With mild temperatures, plenty of sunny days, and less rain than most of the U.S., Chula Vista and Southern California enjoy a climate that’s ideal for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles offer a road experience that’s distinctly different from car travel. Motorcyclists enjoy a more immediate sense of the environment they’re traveling through since they’re not separated from it in an enclosed vehicle. The ability to travel at highway speeds without feeling boxed in can create a feeling of freedom that cars just can’t provide.

Along with that sense of freedom, though, comes a higher risk of accidents and injuries. The body of a car, while it can feel confining, offers protection for the occupants that motorcycles can’t. And since two wheels are less stable than four, it’s easier to lose control of a motorcycle when dodging or hitting an obstacle in the road or another vehicle. Since motorcycles are smaller and therefore lighter and less visible, they can easily wind up in a serious accident, with their riders suffering serious injuries.

If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault while riding your motorcycle, contact the Chula Vista personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw today for your free consultation. We can discuss your accident, determine whether you’re eligible for compensation, and help you figure out what your next steps should be.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Chula Vista and it was someone else’s fault, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from OnderLaw as soon as possible. The first steps in a motorcycle accident claim can be crucial, and a good attorney knows how to assess your case and determine where to start. Also, the mundane tasks associated with a claim after an accident can quickly become overwhelming. You’ll need a skilled lawyer to take those responsibilities off your plate and guide you through the process. You’re much better off hiring qualified legal help than trying to go it alone.

Why Choose OnderLaw ?

The attorneys at OnderLaw have been successfully handling personal injury claims for nearly two decades, and we know our business. To date, we’ve obtained over $3 billion in awards and settlements for our clients. We’ll take the time to get to know you and your situation because we understand the human side of a claim. We’re here to represent and help you as a person, not just as a client.

It’s your job to recover from your injuries and get back to normal life. We’re here to make that as easy as possible for you while we work to secure the greatest amount of compensation you’re entitled to. Call OnderLaw ’s Chula Vista motorcycle accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We won’t add to any financial stress you may be feeling from the unexpected medical bills you’re getting because we’ll never bill you unless we procure compensation for you.

Motorcycle Laws in California

In Chula Vista, California state law governs motorcycles and their riders. Among the most prominent requirements are these:

  • Universal Helmet Law. Per the state vehicle code section 27803, anyone riding on a motorcycle, whether operator or passenger, must wear a helmet that meets U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications. Approved helmets feature a DOT sticker on the outside back.
  • Accident Reporting Requirements. If you are a motorcycle operator who has been involved in an accident that has either injured someone or caused more than $1000 dollars in damage to any one person, you must file an official report within ten days using form SR1, Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California. Your insurance agent or lawyer may file it for you.
  • Licensing. There are a number of basic requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license in California, including driver education and training, motorcycle safety training, proof of identity and California residency, passing a vision exam, and others. See the DMV’s Motorcycle Licenses web page for detailed information.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents

As with any kind of motorized vehicle on our roadways, motorcycles are subject to a wide variety of accident types. Due to a number of factors, however, the range of typical motorcycle accidents differs somewhat from that of automobiles. The following list contains the more common types of motorcycle accidents:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Left-turn accidents
  • Dooring – opening a car door into the path of a cyclist
  • Fixed-object collision – parked car, signpost, building, etc.
  • Road hazard accidents – debris, wet road surface, poorly maintained roadway, etc.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Many of the typical causes of motorcycle accidents are similar to those of car accidents. However, some differ since motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles on the road, making them harder for other drivers to see. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Improper turns
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued or drowsy driving
  • Failure to heed traffic lights and signs
  • Tailgating
  • Road rage
  • Debris or obstacles in the roadway
  • Inadequately maintained roads
  • Defective or improperly installed vehicle parts
  • Dooring
  • Motorists failing to yield the right of way
  • Drivers not looking out for motorcycles or seeing them when they are lane splitting

Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents

While some injuries are commonly seen in both motorcycle and car accidents, some are much more characteristic of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles lack the protective chassis and safety belts that cars have. Motorcycle operators and passengers are more likely to be thrown from the cycle or impacted directly by another vehicle, increasing the chances of severe injury. Typical motorcycle injuries include the following:

  • Road rash
  • Internal injuries
  • Lacerations and scrapes
  • Contusions
  • Broken limbs and other fractures
  • Loss of limbs or digits: amputation
  • Severe burns
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Muscle tears
  • Ligament or tendon damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Other head injuries
  • Neck or spinal injuries, including fractured vertebra and spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis

Who Is Responsible?

When it comes to determining legal liability for injuries sustained in vehicle accidents, California law clearly states that if someone’s lack of “ordinary care” has caused injury, they are responsible for that injury. Determining what constitutes ordinary care in any given accident can be as simple or complicated as uncovering the particulars of the accident.

Still, in some cases, it’s clear that another party’s negligence was the cause. Another driver’s aggressive driving, a poorly maintained road surface, or a defective part: these are just a few possible causes. In such cases, another driver, a parts manufacturer, or even a governmental entity could be found liable for damages.

In multi-vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle, there are more factors involved in causing the crash and a wider investigation to carry out. Regardless of the number of vehicles or other involved parties, every accident and its circumstances are different. Linking those circumstances to a defendant’s failure of ordinary care, if such is the case, is certainly a job for your lawyer.

Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Claim

When it’s clear that another party is legally liable for your injuries in a motorcycle accident, you and your lawyer can assess the value of your claim and determine the amount of compensation you want to seek. The two fundamental types of damages you may be eligible for are economic and non-economic.

Economic damages have a specific dollar value and can be plainly documented. They typically fall into one of the following four categories:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damage
  • Lost income due to missed work
  • Loss of future income

While proving economic damages is fairly straightforward, non-economic damages are, by definition, harder to quantify. A motorcycle accident attorney can help you calculate the dollar amount of such losses, and California law specifically lists several types of non-economic damages that an injured plaintiff may seek, including the following:

  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental suffering
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of consortium

Unfortunately, another factor that could come into play in determining fault and appropriate compensation is anti-motorcycle bias, also known as anti-biker bias. The cultural stereotype of the motorcyclist as a reckless, thrill-seeking, sometimes violent outlaw type or gang member is sadly taken for reality by a considerable number of people. While this character type can make for intense, riveting film or TV, it does a great disservice to the millions of people from all walks of life who happen to love riding motorcycles. The attorneys at OnderLaw understand how to neutralize such misguided assumptions and make sure they’re a non-factor in your case.

California and National Accident Statistics

In California in 2017, 14,148 motorcyclists were injured in accidents, and 566 died. There were 523 motorcyclist fatalities in 2018, and that number dipped to 474 in 2019, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Among all U.S. states in 2019, California had the 18th highest rate of fatalities per 10,000 motorcycles at 6.1, which was the U.S. average.

In 2019, motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in California.

A study commissioned by the NHTSA established that the use of helmets is roughly 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities.

Contact the Chula Vista Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at OnderLaw Today

For 19 years, we’ve been representing motorcycle accident victims and consistently delivering substantial compensation. We will shoulder the burden of the claims process for you, provide you with top-notch legal advice, and ferociously pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible.

We’ve built our reputation and our success on a basic respect for our clients as individuals. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Chula Vista that wasn’t your fault, and if you need legal representation, call us now. Start on your path to compensation for your injuries with the best in the business: OnderLaw .