Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
California is home to much of the U.S. motorcycle industry. According to the UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research & Education Center, there are over 800,000 registered motorcycles in this state, followed by 550,000 in Florida and 445,000 in Texas.
Due to this high number, California is also one of the top states when it comes to motorcycle fatalities. Between 2011 and 2015, 2,299 motorcyclists suffered fatal injuries either during or soon after a traffic collision. During the same period, 59,745 riders were injured.
Motorcyclists are at increased risk of catastrophic injury because they aren’t protected like those in a car, bus, truck, or another larger vehicle. As a result, these injuries are often fatal, and those who survive may live with catastrophic injuries, such as head trauma, brain damage, amputations, paralysis, and other severely debilitating conditions.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a negligent motorist, your next call should be to a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA. At the law firm of Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP, we represent motorcycle accident victims throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California. Our goal is to help you protect your future by securing maximum compensation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles
Motorcycle accidents are typically caused by operator error. Listed below are some examples of common behaviors that may result in a crash.
Driving at a speed that exceeds the posted limit or is unsafe for the weather or road conditions can put you at risk for losing control. At high speeds, cars and motorcycles are more difficult to control and take longer to stop, making a collision more likely.
Impaired Driving or Riding
In the United States, about 28 people die every day from drunk driving crashes. Vehicle drivers and motorcycle operators who are impaired may experience vision problems, poor judgment, and slowed reflexes, making it impossible to maintain control of the vehicle. Distracted driving, which is when a motorist is not paying full attention to the road ahead, can result in an equally devastating outcome.
Left-Turning Automobiles and Trucks
Motorcyclists face a serious threat of injury when automobile drivers make a left-hand turn and fail to see the motorcycle passing them on the left.
Unsafe Lane Changes
When drivers change lanes, they might not see a motorcycle in their blind spot. By being aware of blind spots and avoiding riding within them, motorcycle riders can reduce the risk of a collision with a lane-changing vehicle.
The practice of lane splitting, also known as lane filtering, occurs when motorcycle riders attempt to make up time by riding between lanes of slow or stopped traffic. Those drivers who don’t expect a motorcycle to be riding up on them could move their vehicles into the motorcycle’s path, causing a traffic accident.
The average motorcycle weighs only a few hundred pounds, while a car weighs approximately 5,000 pounds, so bikers have little chance of emerging from a collision unscathed, regardless of how much protective gear they wear. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Bone fractures
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injury and other head injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Wrongful death (with a fatal accident)
At Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP, an experienced attorney will go over your medical treatment records, the police report, eyewitness statements, and other evidence in your case to determine who was liable and to what extent. Even if you were partially responsible for the accident, you may still be able to recover financial compensation. We will explain your legal options for financial recovery following your motorcycle collision.
Liability in a CA Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Generally speaking, California is a ‘fault state’ for motorcycle accidents. This means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver is responsible for paying your damages. If they were uninsured at the time of the accident, you may turn to your uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage policy or sue the driver directly.
In certain cases, injured motorcyclists may file a claim for compensation against an additional liable party. For example:
- If you were struck by a commercial vehicle, you may be able to file a motorcycle injury claim against the driver’s employer.
- If investigators determine that a defective component, such as the braking system, caused the accident, you may have a product liability claim against the car or motorcycle manufacturer.
- If a state or local government failed to maintain the road where your motorcycle accident occurred, they may be liable for your injuries. Uneven lanes, road debris, large potholes, and worn road markings are signs of poor road conditions and maintenance.
Identifying the responsible party for a devastating collision, whether it be a distracted driver or careless government agency, can be challenging and time-consuming. Let an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP investigate and determine liability for your injuries so you can focus on yourself and your family.
Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
In California, a motorcycle accident victim can file a claim for any financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses arising from severe injuries. There are two kinds of losses: economic damages, which can be quantified through medical bills and receipts, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, which are more difficult to quantify but still compensable in this state. Depending on the losses you suffered, you may be able to claim:
- Current and past medical costs
- Ongoing medical expenses and other future losses
- Rehabilitative therapies such as physical therapy and psychological counseling
- Loss of income
- Disability or another permanent injury
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages (for fatal motorcycle accidents)
- Property damage (for a motorcycle wreck)
If the negligent driver who struck you or the company that employed them was especially reckless, you may also be able to collect punitive damages, otherwise known as exemplary damages. The experienced lawyers at Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP can pursue punitive damages on your behalf if, for example, a drunk driver who struck you has a long history of DUI arrests on their record.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in LA or CA?
If you’ve been struck while riding your motorcycle, the first thing you want to do is check yourself for injuries. Should you be in serious pain or see visible signs of injury, such as blood or broken bones, don’t move. Instead, ask a bystander to call 911 for you. If you can move, do so carefully and take yourself to a place of safety, such as the side of the road, before calling emergency services.
While you’re waiting for the police and, if necessary, an ambulance, get the motorist’s contact information as well as their insurance details. If they left without stopping, ask any witnesses if they noticed the at-fault party’s license plate. Even if they didn’t, get their contact information, as their statements can support your version of events later on. If your phone wasn’t damaged, take pictures of the accident scene, with emphasis on evidence such as skid marks, road debris, or a huge pothole.
When the police arrive, they will create an accident report that you will need later when you file a personal injury claim. At this point, if you haven’t gone to the emergency room in an ambulance, get medical care as soon as possible, even if you think you’ve only suffered a few bruises. Many motorcycle injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and whiplash, do not show symptoms immediately, so prompt medical attention is recommended. You also want to get medical documentation of your injuries to support your legal claim.
After a major accident, insurance adjusters from the parties responsible for the accident will contact you. You need to remember that even if they appear concerned, their goal is to pay you the least amount possible, so anything you say will be used against you. Your best option is to get legal representation from a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney who can handle all negotiations with the insurance company or companies. An experienced lawyer can help ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
What if I Was Partly At Fault for My Motorcycle Accident?
If you believe that you contributed in some way to the accident, you may wonder if you still qualify for monetary compensation. In most cases, yes. What you need to know is that under California’s comparative negligence laws, your financial recovery will be adjusted to reflect your percentage of fault for the accident.
For example, if your financial losses (e.g., medical bills, lost wages) are valued at $10,000 but you are 40% at fault for the collision because you were lane splitting or not wearing a motorcycle helmet, the other driver’s insurer will only pay the $6,000 that represents their policyholder’s degree of liability. Insurance companies are notorious for assigning unfair blame to minimize payouts, but our motorcycle attorneys will fight for a fair settlement.
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Crash Lawsuit in CA?
You must file a motorcycle accident injury claim as soon as possible to ensure you meet the statute of limitations, which limits how long you can pursue legal action. In California, victims of motorcycle accidents must make their claim within two years of discovering their injury. Courts typically dismiss compensation claims that are not filed within that time limit.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t wait to act. You should contact an experienced and skilled lawyer in Los Angeles right away. The attorneys at Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP ensure that missed filing deadlines don’t impact your chance at fair compensation.
Get an Experienced Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney on Your Side
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys. Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP has obtained favorable verdicts and settlements for past clients and will aim to do the same for you. We work on a contingency-fee basis so you will not owe us any money unless we win your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer, contact us today.