Legal Recourse Motorcycle Accident Injury
Motorcycle accident injury due to others’ negligence can file a lawsuit for damages including lost wages and medical costs. But there are some conditions.
Motorcycle riders must have insurance cover for bodily injury liability within the California state of at least $15,000 per injured person and $30,000 per accident.
Sensible motorcycle riders often carry much more insurance coverage than this legal minimum; as a motorcycle rider himself, attorney Brad Nakase purchase the maximum Uninsured/Under-Insurance coverage (UM/UIM) for himself. When you’re in a motorcycle accident and serious injured, you don’t want to learn that the liable driver has minimum insurance.
If a person has UM/UIM coverage on their bike insurance policy, they may be able to stack it on top of the other driver’s policy limits to get full compensation for the injury.
The claimants are required to prove the following things to establish entitlement to legal damages
- A duty of care between the parties involved (all motorists owe others a duty of care to prevent harm to them)
- The defendant breached that duty of care and their negligent actions led to the accident
- The biker suffered significant injuries and damages
Legal Damages from Motorcycle Wrecks
Bikers may seek compensation in such cases against the economic damages like lost wages and medical expenses; and non-economic damages like injuries and resulting physical and mental suffering, or disfigurement.
Punitive damages are more difficult to seek and prove in California. Generally, the claimant has to prove gross or willful negligence on part of the other motorist to be awarded punitive damages. If a bike rider has uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM), he or she may rely on this coverage to cover all the damages. In case of an unfortunate road happening, calling an expert San Diego motorcycle accident attorney is an important first step to protecting your rights.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect Bike Accident Cases?
California is a pure comparative fault state. This means that for recovering damages, the plaintiff’s money recovery is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility. For example, if a plaintiff was 30 percent at fault in an accident and suffered damages amounting to $100,000, the award would be $70,000 ($100,000 minus 30 percent fault).
- The comparative fault may be particularly applicable in case the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, it important to see the assistance of a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you understand comparative fault.
For example, if a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, it might not come into play if the rider suffered a broken leg because the helmet had nothing to do with the injury. However, if the biker suffers a severe neck or head injury, the defendant or their insurance companies could argue that the severity of the injury was caused because of the absence of helmet, and the injured biker is therefore partially at fault. In other words, if the injury would not have been prevented or lessened by the helmet, the non-use of a helmet should not be relevant to a motorcycle injury case.
Major Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The most common and leading factor in crashes with a motorcycle is the failure of the other motorist to see the bike prior to the impact. This problem is so prevalent that the California state has a program on educating the public about looking for bikes. The project is called “Share the road – look twice for motorcycles”.
Typical Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
- A car turns left in front of a biker
- A vehicle changes lane hitting the motorcycle
- The bike is hit from the rear by a speeding vehicle
- Alcohol is also a factor in many single vehicle-bike wrecks
What Steps Should be Taken After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, the priority should be getting medical attention.
In case of serious injuries, it is difficult for anyone to get necessary information at the motorcycle accident site. Normally, the officers investigating the accident would talk to the other driver and get their insurance coverage, and visit the biker in the hospital, if needed.
Important details to obtain at the crash site:
- Insurance information of the driver who is at fault
- Photographs of the scene and injuries
- The contact information of witnesses
In case of a road crash, the most important thing is to get treatment for your injuries. Don’t try to tough it out, or you may find out later that you have suffered more severe injuries than thought initially. Delay in getting medical attention can hurt both your body and your case. Also, you must follow up with a doctor, as recommended during the emergency treatment. If you do not have health insurance, you might still receive medical care without paying for it up-front.
If you don’t have health insurance, attorney Brad Nakase as your motorcycle accident lawyer will refer you to a team of caring doctors who will treat you on a lien basis. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the possible options.
Contact with the Adjuster
Try not to give a recorded phone interview to the adverse insurance company following an accident. Even if you choose to give a phone interview, you must talk to a bike accident lawyer first. Many of the best motorcycle accident attorneys offer free consultations.
Choosing an Accident Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Do your homework before signing any contract with a lawyer. Spend a little time learning about the past cases of accidents involving motorbikes, and reading about former clients of an attorney. Referrals from family and friends can be a starting point, but it is essential that you feel comfortable with the motorcycle accident lawyer you are going to hire.
Contacting and consulting a reputable motorcycle accident lawyer who defended insurance companies a good first step.