immediately after the accident and presented during the claim hearing. The following is some pieces of evidence your attorney can present in your case:
Physical evidence is anything tangible you can pick or see. In a motorcycle accident personal injury claim, physical evidence may be the physical injuries you suffered, damage to your motor vehicle. However, it is crucial to understand that physical evidence doesn’t last long and can be wiped out or a lot. Therefore, you need to collect the evidence as soon as possible. Although the physical evidence will not tell the whole story, it is the most convincing evidence available.
Commonly, the evidence present in an accident compensation claim is the word from the parties involved. This could create an unnecessary battle since each person says what suits them best. When you get involved in a reckless driving motorcycle accident, it is crucial to identify third parties who may have witnessed the occurrence. You can ask for their contacts and request them to be witnesses in your case. If the insurance providers of the other party seek to question you, you shouldn’t say anything without the presence of a personal injury attorney.
The expert witnesses are involved in your situation after you file a lawsuit against the parties liable for the motorcycle accident. Medical experts are commonly used to testify on your injuries and the extent to which they affect your life. Also, accident reconstruction experts can be used to give an account of how the accident occurred. Financial experts can give an explanation of the impact of injuries on your financial life and earnings. Even though the evidence is mostly informative, it could make an impact on your case.
Photographic evidence can aid in the reconstruction of the accident. It can also give a better understanding of the occurrences while helping establish fault. After the accident, it would be wise to take photographs or video of the accident. You could also indicate the date and time when photos were taken. If you missed something, you could return to the scene and take more photos to be used as evidence for your claim.
One of the things you need to do after an accident is to call the police. The officers will assess the scene to get an account of the occurrences. Also, they will make a report that could be used as evidence in your lawsuit. You can introduce the police report as evidence when trying to prove that another person caused your injuries. Your attorney could help you request for the report.
Medical records are one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in a compensation lawsuit. When you are involved in a reckless driving motorcycle accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. When getting treatment, ensure that each injury you suffer is recorded for the purpose of compensation. Also, the record of your mental condition that resulted from the accident can be used as evidence for compensation.
When you file a compensation lawsuit, you will receive benefits for the injuries you suffered. The amount and type of compensation you get will significantly depend on the extent of your injuries. In a personal injury claim, you can sue for compensatory benefits that include:
When you are involved in a reckless driving motorcycle accident, the person who caused the accident is liable for your medical bills. Medical bills start to accumulate as soon as emergency responders get at the accident scene. Even when you do not feel much pain or noticeable injuries, you should seek medical attention. This will aid in the detection and treatment of internal injuries.
After the accident, you may be required to cover your medical bills. If you are successful in the lawsuit, you will receive compensation for the amount you used to cover the bills. You can cover your bills using medical coverage or visit a practitioner who operates on a lien basis. Doctors who operate on a lien basis are paid with the proceeds of your claim, and if the bills exceed, you cover them from your pocket.
It is important to understand that before compensation for medical bills, you are expected to produce evidence that indicates your injuries and the treatment. This type of evidence could be shown through your medical records. Also, any past injuries may want to be known. When filing for a claim to recover medical bills, you should get guidance from a competent personal injury attorney.
Most motorcycle accident injuries are serious and may take a while to recover. While nursing the injuries, it may be difficult to go back to work. Lost wages are the amount of income you lose as a result of the accident injuries; you are entitled to compensation for the loss. California law requires you to prove the amount you lost in wages before you get compensation. Some of the ways through which you can prove lost wages in California include:
- You can present a lost wage letter from your employer as evidence. The letter you obtain will contain the details of your working contract, including the amount you earn and the possibility of a future salary increase.
- Presenting past pay stubs and tax returns could be a way of showing what you would be earning you were nursing the motorcycle accident injuries. You may request copies of your past tax returns from the internal revenue service and use it in the claim.
- If you are self-employed, billing statements for months before the accident can be used to show lost income. Also, tax return statements can help show that you deserve compensation for lost wages.
Lost Earning Capacity
When injuries from an accident are substantial, they could affect your ability to work and earn a living. You do not require a permanent injury to recover compensation for lost future earnings. If your injuries have not been resolved before the lawsuit hearing, you are entitled to these benefits. There is no specific way of calculating future earnings. However, the court may consider the following factors when awarding compensation:
- Your age
- How long the incapacity from the injuries is likely to last
- Your life expectancy before the injuries
- The number of working years you have left before retirement.
- The terms of your employment contract.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is the love of companionship intimacy and moral support following a wrongful injury. If you have lost consortium after a reckless driving motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation. There is no fixed standard to calculate the loss of consortium. However, more severe and long-lasting injuries tend to get more compensation. Individuals who seek compensation for lost consortium should prove:
- A lawful and valid marriage
- Wrongful injury to your loved one
- The loss you suffered as a result of the injuries on your loved one
Pain and Suffering
Injuries from a motorcycle accident are likely to cause immense physical and emotional pain for you and your loved ones. There is no specific method of calculating pain and suffering. The jury decides a reasonable amount based on the evidence you present.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
The number of motorcycle accidents and deaths has continued to grow in the past couple of years. Most of these accidents are as a result of reckless and distracted driving. Under California personal injury law, an individual who gets injured in a motorcycle accident can file a compensation lawsuit against the people who caused the accident. If you lost your loved one to the accident, you can get the benefits from the wrongful death. The process of obtaining compensation benefits can be quite complicated, and it would be wise to navigate the process with guidance from an injury attorney. Contact The LA Personal Injury Law Firm if you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, CA. Call us today at 310-935-0089 to discuss the details of your claim.