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Our Personal Injury Lawyers Will Take Care of Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

Motorcycle riders in Los Angeles are more susceptible to serious bodily injuries than car accident victims because they do not have nearly as much protection. As a result of being injured in a motorcycle accident, victims may have to deal with costly medical bills, loss of income, as well as emotional pain, physical pain, road rash, mental suffering, and PTSD. It goes without saying that recovery from a motorcycle accident is a long process.

When you’ve suffered critical injuries in a motorcycle accident and are unsure of where to turn for help, reach out to an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers for help. If we are able to take on your case, we will work tirelessly to secure maximum compensation for your damages. Contact our 24/7 legal team today for a free consultation and learn more about what your case could be worth.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries in Los Angeles

When you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, you may not be sure whether you have grounds for a claim. In fact, it is more common than you might think for motorcycle accident injury victims to believe their injuries are not severe enough to warrant a civil claim. On the contrary, the type of injury you are diagnosed with will not necessarily determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation.

Instead, your attorney will analyze your damages in detail to determine their impact on your life. If your injuries have had a significant impact on your life financially, emotionally, or physically, you may have the right to financial compensation. That said, there are some types of injuries seen more frequently in Los Angeles motorcycle accident claims than others. These include:

These are just a few of the more common types of injuries seen in motorcycle accidents across Los Angeles. If you have been diagnosed with another injury caused by a motorcycle accident, and you do not know where to turn for health, contact our office to discuss the legal details of your case.

Legal Insight on Motorcycle Accident Personal Injuries

Riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles, California is a dangerous feat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s national statistics for 2018, 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in a traffic collision.

That same year, California was the second state with the most motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents in the country.

In 2017, the city of Los Angeles experienced a total of 2,022 motorcycle accidents that resulted in 52 fatalities, according to the California Highway Patrol’s 2017 Annual Report.

What to Do After Your Motorcycle Accident

There are several important steps to take after a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles.

Firstly, DO NOT admit fault, even if you think you were responsible for the accident. There are many factors at play that you might not know about. The driver, for example, could have been texting, intoxicated, or driving recklessly. Liability is best determined in a court of law.

Secondly, call the police to file an official police report of the accident and begin documenting the motorcycle accident evidence. Gather as much information as you can about your motorcycle accident, including:

  • License plate numbers
  • The driver’s license and insurance information
  • Contact information for any available witnesses
  • Year, make, and model for any vehicles involved in the accident
  • Names and contact information for anyone involved in the accident
  • Photos and videos of your injuries, property damage, and the accident scene

Thirdly, seeking medical attention. Your physical well being should be your first priority. Please seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are hurt, call 911. If you seem to not be seriously injured, check on everyone involved to see if they need medical treatment.

Many motorcycle accident victims feel fine immediately after an accident, but wake up days later and experience severe pain. Many injuries take hours or days before any adverse symptoms will take effect. This is why it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately, whether your injuries seem serious or not. Unless you are evaluated by a medical professional, the insurance company is likely to argue that you were not really hurt at all.

How Do Los Angeles Motorcycle Accidents Happen?

Motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents. A motorcycle rider is at a heightened risk of injury and death. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize a motorcycle accident. However, there are a number of risk factors that may nevertheless place a motorcyclist at a greater danger of injury, including:

Sex: Over 90% of all motorcycle fatalities involved males.Alcohol usage:More than a quarter of motorcyclist fatalities involved a rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%.

Helmet use: According to California Vehicle Code Section 27803, motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear a helmet. A motorcycle rider and their passenger can both be ticketed for not wearing a helmet.

Age: Throughout the last few decades, the death rate for motorcyclists aged 50 and older has steadily risen. More than 35 percent of motorcyclist deaths in 2016 involved riders who were 50 and over.

There are many types of motorcycle accidents  caused most commonly by the following:

  • Tailgating
  • Loose gravel
  • Hazardous weather
  • Poor road conditions
  • Motorcycle malfunction
  • Cars pulling in front of a motorcycle rider
  • Vehicles recklessly merging into a bicyclist’s lane
  • Collisions with a curb, street signs, or lampposts

What About Lane-Splitting?
Under California law, lane-splitting is not legal or illegal. When performed correctly, motorcyclists are not at an increased risk for crashing while lane-splitting. Motorcyclists who are going to blame split safely should:

  • Not exceed the speed limit by more than 15 mph
  • Do not lane split when traffic is traveling at speeds of more than 50 mph
  • Wear a motorcycle helmet and other safety gear
  • Be aware of your surroundings and other motorist who may be attempting to switch lanes

Liability for Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

A negligent party will usually be held liable for any injuries caused to a motorcycle rider. In order for an aggrieved motorcycle accident victim to recover damages, they must show that the driver was negligent.

This includes proving that:

  • The driver owed the motorcyclist a duty of care
  • The driver breached his or her duty of care through negligence
  • The driver’s negligent actions were the significant factor that caused the motorcyclist’s injuries

With this in mind, some of the more common types of negligent driving seen in Los Angeles motorcycle accident claims include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Failure to stop
  • Failure to yield to the right of way
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Making unsafely lane changes

However, negligent drivers are not the only cause of motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles. In fact, there are many other parties who could have contributed to your injuries. For example, if a part on the vehicle that hit you or your motorcycle was defective or malfunctioned in some way, several parties could share culpability, such as:

  • Motor vehicle parts designers
  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • Motor vehicle parts distributors
  • Auto dealerships
  • Safety inspectors
  • Maintenance technicians

There is also a chance that dangerous road conditions caused your collision. If the roads themselves were not safe for some reason, whether it be due to a missing street sign, unsecured road construction zone, or large potholes, the government agencies responsible for maintaining the safety and integrity of the roads could be at fault. Some of these parties could include:

  • The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • Municipalities
  • Other third parties

Your motorcycle accident attorneys’ in-depth investigation into the cause of your crash will reveal who is responsible for causing your accident and who should be compelled to cover your damages in their entirety.

What Happens If You Share Fault for Your Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident

Many motorcycle accident victims hesitate to contact a lawyer because they believe sharing fault for their injuries means they are not entitled to financial compensation. However, this is not the case. Under California law, the state follows a pure comparative negligence system. 

Here, if you share fault for your motorcycle accident or any other type of injury incident, you can still recover compensation for your damages. However, your injury settlement will need to be reduced to reflect your portion of liability. Let’s look at an example:

  • Bob was hit by a distracted driver. He was not wearing his motorcycle helmet at the time of the collision. For this reason, the judge found him 20% at fault for his injuries. The jury awarded Bob $100,000 for his damages. However, because Bob was 20% liable for his injuries, his $100,000 award was reduced by 20%, leaving him with a final motorcycle accident injury settlement of $80,000.

Sharing fault for your motorcycle accident can have a considerable impact on the amount of compensation you can be awarded. Make sure you have a dedicated Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney on your side who will ensure that liability is accurately evaluated in your case.

Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Claims in Los Angeles

One of the biggest mistakes Los Angeles motorcycle accident victims make is failing to take action on their claims in a timely manner. Under California law, all personal injury claims, including motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles, must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. For the vast majority of motorcycle accident claims, this will be two years from the date of the accident.

However, the date the statute of limitations expires in your case can vary considerably depending on when the accident occurred, when you were diagnosed with your injuries, and other factors. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, you will no longer have the opportunity to recover maximum compensation for your damages.

For this reason, it may be in your best interests to get an experienced attorney on your side who will ensure that procedural issues like these do not have an adverse impact on your case.

What Damages Can You Recover for Your Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Damages?

After a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, you have the right to be made whole. This means you should be compensated for every loss you endured caused by the motorcycle accident. To ensure every loss is taken into consideration, your attorney will separate your damages into two different categories. These include economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are monetary in nature. Some of the more common types of economic damages awarded in motorcycle accident claims include:

  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Medical expenses and equipment fees
  • Loss of household services
  • Property damages

However, you also have the right to recover non-economic damages which do not have a monetary value. Your attorney will need to quantify them accordingly. Some of the more common types of non-economic damages you could collect as part of your motorcycle accident injury settlement include:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Inconvenience
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of consortium

An injured motorcycle rider may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are separate from compensatory damages. Punitive damages may be awarded on top of the normal compensatory damages an aggrieved individual may be entitled to and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for their negligent or malicious behavior. Punitive damages are rare and are only awarded at the court’s discretion.

A motorcyclist is always at a higher risk of being injured on the road than other motorists. This is especially true because many drivers don’t respect a motorcyclist’s right to safely share the road.

Unfortunately, there have been instances of drivers deliberately hitting motorcycle riders. If a motorcycle rider was intentionally hit by a driver, he or she would likely qualify for punitive damages on top of the normal damages he or she would already be entitled to for their losses and injuries.

Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident FAQ

We understand how overwhelming the motorcycle accident claims process may be. In the hopes of helping you understand what to expect and better prepare for what is to come, we have addressed some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles.

If you have additional questions that were not answered here, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your concerns in greater detail.

Can I Sue After a Motorcycle Accident?
Yes. However, there will be limitations depending on whether or not you were insured. For the most part though, the individual who was responsible for causing your motorcycle accident may be liable for your injuries. In order to recover damages you must file a personal injury claim with an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident injury attorney. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, please talk with a motorcycle accident attorney even before you talk to the other driver’s insurance provider.

Auto insurance companies are not on your side. They want to settle your claim for as little as possible and will pressure you into settling quickly. A motorcycle accident attorney with West Coast Trial Lawyers can deal with the insurance companies so that you can focus on your health and well being.

Can I Sue on Behalf of a Spouse Who Was Killed?
As the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner of someone who was killed after a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages.The family members who are entitled to file a wrongful death claim include:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s children
  • The surviving domestic partner
  • The decedent’s grandchildren, if the children are deceased
  • Anyone entitled to the decedent’s property according to California intestate succession laws

Recoverable damages after a wrongful death lawsuit will include:

  • Burial costs
  • Funeral costs
  • Financial earnings the decedent would have earned had they survived
  • Compensation for the loss of support and companionship the decedent would have provided

Can I Sue for Poorly Maintained Roads?
Poor road conditions can easily cause a rider to lose control and crash. Poor road conditions that may cause a motorcycle accident include:

  • Potholes
  • Water leaks
  • Loose gravel
  • Raised asphalt
  • Broken cement
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Damaged road signs
  • Damaged light posts

Every property owner has a duty to repair road conditions that may lead to a motorcycle crash. If a city or property owner fails to maintain their roads in good condition, he or she may be held liable for injuries or damages caused.

According to California premises liability law, property owners are all required to maintain their property in reasonably safe conditions. This includes:

  • Inspecting their property
  • Maintaining their property
  • Repairing potentially dangerous conditions
  • Giving enough warning about any dangerous conditions

A city or a government agency may also be responsible for dangerous road conditions. If you are filing a personal injury claim against a city, county, or any state government agency, you must prove that:

  • The motorcycle rider was injured
  • This property already had hazardous conditions when the accident occurred
  • Hazardous conditions were the significant factor in causing a motorcycle rider harm
  • These hazardous conditions created a reasonably foreseeable risk for the injury that was suffered
  • The property where you were injured was owned/controlled by a city, county, or state government agency
  • The city/county/state was aware of the hazardous conditions for enough time to take reasonable action to address it

Let’s consider the following example:

  • Say that Joey was riding his motorcycle at 3 a.m. through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. These are public roads and the city is responsible for maintaining them. The intersection at Figueroa and 7th, in particular, has very bad potholes which many people have complained about. Given how heavy traffic is on this intersection, a road crew waits until 3 a.m. to make the necessary repairs. As the road crew is getting ready to patch up the potholes, Joey rides by. The road crew hasn’t yet placed any warning signs about the road hazards or the imminent repairs. Joey rides right through the intersection, drives over the potholes, loses control of his motorcycle, and suffers severe injuries.

In this example, the city would be held liable for Joey’s injuries and property loss because they failed to provide adequate warnings.

Can I Sue on Behalf of a Spouse Who Was Killed?
Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by poor roads or a driver’s negligence. Some accidents may be caused by defective motorcycles or motorcycle parts or machinery. According to California products liability law, any businesses who designed, manufactured, or sold a defective motorcycle or motorcycle part can all be held liable for any injuries or property loss caused.In these types of cases, an injured motorcycle rider will not not have to prove that the manufacturer or distributor was negligent.

Strict liability after a motorcycle defect case can be imposed for:

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Failing to warn a user of any defects

In order to recover damages, an injured motorcycle rider needs to show that:

  • The motorcycle rider used the motorcycle in a reasonable manner the motorcycle was defective when it left the defendant’s possession
  • The motorcycle rider was harmed or injured because of the product defect
  • The defendant designed, made, distributed and/or sold the defective motorcycle

Let’s consider an example of a product liability motorcycle accident:

  • Imagine that Dan just bought a brand new motorcycle from his local Harley Davidson dealership. Dan has his license, took all the necessary classes, and immediately goes out for a ride. Dan is having a great time when suddenly the brakes malfunction and Dan cannot stop at a red light. As a result of this product defect, Dan is hit by a car and experiences severe injuries, including paralysis.

In this example, Dan played no role whatsoever in causing the accident. Dan can file a product liability claim against the bicycle manufacturer and the bicycle retailer for his injuries and losses.

Will I Have to Go to Court?
It is difficult to determine whether your case will have to go to court. Many motorcycle accident victims are able to recover the compensation they need through an insurance settlement. However, many insurance companies are unable or unwilling to settle claims fairly.

When the insurance company is not settling your claim to cover your needs in their entirety, bringing your case to court may be the best way to secure maximum compensation for your damages.

Meet With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

When your motorcycle accident injuries have had a devastating impact on your life, you should not be expected to handle the fallout. Make the liable party pay for their negligence when you contact an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations. Schedule yours when you complete our online contact form or give our office a call at (213) 927-3700.

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