Do you need to file a personal injury claim following a motorcycle accident in San Bernardino, CA? At Smith Legal Center, our San Bernardino motorcycle injury attorneys can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and help you recover compensation for your damage. Call us today.
No vehicle beats a motorcycle regarding responsiveness, speed, and maneuverability. However, as a motorcyclist, you are one of the road users with the highest risk of injury.
A motorcycle is small enough to fit in a motorist’s blind spot and is generally less visible than other vehicles. As a motorcycle rider, you are more vulnerable to poor road conditions, such as potholes, crosswinds, debris, and open grate bridges. Motorcycle accidents also tend to be more severe for motorcyclists than for motorists.
The negligent conduct of other road users is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. If you were in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to receive compensation for your physical injuries and financial losses.
At Smith Legal Center, we can provide you with legal representation and advice throughout the claims process, protecting your legal rights. Call us today at (866) 777-6484 and schedule an initial consultation to start the insurance claims process.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in San Bernardino, CA
According to an overview by the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Maintaining unsafe speeds
- Carrying out improper turns
- Driving or bicycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Making unsafe lane changes
Most motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, such as a passenger automobile or truck. However, accidents involving pedestrians, animals, or roadway defects are also common.
When looking at the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, it is clear that negligent conduct plays a significant role. Motorcyclists who ride responsibly generally have a lower risk of colliding with obstructions or other road users. However, you can’t make responsible choices on behalf of other road users.
What Are Injuries You Can Sustain in a Motorcycle Accident?
Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t have impact protection zones or airbags, which means motorcycle riders are vulnerable to various impact, penetration, and abrasion injuries. Common injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes include:
- Road rash: This abrasion injury typically occurs when the motorcyclist slides across the road surface after a collision. In severe cases, the concrete or asphalt surface can scrape the rider’s skin down to the bone.
- Rider’s arm: Nerve damage resulting from impact to the forearms can cause mobility issues or even paralysis.
- Spinal cord or back injuries: A blow to your spinal cord can result in the temporary or permanent loss of sensation, movement, or strength below the injury site. Examples of back injuries due to motorcycle accidents include slipped discs, vertebra displacements, or ligament tears.
- Head injuries: Wearing a motorcycle helmet can significantly reduce your risk of sustaining a brain or head injury. However, even if you are wearing a helmet, you are still at risk of sustaining a concussion, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a motorcycle accident.
- Bone fractures: Broken bones are common motorcycle accident injuries. In severe cases, orthopedic reconstruction might be necessary to repair the fracture. If the patient has a risk of osteomyelitis or a severe infection, surgery might require amputation of the limb.
- Dental and facial injuries: Common facial injuries include bone fractures, scarring, and dental injuries. In some cases, motorcyclists sustain eye damage and vision loss during accidents.
Each motorcycle case is unique, and you might have sustained injuries that don’t appear in this list. The event and your injuries can also cause emotional distress.
Motorcycle Laws in San Bernardino, CA
In San Bernardino, several motorcycle-specific laws apply to reduce the risk of accidents and resulting injuries:
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
Under California state law, motorcyclists must carry the following insurance coverage:
- $15,000 for the bodily injury or death of another person
- $30,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more people in any one accident
- $5,000 for property damages resulting from a collision
Under California Vehicle Code 27803, all motorcycle operators and pillion riders (passengers) must wear a safety helmet that is U.S. DOT-compliant. These helmets have a label that indicates a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 certification.
In San Bernardino and elsewhere in California, it is legal to ride on the line that splits two lanes moving in the same direction.
California was one of the first states to permit lane splitting after UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center conducted an analysis and found that the practice is relatively safe.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for a Personal Injury Case?
If you suffered damages in a San Bernardino motorcycle accident, you might be eligible to pursue compensation under California personal injury law. For your claim to be successful, you must show that:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- The other party breached this duty of care through negligent conduct
- You suffered damages
- Your damages are the result of the other party’s negligence
In the case of a motorcycle accident, the term “duty of care” refers to the legal obligation to obey traffic laws and use the road responsibly. Similarly, the City of San Bernardino’s Operations & Maintenance Division is responsible for repairing potholes that can potentially cause a motorcycle accident.
A person acts negligently if they fail to take reasonable care to prevent harm to themselves or those around them.
Consider the following example: Motorist A is in a hurry and runs a stop sign, colliding with Motorcyclist B and injuring him. A reasonable person in A’s position would have stopped, which means A is liable for B’s damages.
Negligence per se often applies to motorcycle accident accidents. Under this doctrine, an act is negligent if it violates a law, statute, or ordinance. You can prove negligence per se by demonstrating that the other party violated a traffic law at the time of the accident by:
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Following you too closely
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Driving recklessly
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Using their phone
At Smith Legal Center, our San Bernardino accident lawyers can help you gather evidence to build a personal injury claim and establish liability.
What if I Am Also at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
California is one of the pure comparative fault states; you might be eligible to recover damages for a motorcycle accident injury, even if the incident is partially your fault. However, your contribution to the accident will lower the amount you can claim from the other party.
Under a pure comparative negligence standard, you can claim any portion of your damages that the other party caused.
Pursuing Compensation: What Are the Damages Affecting My Claim Amount?
A motorcycle accident can cause a wide range of negative consequences or damages. These damages fall under various categories, depending on their nature. A personal injury claim aims to seek compensation for past and potential future damages resulting from the other driver’s negligence.
These damages include all the financial losses you suffered from the motorcycle accident. Economic damages are generally easy to quantify and prove, and they include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Motorcycle repair costs
Economic damages can include property damages. For example, if your mobile phone broke during the accident, the cost of replacing the device can form part of your claim amount.
Noneconomic damages are subjective losses of a non-monetary nature. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The court may award punitive damages to deter reckless or intentional conduct. For example, you might be eligible to claim this type of damage if someone intentionally collided with your motorcycle during a road rage incident.
Positioning Yourself to Receive a Fair Settlement
After a motorcycle accident occurs, there are several steps you can take to gather evidence of the other driver’s negligence and your damages:
- Contact the police and report the accident
- Document the accident scene with photographs and or video (if possible).
- Collect the names, contact details, and insurance information of other parties involved in the accident. Take pictures of the other person drivers license and insurance documents.
- Collect the names and contact information of all witnesses
- Keep a record of all your medical bills, lost income, repair receipts, and other documents that might be evidence of your economic losses
- Contact our personal injury lawyer at Smith Legal Center as soon as possible after the accident
Remember to seek emergency medical care immediately following a road accident, even if you don’t experience pain or bleeding. Internal bleeding, brain injuries, and other medical issues might not present symptoms directly after impact. Seeking immediate medical care will also make it easier to prove that your injuries and medical costs are due to the motorcycle accident.
Why Hire a San Bernardino Motorcycle Injury Attorney?
Insurance companies are not on your side, and they will pull out all the stops to minimize or deny your claim. However, with professional legal representation from a reputable San Bernardino motorcycle injury attorney such as Smith Legal Center, no insurance company will take advantage of you.
Your San Bernardino motorcycle injury attorney will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts of your case
- Gather evidence to substantiate your claim
- File your claim with the relevant insurance company
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer on your behalf
If you cannot settle with the insurance company, the matter might go to litigation. Your attorney will start the lawsuit on your behalf and represent you throughout the process.
Why Trust Smith Legal Center as Your San Bernardino Motorcycle Injury Attorney?
At Smith Legal Center, our reputable personal injury attorneys have the insight and legal experience to provide sound legal advice and representation. When dealing with insurance companies, we level the playing field and ensure that you are not at a disadvantage. Our knowledgeable San Bernardino motorcycle injury attorneys will fight hard for you.
Call us today at (866) 777-6484 to schedule a free initial consultation.