Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Orange County
It is without question that riding motorcycles in the Orange County and Riverside County areas can be fatally dangerous. Whether a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of another driver or by the reckless riding by the motorcyclist, the harm that can result is potentially devastating, life altering and, in some cases, fatal. Statistics show that even those riders who wear helmets are vulnerable to major injuries. Below, you’ll find motorcycle accident statistics, as well as other valuable information for Orange County victims of motorcycle accidents. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver, contact The Roberts Law Firm today. A personal injury lawyer from our firm will discuss your legal rights and determine whether or not you should pursue compensation from the party who caused your injury.
About Motorcycle Accidents
According to an October 2009 report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over two-thirds (67.6 percent) of motorcycle accidents occur between noon and 8:59 p.m. Furthermore, crashes involving motorcycles are more likely to occur during the summer months (June, July, and August). As for location, 38 percent of crashes occurred at intersections.
The NHTSA report indicates that motorcyclists between the ages of 20 and 29 represent the largest age group of riders. The second largest age group of riders is the 40-49 year old riders. Only 10 percent of riders in this study were under the age of 20. Male motorcyclists were most likely to be in their early 20s. On the other hand, female motorcyclists are more likely to be between 40 and 49 years old.
Motorcycle riders risk serious injury and death every time they sit on their bikes. The NHTSA reported increases in the number of fatalities every year between the 1997 and 2007. Riders under 30 years old saw fatalities increase from 800 to 1,500 between 1997 and 2007. Fatalities of riders between 30 and 39 years old increased from 600 to 900 respectively. The 40 and older age group however experienced the most drastic increase in fatalities. In 1997, 700 riders in this age group died as a result of an accident. In 2007, that number almost quadrupled to 2,600 fatalities.
One may think that the increase in fatalities is simply due to an increase in the number of motorcycle riders on the road. However, while there has also been an increase in motorcycle registrations during this period, the rate of increase in fatalities has been greater than that of registrations.
The majority of hospitalized motorcyclists suffered injuries to the upper and lower extremities. Furthermore, more than 15 percent of motorcyclists sustained injuries to the head, and 17 percent sustained injuries to the face.
Treating injuries caused by motorcycle accidents can be pricey. The median hospital charge for minor injuries is $3,786. Where the accident leaves the motorcyclist in critical condition, the median hospital charge is $73,179 for the necessary treatment. That’s a 19 fold increase.
Motorcycle Collisions in California
The California Highway Patrol reported 9,602 motorcycle collisions in 2007 (and that’s only counting the top 10 counties). Los Angeles County dominates the number of collisions in our state – 3,472 motorcycle collisions occurred in LA County in 2007, while 1,162 motorcycle accidents occurred in San Diego and 980 in Orange County.
The number of motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities in California increased between the years 2004 and 2007 as well. In 2004, 9,488 motorcyclists were injured and 350 killed as a result of collisions. Those numbers jumped to 11,172 and 465 respectively in 2007.
After an Accident
You should first, immediately get to a point of safety, in order to avoid subsequent injury. Second, you should seek medical care in order to treat injuries and prevent further injury. Next, report the accident. If you were not transported by ambulance after the accident, then you should call the police after the accident. A report will document the facts and will identify parties and witnesses. Finally, you should contact a reputable and experienced motorcycle accident attorney to represent you and protect your rights. A lawyer from The Roberts Law Firm, located in Orange County and Riverside County, will ensure that your claims are competently handled from the outset.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents. Accidents can be caused by the negligence of the motorcycle rider, another motorcycle rider, the driver of another vehicle, natural conditions, and even dangerous conditions of a public road. In any event, the motorcycle rider may be in a position to recover for his/her damages.
If you ride, it’s important to know your rights. In the event of an accident, this knowledge can help you determine whether you may be entitled to damages. Even if you’re unfamiliar with your rights, it’s still recommended that you seek legal counsel if you have been injured in an accident. At the Roberts Law Firm, we can review your case, educate you on your rights, and recommend a course of action. We understand motorcycle rights and specialize in motorcycle claims at our Orange County law firm. As a rider himself, Jeff Roberts can empathize with his clients; he is uniquely suited to answer their questions and help them seek damages for injuries. To arrange a free consultation with Mr. Roberts, please contact our law firm, located in Newport Beach, today.
As defined by the State of California, a motorcycle is a two- or three-wheeled vehicle weighing less than 1,500 lbs with an engine displacement greater than 150 cubic centimeters (CCs). Mopeds, Scooters, Vespa’s and motorized bicycles, for example, are not classified as motorcycles, even though they are motorized two-wheeled vehicles, because their engines are too small. By comparison, three-wheeled bikes (or trikes, as they are commonly known) are still classified as motorcycles because they fall within the engine and weight guidelines and have fewer than four wheels. Knowing what constitutes a motorcycle will help you understand your rights and the vehicle code by which you must abide.
California Motorcycle Laws
In California, all motorcyclists must be licensed with an M1 or M2 endorsement and wear a DOT-approved helmet. If either of these requirements is not met, it may jeopardize your chance of seeking damages in court in the event of an accident. Once properly licensed and helmeted, motorcyclists are free to traverse all public roads, and share the same rights and privileges as other motorists with one exception: unlike automobiles, trucks, and commercial vehicles, lane-splitting is permitted for motorcycles, if done in a prudent and reasonable fashion. This legal right is often overlooked or misunderstood not only by the general public, but in some instances, by law enforcement as well. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident while you were legally and safely lane-splitting, the other party may be at fault.
At our Newport Beach law practice, we help clients throughout Orange County better understand motorcycle rights and motorcycle laws every day; if you have been involved in an accident and have concerns or questions regarding your rights, we can help. If it is determined that your injuries resulted from another party’s negligence, you are legally entitled to damages. Though each case is unique, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, past and present; loss of wages, past and present; property damage; and pain and suffering.
If you as the rider are not at fault for the accident, then you should be entitled to recover 100 percent of the assessed damages.
On the other hand, California is a comparative fault jurisdiction. This means, even where the injured motorcycle rider filing the claim is partially at fault for the accident, he/she still may recover some damages. The jury will first assess the total damages caused, not taking into consideration the level of faults. Next, the jury will assign the fault to each plaintiff and each defendant in the form of a percentage. This percentage will determine how much recovery each party is entitled to. This means, you as the rider are entitled to some recovery, even if, in some instances, you are partially at fault for the accident.
You are entitled to past economic losses, and future economic losses. These include lost earnings, lost profits, medical expenses, other economic loss, and noneconomic loss (physical pain, mental suffering). Your damages will be paid either as a result of a settlement or a verdict, depending on the case.
Examples of Damages
- A motorcycle rider received a $6,500,000 settlement when he was injured as a result of a roadway defect in Sonoma County. The County of Sonoma paid the rider this sum because it was at fault for maintaining a dangerous condition on the road. In this case, the road came to a sudden end at the end of a turn without a warning that it would come to an end.
- A rider in Marin County suffered paralysis of his right arm and facial injuries when he was involved in an accident with another vehicle. He was awarded a $2,494,000 verdict in a jury trial, and a $100,000 settlement. In the jury trial, the jury held the State of California and the Department of Transportation at fault for maintain a dangerous condition of its road. Here, the state allowed vegetation to grow so as to block the view of perpendicular traffic.
Contact The Roberts Law Firm
Injured victims of motorcycle accidents in or around Orange County should contact The Roberts Law Firm to learn more about filing a legal claim. The Roberts Law Firm serves those injured throughout all of Orange County, California and Riverside County, California. Call today for a free consultation.
Riverside Accident Attorney Jeff Roberts handles all accident, injury and wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis meaning he charges no fee unless he recovers for you.