West Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Riding a motorcycle is a great way to spice up your commute while saving you money at the same time. Bikes cost less to operate since they use less gas which means fewer stops at the pump and more savings. They also help shorten your commute and leave less of a carbon footprint on the environment. However, motorcycles can also come with significant drawbacks as other motorists often do not pay attention to bikers on the road. When motorcyclists are involved in an accident, they may suffer catastrophic injuries that result in emotional, physical, and financial damages. If the collision was caused by the negligence of another driver, the biker might be able to seek compensation for those losses.Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Bikers are at a distinct disadvantage when they are involved in a collision with a vehicle. This is due to their lack of protection from impact. While helmets are required by California law and most riders are prudent about wearing them and other protective gear, this is still no match for a crash with a truck or car. Injuries sustained in these accidents can range from severe to permanent such as:
- Emotional Trauma: Some injured bikers may conclude riding a motorcycle is not for them after a crash, especially if they suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This condition can present symptoms such as avoidance of specific actions or events, experiences of nightmares or flashbacks about the crash, and hyperarousal.
- Facial Scarring: Wearing a helmet can help lessen the severity of a facial injury. However, serious collisions can often result in jaw fractures and severe facial disfigurement. This is often beyond physical trauma. It can cause emotional distress due to a loss of self-confidence. Moreover, costly surgical procedures are often necessary to correct the scarring.
- Head Injuries: Injuries in a motorcycle accident often occur in the form of a closed head injury, even if the rider was wearing a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet. Symptoms of closed head trauma include memory loss, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and ringing sensation in the ears.
- Pelvis and Torso Trauma: Motorcyclists who strike the road and roll can suffer pelvic fractures and dislocated hip joints. These injuries often require extensive rehabilitation where injured parties must remain immobile. Rib fractures can also be sustained through these accidents and have the risk of causing internal bleeding or organ perforation.
- Road Rash: Skin abrasions often occur when a biker is propelled from the motorcycle and skids on the pavement. There are three types of road rash, avulsions, open wounds, and compression. Avulsions occur when the skin is scraped away and exposes the muscles or bones. Stitches are often necessary to treat open wounds as well as skin grafts. When a part of the body is caught between a bike and vehicle, this can result in compression road rash. This can cause muscle damage, bruising, or even broken bones.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Trauma to the spinal column can be severe. It can result in severe pressure in the back or neck, a loss of sensation, or even partial or complete paralysis. Costly extended care and extensive physical therapy are often necessary for treating this type of injury.
- Wrist Injuries: Since motorcyclists often attempt to brace or catch themselves with their hands after being ejected from their bikes, their hands and wrists can endure an immense amount of force during impact. Trauma to the wrist can cause deformity, tears in the ligaments and tendons, nerve damage, and bone fractures. Fractures to the scaphoid bone, located at the base of the thumb, is also common in motorcycle accidents and often requires immediate treatment.
The types of damages awarded in a motorcycle accident case will depend upon the circumstances and facts of the incident as well as the types of injuries sustained. These include economic and noneconomic damages such as:
- Disfigurement: Injuries or scarring in a visible area of the body can be overwhelming for the injured rider and their family. A disfigurement can cause a loss in the quality of life, decrease self-esteem, and result in mental anguish. An injured biker may seek compensation to help cover expenses for cosmetic surgery to revise the scarring. Claims for disfigurement may also take into consideration the humiliation and embarrassment suffered by the injured individual.
- Lost Wages: Injuries from a motorcycle collision can cause a person to miss time at work to recover for a significant amount of time. In other cases, permanent disability can result in the inability to earn wages. An experienced injury attorney can help a biker recover compensation for the loss of past and future earnings.
- Loss of Consortium: When a rider is severely injured in a motorcycle accident, this can cause damage to the marital relationship. As part of a loss of consortium claim, the loss of intimate affection, love, and contact and the inability to conceive children may be claimed.
- Medical Expenses: When a biker is injured in a crash, they are entitled to the right to claim compensation for all necessary and reasonable expenses for medical care. This also includes those expenses incurred in the future. Travel costs to and from medical appointments may also be claimed for reimbursement.
- Pain and Suffering: This is the physical and emotional pain related to a personal injury. It includes the aches, affliction, discomfort, and other pain caused by the trauma. Quantifying damages for pain and suffering is not always straightforward since each person’s tolerance for emotional and physical distress is different.
- Property Damage: If bikers fell off their bike in a crash, chances are they have damaged gear such as their helmet, gloves, and protective clothing. When this happens, a claim may be filed against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the costs of repair or replacement of the bike and gear. A claim may also be filed for damaged motorcycle modifications. However, a collection of evidence such as purchase receipts and photographs showing the damage must be provided to the insurance company for reimbursement.
- Punitive Damages: In cases involving malicious actions or extreme negligence, punitive damages may be sought from the at-fault party. These are not compensatory. Instead, they are intended to punish the negligent driver and deter similar behavior in the future.
- Wrongful Death: When a motorcycle accident claims the life a loved one, surviving family members may bring a claim against the negligent driver for resulting losses. These include expenses of a loved one’s funeral and burial as well as end-of-life medical care. The loss of future earnings for the family and reasonable costs of household services provided by the deceased person may be considered when calculating compensation.
For more details on what damages can be claimed in a motorcycle accident claim, watch the below video.Are Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents Covered by Insurance?
To recover losses suffered in a hit and run motorcycle accident, the injured person must collect evidence to prove there was contact between their motorcycle and the car that caused the crash. In these cases, it is essential to retain an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in West Sacramento. A lawyer can help conduct an independent investigation of the collision and look for all evidence to show the validity of the personal injury claim. An attorney can also locate the motorist who fled the scene and hire crash reconstruction experts to help strengthen your case. If the driver cannot be tracked down, your attorney can file a claim against your own insurance company if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance provides reimbursement for damages caused by a driver leaves the scene of a crash or has little to no insurance. While you are bringing the claim against your own insurance company, this does not mean they are on your side and have your best interests in mind. They are in the industry of paying out claims as little as possible to maximize their profits.Comparative Fault
Bikers sometimes face untrue and unfair biases about their driving habits and safety. Insurance companies often use this to their advantage by falsely pinpointing blame on an injured rider for a motorcycle wreck. Since California operates under a system of comparative fault, this means the amount of compensation awarded to an injured biker would be reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to them. An injury lawyer with years of experience understands these tactics and knows how to overcome them to recover fair compensation in a motorcycle accident case.What is the Statute of Limitations for a Motorcycle Accident?
After being injured or losing someone you love in a motorcycle accident, you have a certain amount of time for which you must file a claim. For personal injury and wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of loss in California. If a claim involves negligence on the part of a government entity, it must be filed within 180 days or 6 months from the time of the incident. If the claim is not filed within the deadline, the court may dismiss the case. The best thing to do is to contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in West Sacramento. An experienced attorney can help determine the statute of limitations for your case and help you proceed with a lawsuit.Can I Afford a West Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Some people are under the impression that they cannot afford to hire an attorney for their case. However, this is not always true. Most attorneys handle motorcycle injury cases on a contingent fee basis. This means an injured biker will not have to pay any upfront fees or hourly billing. A fee is only to be paid if the lawyer obtains a successful outcome in the case.Contact a Lawyer for Your Motorcycle Injury Claim
Financial difficulties can happen after a motorcycle accident. Injuries resulting from these crashes often require extended periods of rehabilitation. This can affect an injured person’s state of employment or earning ability. On top of this, medical bills can mount quickly and create more stress on the injured biker and their family. An experienced attorney knows the best ways to proceed in these situations to help an injured person get back on their feet after a traumatic crash.West Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a West Sacramento motorcycle accident attorney. A motorcycle collision can result in emotional, physical, and financial damages for those involved. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of someone else, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly case advice.
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