Santa Rosa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle Injury Attorney in Santa Rosa, California
A motorcycle accident can be a life-changing incident for the victim. Riders lack protection that cars have, such as a vehicle’s metal encasing, seatbelts, and airbags. When colliding against other vehicles, they’re at extreme risk of suffering debilitating and fatal injuries. Most riders know the importance of defensive driving and do their best to be aware of their surroundings. They are aware that most cars and trucks rarely look out for them. However, even with these precautions, the acts of a careless or reckless driver can still catch a rider off guard and cause a serious accident.
Unfortunately, riders are not just vulnerable during an accident but also during the aftermath of an accident. After an accident, most motorcycle riders find that they need to file a personal injury claim because they’ve suffered catastrophic injuries and substantial property damage that they can not cover on their own. However, many find that when they file for compensation, they are faced with insurance companies whose goal is to limit their payout, regardless of the rider’s need or right to maximum compensation. This is why it’s incredibly beneficial for motorcycle riders to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
No matter how safe a rider is and how cautious they are, accidents are often caused by reckless or careless drivers. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
These accidents often occur at intersections when a driver runs a red light or stop sign and collides with a motorcyclist. Head-on collisions are often deadly for the rider.
Cars Making a Left Turn
Left-hand turn accidents occur when a car turns left at an intersection thinking there are no oncoming vehicles, colliding with an unseen motorcyclist going straight.
Debris, uneven roads, cracks, potholes, and other road hazards can cause the rider to lose control of their bikes and cause a serious accident.
Tailgating is when a driver drives too close to a motorcycle. Tailgating is dangerous because the driver doesn’t leave enough room for them to respond should they need to prevent an accident.
Liability in the Case of Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. In California, lane splitting is legal and defined as driving the motorcycle “with both two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of moving and stopped vehicles in the same lane, including both divided and undivided streets, roads, and highways.”
There has been a long debate about the safety of lane splitting. However, studies have shown that splitting at moderate speed is safer than riding behind a vehicle. Lane splitting has been shown to help reduce the risk of rear-end collisions. Still, lane splitting is not without its risk and can be dangerous if the rider doesn’t have enough space to maneuver or the driver doesn’t see the bike about to merge into their lane.
In California, if the rider was unsafely lane-splitting, they are partially responsible but can still file for compensation because of the comparative negligence rule under which California operates. Comparative negligence allows injured accident victims who are partially responsible for the accident to pursue compensation, but their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to them.
However, if the rider was within their rights and lane splitting safely, then they are not partially to blame, and liability falls on the negligent driver or other negligent parties.
Common Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Accident
Since motorcyclists have less protection than enclosed vehicles, they often sustain injuries requiring immediate attention and may result in life-long medical care. Some of the most common injuries riders sustain during an accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Road rash
- Muscle damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Torn ligaments
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Scarring and disfigurement
Riders need to be aware that they shouldn’t remove their protective gear without the assistance of emergency responders. Removing protective gear can exacerbate an existing injury, so it’s better to wait for professional medical assistance.
Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents
The value of a claim depends on the damages suffered by the victim and the severity of those damages. Catastrophic injuries often mean greater damages because the physical, mental, and emotional pain suffered is greater. However, riders deserve to recover fair compensation whether they suffered a catastrophic injury or a less severe injury like road rash. The best way to ensure you receive maximum and fair compensation is to work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who understands how to accurately calculate damages and aggressively fights for their clients to receive the compensation they are owed.
Possible damages available to a motorcycle accident victim include:
- All past and future medical expenses
- Losses of income
- Disability-related costs
- Motorcycle repairs or replacement
- Legal fees and out-of-pocket costs
- Rental car fees
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damages
- Lost quality of life
- Punitive damages
Generally, motorcycle accidents involve serious to catastrophic injuries that will be worth more than a minor injury claim. They may also result in fatalities that lead to a wrongful death claim. Whether the surviving family or a surviving rider file a claim, the damages they recover will be based on the severity of the victims’ injuries and how greatly they impacted their lives.
Speak With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Santa Rosa Today
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. That’s why the attorneys at Setareh Law are determined to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve to not only cover the damages they’ve suffered but to help them move forward with their lives. Our attorneys understand that this can be challenging for people and will do everything in their power to alleviate some of the stress and fight for our right to fair and just compensation so you can focus on recovering.