With around 1,100 miles of Pacific Coast shoreline, California offers an incredible riding experience to motorcyclists. Bikers love its historic roads, scenic views, and favorable weather, which is why it’s probably home to the most registered motorcycles in the country.
In 2020, California had around 785,424 registered motorcycles. However, the sheer number of motorcycles also increases the chances of motorcycle accidents, which is why it’s not surprising that the state also experienced the second most motorcycle fatalities in the same year.
Riding a motorcycle in California is undeniably exciting but also risky. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die than car occupants.
Motorcycles have less protection than enclosed motor vehicles. They have no seat belts or restraints, so drivers can easily be ejected in a collision. Moreover, since they weigh significantly less than passenger cars, motorcycles are also more vulnerable to road hazards. Motorcycle accident injuries can be life-altering, and they could leave victims with significant losses.
Have you suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident? If so, you may be eligible to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. However, you’ll need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve.
We at The Personal Injury Center are here to help you. We’ll connect you to a reliable law firm with the best motorcycle accident lawyers in California.
5 Crucial Things To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Many motorcycle crashes happen not because of the motorcyclist but because of the negligence of another motorist. Unfortunately, people often blame the motorcycle driver whenever there’s an accident involving a motorcycle. For example, the general public often views motorcyclists as reckless, especially as they are often seen overspeeding on the roads.
Insurance companies also tend to rely on prejudice against motorcyclists and view bikers as almost always being the at-fault driver during a motorcycle crash. Due to this implicit bias, motorcycle accident victims may have difficulty getting fair compensation. Remember that insurance adjusters will do everything they can to avoid providing you with any compensation.
Preparing and knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident can help protect your rights and make the process of claiming compensation easier. Of course, no one wants to think about being involved in an accident. However, it’s best to expect the unexpected and always be ready.
Motorcycle accident victims are likely to be confused or disoriented after an accident. Therefore, equipping yourself with the following will ensure that you get fair compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other losses:
Leave your bike
After getting into a crash, the first thought of most motorcycle drivers is to check the condition of the bike. They may try to move or retrieve broken parts of their vehicle. However, the scene of a motorcycle crash is a dangerous one. Nearly 62% of motorcycle accidents involve fuel leaks and spills in the post-crash phase, which presents an unusually high hazard for a fire.
If you can, the first step you should take after a motorcycle accident is to get off the road. Even if it means leaving your motorcycle behind, you must prioritize removing yourself from the crash scene. Your safety must come before the safety of your vehicle.
If you’re severely injured and unable to move, ask for help from the people around you. Due to the exposed nature of a rider’s legs, motorcyclists often experience road rash and injuries to their lower extremities. This may include broken bones in the foot, ankle, calf, thigh, pelvis, and hip.
Depending on the angle of the accident and the rider’s speed, you may sustain severe injuries and property damage. Try to limit movement to avoid exacerbating any serious injuries. Make sure to rest in a neutral position until emergency services arrive.
Seek medical attention
Seeking medical attention is the most important thing you can do after a motorcycle accident. Emergency services may transport and take severely injured motorcyclists to the hospital. However, even if you think you only sustained minor injuries, you should nevertheless consult a doctor and get medical care.
You may also feel fortunate to be able to walk away from a crash uninjured. However, symptoms for many motorcycle injuries don’t immediately appear. Some will take days, weeks, or even months to show up. Many injured motorcyclists may be unaware that they’re experiencing symptoms of traumatic brain injuries.
Therefore, even if you think you’re okay, you should still get checked by a medical professional. Doctors know how to identify hidden and internal injuries, which can show up and cause problems later. The following are some of the conditions that may not immediately affect an injured motorcyclist:
- Neck pain: Neck pain or stiffness can be a symptom of whiplash, or it may be an indication of other issues, such as broken bones or soft-tissue injuries. However, it may also signal something more severe, such as head and spinal cord injuries. You must seek immediate medical attention to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal pain: Pain in your abdomen after a motorcycle crash is one of the delayed symptoms of internal injuries, which generally take longer to manifest. It can signify internal bleeding or injuries to internal organs, tissue, and bones. Have medical professionals evaluate you when you experience abdominal pain. Failure to do so can result in life-threatening conditions.
- Medical shock: The trauma of a motorcycle accident can cause your body to be in shock. When you experience medical shock, your organs and tissues may not receive sufficient blood, which can prevent you from feeling other potentially fatal injuries. Getting medical care is essential to prevent severe complications.
Not only will seeking medical care after a motorcycle accident protects your life, but it will also serve as valuable evidence when you claim compensation. Therefore, you shouldn’t speak to the insurance company unless a doctor has examined you. This will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Document the accident
After an accident, ensuring your safety, and the safety of others, should be a priority. However, collecting substantial evidence at the scene of the accident is also crucial, as this will strengthen your claim for compensation.
If you can, take pictures or videos of your injuries and the crash scene. Document the road conditions, damage to any vehicle involved, and other relevant roadway features. Write down what you remember about the accident so that your story is consistent and truthful.
When severe injuries make it impossible to collect evidence, ask a witness to help you. Gather information from other parties, including phone numbers of witnesses. People who saw the accident can provide more evidence about who was at fault. You may need all of this information to file a personal injury claim.
There are many possible causes of motorcycle accidents. A police report will document the facts of the accident and name all the parties and witnesses involved. However, there’s a chance that it can be biased and favor the other driver. You may, however, be able to challenge the police report if you collect photographic or video evidence of the crash.
It may be difficult for an injured victim to stay calm after a motorcycle or car accident, as adrenaline often clouds logical thinking. Although it’s completely natural to feel panicked or emotional, how you react after a collision is very important.
Try to stay calm as best as you can. Take a few deep breaths and assess how your body reacts to the accident. You may worry about how your motorcycle will be repaired or how long you’ll be injured. However, instead of worrying about all of that, focus on the moment. You’ll get a better grip on the situation when you are calm and collected.
You’ll have time to fully process everything. However, the best thing you can do after being involved in an accident is to keep a calm and level head. Don’t say anything that can make your situation worse, such as admitting that the accident was your fault. Never argue with the other driver involved in a motorcycle collision. Additionally, never inflict intentional and additional damage to property.
Hire a motorcycle accident attorney
A motorcycle accident case is often more challenging to settle than a car accident. Besides the bias against injured motorcyclists, the playing field isn’t level when you’re negotiating with insurance companies. They will usually offer the lowest amount of compensation, which is why you must hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
An experienced California motorcycle accident attorney can further help injury victims with the following:
- Gather Evidence of Liability: Proving that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries can be challenging. A personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence of the other party’s negligence, which can be used to claim compensation.
- Determine the Value of Damages: You may wonder how much monetary compensation you’ll receive from your motorcycle accident. The damages awarded to victims depend on the injuries and losses, such as medical bills and lost earnings. A motorcycle accident lawyer knows how much to claim in damages and can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Initiate a Lawsuit When Necessary: Some motorcycle accident claims may not result in a settlement. If that’s the case, and you don’t receive fair compensation for your losses, your motorcycle accident lawyer may initiate a lawsuit.
Get Proper Legal Advice from The Personal Injury Center
A motorcycle accident is a scary and stressful event. If this happens to you or your loved ones, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical treatment, and other losses. However, insurance adjusters and juries are often biased against motorcyclists, which may affect your claim for compensation.
While you’re on the road to recovery, a personal injury lawyer can protect your legal rights or that of a family member and fight for fair compensation. They can help you through every stage of the legal process and negotiate with insurance adjusters.
We at The Personal Injury Center can assist you in getting the necessary legal help for your case. We will ensure you’re armed with helpful information about asserting your legal rights. Are you ready to work with one of the best California motorcycle accident lawyers? Message us today for a free case evaluation, and we’ll connect you to a law firm specializing in personal injury cases.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in California
Proposition 213 applies to drivers not covered by insurance and prohibits them from collecting non-economic damages even if the crash isn’t their fault. They can, however, recover compensation for economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
There is no law forbidding lane-splitting in California, which means motorcycle riders can ride between two lanes of traffic on a highway. However, while California allows lane-splitting, there are a few restrictions. For instance, splitting lanes near the speed limit or around large vehicles with significant blind spots is not advisable.
Vehicle Code 21801 CVC applies to drivers making a left turn or completing a U-turn to the left. This California law says that motorists in this situation shall yield the right-of-way to all approaching vehicles and only turn when it is safe.