Long Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Many residents of Southern California enjoy motorcycling, taking advantage of the wonderful California weather. Motorcycles are also a very popular hobby. Despite being an enjoyable means of conveyance, however, motorcycles are also inherently more dangerous than most other types of vehicles, and it is imperative for motorcycle riders to understand the risks that motorcycles present. While there are several ways riders can protect themselves and prevent accidents, it is still important for motorcyclists to know what to do after a motorcycle accident. Reach out to a qualified Long Beach motorcycle accident attorney at the law firm of Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP if you were injured in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another party.
Statistics for California motorcycle accidents
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there are more registered motorcycles in this state than any other state in the country. Unfortunately, this also means that there are plenty of motorcycle accidents that occur each year in California. During the latest reporting year in this state, the OTS recorded 15,328 total injuries and 517 total fatalities caused by motorcycle crashes.
As we will discuss below, motorcycle accidents have various causes, and they can result in severe injuries for victims. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than those inside traditional passenger vehicles. Even when a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet, they can sustain serious, life-threatening injuries.
California Motorcycle Laws
California has some of the most innovative laws in the country for motorcyclists. Failing to understand those laws can have serious consequences if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Long Beach.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
California is one of only 19 states that has a universal helmet law. This law makes it illegal to operate a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, or while any passenger is not wearing a helmet. Helmets must have passed state-approved tests, fit properly and be strapped to the head securely.
Should you be involved in a motorcycle crash as a rider or passenger while not wearing a helmet, California’s rules will find that you are partly responsible for your injuries this will reduce your compensation.
Lane Splitting Rules
A new law went into effect in January 2017 making it legal for motorcyclists to ride between vehicles or lane-split. However, it should be noted that while lane splitting is now legal, it is still incumbent on the motorcycle operator to ensure that the motorcycle is being operated in a safe manner. The law is still being clarified, but motorcyclists should not travel more than 30 mph, or 10 mph faster than the surrounding traffic.
Navigating California’s motorcycle laws after a crash can be difficult. The Long Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP can help you understand what your options are and what compensation you may be entitled to after an accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in Long Beach, CA
Although operating a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car, motorcycles are not involved in more accidents than cars. But when a motorcycle is in an accident, it is more likely to result in serious injury. Learn the common causes of motorcycle accidents to help avoid them as you ride:
- Cars making left turns are the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. These accidents, responsible for 42% of all accidents between a car and a motorcycle, commonly take place when the car is turning left and the motorcycle is going straight through the intersection from the other direction, or the motorcycle is passing the vehicle on the left as it turns. In almost all cases, this accident is the fault of the car driver.
- Speeding and alcohol abuse often go hand in hand and together cause almost half of motorcycle accidents. Speeding may occur even if the motorcycle is traveling slower than the posted limits. Many factors including weather and traffic conditions may make slowing the motorcycle the only safe option. Operating a motorcycle safely often means exercising quick reflexes to avoid road debris or a driver that did not see you. Alcohol reduces your ability to react quickly and contributes to many accidents. Additionally, alcohol degrades inhibitions and makes drivers more likely to operate their motorcycle too fast or recklessly.
- Road hazards cause a great number of motorcycle accidents. Road debris such as chunks of truck tires on the road can cause a rider to lose control of the motorcycle. Dead animals, potholes, and road work can create conditions that make it difficult to control the bike.
While not every accident can be avoided, even by the safest riders, by being aware of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, you can be better prepared and operate your motorcycle safely.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Damages
Motorcycles are open, leaving riders exposed to the elements and external forces. While passenger vehicles offer protection in the form of sturdy frames, doors, and crash-resistant technologies, motorcycles have no such defenses. Additionally, motorcycles are much smaller than most other vehicles on the road, making it difficult for some drivers to notice them and avoid collisions.
Riders are generally at the mercy of their own skill and the safe driving of others. Many riders understand this risk and wear appropriate safety equipment, such as road leathers and helmets. Unfortunately, while these devices may mitigate injuries and save lives, they do not provide 100% protection from injuries in Long Beach motorcycle accidents. Many motorcycle accidents can lead to injuries and damages including:
- Property damage. A motorcycle that has been in a crash is more than likely going to suffer extreme if not total damage.
- Broken bones. Motorcycle riders who fall from their motorcycles are highly likely to break bones upon impact. Bone fractures range from mild hairline breaks that heal easily with time, to serious compound fractures that can become entry points for dangerous infections and diseases.
- Lacerations. Debris from a crash or on the road can lead to deep cuts that require extensive restorative care.
- Spinal cord injuries. When a crash violently throws a motorcyclist from his or her vehicle, he or she may suffer twisting or impact wounds to the spine. Unlike most of the rest of the human body, the spinal cord cannot self-repair, and a spinal cord injury often entails permanent disabilities such as limited mobility or paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). A blow to the head can certainly cause a TBI such as a concussion, and more significant impacts can cause internal bleeding and other life-threatening issues. Even mild concussions can lead to a host of problems that can belong-lasting. Wearing a Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet will not prevent every possible head injury, but they have been proven to save lives.
How will an attorney help a Long Beach motorcycle accident case?
A motorcycle accident case can become incredibly complex, particularly when dealing with aggressive insurance carriers. A skilled Long Beach motorcycle accident attorney will be an invaluable resource for an injured victim. Most motorcycle accident victims do not have the resources or legal experience necessary to pursue the compensation they deserve. Your attorney will be responsible for handling every aspect of the case, which includes:
- Obtaining all evidence necessary to prove liability (photo and video surveillance available, eyewitness statements, accident reports, and more).
- Working with trusted medical professionals to ensure your injuries are properly evaluated and to help calculate your total expenses.
- Handling communications with all parties involved, including insurance carriers, and negotiating a settlement that covers all of your motorcycle accident-related expenses.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Any experienced rider knows that motorcycle riding is more dangerous than driving a car. Good motorcycle riders make safety a priority at all times. Avoid being in an accident by paying attention to these tips for motorcycle safety in Long Beach and Los Angeles County:
- Always wear a helmet. The evidence is clear that motorcycle helmets save lives and protect from serious head injuries and brain damage. It’s not only the safe thing to do but the law. In California, both operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet at all times on a motorcycle.
- Wear protective clothing. A face mask or eye protection is important to preventing accidents and saving your vision. Abrasion-resistant material can save you from months of rehab from road rash. Wear clothing that improves your visibility so other drivers are more likely to see you.
- Drive the right speed for the conditions. Excessive speed is the number one cause of accidents. The right speed is more than just staying under posted speed limits. Rain and fog, poorly maintained roads, and traffic conditions may warrant slowing down to avoid motorcycle crashes and serious personal injury.
- Never drink and ride. Almost half of all Long Beach motorcycle accidents involve speeding or alcohol use. Quick reactions are a necessity for operating a motorcycle safely and alcohol inhibits your ability to react quickly. For safety’s sake and to obey the law, never drink and ride.
- Get professional training. One of the best things you can do to prevent motorcycle accidents is to get training from a professional on the use of your motorcycle. These professionals know the common hazards of riding a bike and can give you the tips and techniques for ensuring that you reach the end of your ride safely.
The lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP want you to be safe on your motorcycle at all times. If you are involved in a motorcycle crash in California, a Long Beach motorcycle accident attorney at our firm can help get you the compensation you deserve and get you back on the road.
Long Beach motorcycle accident statute of limitations
Each state is responsible for setting time limits for victims of traffic accidents to file a civil lawsuit against an at-fault party. These time limits are called the statute of limitations, and they also affect injured motorcyclists. In California, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accident cases is two years. This means that victims injured in a motorcycle accident have two years from the date the accident occurs to file a civil personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their expenses. Any case filed after this two-year time limit will be dismissed, and the victim will lose the ability to obtain compensation for their losses.
Will a motorcycle accident case go to court?
The vast majority of Long Beach motorcycle accident cases are settled out of court. Typically, these cases are resolved through negotiations with the insurance carriers of the parties involved. However, if the insurance carrier of the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit with the court. Even cases that result in lawsuits are usually settled before the case goes all the way to trial.
However, the team at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP has no problem taking a case to trial if that is what is necessary to secure full compensation for their clients.
How much does a Long Beach motorcycle accident attorney cost?
Victims injured in a motorcycle accident are often left struggling financially while they work to secure compensation for the incident. That is why, at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, we take Long Beach motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we charge no upfront or out-of-pocket costs to our clients for their case. We only collect legal fees after we secure a favorable settlement or verdict on behalf of the client.
Compensation for Long Beach Motorcycle Injuries
Long Beach is one of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles and the country to ride a motorcycle. The beautiful weather and scenery combine to make this the perfect place to own and ride a motorcycle. Nevertheless, motorcycle riding always comes with multiple risks for accident and serious injury. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be owed compensation for your damages.
Determining the compensation owed in a motorcycle accident can be complex but an experienced Long Beach motorcycle accident attorney can help. California law has a system of comparative fault. This means that the insurance company or a judge or jury will determine the degree each party was at fault in an accident. If your motorcycle was sideswiped in an accident, it may be determined by the insurance company that the other party was 90% at fault, but your excessive speed contributed 10% to the accident. In such a case, if total damages were found to be $100,000, your compensation would be reduced by the 10% you were found to have contributed to the accident and so you would only receive $90,000.
California law does not place any limits on the damages that may be claimed. Economic damages such as the cost of repairing your motorcycle, lost wages, and medical expenses are covered. Additionally, California law provides for damages from pain and suffering and even the loss of companionship or affection in certain situations.
Determining lost wages may be further complicated if your serious injury continues to keep you out of work in the future. Experts may need to be involved to testify to your earning potential and the amount of wages that will be lost while you remain out of work. Pain and suffering cannot be calculated so easily, and are generally left to the discretion of the judge or jury to determine an exact figure to be awarded.
The Long Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP can provide legal help and assist you in beginning the process of determining exactly what your damages are and how much you may expect in compensation.
How Can a Long Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you have suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident and believe another person’s actions are to blame, it is important to act quickly if you want to recover an acceptable amount of compensation. Depending on the specifics of your case, you could potentially collect repayment for the damage to your motorcycle and other belongings, reimbursement for your medical expenses, and even compensation for the time your injuries forced you to stay home from work, and/or the pain and suffering they caused. If a loved one has died in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim in lieu of a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. In any situation, a qualified Long Beach personal injury attorney will be a tremendous asset to your case.
The lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP want to help injured victims recover the compensation they deserve for the negligent acts of others. Our firm understands the unique challenges facing motorcyclists in the Southern California region and wants them to know we are ready to handle any type of motorcycle accident case. Contact us for more information about California’s motorcycle laws, or let us know if you’d like to consult with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers in Long Beach, CA. To schedule your free initial legal consultation, call our office at (562) 981-1010.