Motorcycle accidents are among the most dangerous traffic accidents. Unlike regular vehicles, motorcycles lack a protective body that shields the rider from direct impact during a crash. This means if you are a motorcyclist, you could sustain more serious injuries than a motorist.
Unsafe left turn motorcycle accidents are common on California roads. Another road-user can make a dangerous turn crashing into the motorcycle rider. The injuries from an accident involving motorcyclists are substantial, and in some cases, fatal.
Fortunately, if you sustain injuries from a motorcycle accident, you can receive compensation from the responsible party. At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we understand an accident's frustrations and the financial implications following an accident. This makes us passionately pursue damages on behalf of our clients for their satisfaction.
Understanding Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
When a vehicle or a motorcyclist wants to make a left turn, they must indicate their intention beforehand and observe that the road is clear. Whether a vehicle driver or a motorist, each road user owes the others a duty of care. One of these duties is to ensure that the road is safe to turn or communicate your intention to other road users.
When a motorist intends to make a left turn, they should indicate to other road users and confirm that it is clear. Unfortunately, the small size of a motorcycle can cause it not to be noticed, and the vehicle turns while the bike is near. This would result in the car crashing onto the motorcycle resulting in significant injuries and property damage.
Left-turn accidents often occur at intersections or when one wants to change lanes. Most of these accidents are blamed on the negligence of the driver or their recklessness. Equally, in some cases, riders are entirely to blame or share the blame for the accident. Accidents because of unsafe left turns often occur when the rider is:
- Moving through the intersection
- Passing or overtaking a vehicle
- Using the left lane and a car without signaling cuts off the rider without signaling
In the above cases, a car driver fails to yield the right of way according to California’s traffic laws. Traffic laws require drivers to give right of way when they need to turn left, irrespective of the vehicle ahead of them. If not done, regardless of the reason, they break the law and be held accountable for the crash. A consequence of negligent behavior may involve paying fines, jail sentences, or revoking their driver's license.
When motorists are asked why they cut riders off, their immediate answer is that they never saw them. Most accidents involving motorcyclists and motorists are blamed on the blind spot. However, this does not absorb vehicle drivers from their legal responsibility or duty of care.
However, the driver can sometimes see the motorcyclist but fails to accurately determine the car's distance and motorcycle. The size of the bike compared with a vehicle is often blamed for this perception. When a driver sees your motorcycle approaching or ahead, the mind often tricks them into thinking it is at a significant distance because of its size. This results in a driver miscalculating the distance and turning anyway, causing the crash.
Because of this, drivers often following the accident blame the motorcyclist for the accident. A driver would be found saying that the rider was moving at very high speed such that the motorist could not react as fast. Because the driver wrongly calculated the distance between themselves and the motorcyclist, they conclude the motorcycle's high speed was the reason for the accident.
In a crash involving a motorcyclist, they often suffer the most significant injuries than vehicle drivers or passengers. Even with this, the driver will blame the rider for the accident by claiming over speeding. This makes it challenging for a rider to seek damages or settlement because of being apportioned blame. However, with an experienced attorney, you can determine fault and receive your rightful damages from the at-fault motorist.
Injuries when Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident Occurs
As earlier stated, motorcycles have no protective cover that protects the rider from damages when an accident occurs. When a motorcyclist crashes into a vehicle on the road, a stationary object, or crashes by themselves, the crash's impact is felt directly to their body. If you are riding a motorcycle and a vehicle makes an unsafe left turn crashing into you, the car's occupants may or may not suffer any injuries. Unfortunately for you, the forceful impact may cause the bike and yourself to crash on the road, sustaining significant injuries.
Accidents from an unsafe left turn of vehicles leave motorcyclists with multiple types of injuries. Some of these injuries are:
Broken and Fractured Bones
Motorcyclists, because of the direct impact of the accident, suffer from fractured or broken bones. These injuries are some of the less significant ones in these types of accidents. Broken or fractured bones can occur in any part of your body. Sometimes the breaking is severe such that the motorcyclist would require surgery to reconstruct the broken limb or bone. The healing time for the fracture or broken bone is also not as fast. In this case, a motorcyclist will focus on their recovery for a few weeks and lose out on the other things.
Although motorcyclists are required to wear helmets for safety, they do not provide 100% protection from injuries. The helmet can come off following the impact, or sometimes the motorist does not have it on. Injuries to the brain are severe, with some cases resulting in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These types of damages are challenging to treat and can leave the victim in a vegetative state requiring care all through their lives.
Treatment for these injuries is complicated and takes a long time. Depending on the impact, some victims never recover, and those who do are left with permanent disabilities. The cost of treating these injuries is also high and can adversely affect the victim's finances or the family's.
Spinal and Neck Injuries
Your spine is the home of your nervous system. Injuries to the neck or the backbone often lead to disabilities of the victims. The expected outcome of these injuries is partial or full paralysis. When a motorcyclist following an unsafe left turn vehicle accident lands on their back, their neck or spine sustains significant injuries. As a result, if you suffered these injuries, you may spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, have recurring chronic pain, or remain in a vegetative state.
Burns to the Body
Sometimes, your motorcycle can burst into flames when you are in an accident. If your leg is trapped by the bike or the fire goes up before moving from the accident scene, you will sustain burns. A motorcyclist can also become unconscious following the accident, and when the flames burst out, they burn because they are not rescued on time.
When burns are significant, your body or the parts that burned become disfigured. Most burn accident victims require reconstructive surgery, but they may still not return to their former selves. The cost of surgery and general treatment is high and compensable in California.
Bruises and Lacerations
These are skin injuries that are quick to heal. If the impact of the accident was not as significant, a motorcyclist could sustain minor injuries. Although they are minor, they also require treatment, and the soreness can keep you away from work or your regular activities.
If you experience forceful impact, sometimes the internal organs become injured as well. These injuries are not apparent but left untreated, often result in death. Following an accident, motorcyclists must ensure the doctors take X-rays and scans to eliminate the possibility of internal injuries. If you sustain injuries to your organs, emergency surgery may be required to repair the damage and stop internal bleeding.
Although this is not an injury, it is one of the most unfortunate outcomes in an accident. Fatalities are common in motorcycle accidents. Unsafe left turns can also cause motorcyclist's death. Sometimes, the death can be instant, while other times, the motorist succumbs to the injuries sustained. Regardless of when the death occurred, the surviving family has a right to earn compensation for their loved one's wrongful death.
What you should do when Involved in an Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
When an accident occurs, it can leave you confused and in shock. However, it would be best if you somehow found the courage to handle the situation and safeguard yourself. Immediately following a motorcycle accident, you must move to a safe distance to avoid possible further injuries. When safely away, you must signal or call for help. The operator will ask you various questions to obtain as many details of the accident as possible. Ensure to answer these questions as accurately as you can because they are critical to the help you receive.
As you wait for help, if you can, check the other victims of the accident and help them if necessary. While waiting for the emergency help and the police, you must collect as much information as possible to help with your claim. Talk to the driver of the car and get their details and insurance details. The details for the vehicle involved in the accident are also crucial to have. The driver will also require your details, and you must also give them.
If you have a smartphone, take images of the surroundings and the accident. Ensure to capture the scene from various angles because it helps in reconstructing the accident. If you notice any witnesses to the accident, engage them, and hear their version of what they saw. If it is helpful to your claim, ask them if they can provide a written and signed statement of their interpretation. If they can, take their details and present them to your lawyer.
Immediately help comes, go to the emergency room and receive treatment. Your health is most important, requiring you to give all the details of what you feel to obtain the right treatment. After you have settled down and are receiving treatment, you may receive a call or a visit from the insurance adjuster representing the motorist involved in the accident.
The insurance adjuster will want to hear your version of the accident or give you an offer. Politely decline to talk with them and instead refer them to your lawyer. It is advisable always to refuse any offer you receive without your attorney present. An initial offer from the insurance adjuster may not consider your injuries’ long-term repercussions, and once you accept the offer, you cannot go back for more.
Identifying an experienced attorney to represent you or help you recover your damages is the next important step. Once you have identified a lawyer, talk to them about everything that happened and furnish them with the evidence you collected from the accident scene. Your lawyer will then advise you on the next cause of action that will help recover damages.
Pursuing Damages After an Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident results in significant injuries and substantial damages or costs. These costs under the compensation law of California are recoverable from the party responsible for the accident. The state of California follows the at-fault theory of compensation. This means that the party found liable for the accident takes liability for the losses after that.
At the same time, California also adheres to the theory of comparative negligence. If the fault is shared between or among parties, compensation is received according to the degree of fault. This is one of the critical reasons why the liable party must be determined.
Earlier, we stated that motorists would often blame motorcyclists for the accident, citing speeding. If a car driver fails to estimate the rider's distance accurately and makes a left turn anyway, they often claim the motorcyclist was at a safe distance for the driver to turn. However, the speedy moving of the rider was the cause of the accident.
But, with your lawyer and the evidence from the accident scene, a reconstruction of the event is possible. This will determine the accident cause and the party responsible. Additionally, a police report is crucial. Police reports give details of their findings and the responsible party in their opinion.
When your lawyer is confident the other party is responsible for your crash, they begin to prepare your claim. In the request, a medical report from the doctor treating you is included. This report typically gives details of the treatment; the cost, medical procedures are done, medications are given, future treatment, and any other medical requirement. This is crucial to avoid seeking less expense to your treatment because you cannot go back and adjust once the claim is paid.
During your treatment and healing process, you are likely to miss work. This means your income for the period you miss work is lost. A letter from your employer outlining the lost wages is critical as well. Your lawyer will ensure to include all the evidence to support your claim and present it to the insurance company.
The insurance company always asks for some time to study your claim before they respond. In its response, the company can:
- Accept the claim and pay as asked
- Make a counteroffer to your request
- Deny full responsibility and claim you are partially responsible for the damages or
- Deny the claim entirely
If the claim is accepted, you will receive your damages within a short period. If a counteroffer is offered, your lawyer will present it to you and discuss it further. A negotiation between your lawyer and the insurance adjuster may continue until an acceptable compromise is reached.
If the insurance company partially blames you for the accident, it means they will not take full responsibility for it. Additionally, denying the claim may mean you do not receive damages. Fortunately, the law allows your lawyer to petition the court to claim damages.
When your attorney files a petition, it is presented to the insurance company, allowing them to respond to it. A hearing date is issued where both parties submit their argument in court in front of a jury. Each side will present evidence supporting their claim for the jury to decide.
After completing the presentation, the jury decides which party is responsible for the damages and the amount to pay. If the jury finds you partially liable, then the degree of your responsibility is established, and you receive your losses based on that.
Recoverable Damages Following an Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
When an unsafe left turn results in your accident, the party responsible must pay you for the damages you suffer. A traffic accident results in two categories of damages referred to as the economic and non-economic damages.
Economic or financial damages are those that impact your finances directly. These losses are recoverable, to return you to your financial standing before the accident. The recoverable losses under economic damages include:
Following an accident, the injuries you sustain require treating. Medical care costs include the doctor's fees, medication costs, needed medical equipment, and present and future treatment costs. Additionally, any medical procedures required in your recovery must be documented, and their cost included in the claim.
As you heal from your injuries, you are likely to miss work for a few days to months, depending on your injuries severity. Most employers will not pay for missed days of work. As a result, the wages you lose during this time are recoverable.
When you crash into a vehicle, your bike is likely to be damaged as a motorcyclist. The cost of repairing the damages or replacing the motorcycle, if necessary, is compensable in California.
Lost earning capacity
Motorcycle accidents often result in significant injuries that leave you permanently incapable of working. The income you would have earned if the accident did not occur is calculated and compensated.
Funeral and burial costs
If you or a loved one died following this type of an accident, expenses on funeral and burial arrangements are incurred. Compensation law recognizes these costs and compensates the surviving family for them.
Significant injuries often result in the victim requiring rehabilitation therapy. The cost of the therapy is compensable under the compensation laws of California.
Non-economic damages are also known as non-financial costs. These costs are not quantifiable, neither are they supported by any documents. However, the economic damages the victim suffers often guide in determining the possible compensation. Some recoverable damages under this category include:
Pain and suffering
If you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, the injuries you sustain will cause you to suffer through their healing and experience pain. This cost cannot be quantified and varies from one victim to another, depending on the injuries suffered.
Motorcycle accidents often result in fatalities. If you or a loved one dies following this accident, the surviving family receives compensation for their life. It is impossible to quantify the value of a human's life. However, various considerations, such as the victim's age, health, and responsibilities, are considered before arriving at the amount to compensate.
Lost companionship or consortium
A spouse or partner of the injured victim can seek damages for the loss of affection or companionship following the accident. If your partner or spouse is injured such that they cannot give you the comfort, companionship, or love they used to, you can seek compensation for this.
Find an Injury Lawyer Near Me
Road accidents involving motorcyclists often result in the worst injuries and damages. Motorcyclists are often blamed for accidents when it is not their fault. Without an experienced attorney, they can often lose their damages and, worse still, be made to pay the other party. However, with an experienced attorney from The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, you could avoid wrongful blame and fight for your damages. Call us at 310-935-0089 for an appointment to discuss your claim in detail.
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