Fairfield or San Jose Area Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Bay Area roads offer beautiful views for motorcycle riders. Weekend motorcyclists love to escape the grind of the city and enjoy the mountain scenery. But motorcycles are increasingly used by Bay Area commuters who want to take advantage of the fuel economy that motorcycles provide.
Unfortunately, Bay Area traffic is a problem for motorcycles, both in cities and on highways leading out of urban areas. Even mountain roads can be treacherous for motorcycle riders when speeding cars take a wide corner and crash into motorcycle riders head-on.
If you have been the victim of a Bay Area motorcycle accident, a personal injury lawyer at KKG Law can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our motorcycle accident team represents injury victims in Oakland, San Jose, Fairfield, and all other Bay Area communities.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Since 2013, there has been an increase in injuries and fatalities brought on by motorcycle accidents. There may be more motorcyclists on the road, and motorcycle riders may be riding longer distances, but even when fatalities are measured per 100,000 miles of motorcycle travel, death statistics have been climbing.
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities are 28 times more likely than a fatality from a car accident. That isn’t surprising, since passenger car occupants are surrounded by a steel cage, while motorcyclists have only a helmet and their clothing to protect them in a crash.
California law requires all motorcycle riders, including passengers and regardless of age, to wear a helmet. Helmets save lives, but a high-speed collision with another vehicle can still produce fatal head or neck injuries, as well as internal organ damage. According to NHTSA, in the most recent year for which statistics are available, about 93% of California motorcycle riders who died in a crash were wearing a helmet.
Causes of California Motorcycle Accidents
When a motorcycle and a car collide, the crash is usually the fault of the car’s driver. Several years ago, a study determined that left turns in front of an oncoming motorcycle are the leading cause of motorcycle crashes involving passenger vehicles. That result was recently confirmed by a study in Florida.
The Florida study offered two explanations for negligent left turn crashes. First, drivers judge speed according to the size of an oncoming vehicle. They tend to perceive large trucks as moving faster than their actual speed, and they perceive smaller vehicles, including motorcycles, as moving slower than their true speed. Drivers fail to yield to motorcycles when they make a turn because they think they have time to complete the turn. They would not make that mistake if a larger vehicle were approaching.
Second, many drivers are simply unaware of motorcycles. They don’t see motorcycles because they aren’t looking for them. The study found that drivers who have a motorcycle license are much more aware of motorcycles on the road than drivers who don’t ride a motorcycle. Drivers who are thinking about motorcycles see them and avoid accidents; other drivers don’t.
In addition to careless left turns, motorcycle crashes are often caused by a driver who:
- Changes lanes without checking the car’s blind spot
- Runs a red light or fails to stop at a stop sign
- Passes another car when an oncoming motorcycle is approaching
- Is distracted for some reason, such as using a cellphone, programming a GPS, eating a sandwich, or putting on makeup
- Falls asleep at the wheel
- Is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Any time a motorcycle accident results from a driver’s carelessness, the motorcycle rider is entitled to pursue compensation. In California, an injury victim can seek compensation even if the injury victim was partially at fault. The victim’s compensation is reduced in proportion to the victim’s responsibility, so a victim who was 25% at fault will recover 75% of full compensation.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents are more likely to be fatal than other traffic accidents, but motorcycle riders who survive a crash often suffer from serious injuries. The most catastrophic, life-changing injuries from motorcycle collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal damage that causes paralysis
- Limb amputations
- Organ damage (including spleen and kidney injuries)
Motorcycle accident injuries that are not catastrophic may nevertheless have lasting consequences. Common motorcycle collision injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Ankle and foot injuries
- Elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Road rash
- Groin injuries
- Nerve damage
- Stretched and torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments
Obeying California’s mandatory helmet law is one way to minimize the risk of a serious motorcycle collision injury. Wearing a durable jacket will help prevent road rash. Motorcycle gloves and boots are a safeguard against hand and foot injuries. Unfortunately, while protective clothing is helpful, it cannot assure that a motorcycle accident victim will not suffer from a serious injury.
Motorcycle Accident Compensation
When a motorcycle rider dies in an accident, the rider’s spouse, children, and certain other family members are entitled to recover wrongful death compensation. The compensation cannot replace a loved one’s life, but it can replace the financial contributions and services that the victim would have provided to family members. Wrongful death compensation also recognizes that a death deprives family members of the emotional support, companionship, and guidance that the accident victim would have provided.
When a motorcycle riders suffers from a catastrophic, disabling injury such as paralysis or brain damage, compensation includes the expense of coping with a drastically changed life. Compensation might include the expense of a caretaker or an assisted-living facility, or the cost of remodeling a home to make it wheelchair-accessible.
Injuries that are not catastrophic nevertheless deserve compensation. An injury settlement will generally cover:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Vocational rehabilitation if the injury makes it impossible to return to former employment
- Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life
Compensation depends upon a number of factors. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at KKG Law can evaluate those factors and help injury victims or their family arrive at a fair settlement. When insurance companies refuse to be reasonable, KKG Law isn’t afraid to take them to court.
To learn how KKG Law can help you receive fair compensation for your motorcycle accident, call us at 510-721-3477 or use our online contact form to send us a message. KKG Law represents victims of motorcycle accidents in Oakland, San Jose, Fairfield, and all other Bay Area communities.