Motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of the road, feeling the wind and the environment around them as they ride. Unfortunately, with that freedom come dangers that are unique to motorcycles. A motorcycle involved in a collision may result in injuries that are unique and, potentially, more dangerous than in other motor vehicle collisions. The San Bernardino personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw understand this and want to help you.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in San Bernardino that wasn’t your fault, we want to talk with you. We offer a free initial consultation where we can discuss your case with you and help advise you about what steps to take next. Call us today.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?
When you are involved in a motorcycle collision and want to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses, you are dealing with a number of factors, including the other party or parties, their insurance companies, and lawyers. Your attorney from OnderLaw can guide you through the maze of getting the money you need to help you recover and get back to your life.
At OnderLaw, we have years of experience representing people like you who are victims of motorcycle accidents. We have a successful practice committed to helping you get the money you need to get your life back, winning over $4 billion in settlements. We are one of the top-rated law firms in the country, recognized by the National Trial Lawyers, among others.
We understand the law and the legal system, and we know how to fight against insurance companies and defense lawyers who only want their client to pay as little as possible to you. We want to fight for you and will fight to make sure you get the full and fair compensation that will cover your injuries. We care about you and want to help you find closure through this difficult time.
Motorcycle Laws in San Bernardino
California has a number of laws specific to motorcycles. All motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear helmets. The rider must be able to put his or her feet on the ground while the motorcycle is at a standstill, and there must be footrests for passengers. Handlebars must be no higher than the rider’s shoulders. In addition, motorcycles must have headlights on whenever the motorcycle is operating, whether day or night. Motorcycles have limits on the amount of noise that the bike can make. The amount of decibels a motorcycle can make is dependent on when the motorcycle was built.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles are involved in collisions that seem unique to motorcycles but can also be involved in accidents that are common to most vehicles. Most of these collisions are the result of the vehicle operator not seeing the motorcycle. Because there are fewer motorcycles on the road compared to other vehicles, as well as the relatively small size of the motorcycle. The following collisions commonly involve motorcycles:
- A car making a left turn in front of the motorcycle. This is the most common accident involving a motor vehicle and a motorcycle. This can happen when the motorcycle is passing the vehicle or when the motorcycle is traveling straight through an intersection.
- Head-on collision. This is the most dangerous collision involving a motorcycle, leading to the death of the motorcyclist more often than other types of collisions.
- Lane splitting. When motorcycles drive between lanes of cars, the dangers increase for the cyclist. Most motorists do not expect to see a motorcycle traveling between the lanes. The narrow gap between the motorcycle and vehicles limits the cyclist’s ability to maneuver.
- Speeding/alcohol use. The use of alcohol while operating a vehicle hinders reaction time and depth perception.
- Hitting fixed objects. Injuries arising from this type of collision primarily come from being thrown from the motorcycle.
- Road hazards. Loose gravel and potholes can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of his or her bike. The same is true of ice or oil on the road. Uneven lanes can prove hazardous to motorcycles.
Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries resulting from mishaps on a motorcycle can be traumatic and long-lasting. Some injuries most common in motorcycle collisions are:
- Traumatic brain injuries/head injuries. Even though motorcyclists are required to wear helmets, the helmets may not provide enough protection. A collision can result in a subdural hematoma (blood seepage into the brain), a concussion, or actual damage to a part of the brain. The effect of such trauma can lead to permanent injury or even death if not treated quickly. Other head injuries can be facial fractures (cheek, nose breaks) or disfigurement.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal injuries are serious and should be treated as quickly as possible. The injuries may result in paralysis or severe pain.
- Broken bones. This may be legs or arms, but it can also include hips, feet, hands, ribs, and shoulders/collar bones.
- Internal injuries. Internal injuries are not always readily apparent and are usually a result of injury to one or more of the organs within the body.
- Road rash/burns. This is the most common injury in motorcycle collisions, and while not necessarily disabling, it can cause severe discomfort for a period of time. If the rash is severe enough, it may require skin grafts and other rehab efforts.
All of these injuries should be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after the collision by a licensed and reputable physician.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The causes of motorcycle collisions are as varied as the circumstances of each accident but can include:
- Failure to detect and/or recognize motorcycles. The size and design of motorcycles can make it difficult for a motorist to see the motorcycle until it’s too late to avoid a collision.
- Cars making left turns. Drivers will often be looking for other similar vehicles on the road and fail to notice the smaller, on-coming motorcycle.
- Reckless driving/speeding/impairment. Careless drivers may not pay close attention to the traffic around them. Such a driver may assume they have the space to make changes. Speeding reduces the amount of time available to react to an unseen vehicle. Impairment from drink, fatigue, or drug use (whether legal or illegal) can hinder a driver’s perceptions, their ability to safely control their vehicle or react promptly.
- Hazardous road conditions. A vehicle can lose control if it hits an oil spill, wet pavement, or loose gravel. It can lose control when crossing into an uneven lane. Signs at construction zones, as well as construction crews, can be a distraction.
- Head-on collision. Passing a vehicle without noticing the oncoming motorcycle can be devastating for the motorcyclist.
- Motorcycle lane splitting. It is not unusual for motorcycles to try to get ahead of slow-moving traffic by driving on the lane line, which is legal in California. Motorists who are not aware of their surroundings may not see these motorcyclists in time to avoid swerving into them.
Who Is Responsible?
You’ve been involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault. Someone should be responsible for taking care of the damages you’ve incurred. Here are some parties who may be held responsible:
- The other person. If the collision was between a vehicle and the motorcycle, then the driver of the vehicle is at fault. If the collision is between a motorcycle and an object on the road, the person who left the object on the road could be responsible.
- The employer. If the person who caused the collision is using a company vehicle or operating the vehicle on company time, the employer may be liable for the damages.
- The manufacturer. If the collision was caused because of a defect in the vehicle, then the manufacturer can be held to be liable for damages as a result of the collision.
- Government entity. It is possible your injuries were caused by hazardous conditions. Poor lighting, poor visibility due to overgrown vegetation or barriers, potholes, or loose gravel can all be traced back to the city, county, or state.
At OnderLaw, we have experience with motorcycle collisions. We know to look under every rock to determine which party or parties should be held responsible and will represent you before these parties and work to provide you with compensation for your damages.
Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Claim
When you’re involved in a crash, you may suffer from various losses, or damages. You may be eligible for compensation for any of these losses:
- Vehicle damage. The repairs to or replacement of a totaled motorcycle can be factored into your compensation.
- Medical expenses/treatment. Your injuries from the accident will need to be diagnosed and treated by the appropriate medical professionals. The costs can be extremely high, and you can seek compensation for these expenses.
- Loss of income. While recuperating from injuries, you may lose time from work, resulting in the loss of income and certain benefits. If the injuries are severe enough, you may be forced to leave your place of employment, resulting in a greater loss of income.
- Mental/emotional damages. It is not unusual for a person who has been involved in a collision to experience emotional and mental issues, such as PTSD. In some instances, you may want to seek treatment.
- Loss of consortium. The injuries incurred as a result of the collision may have an adverse effect on your marriage or relationships.
State and City Accident Statistics
According to the California FY2020 Highway Safety Plan Annual Report, in 2019, there were approximately 16,500 collisions involving motorcycles in California with 12,926 injuries. Of the fatalities that resulted from motorcycle collisions, 94 percent were wearing helmets at the time.
We Want to Help
At OnderLaw, we have represented people like you who have been hurt as a result of a motorcycle collision. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the law and the system. We care about you and understand that you are coming to us because you are hurting and have questions. We’ll take the time to answer your questions and work with you to provide you with the best legal representation.
Call us today and let us help you begin the process of getting on the road to recovery.