Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation not only in Orange County but also throughout Southern California and it isn’t hard to see why this is the case. Motorcycles can get through traffic faster than vehicles and fit into tight parking spots.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riders constantly face the risk of accidents due to reckless and careless drivers. Motorcycle accidents can result in very serious injuries and sometimes even death because the ride has little protection against the force of impact caused by a motor vehicle.
If you or a loved one were recently injured in a Santa Ana, California motorcycle accident due to another party’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages through a personal injury claim.
You can always count on the experienced Santa Ana motorcycle accident lawyers at Crockett Law Group to help you fight for the justice and financial security that you are entitled to following this terrible accident. Call us today at (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our auto accident lawyers in Santa Ana.
How Can a Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help My Case?
Our Santa Ana motorcycle accident lawyers at Crockett Law Group can help with the following:
Filing the Claim
Filing a motorcycle accident claim requires a plethora of paperwork, which can be difficult to fill out, especially if you haven’t done it before. Fortunately, our motorcycle accident lawyers can get the correct paperwork for you and file it on your behalf.
Once our lawyers have filed the motorcycle accident claim, they can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Insurance companies or other parties must make all settlement offers through us, your lawyers. We will then present you with all offers of settlement and advise you as to the options available to you and the most suitable course of action.
Settlement negotiations with the insurance company sometimes fail and once this happens we have to take the matter to court. Our lawyers are skilled litigators and will present your case before the court, argue the facts, and highlight to the judge or jury why you deserve to be adequately compensated with the aim of obtaining a favorable verdict.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are usually both avoidable and preventable. Here are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Santa Ana:
A distracted driver can be incredibly dangerous. Whether they are texting, talking on the phone, eating, or fiddling with the radio, drivers that ignore other road users pose a considerable risk to your safety when you are riding.
Failure to Pay Attention to Motorcycles
Motorcycles are much narrower and smaller than passenger vehicles, which is why other motorists usually have difficulty seeing them, particularly when making a lane change. If a driver fails to pay attention to the road around them when changing lanes, they can easily cause a serious motorcycle accident.
Faulty Brakes, Mirrors, or Lighting
If your motorcycle experienced brake failure, a tire blowout, lighting or electrical problem, or any other auto defect that caused your accident, the manufacturer of the motorcycle could owe you compensation through the product liability laws.
Unexpected Pedestrians in the Road
If a pedestrian is jaywalking in a restricted area or crossing traffic against protocols and safety signals when the motorcycle has a right-of-way, they can easily be struck by a motorcycle thus leading to serious injuries or even death for them and/or the motorcycle rider.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
California has the highest number of motorcycles in the United States. The number of motorcycle fatalities dropped from 523 in 2018 to 474 in 2019. Motorcycle fatalities resulting from not wearing a helmet dropped from 34 in 2018 to 28 in 2019. The statistics presented here highlight the risks and dangers that motorcyclists face, especially fatalities.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in California?
California has several laws and regulations regarding the qualifications for being a rider, equipment that riders are required to wear, and equipment that must be on their motorcycles, which include the following:
- You must be at least 16 years of age to obtain a motorcycle license in California and have not only completed a driver’s education and training course but also a motorcycle rider training course.
- Motorcyclists and those riding on motorcycles are always required to wear helmets that meet and satisfy the standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Motorcycles are required to have both left and right mirrors.
- Motorcycles manufactured after January 1, 1973 are required to have functioning turn signals on both the front and rear.
- The exhaust systems of motorcycles manufactured after 2013 are required to comply with the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act.
- Motorcycle handlebars may not be more than 6 inches above the rider’s shoulder height when in a seated position.
- Lane splitting is legal in California when done in a safe and prudent way, but blocking a motorcyclist from lane splitting when traffic is stopped or slowed is illegal.
- Motorcyclists are required to carry the minimum amount of liability insurance, which is $30,000 bodily injury for multiple victims, $15,000 for individual victims, and $5,000 for property damage.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
Head Injuries, Such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Motorcyclists face a particular risk of sustaining traumatic head injuries because of the nature of motorcycle riding and being exposed to the elements and other vehicles.
Back, Neck, or Spinal Cord Injuries
Riders may fly off their bikes in motorcycle accidents. Even the most minor of accidents can cause the rider to fall to the ground, which puts them at high risk of back, neck, or spinal cord injuries that can impair function and mobility.
Road Rash or Burn Injuries
If a rider is struck by a vehicle, he or she may be dragged across the road pavement at a high rate of speed that may result in severe and painful road rash injuries. Motorcycle riders may also suffer burns if a vehicle explodes.
Falling from a motorcycle to the ground can cause fractures and broken bones throughout many parts of the body. Riders often suffer crush injuries to bones or multiple broken bones in an accident.
The blunt force trauma or being either thrown to the ground or struck by a vehicle not only puts the exterior of the body at risk but can also lead to severe, if not fatal, internal injuries to organs or bleeding that might not be evident until days or weeks after the accident.
How Is Fault Determined in a Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident?
Proving fault in California motorcycle accidents can be complicated since it involves a complex set of negligence and liability laws. Fortunately, our legal team at Crockett Law Group can ensure that the appropriate party or parties are held accountable for your injuries and losses. Here are some parties that can be held responsible for a motorcycle accident:
- Driver of the vehicle involved in the crash
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle
- The motorcyclist if it is the motorcycle passenger
- The entity responsible for maintaining the roadway
- The manufacturer of the defective part
- The repair shop responsible for negligently repairing the motorcycle
To hold the responsible party liable, the injured victim or the family of riders killed in motorcycle accidents are required to prove that the defendant or defendants were negligent. You will need to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant (at-fault party) owed the plaintiff (you) a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of duty of care caused the accident and the resulting injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered some physical harm and/or financial loss.
Comparative Fault in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Motorcyclists injured in an accident in California can pursue recovery from the responsible party via a motorcycle accident claim. However, in almost all claims, all parties share responsibility for the accident. In such instances, the court assigns a percentage of fault to each party, which is formally referred to as the comparative fault doctrine.
Motorcycle accident victims can recover damages even when they are found to be partially liable for the accident. However, rather than recovering a full damages award, the damages are reduced by the percentage the motorist is found to be responsible. For instance, if you are found to be 30 percent responsible, your compensation amount will be reduced by 30%.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
There are three types of damages that can be recovered in a Santa Ana motorcycle accident claim.
Economic damages are those that can be quantified in monetary terms. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
- Past and future medical costs and expenses
- Loss of income resulting from the accident
- Loss of use of your motorcycle
- Cost of replacing or repairing your damaged motorcycle or other belongings
- Other out-of-pocket expenses and costs
Non-economic damages are those damages where no exact monetary value can be attached. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish, which includes humiliation, shock, fear, and anxiety
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of affection, love, sexual relations, companionship, and emotional support
Punitive actions might be rare, but California courts may sometimes award a third type of damages known as punitive damages. They are only awarded when the defendant’s behavior was harmful. The plaintiff is required to present evidence of the defendant’s actions being intentional or the defendant engaging in willful and wanton misconduct.
Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?
Motorcycle accident claims can be denied for various reasons, which include:
Lack of Coverage
The insurance company may deny the claim due to a lack of coverage such as when:
- The insurance policy lapsed because of nonpayment of premiums or canceled by the insurance provider prior to the accident.
- The rider to blame for the accident was excluded from coverage under the policy.
The insurance company may also claim that you were the negligent party that was ultimately responsible for the crash.
Delayed Medical Care
If you failed to receive prompt medical care following the accident, the insurance company may use this to argue the following as justification for denying your claim:
- Your injuries were caused by another incident.
- Your injuries aren’t particularly serious, or you would have been examined by a physician immediately after the motorcycle accident.
If your medical reports show that you had a prior injury similar to the current one, the insurance company may argue that they aren’t responsible for compensating you. However, this isn’t a legitimate reason for denying your claim.
If your claim is denied for any of the reasons above, you need the help of our experienced Santa Ana motorcycle accident lawyers at Crockett Law Group to determine whether the insurance adjuster is telling the truth and to explore other avenues of compensation for you. Contact us today at (800) 900-9393 if the insurance company has denied your motorcycle claim.
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Claim in California?
Motorcycle accidents, just like car accidents, usually have a time limit of 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit under California law. It is known as the statute of limitations and is defined as the maximum amount of time that people have suffered injury or abuse to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this timeline, you will be permanently barred from doing so.
Have You Been in a Motorcycle Accident in Santa Ana? We Can Help!
If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident in Santa Ana, our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Crockett Law Group can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.