Riding motorcycles is an alternative means of transportation that is freeing, exciting, and highly efficient. Unfortunately, that freedom comes with much greater risk because riders have less safety equipment and much greater vulnerability than drivers and passengers in automobiles.
As a result, motorcycle accidents cause much more serious injuries than regular auto accidents. The body takes the full brunt of the impact, often with only a helmet and protective clothing between you and the road or other vehicle. At high speeds, the injuries are often severe and sometimes even deadly. You are likely to end up with enormous medical bills and other financial worries from an accident that wasn’t your fault. The San Diego personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw, LLC are ready to help you.
If you or someone close to you was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a caring, experienced, and skilled lawyer by your side diligently work to get you the compensation you deserve. At OnderLaw, LLC our staff is ready to take your case and get you and your family headed in the direction of healing and peace of mind. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 or contact us to schedule a free consultation where you can learn more about how we can help you with your case.
Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
After a motorcycle accident, there is a lot to manage. You will have doctor visits, treatments, and medications. There will be insurance companies to deal with and the potential of lost wages from not being able to work either now or in the future. With every one of these situations requiring so much attention, it is very easy for vital pieces of information to fall through the cracks.
A motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through these hurdles. They can discuss your next best steps, help you navigate the difficulties of filing and negotiating an insurance claim, and, if necessary, take your case to trial. Their years of experience will benefit you as they stand up to insurance companies and their lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve after your accident.
Another very important reason to get a lawyer involved is the unique nature of motorcycle accidents. The common stereotype about motorcycle riders being reckless or dangerous on the highway is prevalent. You need a lawyer on your side who will demonstrate, through a carefully planned strategy, that you are a careful, responsible biker and that the accident that caused your injuries was not your fault.
Additionally, the unprotected nature of the motorcyclist in an accident and the temptation to speed while traveling create heightened risks to the motorcycle rider.
Having a tough, experienced lawyer can help eliminate costly errors in your argument, deflect efforts to paint you as reckless or discount your pain, and cover every base so that you get what you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Drivers today are more distracted than ever and even less inclined that in years past to be aware of the motorcyclists who share the road with them. It’s no wonder that the National Highway Traffic Administration reported that, on average, nearly one hundred thousand motorcycle riders were killed or injured every year between 2008 and 2017.
There have been countless programs and efforts to spread awareness about sharing the road, and while there has been progress motorcycle injury and death tolls are still soaring. Most defensive drivers are often more preoccupied with other cars, which means they overlook motorcycles. This results in drivers dangerously changing lanes or directing their car into a motorcyclist’s driving path. Drivers also struggle respecting riders’ spacing. By not taking proper care and driving too closely or not giving riders their due when passing, abrupt changes in traffic cause serious damage.
While it is true that not all drivers are responsible for accidents, the vast majority are caused by distracted drivers failing to share the road appropriately. Here are some examples of what distracted driving and other careless behaviors often look like:
- Abrupt stops
- Inexperienced drivers
- Grooming while driving
- Adjusting sound, mirrors, GPS
- Ignoring traffic lights or breaking traffic laws
- Talking/Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while tired
- Dooring (opening the door of a parked car into a motorcyclist’s path)
- Road Rage
- Lane splitting
These are common examples of drivers not taking proper care while driving. Regardless of their reasoning, their recklessness causes serious problems.
If you or someone you love has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you are hurting and angry. The good news is you are completely within your rights to take legal action and do something about it.
Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
Every accident is different, but here are some of the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents:
- Lacerations and contusions
- Road rash
- Muscle/soft tissue strains
- Dislocated joints
- Muscle/ligament tears
- Fractured bones
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ injury
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Proving Liability After a Motorcycle Crash
In California, injuring someone because of a lack of skill or care in handling yourself or your property is illegal. In most places, that’s called negligence.
When fighting for your compensation, there are two main issues that you will have to work against to prove liability. The first is the heightened risks associated with less safety equipment and the temptation of higher speeds, as mentioned previously, and the second is public perception.
One of the biggest ways an effective lawyer can help you is to fight against the perception of motorcyclists depicted in popular culture. Often depicted as outcasts or bad guys, it is easy for people to fall into the idea that you are already at fault, and that includes insurance companies.
This can show up in three ways:
- Decision makers like police, insurance companies, and judges might already have their mind made up
- Insurance companies will offer you a lower settlement
- If your case goes to court for damages, opposing lawyers will work to stack the jury with people biased against motorcyclists to limit your claim or even dismiss it.
While you cannot control what other people think, there are some things you can do to help present your situation in the best possible light:
- Be nice in your interactions with police and involved parties without apologizing or showing any kind of admission of guilt
- Make sure you are wearing a helmet
- Make sure that you are practicing safe driving
- Note evidence from the scene like weather, road conditions, and that of any and all vehicles or property around you
- Get everyone’s contact information you can for witness support
Your lawyer will work to show all stakeholders involved that every motorcyclist and their accidents are different. They will also deliver the facts of the case, supported by documented evidence. Equipped with hard evidence and legal skill, your lawyer will increase the likelihood you will get what you need to move forward with your life.
The Injury Claims Process/Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit
After an accident, there is so much going on all at once that it is hard to know what to do next. That is why your legal team is there. They will coach you through the process from start to finish. The following is a step-by-step process that will help you along the way:
File the claim- we will find out if we need to file with just the defendant’s insurance company or if it also involves yours.
Investigate– we will comb through every piece of evidence and receipts from your medical costs and your other losses. Gathering everything together will give us what we need to make a convincing formal demand for your compensation.
Issue a demand letter- we will send our demands to the insurance company. They will have the opportunity to review our terms and do their own research into the accident.
Negotiate- after they do their investigation, If they come to the same conclusion we reached, then the process will end here with an agreed-upon settlement. More often, they will come back with a counter-proposal. Rarely is their offer enough, so we will continue the process until an agreement is reached. If this does not happen, you can then seek to file a civil lawsuit.
From here, if you choose to file a lawsuit in California, your statute of limitations is two years, which means you have two years from the date of accident to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for your lawyers to go back in time and recreate the accident and find supporting evidence. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the other side can request that your case be dismissed. If the judge dismisses your case, you will have forever lost the ability to obtain compensation through the court system.
When filing a lawsuit, this is how that process will play out:
File a complaint with the court- this is a formal first step in the process. The person involved with the accident will be served, and they will have 30 days to respond.
Discovery- this is where each side requests documentation from the other side. This can include all of your photo evidence, medical records, medical bills, and any other documentation related to the accident. There may be depositions taken of all parties involved in the accident and the case.
Pre-trial settlement conference– the judge will make one final effort to get the parties to come to an agreement in order to avoid trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, then your case will go to trial.
Trial- This is where you and your lawyer will present your case before a jury to show how much you have suffered at the hands of the defendant, and the judge or jury will decide if you’re entitled to damages and in what amount.
Why Choose OnderLaw, LLC?
There are countless firms who do what we do, but no one does it like we do. We have built a reputation throughout the country for our success, and it all comes down to our relationships. We treat every client as if they were a member of our family. We make ourselves available in every way we can and focus on getting to know you and your family. We connect with you and understand your pain.
Having that relationship gives us the extra edge. Your issues matter to us as much as they do to you. Over the two decades our firm has been serving clients just like you, we have secured over $3 billion in settlements. Not only that, but we part with our clients as friends, and that’s more valuable than anything else to us.
Call OnderLaw, LLC Today
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, our seasoned, caring, and committed team is ready to step up to the plate for you and your family.
If costs are a concern, don’t let that be the reason not to make the call. Our fees only kick in if we win compensation for you. So there is no reason to delay.
Call us today and let us make sure your family has the best possible chance at full and fair compensation for the pain and suffering your injuries caused. We are standing by at (314) 963-9000, or you can contact us online.