Orange County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Every year in the United States, approximately 50,000 people will suffer injuries sustained from motorcycle accidents and 3,000 will die. As a result of the increased vulnerability on the road and the recklessness of other drivers, motorcycle injuries are extremely devastating, often resulting in injuries to the spinal cord, among a variety of other catastrophic injuries. Accidents involving motorcycles require a specialized understanding of the law. Given the numerous issues that may arise in a motorcycle injury or accident case, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before signing any papers or admitting guilt.
If you or a loved one has sustained motorcycle injuries or death as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses, suffering and potential future earnings if the person’s income supported the family. Let the competent and caring personal injury attorneys at Aitken Aitken Cohn evaluate your case FREE of charge and determine your best course of action. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation or call us at (714) 434-1424.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
In many cases, motorcycle accidents are caused by another party’s negligent actions or inactions, product or manufacturing defects, hazards on the road, etc. The following are factors that often result in severe injuries:
- Poor weather like rain, snow, strong winds, and hail – Not only can the weather itself make it more dangerous to ride a motorcycle but so can the actions of other drivers in adverse weather conditions. Some drivers—especially those in large trucks or SUVs—believe they can continue to drive fast despite poor visibility or slick roads. These drivers may not see a motorcycle in the rain or fog and may not stop in time due to icy or wet roads.
- Defective motorcycle parts, such as tires, shocks, or careless maintenance – Motorcycle manufacturers have the duty to sell bikes that are safe for use. If a motorcycle has defective components, those parts can malfunction and result in a crash. For example, a motorcyclist may be on the highway when defective brakes fail and they lose control of their bike and collide with another vehicle. In addition, if a mechanic did not properly repair or perform maintenance as they should, malfunctions can occur.
- Vision obstructions such as buildings or traffic that make motorcyclists less visible to other drivers – Roads should be designed with maximum visibility. In addition, drivers should know when their vision may be obstructed and should pay as close attention to the road as possible. When a driver is already distracted, there is a greater chance they will not see a motorcyclist, especially if there visual obstructions. In fact, distracted drivers are a common cause of motorcycle collisions.
- Violation of a motorcyclists right of way – Like any other vehicle on the road, motorcyclists have the right of way in certain situations. However, some drivers may be impatient with motorcyclists and may fail to properly yield to them. When a driver cuts off a motorcycle, the motorcyclist may crash into the vehicle or may be pushed off the road.
- Other driver’s failure to comply with traffic laws – Everyone on the road is expected to comply with all California traffic laws. The traffic code is extensive, though drivers should be well aware of when certain driving behaviors are illegal. Common violations that lead to motorcycle accidents include speeding, failing to yield, running traffic signals, tailgating, aggressive driving, reckless driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, and more.
- Road hazards including debris, potholes, puddles, and uneven pavement – It is already significantly more difficult to operate a motorcycle than to drive a regular car, as you have to constantly keep your balance. Any hazard in the road can throw you off balance and you may not be able to recover. In addition, if you hit a pothole, your front tire may stop and you may fly forward off your motorcycle. These are only some of many ways that dangerous road hazards can cause motorcyclists to crash.
Conditions that cause motorcycle accidents and injuries can arise when you least expect it and without warning. One moment, you are riding your motorcycle and enjoying the California sunshine and the next, you are lying on the pavement with obvious injuries, in fear for your life. What happens in just an instant can then have consequences and effects that can persist for months, years, or even permanently. Your entire life can be altered and you can face a long, painful recovery, as well as overwhelming financial losses.
If you believe another party caused your motorcycle accident, you should never hesitate to call our Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys for help.
Devastating Injuries to Motorcyclists
The consequences of a motorbike accident are usually severe—nearly 80 percent of all cases end in serious injury or death. A wide variety of injuries can result from a crash, as nearly every part of a motorcyclist’s body is exposed to the impact with another vehicle, the pavement, or another object. Many motorcyclists suffer multiple injuries to multiple parts of their body, including severe injuries that are not visible to the eye. While every case is different, some of the most frequent injuries include:
- Internal organ damage – Any time the body experiences a severe trauma, injuries not only can occur on the outside but internally, as well. Motorcyclists can suffer a range of internal injuries, including punctured lungs, damage to the spleen, kidneys, or liver, broken pelvis or ribs, abdominal aortic aneurysm, ruptured diaphragm, and more. While you may not be able to see these injuries immediately, they require emergency care or they can be life-threatening. Every motorcycle accident victim should undergo an immediate evaluation to determine whether they have suffered any internal injuries.
- Bone fractures – Many of us have sustained a broken bone or two and it may not seem like that serious of an injury. However, even minor broken bones need medical attention and can keep you from working, driving, or engaging in other regular activities. Motorcycle accidents can often result in significantly more serious broken bones, as well. Multiple fractures or compound fractures can require surgery, as doctors often must insert hardware into the bone for it to heal properly. Sometimes, subsequent surgeries are required, and each one will have a significant recovery time. If a motorcycle lands on top of a rider, a bone may be shattered or crushed and doctors may never be able to repair it.
- Loss of limbs – As just mentioned, sometimes crushed limbs are not repairable, even with multiple surgeries. In such cases, the limb may need to be amputated and replaced with a prosthetic. Motorcycle accidents can sometimes result in a severed extremity or limb, as well, and doctors may not be able to reattach it. Any amputation—even of a finger—can significantly change the way you live. In addition, even basic prosthetics are expensive and must be replaced over time, leading to ongoing costs for the rest of your life. Losing a body part can also be physically and emotionally painful.
- Permanent disability such as paraplegia and quadriplegia – The spinal cord is particularly susceptible to damage and injury in a motorcycle accident. When the spinal cord is severed or seriously injured, victims can be permanently paralyzed below the injury. If the injury is in the lower spine, they may suffer from paraplegia, which is paralysis of the pelvis and legs. If the injury is in the upper spine, they may suffer from quadriplegia, which is the loss of functioning of all four limbs and the torso. Paralysis may also affect the functioning of certain organs, including the lungs, bladder, bowels, and sexual organs. Complete paralysis is irreversible and, needless to say, devastating and life-altering for victims and their families.
- Long-term damage to soft tissue and skin (road rash) – “Road rash” is a friction burn that occurs when a motorcyclist’s skin comes in contact with a rough surface, such as pavement or a gravel shoulder of a highway. Like any other burn, friction burns can damage many layers of skin and can require burn treatments to prevent infection. Such burns can often leave a victim with permanent scars. Motorcycle accidents can also cause tears and other damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles, which may require extensive physical therapy or surgery.
- Traumatic brain injury – Many, many motorcyclists hit their heads in a crash. Even if a motorcyclist is wearing an approved safety helmet, such violent head trauma can still result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI occurs when the brain hits the skull, damaging the brain tissue. Depending on where the injury occurs in the brain, this injury can cause cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral disabilities. Some TBI victims can recover with months or years of rehabilitation, however, many will be left with permanent disabilities. This is known as a “silent” injury, since it is not visibly obvious, so it can be particularly difficult to live with.
Any of the above injuries can disrupt your life. Whether you need weeks of rest and recovery, months of physical therapy, or experience years of struggles, most motorcycle injuries can be extremely difficult to handle. They can prevent you from working, caring for your family, participating in physical and recreational activities, or even from caring for yourself. All of this is in addition to the debilitating medical bills you will likely face.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys have seen how severe injuries can affect the lives of our clients. We always make the maximum effort to stand up for the rights of accident victims and aggressively negotiate for the settlement they deserve. We do not back down until each client receives the best possible result, which is the least they deserve after suffering through such devastating injuries.
Your Rights as a Motorcyclist
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death on a motorcycle, you may be able to recover your damages including medical bills, lost income or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, another driver, product manufacturer, government entity, or another negligent third party should be held accountable for your losses.
The first step in any motorcycle accident case is for a skilled attorney to review what happened and identify potentially liable parties. As mentioned, such parties may be individuals, companies, agencies, or organizations, and in some situations, more than one party may be held responsible. For example, if a delivery driver crashed into your motorcycle while he was on the job, his employer may likely also be held liable for your injuries and losses.
It is then important to get an idea of what your claim is worth. You cannot simply ask for general compensation—instead, you must specify your losses and prove their value. For medical expenses and lost income, we can review the bills you have received and your pay statements. However, other losses are not that straightforward to calculate. If you will need ongoing medical care, you can recover for future medical expenses. Often, this requires the analysis of an expert familiar with the treatment needed for your prognosis and the estimated costs for such treatment. It can also be difficult to calculate future lost earnings if you are unable to return to your job.
Other losses are not based on financial records at all. For serious injuries, victims can seek compensation for intangible damages, such as pain and suffering, permanent injuries, and loss of enjoyment of life. It can be challenging to put a dollar amount on your extensive physical and mental suffering, however, our attorneys know how to evaluate your situation and determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
While the law gives you the right to seek damages from any negligent parties, the process of doing so it not always easy. Not surprisingly, other parties are not so willing to hand over the compensation you seek. We know this process is stressful, so our legal team handles each and every step for you, keeping you fully informed of any new developments.
Causes of Orange County Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by the recklessness of other drivers, product defects or poor weather conditions. Each accident has unique circumstances, however, most of the common factors that result in accidents and injuries include:
- The negligence of another driver while switching lanes.
- Obstructions on the road, such as other vehicles that make it hard for drivers of other vehicles to see the motorcyclist.
- Harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, high winds or fog.
- Product or manufacturing defects in the bike, or inadequate maintenance/repairs.
- Potholes, puddles, uneven pavement, debris.
How we will seek compensation on your behalf will depend largely on what caused your crash and the nature of your damages. While some law firms treat every case like a file number, we know each client and claim has unique needs and concerns and we handle every case with the individualized attention it deserves.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Often, seeking compensation begins with an insurance claim. This could be a claim with a driver’s auto insurance or a company’s liability insurance, among others. Insurance companies will try to limit liability whenever they can, so you will likely receive an extremely disappointing and inadequate offer. Never accept any insurance offer without first having a skilled lawyer handle your claim.
Our attorneys review settlement offers and negotiate for the amount you truly deserve. If an adequate offer does not follow, we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit in civil court. We handle every aspect of your litigation, always working toward a fair settlement agreement for you. We know all the tricks that insurers and adverse parties use to attempt to avoid liability and know how to challenge their arguments.
The adverse party will often try to defend against claims by stating you, as the motorcyclist, also acted negligently. Whether the responsibility for your accident lies completely with another driver, or if you share some of the responsibility as the motorcycle operator, it is imperative that you have skillful legal representation. Perhaps you were looking the other way and were distracted when a driver cut you off—you should still consult with an attorney.
California law follows the concept of comparative negligence. This means that an accident victim can still recover for their losses from another negligent party, even if they were partially at fault. If it is determined that you were 20 percent at fault and another driver was 80 percent at fault, your recovery would simply be limited to 80 percent of your losses. Never be deterred because someone claims you contributed to the crash. Always discuss your opportunities for recovery with an attorney who can advise you of your rights based on your specific situation.
Contact an Orange County Motorcycle Accident Law Firm
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating and stressful for everyone involved and you can be sure the negligent party will not provide compensation without a fight. The law firm of Aitken Aitken Cohn has successfully helped many motorcycle accident victims move forward with their lives with the financial recovery they deserve. We handle complex accident and injury cases and are ready to discuss a possible claim with you. For more information about your legal rights and options, please contact us today or call us at (714) 434-1424 to consult a qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney FREE of charge.