San Francisco / Oakland
Motorcycle Accident Attorney
For most victims of motorcycle crashes, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a motorcycle accident attorney. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles provide no protection for riders, which means that accidents frequently result in serious injuries and even death. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injuries or fatalities. In comparison, only 20 percent of car accidents cause injuries or death.
A motorcycle accident lawyer could represent injured victims and work to hold the at-fault parties accountable. By filing a personal injury claim in civil court, the lawyer could help victims obtain monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and other crash-related losses. However, riders should keep in mind that there are time limits involved in filing personal injury claims, so it is important to contact a legal professional as soon as possible.
Do motorcycle accidents affect car insurance?
Yes. Under California law, all registered motor vehicles are required to have liability insurance coverage. This includes motorcycles. Liability insurance pays for any property damage or bodily injuries that result from a collision caused by the policyholder. State liability insurance minimums are:
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person
- $30,000 for injury or death to multiple people
- $5,000 for property damage
If a motorcycle rider is responsible for an accident, the resulting insurance claim will cause his or her insurance rates to increase. Insurance companies monitor the records of all licensed drivers and will be aware of any reported accidents that occur. Companies also required that consumers disclose any previous accident claims when they begin or renew an insurance policy. Motorcycle owners can call their insurer to learn more information.
How bad are motorcycle accidents?
One of the most appealing aspects of riding a motorcycle is that riders are exposed to the open air, which can be a thrilling experience. However, this is also what makes motorcycle crashes so dangerous. Because there are no vehicle doors, seat belts or airbags protecting a motorcycle rider, collisions can be catastrophic. Typical injuries that occur in a motorcycle accident include:
- Traumatic head injuries, including fractured skulls, concussions and brain damage
- Road rash, which is a severe skin abrasion caused by sliding across the pavement
- Muscle damage from impacts, pulls, tears or punctures
- Biker’s arm, which happens when riders try to break a fall with their arms
- Leg injuries, which can happen when riders are struck by another vehicle or crushed beneath a tipped motorcycle
Other common injuries include spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and internal injuries. Broken ribs and other thoracic injuries are also major threats, particularly when someone is riding a bike with a large engine. All of these injuries are capable of causing permanent disabilities that could leave victims unable to work and support their families. A San Francisco motorcycle accident attorney could help accident victims obtain a settlement that pays for current and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost income.
How do most motorcycle accidents occur?
Most fatal motorcycle accidents are caused by collisions with other vehicles. These types of crashes account for 56 percent of all rider deaths, and they most often occur when drivers fail to detect and yield to motorcycles. Over 50 percent of car/motorcycle collisions occur when a car or truck enters a motorcycle rider’s lane. This can happen when a car turns left in front of a bike or pulls out from a side street and cuts a motorcycle off. Most accidents happen on trips less than five miles long and involve speeds of 30 mph or less. Alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of crashes, while weather is factor in only 2 percent of collisions.
How many motorcycle crashes happen each year?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were approximately 84,000 motorcycle accidents that caused injuries in 2015. In addition, over 5,000 crashes involved fatalities. Further, the NHTSA reports that motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to be killed in a collision than drivers and occupants in other types of motor vehicles.
How much money can I get from a motorcycle accident?
Each motorcycle accident case will be assessed on a number of factors, but the two most important ones have to do with who was at fault for the accident and the cost of any injuries or damages that occurred.
If a San Francisco driver failed to yield to a motorcycle or simply wasn’t paying attention, he or she could be found negligent in the accident and held 100 percent responsible for damages. However, it’s possible for a driver and a motorcycle rider to share responsibility for a crash. In these cases, California law uses a rule known as comparative negligence to attribute a percentage of fault to each party. A rider’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage he or she is found at fault. For example, if a rider is found to be 25 percent responsible for an accident and a driver is determined to be 75 percent responsible, the rider’s eventual compensation settlement will be reduced by 25 percent.
The amount of compensation is determined by factors such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, the value of any property lost in the accident and the victim’s physical pain and emotional distress. The monetary value placed on all of these categories can vary widely, so each case must be evaluated individually.
How can I avoid getting into a motorcycle accident?
While riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car, there are several things motorcyclists can do to reduce their risk on the open road. Experts agree that one of the most important ways riders can protect themselves is by wearing a helmet. According to the NHTSA, 37 percent of all motorcycle crash fatalities could have been prevented if the rider had used a helmet. Experts also suggest that riders get a motorcycle license and follow that up with professional training. Riders who are self-taught or taught by friends and family account for over 90 percent of all motorcycle crashes. Riders should also wear protective clothing, including goggles, a jacket, long pants, gloves and boots, and do all they can to avoid road hazards. Finally, riders should never drink or use drugs before hopping on their bikes.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
Getting into a motorcycle accident can be frightening and disconcerting, so it helps to know what to do ahead of time. According to traffic safety experts, riders should do the following:
- Check for injuries
- Call the police
- If possible, move damaged vehicles from the roadway
- Gather contact, license and insurance information from each driver involved
- Take photos and/or notes about the scene of the accident
Riders should also make sure they do not do certain things. For example, riders should:
- Never admit fault
- Never agree to “let it go” and not report the accident to the police
- Never assume they are uninjured
If riders have any questions or concerns, they should contact our San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer could assess the case and provide essential legal guidance regarding how to proceed.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.