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Common Causes of California Motorcycle Accidents

6 Common Causes of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2019, there have been 5,014 motorcyclist deaths. About 14 percent of deadly motorcycle accidents contributed to the total amount of fatal motor vehicle crashes. It is important to be aware of the common causes of motorcycle accidents to bring awareness to motorcyclists on what to look out for when on the road.

Below, our expert motorcycle accident attorneys have created a list of common causes of a motorcycle accident:

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

  • Speeding. Due to the built-in speed of a motorcycle, it has attracted the attention of many consumers. Unfortunately,  some individuals purchase a motorcycle without actually knowing its speeding limits and get themselves into a collision.
  • Left-hand turns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 41 percent of motorcycle crashes are caused by drivers who fail to check for motorcyclists. It is the driver’s duty to analyze their surroundings for safety purposes prior to making a turn. Failure to do so will result in a crash. Furthermore, the size of a motorcycle could make it difficult for a driver to locate an oncoming motorcyclist. These types of situations have contributed heavily to the increase in left-hand turn accidents.
    Under certain circumstances, a motorcyclist could also be found at-fault for causing a left-hand turn. If a motorcyclist is trying to pass a car in the same lane, then they are putting themselves, along with the driver, in danger. If the driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn, they could become startled and react in a way where it can trigger an accident. Generally, if a car hits another motorcyclist while making a left-hand turn, then the one who initiated the turn is at-fault for the impact. However, if a motorcyclist is committing a negligent action, such as speeding or riding in the wrong lane, then they will have some fault in the accident.
  • Head-on collision. For a head-on collision to happen, it would require both the vehicle and the motorcycle to be driving at high speeds. The motorcyclist will typically be the one sustaining severe injuries due to the lack of protection their vehicle offers.
  • Lane splitting. This usually occurs when a motorcyclist drives in between two lanes. Common situations that take place when a motorcyclist decides to lane split include:
    • The close distance the motorcycle has with the car,
    • The small space the motorcyclist has to move around, and
    • Cars not expecting another vehicle or motorcycle to pass them during slow traffic.

    In California, lane splitting is legal. However, it must be done in a safe way. Generally, it would be the motorcyclist’s fault for lane splitting accidents. The motorcyclist is expected to either partially or fully provide compensation for any injuries or damages they have caused to the victim. If the motorcyclist is able to show proof that the other driver was at-fault for the accident, then that driver will be held responsible for covering part of or all of the motorcyclist’s damages, such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and so on.

  • Intoxication. Alcohol consumption has contributed significantly to the rise of motorcycle accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), out of 4,733 fatal motorcycle accidents, 29 percent were caused by motorcyclists who had a BAC of or above 0.08 percent. 18 percent of motorcyclists were found to have a BAC at or above 0.15 percent. Furthermore, 50 percent of deadly motorcycle crashes took place during the nighttime, between the hours of 9pm to 6am.
  • Road hazards. Motorcycles are smaller and less stable compared to a car, thus making them more vulnerable to road hazards, such as debris and potholes. Motorcyclists are expected to keep a look out for any dangerous objects on the road to prevent themselves from getting into an accident.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award is known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact, were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you or a loved one are a victim of a motorcycle accident and you believe that the other party’s at-fault, West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced motorcycle accident attorneys that will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, which includes medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are paid until your case has been settled. Reach out to our legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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