Motorcycle Accidents FAQ
Here are attorney James Sexton’s answers to some frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents. To ask him the rest of your questions and learn about options in your specific situation, please call The Sexton Law Firm at 619-678-1833 or contact us online. We offer free consultations to all clients.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are either visibility where a driver of a car did not see the motorcyclist or the weather. Other causes would be common accidents such as where the motorcycle was rear-ended because someone was not paying attention. The driver of the car was on their cellphone or the sun was in their eyes, something like that.
The great majority of them occur from visibility factors. I am sure we experience this all the time on the highways here in California where traffic is going very slowly, and all of a sudden you see a motorcycle pass between you and the other car about 2 feet to your left or right. Invariably, those motorcyclists are getting clipped by vehicles making lane changes. Or, one of the vehicles strays a little too close to the lane divider, and the side mirror of the car might clip the motorcyclist and cause an accident.
Visibility factors can be due to darkness especially during bad weather conditions. Cars are sliding and slipping, and visibility is poor.
Are there any special laws that are enforced on motorcycle driver’s license holders only?
Generally, drivers of motorcycles have to pass classes now as far as to be able to drive a motorcycle. There are classes for motorcyclists to take. They have to wear helmets. They have to have the right type of reflective gear. But, other than that, there are no special laws that are enforced on motorcycle drivers.
Every driver of a motor vehicle in California still has to obey the rules of the road as far as having functioning signal lights, tail lights, headlights and things of that nature. Generally, those same rules of the road that are enforced on all drivers of motor vehicles are enforced on motorcycle drivers as well.
When the motorcyclists are passing slowing or stopped traffic, there are special laws. They cannot do that when the traffic is over 35 miles an hour. For the motorcyclist to be able to obey the rules of the road and pass in between lanes between slowing or stopped traffic, the traffic has to be 35 miles an hour or less. That is why a lot of these accidents happen when you do not expect a motorcyclist to be passing you, and all of a sudden there he is.
Unfortunately, the motorcycle accidents cause more serious types of injuries. Generally, we are talking broken bones, severe road rash/burns, and in some cases, head injuries where you might have concussions or an actual brain injury.
Generally, the types of injuries in motorcycle accidents are much more severe and serious than in your normal car accident, which makes a lot of sense. Nowadays, many of the cars are equipped with air bags in the front and the side and specially reinforced bumpers.
The cars have been made safer, but that cannot be said for the motorcycle drivers. There are no air bags for the motorcycle. There is no seat belt for the motorcycle. They are generally unprotected, and if they are struck by a motor vehicle, chances are they are going to become dislodged from the motorcycle, usually at a high rate of speed, and go flying off onto the pavement or sometimes into other vehicles.
We have seen motorcycle accidents at lower speeds and because of the protective gear the motorcyclist may be wearing, like body armor and crash-resistant helmets, they initially are not injured, but then they may get run over by another vehicle.
Just because you are initially dislodged from your motorcycle from an accident does not necessarily mean you are home free. We have seen accidents where they are now sliding on the pavement or in a lane of traffic and get hit by a different vehicle that does not have time to react.
Bikers say, “Oh well, I am wearing all this protective gear and I know how to fall and I know how to slide.” That might all be fine and good, but sometimes they cannot avoid another vehicle that is bearing down at them between 40 and 60 miles an hour.
Experience in helping with motorcycle accident victims is the same as any other type of accident victims. In the more serious case, they need someone more than maybe a chiropractor or physical therapist. They might need an orthopedist, a neurologist.
Where do you go when you have something like that? You can go to the hospital initially, and they will examine you in the emergency room. But after that, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you document your injuries?
How do you work up your case? There might be a contention that the motorcyclist was somehow at fault, or contributorily at fault, for the accident. That needs to be looked into. Sometimes you need to do some investigation, contact some witnesses, and get their version of what they saw.
Sometimes the highway patrol comes out to investigate accidents and document things. But, believe it or not, they are not perfect and they are not foolproof. They get facts wrong. They get vehicles mixed up. They get people mixed up. Sometimes they do not get all the statements of all the witnesses who were there. They might just get one. It could be that the accident victim had talked to two or three others to substantiate his story, and those people might have left by the time the highway patrol officers arrived.
That is important, because the insurance company is going to try and minimize things. If they think there is some contributory fault, they are going to push for it. That is why you need a little more documentation, a little more investigation. Sometimes it is not always clear-cut.
Why hire The Sexton Law Firm for a motorcycle injury claim?
Choose The Sexton Law Firm because my firm has years of experience in handling personal injury claims, both on the defense side and the injured victim’s side. I feel that gives us a leg up on other attorneys in the area. The fact that we know what the insurance companies are looking for as far as documentation, what types of things their computer software really likes to see and does not like to see, puts us head and shoulders above the competition.
We do not waste time. We get exactly what the insurance company needs to see to evaluate a case and get an offer from them as quickly as possible. We do not want to prolong things. Most of our clients, most people in general, do not want to have to file lawsuits and go to court, and go on and on and on, and have something mired for a year or longer in the court system. They want to get well and get their case resolved. That is what we try to do. We get exactly what we need such as the documentation, the doctors, basically the proof we need, so we do not have to go into litigation and file and prolong a case longer than it should be.
It is costly to file litigation. Just to file a lawsuit is $435. That is $435 less out of your settlement that you would get if you settled the case before having to file a lawsuit. Sometimes the costs involved do not justify going further. You get more net in your pocket before a lawsuit than having to file a lawsuit and incur additional costs. Even if you were to get a higher amount of settlement, it could literally result in less money net in your pocket because you have to subtract all the additional costs that you did not have to subtract before filing the lawsuit. That is something our law firm has experience in, giving our client the options.
We help our clients. We lay it out for them. We show them “These are the options, and this is what is likely to happen. You might get more money, but these are the costs involved in getting more money, and this is what we can get you now without having to spend more time and prolonging this longer for a riskier result.”
Generally, the clients are happy with that. They understand our truthfulness and they appreciate that. Most people just want to get to the right doctors, get well, and get what they can as far as what is fair from their injuries, and they are very happy.
You Deserve Compensation. We Can Help You Get It.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, allow our attorney to act on your behalf to keep the insurance companies from baiting you into taking a poor settlement. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and our lawyer will take a specific, one-of-a-kind approach to helping you recover exactly what you need to become whole again.