Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Whether you are commuting to school at UOP or Delta College or riding on the I-5 on the way to work, motorcycle enthusiasts traveling in Stockton face a significant risk of being involved in a serious collision, which often results in severe injuries or even wrongful death. Motorcycles lack most of the safety features that are typical in other motor vehicles, including a frame with structural protection, seatbelts, and airbags.
Motorcycles are far less forgiving when a rider makes an error and offer more limited handling during evasive maneuvers designed to avoid a road hazard. I'm Ed Smith, a Stockton motorcycle accident attorney and I understand that motorcycles are less stable so they are more likely to be involved in an accident with a car, truck, SUV, or tractor-trailer. A motorcycle accident also is likely to cause far more serious injuries than collisions involving four-wheeled passenger vehicles, which means motorcycle victims need an experienced lawyer in their corner.Why Motorcycle Accident Victims Trust Ed Smith
Because of my experience and commitment to providing exemplary legal representation, I have received a perfect rating of 10 by AVVO, which rates all attorneys in the United States. I am also the author of the California Motorcycle Accident Handbook. I have a proven record of obtaining successful settlements and verdicts in motorcycle cases that involve catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Since the injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident are typically severe, it is important to have a law firm on your side with an established record of proven results when negotiating with insurance companies. Our law firm routinely conducts an extensive investigation and exhaustive discovery to build the strongest possible claim for our clients. We consistently prepare cases for trial because that allows us to negotiate from a position of strength.The Risk of Experiencing a Motorcycle Accident Is Significant
The statistical risk posed to motorcycle riders is clear when one considers a few statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III). Approximately 4,600 people per year die in fatal motorcycle accidents. During a recent one-year period, motorcycle crash injuries increased by 4.5 percent. While motorcycles constitute only 3 percent of all motor vehicles, they account for 14 percent of motor vehicle-related fatalities. The relative danger posed to motorcycle enthusiasts is reflected by the fact that anyone on a motorcycle is six times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than someone in a passenger vehicle. As startling as these numbers may seem, they actually understate the risk to motorcycle riders because they do not account for the lower number of vehicle miles traveled by those who ride motorcycles. A motorcycle enthusiast is 26 times more likely to die in a collision than a passenger vehicle occupant on a per-mile driven basis.Rider Inexperience
While rider inexperience contributes to a substantial number of motorcycle accidents, many experienced and cautious motorcycle riders are involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Motorcycles are inherently unstable. When emergencies or road hazards occur in front of a motorcyclist, there is far more danger in trying to execute drastic over-steering maneuvers or aggressively engaging the brakes. Motorcyclists who employ either of these accident avoidance techniques face a substantial risk of laying down their motorcycle and having their body slammed against the pavement with absolutely no structural protection from their vehicle. Motorcycle riders also are far less visible than other motor vehicles, so they are easily lost in a driver's blind spot.Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
A Stockton motorcycle accident lawyer has the experience to handle litigation involving serious crash-related injuries, involving a wide range of causes that include the following:
- Drivers of passenger vehicles who execute unsafe lane changes
- Motorcycles malfunctioning because of faulty maintenance or repair
- Motorcycle manufacturing or design defects
- Roadway defects (e.g. potholes and ridges)
- Motorists whose vision is obstructed by glare or other vehicles
- Slick roadways due to rain
- Failure to respect a motorcyclist’s right of way
- Driver's failure to see or identify a motorcycle
- Deliberate unsafe actions by a passenger vehicle driver who does not respect motorcyclists
- Drivers of passenger vehicles impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Inattentive or distracted drivers of passenger vehicles
- Drivers who are speeding or otherwise engage in unsafe driving practices
There are a virtually limitless number of potential causes of motorcycle accidents on Stockton freeways and highways like Interstate-5 and State Route 99 or busy streets like March Lane, Ben Holt Drive, Hammer Lane, El Dorado Street, North Pershing or other streets where a significant number of collisions occur.Traumatic Head Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes
The most dangerous type of impact in most motorcycle accidents is head trauma, which may result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is why it is essential to wear a motorcycle helmet at all times. A careful analysis of statistical data shows that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents directly correlates to the scope of a state’s mandatory helmet law. Motorcycle helmets are considered to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal head injuries during crashes. The NHTSA estimates that in recent years motorcycle helmets saved the lives of almost 1,800 motorcycle enthusiasts, and an additional 800 people's lives would have been saved had they been wearing helmets. Those injured in a motorcycle crash frequently suffer catastrophic injuries that include:
- Amputation of limbs
- Quadriplegia or paraplegia caused by damage to the spinal cord
- Potential fatal vital organ injury
- Wrongful death
This type of devastating injury typically impairs a person's quality of life and results in substantial periods of time off work. Many catastrophic injuries of this nature render a motorcycle accident victim permanently disabled and unable to care for oneself or love ones. A Stockton motorcycle accident attorney understands the enormous emotional, physical, and financial challenges faced by victims of catastrophic injuries suffered in motorcycle crashes. We tenaciously pursue the best possible recovery on behalf of our motorcycle accident clients. Potential damages might include:
- Lost Wages
- Diminished Earning Capacity
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
- Punitive Damages
- Other Damages Based on the Situation
There are other types of damages that we may be able to recover for you based on the circumstances of your motorcycle accident case, but the specific types of compensation you are entitled to receive will depend on your unique situation. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers will carefully investigate the facts of your motorcycle accident claim to identify all potential defendants including other motorists, the manufacturer or your motorcycle (component parts), or the public entity that failed to correct roadway defects.
For more on the types of damages that can be claimed in a motorcycle accident lawsuit, watch the video below:Stockton Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Q: I was involved in a motorcycle accident but I wasn’t seriously injured. Do I still need a motorcycle accident attorney?
A: It’s always a good idea to contact a motorcycle accident attorney even if you feel you weren’t seriously injured. Not all injuries are apparent right after an accident. Some injuries can take hours, days or even weeks to show up following an accident. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible so your doctor can document any injuries you may have. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you decide the appropriate legal action for your case.
Q: Who can file a motorcycle accident personal injury case?
A: The motorcyclist or passenger can file a personal injury accident lawsuit against the at-fault party following a motorcycle accident. The statute of limitations varies from state to state regarding how long you have following the accident to file a claim. In California, you have two years after the date of the accident to file in most cases.
Q: Are there any exceptions if the statute of limitations has run out?
A: The courts in California allow for exceptions under certain circumstances. An exception or tolling of the statutory time is allowed if:
- If the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated after the accident.
- If the victim is a minor. Once the victim reaches the age of 18, the two-year statute of limitations will apply.
There are other exceptions. You should check with an experienced lawyer to see if they apply.Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Stockton
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorney. I represent clients in Stockton and the surrounding San Joaquin County cities, including but not limited to Manteca, Lodi, Tracy, Ripon, Lathrop, and Escalon. If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, call me today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 11.12.19]