Orange County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycles and their riders are more vulnerable to serious injuries in traffic accidents than other types of vehicles. Car drivers often blame motorcyclists after they have caused an accident by saying things like, “I didn’t see them.” This is why it is crucial to consult with an Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer who can first investigate all the facts of the case and then obtain fair compensation for future medical treatment for riders when in a motorcycle accident.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney right away because some injuries will linger for a long period or grow worse with time. In addition, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in wrongful death or leave victims incapacitated with a severe brain or spinal cord injury. Additionally, different rules may apply to collisions involving motorcycles.
Another common injury from motorcycle accidents is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Anytime a motorcycle driver is involved in an accident, they should be checked for a concussion, which can lead to a TBI, and these injuries should be handled with special care and attention by a motorcycle accident attorney who is experienced with TBI cases.
Corrales Law Group has been successful in obtaining compensation even in some cases where a police report puts the motorcyclist at fault because we understand concepts like “lane splitting.” Our firm has successfully represented numerous motorcyclists throughout California and has extensive experience with head injuries and TBI cases.
Since 2012, we have assisted our clients in recovering millions of dollars in settlement awards for injuries sustained, and we are many CA residents’ first choice for Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys. Once you speak to a member of the Corrales Law Group legal team about your case, we are confident we will be your first choice, as well.
We are a bilingual law firm that is dedicated to defending the rights of our clients and guiding them to obtain the justice and retribution they rightfully deserve.
Why Motorcyclists Injured in an Accident Need an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
There are many ways personal injury attorneys can benefit injured motorcyclists in their personal injury claims. Some of the most advantageous reasons are described below.
- Personal injury attorneys have in-depth knowledge and experience when it comes to motorcycle accident cases. They understand the laws, regulations, and precedents and how to apply them to each unique case. They can navigate the legal system effectively on behalf of their clients and optimize the outcome of their settlement.
- Personal injury attorneys can maximize the compensation that injured motorcyclists can receive in their settlement. The primary goal of an attorney is to maximize compensation for injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages for both the client and the contingency fee of the lawyer.
- A personal injury attorney can gather evidence, meticulously review a case, and work with reconstruction specialists and other professionals, including medical professionals, to create a compelling argument for adequate compensation for the plaintiff.
- Personal injury attorneys have excellent negotiating and litigating skills. They are particularly well-versed in negotiating with insurance companies and insurance adjusters, as well as other parties that may be involved in the claim. This is one of the most important skills an experienced attorney can bring to the table in regards to influencing your case because insurance companies are in the business of denying claims and can be very intimidating to plaintiffs without representation.
- Personal injury attorneys can offer personalized attention and support, and they understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll that accidents take on motorcyclists. They can answer all the questions and explain all the legal proceedings in an easy-to-understand manner.
- In general, clients who hire a personal injury attorney to help with their claim tend to have a better overall outcome of their case.
Common Injuries Often Incurred By Motorcycle Accidents in Orange County
Some of the most common injuries sustained by motorcycle drivers when they’re involved in accidents with other motor vehicles are described below.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – These head injuries are considered head traumas, and they are common with motorcycle accidents even when drivers are wearing proper helmets. These injuries occur when brain tissue hits the skull and gets damaged. Various disabilities and related injuries can result from a TBI. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries and victims of concussions should always be checked for long term cognitive problems. TBI, and any injured motorcyclist who is diagnosed with a TBI should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
- Broken Bones – Broken bones are one of the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents, and they often occur due to the force of impact when a larger vehicle hits a motorcycle and driver or when the driver hits the ground.
- Loss of Limbs – Motorcycle crashes often result in crushed or lost limbs, including arms and legs. When the limb is unrepairable despite extensive surgeries and therapy, the limb must be removed and replaced with a prosthetic. This can result in a great deal of inconvenience and a change in the quality of life for the motorcycle driver, as well as extremely high medical bills. These injuries necessitate an increased settlement award. However, in many cases, insurance companies will try to avoid compensating motorcyclists adequately for their injuries. These situations require a personal injury attorney to fight for a plaintiff’s deserved award amount.
- Damage to Internal Organs – Internal injuries occur when the body experiences a traumatic blow, and they often occur as a result of motorcycle crashes. Examples of internal organ damage include ruptured diaphragm, damage to kidneys, liver, or spleen, punctured lung, or broken ribs.
- Spinal Cord Injury – A spinal cord injury often leads to permanent disability. Depending on the damage severity and injury that results, motorcyclists may become paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result of these injuries. At the very least, they are significantly debilitating.
- Road Rash – Road Rash involves skin damage and soft tissue damage that occurs when a motorcycle driver is thrown off of the bike when an accident occurs at high speeds. Friction between the skin and the asphalt or concrete can significantly burn deep layers of skin, resulting in the painful and physically damaging condition referred to as road rash.
- Wrongful Death – In extreme cases of motorcycle accidents, a motorcyclist may die as a result of another at-fault driver. In these cases, it is possible for the family of the deceased motorcyclist to receive compensation for the loss of wages and medical bills as well as the pain and suffering incurred as a result of the death of the driver.
Motorcycle Accidents Common Causes
Motorcycle accidents occur for a number of reasons, including the irresponsibility of other drivers on the road. Below is an explanation of possible causes of motorcycle accidents.
- Carelessness of Other Drivers – This is one of the most frequent causes of accidents involving motorcycles and other drivers. When other drivers are careless in regard to the laws of the road or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they often have disregard for motorcycle drivers.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Laws – When drivers fail to obey Orange County traffic laws, motorcyclists are often the victim of their irresponsibility. Traffic laws are in place for an important reason, and that is to prevent accidents. Thus, when drivers do not obey traffic laws, they are often the cause of an accident. Because drivers are not consciously aware of motorcycles and due to the general misunderstanding of traffic laws regarding motorcycles, motorcyclists are more at risk for accidents that are a result of other drivers’ failure to obey the laws of the road.
- Right of Way Violation – In California, motorcyclists have the right of way. However, oftentimes, other impatient drivers don’t give motorcyclists the right of way. This significantly increases the chance of a biker being pushed off of their bike or crashing into another car.
- Defective Equipment or Parts – When the manufacturer of a motorcycle sells a product, they must ensure that it is safe to use. If parts end up being faulty and causing an accident, it is most often grounds for a personal injury insurance claim. Additionally, if a mechanic fails to properly repair a motorcycle, they can also be held liable for damage incurred from an accident due to their improper servicing of the motorbike.
- Poor Visibility – Another common cause of accidents involving motorcyclists is due to poor visibility. Inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, strong winds, or hail, doubles the risk of motorcycle accidents because other drivers are careless when they drive on slick roads. Motorcyclists are encouraged to wait to ride until weather conditions improve.
- Visual Obstructions – Visual obstructions often cause motorcycle accidents. Examples of visual obstructions include signs and other objects that impair the view of other drivers, causing difficulty for them to see motorcyclists, especially when they are not consciously aware of motorcyclists. These objections can also lead to distracted driving, which can also cause motorcycle crashes.
- Hazardous Roadways – When hazards in the road, such as debris, potholes, uneven pavement, or puddles, are in the way of the flow of traffic, motorcyclists and other drivers must often quickly veer in order to avoid these obstacles. This oftentimes leads to the motorcycle driver getting thrown off or colliding with another vehicle.
What Makes Motorcycle Accidents Unique from Other Types of Auto Accidents?
California has the most motorcyclists nationwide, with more than 800,000 registered motorcycles statewide. It may be because California is one of the most beautiful states to ride in and has some of the most scenic roadways in the country.
In Orange County alone, the Pacific Coast Highway affords breathtaking views of the ocean, while Ortega Highway lines the twisting California countryside with beautiful alpine vistas and the picturesque Santiago Canyon Road rides through the desert. Consequently, though, more motorcycle riders mean more motorcycle crashes here.
Another important detail that can affect motorcycle accidents in California is the law that legalizes lane splitting. Lane splitting is when a two-wheeled vehicle, with both wheels on the ground, passes through rows of cars, namely in traffic, for the purpose of allowing for improved traffic flow and the alleviation of traffic congestion. Lane splitting is an effective driving tactic when used properly and in accordance with CA state laws.
Lane splitting is oftentimes controversial because California is the only state in the country that allows it. Because of the inherent danger associated with lane splitting, there are specific conditions attached to the law that motorcyclists must follow to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads. This is especially true because non-motorcycle drivers aren’t always familiar with the fact that lane splitting is legal and the requirements it involves.
State law explains motorcyclists may only split a lane in traffic that is moving no more than 40 mph; thus, it is legal to lane split when traffic is slowly moving or stopped. In addition, motorcyclists must not go more than 10 mph faster than the traffic they are moving through when lane splitting. This is important because the faster a motorcycle is going, the more likely it is to get into an accident.
There is no restriction on which roads lane splitting is allowed on. Motorcyclists may share lanes in undivided and divided streets and highways. Theoretically, the allowance of lane splitting means there is less traffic on the roads and less opportunity for accidents to occur when all the rules of the road are properly followed by both motorcyclists and other automobile drivers.
Motorcycle Laws in California
It is important for motorcyclists to follow all requirements of the road to remain safe but also, in the event of an accident, to not be held responsible for causing the accident by not following all the laws of the road. Below are some of the most important motorcycle laws in California:
- All bikes built and registered after January of 1973 are required to have rear and front turning signals that work properly. If your turning signals do not work properly, you cannot communicate with other drivers to ensure safe maneuvering of turns. In addition, brakes, tires, rearview mirrors, and horns must also be in good operating condition.
- Motorcyclists in California driving any motorcycle model year 1978 or later must have their multi-beam headlight on at all times while riding. Furthermore, a taillight and license plate light are also required to function properly.
- Motorcycles must have properly positioned passenger footrests that allow passengers to place their feet on them.
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot be positioned where the driver’s hands are located more than six inches higher than their shoulders. Motorcycle riders who purchased their motorbike after 2013 can be cited for aftermarket exhaust systems that are non-compliant with current standards.
- Motorcycle drivers must have a proper driver’s license. You must have completed a motorcycle rider training course if you’re under the age of 18, and you must be at least 16 years old and have had a learner’s permit for at least six months prior to driving a motorcycle. Motorcycle drivers over the age of 18 must pass a written knowledge test and pass a vision exam.
- There are three types of motorcycle licenses issued in California depending on what type of bike you are riding:
- An M1 License allows motorcyclists to operate any motorcycle, including motorized scooters and other operable vehicles with two wheels.
- An M2 license limits motorcyclists’ privileges to those of motorized scooters, motorized bicycles, and mopeds. Both M1 and M2 licenses require the passing of a written exam and a writing skills test or a certificate of completion for an approved motorcycle training program.
- A Class C driver’s license allows the operation of three-wheeled motorcycles.
- California motorcycle riders must always wear the appropriate helmet for their vehicle and follow all motorcycle helmet rules. Motorcycle helmets must be US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved with a sticker of approval indicating DOT certification, and all riders must wear a helmet. In accidents involving speeds less than 30 mph, a US DOT-compliant motorcycle safety helmet can significantly reduce the severity of head injuries and TBIs by as much as 50%. Non-approved helmets lack the strength and ability to protect riders at necessary levels.
- Carrying the required minimum limit for motorcycle bike insurance is a must for motorcyclists in California. State law requires a minimum of $5,000 in property damage coverage as well as a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury insurance coverage for individuals or $30,000 for multiple people.
- All California motorcycles must be registered and titled.
Motorcycle Riding Tips
The following tips are encouraged to reduce the potential for accidents or the potential for a rider to be at fault for an accident.
- Don’t ride in bad weather conditions, especially if roads are icy.
- Avoid sudden stopping, starting, and turning.
- Make eye contact with drivers to avoid getting hit.
- Anticipate cross traffic at intersections where it will be difficult for other drivers to see you.
- Watch out for left-hand turning motorists and have an escape route planned if it is necessary.
- Watch for upcoming gravel, oil, or diesel spills on the road.
- Avoid riding in the blind spot of any vehicle, especially large trucks, at all costs.
- Follow all traffic laws and obey the speed limit.
- Only lane split when it is prudent.
- Don’t drink or use any other substance and drive.
- Watch out for potholes and other debris in the road, as well as railroad tracks and other structures that run parallel to the roadway.
- While helmets are required by law, other recommended safety clothing includes eyeglasses or eye protection, gloves, snug-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs, brightly colored clothing with reflector material, and high-top boots or shoes with steel toe protection.
- Take a motorcycle safety course to improve your skills; consequently, this can also lower your insurance rate.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Involved in A Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you should:
- Call the police – It is always better to have a police report on file in order to obtain all important information. If the police cannot arrive on the scene, make sure to take pictures and exchange all important information with all drivers.
- Get medical attention – Make sure to receive treatment for all serious injuries as soon as possible. Many motorcycle collisions involve serious head or spinal injuries that require immediate attention. If emergency care is not needed or required, make sure to consult with a motorcycle collision attorney to help with medical care coordination.
- Call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney – An attorney could help you investigate all responsible parties, have your property replaced or repaired promptly, and obtain compensation for any past and future medical care. Several other claims could be explored by a competent personal injury attorney. Make sure to contact an attorney before speaking to any other driver’s insurance company.
When to Pursue a Claim When Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
In California, most claims must be filed within two years after the motorcycle collision. In almost every case, it is much better to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that all evidence may be preserved and all responsible parties can be investigated.
The two-year statute of limitations is the maximum time California motorcyclists have to report a crash in order to file a claim to compensate for injuries. However, important details of a case that can be essential to securing retribution for injury damages and property loss can be misconstrued, forgotten, or erased over time. The sooner you report your accident injuries, the higher your chances of getting adequate compensation for your claim.
What Sort of Compensation Is Available Under California Motorcycle Accident Law?
An experienced attorney could help maximize your recovery for several types of claims available under California law. Types of compensation for the victim of a negligent driver who was injured during a motorcycle collision can include:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Property loss, including all motorcycle gear
- Lost wages due to the collision
- Punitive damages to punish a driver in limited cases, such as when the negligent driver was under the influence
Cost to Hire an Attorney in Orange County for a Motorcycle Accident Case?
Corrales Law Group motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency basis for motorcycle collision claims, meaning you will not pay anything until there is a monetary recovery. This means Corrales Law Group will pay all upfront costs of investigations, hiring of experts, retaining all medical records, etc. One major benefit of hiring our firm on a contingency basis is our incentive is to obtain the maximum recovery for our clients.
Speak to Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today!
Corrales Law Group is a law firm dedicated to defending their clients’ right to receive adequate compensation for their motorcycle accident injuries. Receiving an optimal and maximized settlement award is our primary objective in every single one of the unique cases we take on. Our firm has handled many motorcycle collision claims and has recovered millions for victims of careless drivers.
Ultimately, our goal is to make your extremely difficult situation as easy as possible. Our firm will work to ease your mind and to make sure any person or company that is responsible is held financially accountable. Call us today to speak directly with an experienced attorney about your case!