One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in California, in my experience, is vehicles making left-hand turns in front of motorcycles. When vehicles make left-hand turns, they often don’t see the motorcyclist, either because they’re not paying attention or because they misjudge the speed.
Other common cause of motorcycle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions, where vehicles come across the dividing line of the roadway.
- Drunk driving, either by the person driving the vehicle, the person driving the motorcycle, or both
- Motorcycles splitting lanes and vehicles making quick lane changes trying to save time in traffic
- Road hazards.
- People texting and looking at their phones
Many different things can cause a motorcyclist to go down.
As A Driver Or Passenger Of A Motorcycle, Am I Required To Wear A Helmet Or Other Safety Gear In California? How Would It Impact A Personal Injury Case If The Injured Party Was Not Wearing Any Safety Equipment?
California requires motorcyclists—both operators and their passengers—to wear helmets. If you are not wearing a helmet, California law will allow that fact as an acceptable defense by the person you are suing for damages. This means that if you are in a motorcycle accident and you suffer a head injury that you would not have sustained (or that would not have been as severe) if you had been wearing a helmet, the defendant may not be found liable for the injury.
This is commonly referred to as a seatbelt defense. Essentially, if you’re not wearing a seatbelt (or other required safety gear) and get into an accident, a defendant that you are suing for personal injury damages can claim that fact as a defense. In some cases, this leads to the damages becoming “unrecoverable”, meaning the defendant gets out of paying your damages.
What Are Some Of The Defenses That Insurance Companies Use To Try To Limit Or Deny Personal Injury Claims Involving Motorcycles?
Insurance companies (as well as their attorneys and expert witnesses) lean heavily on the biases drivers develop against motorcyclists. Most car drivers have witnessed motorcyclists driving very fast, whipping through traffic, and generally being reckless. Insurance companies often try to paint every motorcyclist as the same unsafe person. They essentially try to characterize the motorcyclist as assuming the risk of danger, simply because they’re on a motorcycle.
A motorcyclist has a right to exist on the road. They have a right to the lane that they’re in and if they’re conducting themselves in a safe manner, they have a right not to be injured by someone who is not paying attention or is negligent. Still, many tactics used by insurance companies really just come down to leaning on biases against motorcyclists for the jury. They’ll try to say the motorcyclist was driving too fast for the conditions on the road, even though they were driving within the speed limit. They’ll try to say that the motorcyclist made an unsafe lane change. They’ll come up with a whole host of things to try and turn the jury against the motorcyclist. Unfortunately, insurance companies have virtually endless supplies of money and experts on their payroll that are willing to say what needs to be said. They will do pretty much anything in order to avoid paying a just compensation to an injured party.
Why Do I Need To Hire A Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney To Help Me Get A Fair Settlement In My Personal Injury Case?
You need to seek out an experienced attorney to represent you in a motorcycle injury case for the same reason you need seek out a doctor to treat you when you sustain a serious motorcycle injury. Certain issues are very serious and require the services and treatment of a professional. This is true for medical issues as well as legal issues.
In a motorcycle personal injury case, you just want to have an experienced motorcycle attorney looking for your best interest. Your opponent will almost always be an insurance company, and insurance companies have their own attorneys, doctors, and expert witnesses. They also, as mentioned above, have virtually endless resources, and will do everything possible to avoid paying you just compensation.
Insurance companies are very good at collecting policies, but they do not like to pay out claims, even for people that have been severely injured due to their insured’s negligent acts. For more information on Personal Injury Law in California, a free initial consultation is your next best step.