Nearly all motorcycles have two wheels rather than four, and that fact alone makes them more likely to be in accidents than any other vehicles on the road. As there’s no body or steel frame surrounding riders, they’re far more vulnerable to serious injuries or death in the event of an accident. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that motorcyclists were nearly 29 times more likely to die in accidents than occupants of passenger cars. They represent about 17% of all traffic accident fatalities and about 84,000 injuries, but they only consist of about 3% of all vehicles on the roadway.
The Conspicuity Factor
Motorcycles have low and narrow profiles, especially at night when they mix with the headlights of other vehicles, glare and lighting on the sides of roads. After an accident with a motorcycle, drivers of other vehicles often state that they either never saw the motorcycle, or they didn’t see it until it was too late. Although the NHTSA found that about 34% of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, another report from the University of Southern California found that the most frequent accident configuration was when a motorcycle was going straight through an intersection, and another driver turned left in front of it. Motorcyclists only had an average of 2.2 seconds to try and avoid the crash. Some other common causes of motorcycle accidents follow:
- Distracted driving like texting, talking on a cellphone or inputting data into an infotainment center when driving.
- Accidents occurring as a result of other drivers making lane changes or when the motorcyclist is lane splitting, which is legal in California.
- Rear-end accidents when a motorist follows a motorcyclist too closely and is unable to stop for an abrupt but necessary stop by the motorcyclist.
- Failure of motorists to stop for stop signs or red lights.
- A motorist driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions.
- Another person driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Given the fact that motorcyclists are so exposed and vulnerable in the event of a crash, multiple extensive injuries can be suffered. Here are the parts of the body that are most likely to be injured:
- Lower Extremities: Many motorcycles can easily weigh more than 500 pounds. Hips, femurs, tibias, fibulas, knees, and ankles get crushed between the bike and the pavement. Lower extremity injuries aren’t among the most fatal injuries, but surgery and long-term therapy are often required. Some type of permanent disability often results.
- Thoracic Injuries: The heart and lungs along with other vital organs are in the thorax. Trauma to the chest can fracture ribs, puncture organs and cause internal bleeding requiring emergency surgery before victims bleed to death. Thoracic injuries are the most common cause of motorcycle accident deaths.
- Upper Extremities: The impact of an accident often ejects motorcyclists from their seats and throws them into the air. Victims will commonly use their arms to break their fall. They break their arms t if they do break their falls. Shoulder, joint, muscle and nerve damage are also common with upper extremity injuries.
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries: As per section 27803of the California Vehicle Code, all riders on a motorcycle must wear a helmet. Doing so significantly reduces the chances of brain or spinal cord injuries or death from a motorcycle accident. Both brain and spinal cord injuries can range from mild to fatal. Survivors of brain and spinal cord injuries can suffer profound lifelong disability
- Injuries to the Spinal Structure: The structure of the spine consists of vertebrae, spinal discs in between them, ligaments, tendons, nerves and muscles. Fractured vertebrae, displaced or herniated discs and torn spinal tissue can all require surgery, rehab and long-term disability.
Compensation for a Motorcyclist’s Damages
After being in an accident that was caused by the carelessness, negligence or recklessness of somebody else, there is likely to be permanent disability and incredibly expensive costs. California law provides injured motorcycle crash victims the right to pursue recovery of his or her damages and losses from the responsible party. Such damages can include but not be limited to the following:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Past and future lost earnings or diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Any permanent disability.
- Any permanent disfigurement.
- Other valuable damages in the event of a wrongful death.
Don’t Give a Statement to the Opposing Insurer
After a motorcycle accident, the opposing insurer will immediately begin an investigation in efforts to devalue the motorcyclist’s claim or deny it in its entirety. Its representative might contact you and ask that you provide a recorded statement about the crash. Under no circumstances should you give any type of statement. California law doesn’t require you to give one, and it’s highly likely that your own words will be used against you to attack your credibility in order to devalue your claim or deny it. Should the insurer’s representative tell you that your case file will be closed without a statement, let him or her close it and contact us immediately. Once you retain us, we can have it opened again right away.
What’s My Case Worth?
Many motorcycle crashes leave the victim permanently disabled. A case can’t be placed in a value range until a definitive prognosis is obtained. Many different factors figure into determining the value range of a case. Those include the nature and extent of the injuries suffered, any permanency and the economic and non-economic losses suffered. Fortunately, California allows you two years from the date of an accident to file your lawsuit, so there’s no rush to settle with the opposing insurer.
After being seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, a financial recovery can ease the financial burden that was suddenly imposed on you and your family. Our San Diego motorcycle accident lawyers offer free confidential consultations and case reviews to injured victims of motorcycle crashes. You’re going to be in need of an experienced aggressive and successful attorney who has extensive experience in dealing with opposing insurance companies. Contact us here at Quirk Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC right away for that free confidential consultation and case review with our San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer. When you retain us to represent you, we’ll begin building your case with the objective of obtaining the maximum settlement or verdict that you deserve.
Contact a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or somebody you love suffered injuries in a Southern California motorcycle accident, contact the Thousand Oaks motorcycle accident lawyers at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC as soon as possible for a free consultation and case review with an aggressive, skilled and experienced Southern California motorcycle accident attorney.
We want to learn more about your accident and provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. After we provide you with an overview of your legal options, we can begin to work together to craft your case.
From the beginning, the Quirk will give you candid and practical answers. Unlike the insurance companies, we do not believe you are a statistic.
Quirk is different. We treat you like a person, and you get personalized attention and real answers.