Motorcyclists have a much higher risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries in accidents than occupants of passenger cars. Although motorcycles and passenger vehicles share the same roadways, passenger cars have a substantial advantage over motorcycles when it comes to vehicle safety. Motorcycles lack the protection and crashworthiness characteristics of passenger cars and trucks and have none of the standard safety features of those vehicles, such as door and roof beams, seat belts and airbags. Passenger vehicles and trucks have more weight and bulk than motorcycles and, because of their size, are also far more visible than motorcycles.
Even with helmets and protective gear, motorcyclists have very little protection when involved in any type of accident and are far more susceptible to very serious or fatal injuries, even in minor accidents. Motorcyclists involved in non-fatal accidents often suffer serious spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain juries, nerve damage, neck injuries, traumatic amputations, burns and a multitude of other injuries to a rider’s arms, legs, hands, feet, chest and abdomen. Any or all of these types of injuries can be life-changing events.
Some of the many financial costs associated with a motorcycle accident include costs for lengthy hospital stays, medical, assistive and prosthetic devices, nursing care, medications, long-term care, specialized burn care, physical and occupational rehabilitation, long-term or permanent loss of employment/ability to work, and speech, physical, occupational, psychological therapy. The long-term effects of a motorcycle accident can be devastating to the injured rider and his family.
A substantial number of motorcycle vs. vehicle accidents are caused as a result of negligence on the part of the motorist involved. Many accidents are caused by motorists turning into the path of an oncoming motorcycle as a result of the motorist’s inattentiveness or failure to see the oncoming motorcycle. A high number of accidents also occur as a result of unsafe lane changes by motorists who either do not look for motorcycles before changing lanes or who fail to see a motorcycle riding next to the motorist’s car. Many motorists are also are unaware that “lane splitting” by motorcyclists to pass stopped or slow traffic is now legal in California and something motorists should always be aware of (it is in fact illegal under Vehicle Code section 22400 for a motorist to block or impede a passing motorcycle in a way that could cause harm to the rider).
In many cases, motorist and the motorist’s insurance carrier will often attempt to place the blame for an accident on the motorcycle rider, claiming that the rider was entirely at fault for causing the accident and his or her own injuries. In many cases, the motorist and insurance carrier will claim the motorcyclist was speeding or riding in a reckless manner and therefore should recover nothing at all. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to know that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover for damages caused as a result of the negligence of the other driver, regardless of what the driver’s insurance carrier might tell you.
It is also important to know that your motorcycle accident may have also been caused or contributed to by a defect in the design or manufacture of one or more of the component parts of the motorcycle. Malfunctioning ABS or standard brakes, tire blow outs, high speed wobble, fuel tank fires can cause serious or even fatal injuries. Regardless of whether another vehicle is involved in your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer and distributor of a motorcycle that has defective parts. In some cases, an accident may be caused by a negligent motorist and a defective component part on the motorcycle. In such cases, an injured motorcyclist may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver and manufacturer/distributor of the motorcycle under two different theories of liability.
Because of unique factors inherent in motorcycles, motorcycle riding and motorcycle accidents, essential that you hire and experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in representing motorcycle riders as soon as possible if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident.
Miner & Kelly is one of the premier accident attorneys in Northern California with years of experience litigating motorcycle accident cases. With years of experience and numerous motorcycle accident cases under its belt, Miner & Kelly has the experience and expertise you need if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.