Motorcycles, more than any other vehicle, have a defined dual purpose as both a mode of transportation and a recreational vehicle. For some riders, owning a motorcycle is a part of their identity and a pastime that satisfies like no other. Unfortunately, motorcycles are also vehicles that, when involved in an accident, tend to leave their riders with significant and life-altering injuries. The severity of these injuries can leave a victim with physical and financial ailments which can be challenging to overcome.

The San Jose personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw knows just how devastating a motorcycle accident can be. We also know that sometimes motorcycles riders are unfairly judged by insurance adjusters. Old biases and a “bad boy” reputation, no matter your gender, may mean that your settlement offer from the insurance company is not what it should be. A claim needs to be based on the facts surrounding the incident and the severity of your injuries, not someone’s preconceptions.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, and a negligent driver is to blame, contact the team at OnderLaw for a fair assessment of your claim. We can review the facts surrounding the accident and estimate the value of your motorcycle accident claim. Before you settle for anything the insurance company offers, give us a call. We can schedule a free case review to help get you started.

Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you want to make sure that you are getting a full and fair estimate of the value of your motorcycle accident claim, you need to speak with an experienced San Jose motorcycle accident attorney. Although not true in all cases, there can still be some bias against those who choose a motorcycle as their means of recreation or transportation.

Riders tend to be singled out for blame when it comes to being involved in an accident, and that bias can significantly impact the amount of compensation they may be able to receive. This unfair judgment may also color an individual’s interactions with an insurance adjuster, and their own words may be twisted and used against them as a result.

When you contact an experienced San Jose attorney to represent you, you are giving yourself the best chance possible at obtaining a favorable outcome for your situation. An attorney can protect your legal rights while they gather evidence and investigate the cause of the accident. With facts in hand, an attorney can estimate the full and fair value of your claim. Then they can then build a compelling case establishing liability and why you deserve maximum compensation.

At OnderLaw, not only do we have a track record of success, but we also are committed to transparently handling your case. We will communicate with you through every step of the process, letting you know what to expect as we work through your case.

Handling a motorcycle claim on your own can be a challenging and daunting process. Get all the support you need by calling a knowledgeable San Jose motorcycle accident attorney today.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Lighted signs on the interstate and catchy motorcycle ad campaigns on television: these are just two of several ways that California tries to impart motorcycle safety awareness to the public. Many motorcycle accidents on San Jose streets could be avoided if only drivers exercised a little extra caution and were more aware of their surroundings.

These are some of the most common causes of negligent motorcycle accidents on the roads today:

  • Distracted driving. The smaller size of motorcycles means that they can be more difficult for drivers to spot. When a driver is distracted by a phone, text, GPS, food, or anything else that takes their attention off the road, the result can be devastating for a motorcycle rider.
  • Drunk driving. Driving while intoxicated significantly alters your perception, judgment, and reflexes. A drunk driver may fail to see a motorcyclist until it’s too late or simply not have the physical capacity to stop when a motorcycle rider crosses their path. Drunk driving is illegal, and the at-fault driver may be on the hook for criminal and civil penalties. San Jose has a high percentage of drivers with at least one DUI on their driving record.
  • Drowsy driving. Studies have shown that drowsy driving can be just as risky as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation often impacts the mind and body in much the same way as alcohol use.
  • Speeding. Speeding is illegal and dangerous. Excessive speeding or driving too fast for weather or road conditions can make stopping dangerous and hard to do. A driver can easily lose control of their vehicle and hit anything in their path, including unsuspecting motorcyclists.
  • Tailgating. Tailgating is an aggressive driving behavior that can cost a person their life. Motorcyclists don’t have the luxury of airbags or bumpers to cushion the blow of a tailgate or rear-end impact. All drivers are responsible for maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Failure to observe traffic signs and signals. Running a red light and failing to yield are common examples of drivers failing to observe posted traffic signs and signals. This type of behavior is reckless and can be tragic for a motorcyclist.
  • Lane-splitting. Lane-splitting is when a small vehicle like a motorcycle or bike travels between lanes of slower-moving full-sized vehicles. Lane splitting is now legal in California, but it is still a dangerous practice because drivers may not be aware that they need to be on the lookout for passing riders. The California Highway Patrol has more tips on safe ways to lane-split.
  • Unsafe lane changes. Motorists not checking their mirrors and conducting unsafe lane changes are risking the safety of others, especially harder-to-see motorcyclists.
  • Lack of visibility. Do you see a theme in many of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents? There is a reason that there has been such a wide-reaching campaign to educate people about looking out for motorcyclists. They can be harder to see on the roads, and drivers must be extra vigilant about scanning their surroundings to avoid collisions with riders.

Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents

Even with a helmet or other protective gear, when you are riding a motorcycle, there is virtually nothing between you and the pavement. Motorcycle injuries tend to be some of the most traumatic and severe, especially if they occur at high speeds or when a large vehicle or truck is involved. The overwhelming force of an impact can shatter bones and trigger critical and life-altering injuries.

While no two motorcycle accidents are ever the same, there are similar patterns of injuries that are common in these types of crashes. Some of the most common injuries suffered in serious motorcycle crashes tend to be:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Neck and spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Facial injuries
  • Dental injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Road rash
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions

Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents

There is no magic formula that can calculate the value of a motorcycle accident claim. Each claim is unique and must be evaluated based on its own individual circumstances and merits. Often, the severity of the injuries involved and who is at fault for the accident will contribute to the total amount of compensation that an injured victim may be entitled to.

In general, a victim may be able to recover money for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

In addition, California follows a model known as the “pure comparative negligence” system. This is a system that is used to divide the blame for a crash and distribute compensation accordingly. If a case goes to court and the motorcycle accident victim is found to have played even a ten percent role in causing the accident, their share of the compensation will be decreased by that same ten percent. Even the at-fault driver is entitled to receive compensation, but again, if they are 90 percent responsible for causing the accident, they are only due the total amount of compensation assigned to them, minus 90 percent. They are also still on the hook for covering the other driver’s expenses.

The pure comparative negligence rule binds the court system, but it also strongly influences how an insurance adjuster will value compensation for a claim, as well. This is why it is important to have an attorney on your side, advocating for you.

Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

A statute of limitations is a time limit on how long an individual has to file a lawsuit. When it comes to vehicle accident claims, which fall under the personal injury category, an individual has two years from the date of the crash to file legal action. For those wanting to only recover the cost of damage to the motorcycle and not medical expenses, the law allows them three years to file a legal claim.

San Jose Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2019, there were 5,014 motorcyclists killed in collisions. This number accounts for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. In California that same year, there were 451 recorded motorcycle fatalities, 123 of those fatalities had a BAC of at least .08 at the time of their death.

The Insurance Information Institute found that in 2019, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than those traveling in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash.

These statistics may seem high, but the San Jose area has seen a rise in traffic fatalities. The increases are so extreme that the city is working on plans to significantly reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities.

Contact an Experienced San Jose Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

Motorcycle accidents are singularly traumatic life experiences. In a matter of seconds, a person’s entire way of life can change, and they may be saddled with physical injuries and financial debt that can last a lifetime.

If you are involved in a serious motorcycle accident, take steps to protect yourself now and call an experienced San Jose motorcycle accident attorney. At OnderLaw, we will work tirelessly to represent you and go after all the compensation that you deserve. Contact our office today and let’s set up your free initial consultation.