Legal Issues in Motorcycle Crash Claims
In places like California, where the weather is usually nice year-round, motorcycling is very popular. Riding a motorcycle is also very dangerous, mostly due to a lack of visibility. In fact, motorcyclists are twenty-seven times more likely to die in traffic collisions than four-wheel vehicle occupants.
Head injuries are among the most common wounds that these victims suffer. Frequently, the motion, as opposed to the trauma, causes a head injury. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains usually slam against the insides of their skulls. The resulting bruising and bleeding causes permanent head injuries.
Because of the seriousness of these injuries, a San Jose motorcycle accident attorney is often able to obtain substantial compensation for these accident victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are sometimes available as well, in very extreme cases.
Essentially, ordinary negligence is a lack of reasonable care. California drivers have a duty to avoid accidents when possible, obey the unwritten rules of the road, and drive defensively. This idea comes from the Golden Rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) which California schoolchildren once had to memorize.
Driver impairment is one of the most common breaches of duty in Santa Clara County. Some examples include:
- Substance Use: Many states which have legalized marijuana, including Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, have seen a significant uptick in substance-related vehicle collisions. But the overall evidence is mixed on this point, and even though it legalized marijuana, California has yet to see such an increase.
- Distracted Driving: There is no doubt that marijuana use among drivers is a problem, just like distraction is a problem. Device distraction causes many wrecks. Even hands-free cell phones are distracting. Non-device distraction sources include eating while driving and drinking while driving.
- Drowsy Driving: Fatigue and alcohol have roughly the same effect on the body and brain. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. Additionally, many drivers are naturally drowsy at certain times of day, no matter how much sleep they had the prior night.
If the driver was impaired, the driver could be legally responsible for motorcycle crash damages, as outlined above.
Negligence Per Se
This legal doctrine is the violation of a safety statute. Tortfeasors who violate traffic laws and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Left turn wrecks, which make up about a third of motorcycle crashes, are a good example. When drivers try to make unprotected left turns, they often do not see oncoming motorcycles. A single small motorcycle is difficult to spot amid a sea of large SUVs and trucks. So, the tortfeasor often turns directly into an oncoming rider’s path. A collision, and frequently a deadly collision, is almost inevitable at that point.
The negligence per se doctrine only applies if emergency responders issue citations. Frequently, they do not do so, even if the tortfeasor was clearly at fault. Many police officers believe that vehicle collisions are civil matters, and they do not want to get involved. If that’s the case, victims may still use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation.
Count on an Experienced Attorney
Motorcycle crash survivors usually have several legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Jose, contact Solution Now Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.