California Trial Attorneys Motorcycle Accidents Attorneys
Californians love their motorcycles. There are more registered motorcycles here than in any other state. Combined with California’s notoriously congested traffic, unfortunately, that means there are higher incidents of motorcycle accidents as well.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
It is well known that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles driving the highways. This is because they provide no external protection to the rider and are easily overlooked by other drivers on the road. Most accidents occur between a car and a motorcycle as a result of the following common causes:
- Unsafe lane changes. Too often, car drivers do not check their blind spot when changing lanes, failing to see a motorcycle behind them.
- Driving over the speed limit. Speeding by either the motorcycle or the car driver decreases the opportunity to see and react to a potential collision.
- Left turns. When cars are stopped at an intersection to make a left turn, motorcyclists often try to pass them on the left. Nearly half of all motorcycle accidents happen for this reason.
Lane Splitting in California
Lane splitting, also called filtering or lane sharing, is when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of cars. This is a common sight at stoplights or when traffic is stalled. In California, lane splitting is legal if it is done safely.
If a motorcyclist was lane-splitting when an accident occured, law enforcement may make a preliminary determination about whether or not the behavior was safe and include it in their traffic collision report.
What To Do When a Motorcycle Accident Occurs
- Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries.
- Call 911.
- Document the scene and collect evidence. This includes taking photos of the road, traffic signs or signals, damage to bikes and vehicles involved. Talk to witnesses at the scene. Get their contact info to share with both law enforcement and your insurance company.
- Talk to an experienced motorcycle wreck lawyer.
Damages for Motorcycle Accidents
There are different types of compensation one may be awarded in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Damages that may be pursued by attorneys include:
- Physical injuries
- Present and future medical expenses
- Lost wages, including future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
Tragically, motorcyclists are more likely to experience fatal injuries in an accident than any other vehicle driver or passenger. When this occurs, the deceased’s spouse or children may file a wrongful death claim.
The victim may also decide to seek punitive damages. These are special types of damages that are meant to “punish” an at-fault driver if their negligent conduct in causing the accident was also malicious, fraudulent, or deceitful. An example of this could be an accident caused by a driver’s intoxication when they have a history of driving under the influence. Experienced attorneys can conduct additional investigations to help determine if these damages may be appropriate for a case and, depending on the circumstances, may pursue punitive damages in court.
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