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Motorcycle accidents are often devastating, due to simple matters of physics. Unlike cars, motorbikes do not have the protection of a metal encasing, nor do they have safety features like seat belts or airbags. For these reasons, motorcyclists are far more likely to experience incapacitating, disabling, or fatal injuries in an accident. If you or a loved one are struggling under the weight of medical bills, lost wages, property damage or the other costs of a Riverside motorcycle accident, you may be able to collect compensation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Speak to a Riverside motorcycle accident attorney for legal representation in an injury claim.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Riverside
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries have increased throughout California in recent years, which includes Riverside County and the Inland Empire. Some of the most common reasons for biker accidents in California, according to the NHTSA, include:
- Increased volume of riders. Our area is famous for traffic congestion, and California is the only state in the nation to allow lane splitting. This makes getting a motorcycle an attractive prospect, so more people are purchasing them to shave minutes off their daily commute.
- Unlicensed riders. Unfortunately, not everyone gets licensed before they get on the road, which can lead to more accidents.
- Intoxication. When motorcyclists have to share the road with intoxicated drivers on the Riverside roadways, the likelihood of being in a serious accident increases. Drunk driving kills hundreds of people in our state each year, and motorcyclists are not immune.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Motorcyclist in Riverside
As is the case in most states, motorcyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists in California. They have a right to use all roadways and to drive in traffic as any other type of vehicle. They even have the right to ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, thanks to the lane splitting laws in California. Motorcyclists also have the same responsibilities – they must obey all traffic laws and rules, on top of a few motorcycle-specific laws. In Riverside, here are a few laws to know as a motorcyclist:
1. Helmet laws. All motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear safety helmets when riding motorcycles in the state of California. Allowable helmets must meet all federal safety requirements. Failing to wear a helmet could result in fines, as well as comparative liability for head or brain injuries in the event of a crash.
2. Bike equipment requirements. Motorcycles must have daytime running lights (modulating headlights are permissible), at least one rearview mirror, a muffler, a red brake light, and a second seat if carrying passengers.
3. At-fault accident laws. California is a “fault” insurance state. This means that for a motorcyclist or other party to seek damage recovery after a crash, he or she must file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Determining fault can be difficult in a traffic collision and requires a full investigation.
The best way to protect your rights as an injured motorcyclist in Riverside is to retain a motorcycle accident lawyer. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP has years of experience helping California’s bikers. We know that motorcyclists often must deal with biases against them on top of other burdens during personal injury claims. Many judges and juries might rule against motorcyclists simply for choosing to operate a “more dangerous” vehicle. It’s our job to maximize odds of a motorcyclist’s success in the Riverside civil court system through crash recreation, expert testimony, and other measures.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?
In a motorcycle collision, you might assume that the only party who could be legally responsible for your damages is the other driver. This is not necessarily the case. Many motorcycle accidents involve the fault of more than one party, or that of unexpected defendants. The California courts may split accountability between one or more parties, often making multiple defendants jointly liable for damage recovery. This can mean greater compensation for the plaintiff. An attorney can help you assess your case and identify all possible liable parties. This could include:
- A company. If the driver who struck you was an on-duty worker at the time of the crash, the driver’s employer could be vicariously liable for your damages. For example, if the other driver was part of a delivery service, mail company, Uber or Lyft, taxi service, bus company, trucking company, or other business, you could pursue a claim against the company itself instead of only the individual driver.
- Parts manufacturer. Motorcycles can experience harmful part failures that cause single-vehicle accidents. Bad brakes, defective tires, malfunctioning lights, and other parts could fail and result in loss of control of the vehicle. In these types of crashes, injured motorcyclists might be eligible for product liability claims against the manufacturer or distributor of the parts.
- The city of Riverside. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to road defects such as potholes and loose gravel. Spinning out, flipping, or crashing because of a dangerous roadway could result in liability of the government entity in charge of road maintenance. You may have the opportunity to file a claim against the government, but you must act quickly – these types of lawsuits have much shorter deadlines to file.
Explore the question of legal accountability for your recent Riverside motorcycle accident with help from experienced accident attorneys. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP has represented crash victims throughout California for decades. We have the knowledge and commitment to justice that you need to maximize your odds of a successful claim. Contact our law firm today to learn more during a free consultation.
Most Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, many motorbike accidents lead to serious injury. Here are some of the most common:
- Head trauma. Even when wearing a helmet, a motorcycle accident can lead to concussion or other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI). These are serious conditions that require lengthy healing and careful medical monitoring.
- Spinal cord injury. The force of landing on the pavement can lead to a broken neck or the bones that protect the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries vary widely in severity, but those involving the upper spine are generally more severe.
- Crush injuries. One of the main reasons that motorcycles do not have seat belts is that ejection from the bike is actually safer than being attached to it. When a bike lands on the rider, it can lead to severe crush injuries and burns from the engine.
- Road rash. This is a painful but common condition from motorcycle crashes that results from skin scraping against the pavement. Depending on the severity of the injury, road rash may require skin grafting or other intensive medical treatment.
What is the average payout for a motorcycle accident?
Every accident claim is different and therefore the damages obtained are different, the damages you suffered determine your compensation amount. Damages included in the compensation award include present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Tangible expenses like medical bills and lost wages are easy to calculate, but pain and suffering will require the assistance of a motorcycle accident lawyer to determine how much you are entitled to. Depending on your case you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to punish the liable party for their reckless behavior.
Your Riverside Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Being involved in an accident can turn your life upside down. You may be wondering how to pay for your medical bills or compensate for any loss in income. A personal injury lawyer in Riverside can help you pursue economic and general damages against the parties responsible for your accident. The Law Offices of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP have a reputation for excellence in litigating motorbike cases and want to go to work for your maximum compensation. Contact us to schedule a free and strategic review of your legal options. Call (951) 363-2410 today! We serve clients in Riverside County and throughout Southern California.