In Southern California, particularly in urban areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, motorcycle accidents occur frequently. As a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney, it is imperative to be aware of the fact that many bikers suffer injuries or lose their lives due to factors such as alcohol-related accidents or mechanical failure. However, driver error and negligence are actually the leading causes of serious injuries or fatalities among bikers.
Today's motorcyclists confront significantly higher risks while driving than they did a decade ago due to increased congestion and traffic. With an alarming rise in accidents resulting from distracted driving due to increased cell phone usage, as well as an increase in road rage incidents, and national traffic and congestion trends, riders must exercise extreme caution while on the road. Due to California's busy freeways and surface streets and the state's favorable weather conditions for motorcycle riding, California is a prime location for motorcycle accidents.
Based on data from the California Highway Patrol's Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions, which used 2011 as an example year, around 435 motorbike or scooter drivers and passengers suffer injuries or fatalities annually in California. Additionally, ten times that number of individuals are injured while riding motorcycles, mopeds, and motorized scooters.
Compared to other motor vehicle operators in California, motorcycle riders tend to have a higher likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in a traffic collision. While adopting safe riding techniques and using appropriate equipment such as helmets, gloves, boots, and protective clothing like leather jackets can help reduce and mitigate the frequency of incidents, the truth is still rooted in the notion that bikers are still predominantly more vulnerable to collisions that cause serious bodily harm than other motorists on the road.
The relatively small size of motorcycles in comparison to other vehicles can cause motor vehicle negligence errors, with drivers failing to spot the biker, and the lack of a metal cage of protection around the bike also makes it more likely that a crash will result in heavy impact on the rider's body.
Several Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents across Southern Calfiornia
When it comes to motorcycle accidents in Southern California, particularly in the Greater Los Angeles area, they can usually be attributed to one key factor - the size disparity between motorcycles and other vehicles such as cars, trucks, and SUVs. The prominent size difference often results in accidents where larger vehicles fail to see and anticipate the motorcyclist and are unable to subsequently avoid a collision. There are a number of common scenarios where this manifests, including the following:
Sudden or unsafe lane changes: One of the most frequent scenarios leading to and resulting in the occurrence of motorcycle accidents is unsafe and or sudden lane changes. This can happen on freeways, as well as on multiple lane surface streets. Often, the motorist fails to check his or her rear and side view mirrors; the motorist may improperly blind spot, and makes an abrupt lane change without signaling, resulting in a severe and unavoidable collision with the motorcycle rider who has little time to react or nowhere to go as a result of the situation. California Vehicle Code §22107 is the legal cause of such incidents, which requires drivers to refrain from moving left or right between lanes until it is safe to do so and only after providing an appropriate signal.
Left Hand Turns In Front of Bikes: Another common scenario leading to the occurrence of motorcycle accidents is when a motorist makes a left-hand turn in front of a bike. This usually happens at intersections, particularly on busy urban streets with multiple directions of travel and middle turn lanes. The motor vehicle operator initiates or continues a left-hand turn in front of oncoming traffic, failing to notice the approaching motorcycle and causing a collision or forcing the motorcycle to skid and lay down. California Vehicle Code 21801 is legislation that places the responsibility and burden on the driver making the left-hand turn to yield to the motorcycle rider's right of way in scenarios such as these; the driver should only proceed with the turn when there is sufficient distance between the car and the motorcycle.
Cars Pulling Out of Side Streets interfering with the Path of the Motorcyclist:
Motorcycle accidents can happen when cars suddenly exit from side streets or parking lots and enter the oncoming path of a motorcycle rider. These accidents occur when drivers fail to notice the approaching motorcycle, resulting in a broadside collision or resulting in the biker losing control of his motorcycle and swerving to avoid immediate impact. To prevent such accidents, California Vehicle Code 21804 requires drivers to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic and only enter the roadway when it is safe to do so."
Common Injuries resulting from Motorcycle Collisions
The lack of protection between a motorcycle rider and the impact of a collision often results in severe bodily injuries, despite the security of astutely designed protective gear such as helmets, leather clothing, and gloves. Common injuries include fractures to the skull, spine, elbows, arms, legs, and wrists; tears to major tendons and ligaments, including those in the knees and ankles; and significant soft tissue damage, such as herniated discs in the neck and back. Although wearing a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation's standards can reduce the risk of serious head injuries, head trauma remains the leading cause of long-term medical issues or even death in motorcycle accidents.
Why Is Essential To Hire A California Motorcycle Accident Attorney if you are injured in a motorcycle accident?
If you sustain injuries in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern CA, it is essential to hire a California motorcycle accident law firm. While there are numerous accident attorneys in the region, not all of them are equally qualified to represent victims of motorcycle accidents. Thus, it is crucial to carefully choose and select an attorney who specializes in handling motorcycle accident cases to ensure that you receive the best possible representation.
Motorcycle accidents frequently result in severe injuries, including head injuries such as concussions and other closed head injuries. Hiring an experienced motorcycle lawyer is critical as they can ask pertinent questions and consult with relevant, experienced medical professionals such as neurologists and orthopedists to accurately determine the full extent of the injuries resulting from the accident. This meticulous attention to case details ensures that the case will be resolved with a settlement that will account for all current and future medical expenses that may be associated with the initial motorcycle accident.
Regrettably, there are negative stereotypes associated with motorcycle riders as thrill-seekers or outlaws. A competent motorcycle accident victim advocate and attorney is skilled in refuting such frivolous, negative arguments and advocating for their client positively.
Recreating the dynamics of a motorcycle accident case can also be challenging. A competent motorcycle lawyer may be compelled to hire experts to reconstruct the accident or study the forces exerted on the rider's body to determine the extent of liability pertinent in the case.