Motorcycle accidents tend to result in some of the most devastating injuries and have the highest rate of fatalities of all motor vehicle accidents. For motorcycle accidents and their families, the road to recovery can be long and difficult with many physical, emotional, and financial challenges.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, our San Francisco motorcycle accident attorneys understand the unique and difficult nature of these cases. We are here to help you get back on your feet after a serious collision by fighting for the full, fair compensation you are owed. We know how to protect your rights against the insurance company’s interests, and we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
How Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Like most car accidents, the majority of motorcycle accidents result from negligence. Sometimes, motorcyclists themselves are negligent; more often, however, the carelessness and recklessness of other motorists are to blame.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to check blind spots
- Drunk driving
- Following too closely
- Unsafe merging or lane changes
- Dangerous or illegal turns
- Unlawful passing
- Inexperienced drivers
Sometimes, motorcycle accidents are partly or wholly caused by factors not related to motorist negligence at all. Dangerous road design, poor road maintenance, and defective roadways can all cause or contribute to a serious accident. Examples include potholes, unsafe speed limits, blind curves, and more.
In still other instances, defective vehicles or vehicle parts could lead to a collision or aggravate the victims’ injuries. Faulty engine components, safety gear, or vehicle design could all have devastating or even fatal consequences for motorcycle operators and their passengers.
Special Considerations in California
Motorcycle laws in California are a little different than in the rest of the country. Two unique permissions include lane splitting and lane sharing. While considered less safe than owning the whole lane, you are still entitled to ride between or alongside other traffic. If a motorist does not see you passing, that is their own error.
How Comparative Negligence Could Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
There is a commonly held belief among many that motorcyclists are inherently dangerous drivers who frequently take risks or drive more aggressively than others on the road. While we recognize that there are always exceptions, our San Francisco motorcycle accident attorney knows that this is simply not true. In fact, motorcyclists are some of the most highly skilled, defensive drivers out there. Unfortunately, this does not mean that they can always predict the actions of other drivers or take necessary measures to avoid a collision.
When motorcyclists are involved in accidents, they often face an uphill battle when it comes to recovering compensation for their damages. The insurance company’s adjusters may unfairly assign blame to the injured motorcyclist, or they may dispute the victim’s injuries and/or damages. Under California’s rule of pure comparative negligence, you may still file a claim for compensation if the insurance adjuster assigns you partial blame, but this will affect the amount you can recover for your damages.
For example, if the insurance adjuster argues that you were speeding when you were struck by another motorist, they may decide that you were 40 percent at fault for the collision. If you suffered $100,000 in damages due to the accident, you would only be eligible to recover up to 60 percent of that amount, or $60,000. If you disagree with the insurance adjuster’s assessment of fault, you can dispute their findings. However, it is strongly recommended that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney, like those at Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard. An attorney can not only put together a powerful case on your behalf, but they can also protect your rights and seek the maximum compensation you are owed from the insurance company or the liable party.
Do You Need to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in California?
In California, helmet laws require all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. The helmet must meet the safety standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These laws apply to all riders and passengers, regardless of their age or experience level.
A motorcyclist or their passenger who violates the helmet law may be subject to a fine, which can range from $10 to $250 depending on the circumstances. In addition, if a rider or passenger is involved in an accident and was not wearing a helmet they may be found partially at fault for the accident.
California's helmet laws are an important safety measure for motorcyclists and their passengers. By wearing a helmet that meets safety standards, riders can help protect themselves and help reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.
How Much Are Motorcycle Accident Claims Worth?
In general, motorcycle accident claims tend to be higher in value than many other motor vehicle accident claims due to the severity of these collisions. However, it is impossible to determine the exact value of your claim without reviewing the specific details involved.
There are many factors that affect how much a motorcycle accident claim could be worth, including but not limited to:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- The cost of medical care
- Whether the victim is permanently impaired or disabled
- Future projected medical expenses and lost income
- The injured party’s degree of fault (if any)
- The value of the victim’s pain and suffering
- The extent of the victim’s non-medical economic damages
- Whether the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured
- What insurance coverage is available
These and other factors can significantly impact your claim. We encourage you to reach out to our San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyers today to set up a free consultation during which we can review the details of your case and provide more information on the potential value of your claim.
How Can A Motorcycle Attorney In San Francisco Help You?
Some ways that a motorcycle attorney can help you include the following:
- Representation if your case gets taken to court.
- Valuable legal information that can help to protect your rights.
- The clarity to any questions that you may have regarding your motorcycle accident.
- Paperwork is handled and taken care of for you by experienced legal professionals.
- The collection of evidence to sufficiently support your case.
- The investigation of your case and all evidence being used against you.
- Powerful negotiation with insurance companies on your behalf.
- The maximization of your compensation amount.
- Support and guidance for you during this particularly challenging time.
If you or someone you care for recently got into a motorcycle accident, it's vital that you seek legal counsel and help to support and guide you through this time. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how our motorcycle accident attorneys in San Francisco can help maximize your compensation amount to match what you truly deserve.
Seeking Maximum Compensation for Our Clients
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we understand how important it is that motorcycle accident victims receive the full, fair compensation they are owed. We know that you are likely relying on this compensation to assist with the cost of medical bills, lost income due to the time that is taken off work, and other hardships resulting from the crash. We also firmly believe that you deserve justice and are prepared to fight for every penny you are owed for your pain and suffering.
If you experienced a motorcycle accident in the Bay Area, our attorneys can help serve you and other clients throughout the Bay Area, handling complex personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of injured victims and their families. We offer compassionate client support and attentive legal counsel tailored to each individual’s unique needs, concerns, and goals.
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Q:What is the most common motorcycle injury?
A:Lower extremity injuries are the most common type of motorcycle injury. This includes harm to the knees, calves, feet, and ankles, often in the form of broken bones or road rash. If you’re suffering from any injury after a motorcycle accident, it’s important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible, and then look into legal action if applicable.
Q:Do I need a CT scan for a motorcycle injury?
A:Different facilities are going to have different thresholds for when they recommend a CT scan for motorcycle accident patients. Since motorcycle injuries have a tendency to be serious, some doctors may recommend routine CT scans. It is important to catch injuries as early as possible for proper treatment. However, some patients may have hesitations about the added medical costs. Hiring a personal injury attorney if another driver was at fault for the accident can help you recoup those costs.
Q:What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
A:Immediately after a motorcycle accident, it's important to leave your bike and get to safety. Being in the road is a hazard and trying to move a motorcycle can worsen your injuries, even if you don't feel anything amiss in the moment. Try to leave your gear on as well, because removing it may also worsen injuries. Call EMS as soon as you can. Try to take pictures of everything at the scene of the accident, or get a friend or loved one to help gather evidence. Get medical attention as soon as possible. Refuse to speak to the other party, including the insurance company. If your injuries are serious, consider hiring an attorney to help recover damages.