The open design of motorcycles, combined with the high speeds at which both motorcycles and cars are capable of traveling, means that a high percentage of motorcycle accidents lead to catastrophic injuries. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to serious injuries than passengers in cars and trucks.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, all initial appropriate medical care should be followed quickly by a consultation with a California personal injury attorney who is committed to pursuing the compensation you deserve for injuries and damages. Motor vehicle drivers and other defendants in lawsuits involving motorcycle accidents are quick to levy the blame against the motorcyclist, and judges and juries are likely to side with them initially. Early investigation by a law firm can turn a potential losing motorcycle injury or death case in to a win.
Call Oakland personal injury lawyers at Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, at (510) 433-1000 as soon as possible to arrange a free consultation.
Common Factors In California Motorcycle Accidents
There is a lot at stake in motorcycle accidents. The small amount of protection offered to the rider is just one factor that contributes to catastrophic injuries and losses. Other factors include:
- Distracted motor vehicle drivers
- Fatigued drivers
- Negligent and reckless drivers
- Inexperienced drivers
- High speeds
- Low maneuverability of other vehicles on the road
- Blind spots of cars and trucks
- Dangerous road conditions
- Defective motorcycle parts
You need an advocate to fight for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering damages. We can represent your best interests in negotiations and litigation with insurance companies. Insurance representatives guard the assets of the company before they think about your needs and best interests.
Motorcycle Accidents Caused By Others’ Negligence
We thoroughly investigate motorcycle accident cases. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Sudden lane changes (blind spot accidents)
- Lane splitting (also involving lane changes and impeding a biker’s path)
- Failure to yield
- Running stop signs and stop lights
- Left-hand turns
- Dangerous road conditions
- Distracted drivers (cellphones, texting and GPS)
- Fatigued drivers
- Crowding by cars or trucks
- Defective motorcycle parts and helmets
Types of Serious Injuries In Motorcycle Accidents
We work closely with medical experts, economists, vocational experts, accident reconstructionists and motorcycle experts in all necessary cases. We work to fully understand all the implications of medical procedures and costs; past and future economic damages; work-related complications, including lost earning potential; and actions of all parties involved leading up to the accident.
Our lawyers are detail-oriented investigators and pragmatic litigators who have represented drivers and passengers who have suffered injuries, including:
- Broken bones (fractures)
- Serious lacerations (cuts and other open wounds)
- Damage to internal organs
- Joint dislocations
- Ligament tears
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Head, neck and back injuries
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Wrongful death
We gather evidence and document injuries in the precise manner that they relate to:
- Accident cause
- Ability to return to former job
- Long-term injury needs
- Relationships with loved ones
Some injuries and the effects of other injuries may not be immediately apparent. Thorough medical examination following any serious motorcycle crash is vital to your health and establishing the value of your case.
Left-Turn Motorcycle Accidents
Left-turn accidents are one of the most common forms of accidents involving motorcycles, especially at intersections. All left-turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic, but other drivers on the road often do not look out for motorcycles. Speeding through a yellow light; low visibility at night, dusk or dawn; and turning left on a curve or a hill could all lead to catastrophic injuries for a motorcyclist with the right of way.
When another vehicle strikes a motorcycle or causes a rider to bail out, injuries suffered can range from minor to serious, including:
- Knee injury
- Broken leg
- Elbow and shoulder injury
- Crushed foot
- Head injury
- Brain trauma
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
The biker could also be the left-turning vehicle. However, if road conditions or visibility was poor, oncoming traffic still has the responsibility to drive cautiously and be aware of road hazards, one of which could be a motorcycle turning left.
Proving Fault In A Left-Turn Accident Case
Obtaining the recovery you need for damages and injuries is all about proper investigation, evidence preservation and communication with insurance companies. Responsible parties are always likely to blame the motorcyclist, but a skillful attorney will have the case prepared to counter bias and prove fault on the part of the truly negligent or reckless motorist.
Who can sue for a motorcycle accident injury and death case?
The operator of a motorcycle and his/her survivors in a wrongful death case can sue for their damages if any other party is at fault. The passenger on a motorcycle can normally sue a motorcycle operator if the operator is at fault and/or any other person or entity that is responsible for their injuries. Any other person injured by a motorcyclist, such as a pedestrian, can recover damages against the motorcycle operator and any other responsible party. For more information visit our Motorcycle Accident Injury: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
How Do You Recover Damages In A Motorcycle Wrongful Death Case?
Our team launches a quick and thorough investigation into the cause of the accident to attempt to establish fault on the part of the people or entities responsible for the death of your loved one. Our diligence shifts the general public perception that the motorcyclist assumed the risk of injury and was at fault in any accident situation.
Most accidents resulting in death require us to retain accident reconstruction experts and others with expertise in human factors contributing to motorcycle accident situations in particular. These experts help us to establish liability through careful examination and the gathering of evidence and testimony.
Comparative Fault In California
Even if the deceased biker was partially at fault, we can still recover ample compensation if we can prove one or more other parties are also at fault because California is a comparative fault state. For example, if the compensation for injuries and wrongful death award amounts to $1 million but the deceased person is found to be 50 percent at fault, the recovery is limited to $500,000.
Construction Zones And Other Dangerous Road Conditions
If we determine that we can prove dangerous liability in your bike accident case, we will help you file a lawsuit against the responsible party. We have extensive experience litigating complex cases against very resourceful and powerful defendants. In fact, our partner attorneys have more than 60 years of combined legal experience representing personal injury victims throughout California.
Our comprehensive, independent investigation can yield several accident causes worth litigating for the compensation that you deserve for injuries. Dangerous conditions of public or private roadways may include:
- Inadequate signs or signals
- Inadequate lighting
- Inadequate visibility due to design
- Inadequately banked turns
- Missing guardrails
- Flooded and slippery roads
- Other design or maintenance flaws of the roadway
- Inadequately marked or protected construction sites
- Unmarked potholes
- Uneven pavement
We can work tirelessly to prove dangerous liability on the part of a property owner or construction contractor. Our lawyers will protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve for adequate recovery. Defendants in these cases can often afford expensive litigation costs, and the statute of limitations for bringing your lawsuit is short. Retaining the skills, determination and resources of an experienced law firm is critical to your success.
California Lane Splitting Laws
Most drivers in California are aware of lane-splitting guidelines approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), but it only takes one negligent motorist or out-of-state driver to cause a serious motorcycle accident. In most states it’s illegal, but California allows safe lane splitting in traffic. The CHP recommends the following guidelines to motorcyclists:
- Motorcyclists must travel no more than 10 mph faster than other traffic when lane splitting.
- Lane splitting when traffic flow is 30 mph or faster is not advisable.
- It is safer to split between the No. 1 and No. 2 lanes than any others.
It is important for bikers to consider all road factors and hazards, and lane splitting should be avoided at freeway on-ramps, exits, curves in the road, tollbooths, between large vehicles and in dangerous road conditions.
Other drivers on the road are obligated to also ensure motorcyclist safety. Distracted driving, inattentive driving and not signaling lane changes must be avoided. Further, opening a vehicle door to impede a biker and intentionally blocking or impeding a biker in a manner that would cause harm are illegal under California law. According to a study by the consulting firm Ewald & Wasserman, 78 percent of motorcyclists split lanes and nearly two-thirds have had a car try to block them.
Lane Splitting Is Safe If Done Responsibly
Motorcycles may stall in stop-and-go traffic, which makes it more dangerous to stay in traffic than to lane split. Visibility is also increased while lane splitting, and there is less danger of being rear-ended.
Experienced Counsel For Motorcycle Accident Victims
The legal team at Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, draws on decades of experience and proven litigation strategies. Our attorneys help those injured in motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle accidents to obtain compensation for medical care, ongoing medical needs, lost wages and many other damages. We have successfully obtained more than $200 million in verdicts and settlements for clients throughout California.
The perception that motorcycles are dangerous and that riders drive recklessly is common across our society. At Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, we work hard to challenge such perceptions and hold truly negligent and reckless parties accountable.
Contact us at (510) 433-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer. We investigate each accident case independently and thoroughly on behalf of our clients. At Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, we pursue all cases on a contingency fee basis.
We Don’t Rest Until We Prove Fault
Distracted, fatigued, negligent and reckless drivers pose serious threats to bike riders on every road in California. We are familiar with the excuses of defendants, and their lawyers’ attempts to turn the blame on motorcyclists in all types of accidents, including:
- Left-turn accidents
- Defective bike part accidents
- Sudden lane changes by other drivers
- Accidents involving dangerous road conditions
We fight for our clients and their families. We understand the complexities and controversial aspects of lane splitting, and we can still sue on your behalf for injuries and damages even if you were not wearing a legal helmet in a crash.
Our law firm doesn’t back down. We are tireless advocates for motorcycle drivers and passengers who suffered serious injuries as the result of the carelessness of others.
Significant Motorcycle Accident Cases
We have recovered more than $200 million in settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases throughout the state on behalf of our clients in need of medical, wage, property, companionship and other loss compensation.
- $1,375,000 — 40-Year-Old Man Suffers a Severe Leg Fracture in Motorcycle Accident, Becomes Dependent on Prescription Drug Vicodin
- $450,000 — Motorcyclist Wins Settlement Against Motor Vehicle Driver with Only $100,000 Insurance Coverage
Motorcyclist Suffers Leg Amputation: Result Of Illegally Parked Bus Blocking View Of Motorist
Our 45-year-old client suffered a below-the-knee leg amputation after colliding with a car that pulled out of a shopping center driveway in his path. We established that an illegally parked county bus had blocked the motorist’s view, preventing the driver from seeing the plaintiff motorcyclist for several seconds before the accident occurred.
The case with the motorist’s insurance company was settled for the $100,000 policy limit before our law firm was retained. We pursued litigation with the bus company for economic damages resulting from the negligence of illegally parking the bus in front of a busy shopping center driveway.
The plaintiff’s award was limited because he was able to return to his former job within nine months and he suffered from incurable cancer, thus limiting future damages. The plaintiff died within one year of settlement, but we were able to settle against the bus company for $750,000. There had been no settlement offer before, and it was one of the largest settlements in a California case involving an illegally parked vehicle.
Motorcycle Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
Call (510) 433-1000 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our Los Angeles-, San Francisco-, Woodland Hills- or Oakland-based motorcycle accident lawyers. We offer free initial consultations and pursue all cases on a contingency fee basis.