When motorcycle accidents happen, the injuries that result can be severe. On top of that, motorcyclists are often considered to be reckless regarding traffic laws. That makes filing motorcycle injury claims that much more difficult.
If you’ve been in a major motorcycle accident, the attorneys at The Wakeford Law Firm can help.
Common Causes for Motorcycle Accidents
When motorcycle accidents happen they are sometimes caused by the reckless driving of the individual on the motorcycle. That, however, is much more rare than people think. Those on bikes know that if they collide with a car, a truck, or other larger vehicle, that they’re the ones who are going to bear the brunt of the force. In other words, more often than not, it’s the other motorist who is responsible for the accident. The most common causes of these accidents include:
● Motorist error. Today, the most common reason for motorist error is distracted driving. With infotainment systems and cell phones, drivers are paying much less attention to the road than ever before. When they cause an accident because of distracted driving, they are responsible. Intoxication and lack of experience behind the wheel also top causes of motorist error.
● Traffic law violations. If you are injured because another driver did not obey the laws of traffic, that individual is responsible for any injuries that they caused you. The most common example is when a driver illegally changes lanes. Because motorcycles are smaller vehicles, the driver’s blind spots are larger. If they don’t look before changing lanes they seriously injure (or even kill a motorcyclist). If they’re speeding, failing to heed traffic signals, or they don’t yield the right of way, they can also be held responsible.
When is the Other Driver at Fault?
The other driver is considered to be “at fault” when they did not exercise due care or were otherwise negligent when operating their motor vehicle. This could be because they did not follow the rules of traffic, were distracted while operating their vehicle, or because they did not look out for other drivers.
Filing a Motorcycle Injury Accident Claim
California is a tort state when it comes to auto accidents. That means that one party is at fault while the other isn’t. In addition, two parties can be held partially at fault for an auto accident. This is called comparative fault.
An injured motorcyclist can file a claim with either their own or the other driver’s insurance policy. Whoever is determined to be more at fault pays the bulk of the claim in a percentage equal to their amount of blame. For instance, if another driver causes you $10,000 in damages and they are found to be 75% at fault, you would receive $7,500 from their liability policy.
In addition, motorcyclists should carry their own personal injury protection policy that pays out regardless of who is at fault. This type of insurance is also called PIP insurance. While California does not require anyone to carry PIP insurance, it could prove useful when your injuries are extensive.
What to Expect from the Insurance Company when Filing a Motorcycle Injury Claim
We put it out there earlier that motorcycles are not well known for their cautious driving. Insurance companies will use this fact against you when protecting their client from liability. For instance, in cases where their client attempted to merge into another lane without looking, they can claim that the motorcyclist was “lane splitting”. This occurs when the motorcyclist drives between cars in two different lanes. This is a very common defense tactic.
You may need witnesses or traffic cameras to prove that the accident was not your fault. You will also need medical reports detailing the extent of your injuries and how much time you’ve missed from work.
When another individual is at fault in an accident, they are liable for:
● Your medical expenses,
● Missed time from work,
● Pain and suffering,
They are also responsible for any other losses related to your injuries. This can include serious or permanent impairments like paralysis or damage caused by traumatic brain injury. Further, this can include the fallout from those injuries such as loss of consortium, loss of employability, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you need chronic medical care, they are responsible for that as well.
But insurance companies don’t willingly fork this kind of money over. They do everything in their power to reduce the value of your claim.
Contact a Motorcycle Injury Accident Claim Lawyer
The San Francisco personal injury attorneys at The Wakeford Law Firm have helped clients recover major damages against unwilling insurance companies. Give us a call at (415) 569-7495 or contact us online for a free consultation.