Obtaining Compensation After a Motorcycle Wreck
Four-wheel vehicle safety has improved significantly since the 1990s. Yet motorcyclists continue to suffer serious injuries at an alarming rate. In fact, as compared with vehicle occupants, motorcycle riders are almost thirty times more likely to die in a wreck.
Head injuries are among the most serious wounds in these wrecks. Motorcycle helmets sometimes reduce the risk of a head injury, but they never eliminate the risk altogether. The forehead and neck remain vulnerable. Additionally, helmets do not protect riders from motion-related brain injuries. When bikers fall, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls.
Head injuries and other serious wounds usually trigger tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. A San Jose personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for these bills, as well as lost wages and other economic damages. Compensation is also available for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
Impairment, such as alcohol impairment, causes some of the motorcycle wrecks in California. But driver inattention is the root cause of most of them.
Left-turn wrecks are a good example. These crashes usually happen when a driver tried to make an unprotected left turn against traffic. When these drivers think they see traffic gaps, they suddenly accelerate to shoot through that gap.
These motorists often do not see approaching motorcycles. Some drivers cannot see around large pickup trucks or SUVs. Others are only looking out for large, fast-moving cars. As a result, they turn directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. After these wrecks, these motorists often say things like “He came out of nowhere” or “I never saw her coming.”
About a third of vehicle-on-motorcycle collisions are left-turn crashes. Lack of visibility and driver inattention also contributes to other kinds of wrecks, such as sideswipe collisions.
Left-turn wrecks also illustrate the two different kinds of liability claims in a motorcycle crash case.
Motorcyclists have the same right-of-way rights as other motorists. So, when a driver turns in front of an oncoming motorcycle, that driver clearly fails to yield the right of way.
In these situations, the negligence per se shortcut could apply. Tortfeasors are responsible for wrecks as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation causes injury.
However, emergency responders often do not issue citations in these situations, even if the negligent driver was clearly at fault. Emergency responders have other, more pressing priorities at accident scenes. Furthermore, many emergency responders view collisions as civil disputes. Therefore, they do not want to issue citations and become involved.
If the tortfeasor did not get a citation, victims must use the ordinary negligence doctrine to establish a lack of care. If motorists breach the duty of care and cause injury, they are legally responsible for damages.
Evidence in ordinary negligence claims usually includes medical bills, the police accident report, and the victim/plaintiff’s own testimony.
Insurance Company Defenses
Last clear chance is one of the most common insurance company defenses in left-turn wreck claims. This defense is also common in rear-end and head-on crash claims.
Assume Driver pulls out in front of Rider. If Rider could have avoided the crash, perhaps by changing speed or lanes, but does nothing, Rider could be legally responsible for the crash, even though Driver broke the law.
This defense only applies if the victim had the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, as opposed to any possible chance. Frequently, especially given the aforementioned sudden acceleration, these wrecks happen too fast to prevent. Additionally, motorcycles are not very agile. Emergency maneuvers might cause a loss of control crash which is more serious than the one they prevented.
Contributory negligence is another common defense. This legal doctrine shifts part of the blame for the accident from the tortfeasor to the victim.
Connect with a Hard-Working Attorney
Motorcycle crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer, contact Solution Now Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.