Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles are at a higher risk of danger on the road than any other vehicle—often due to circumstances that are no fault of their own. They have a greater chance of more serious injuries, damages, and death than standard motorists.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in Southern California, please contact The Ryan Law Group today to discuss your case. We understand the gravity of motorcycle accidents, and we want to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Why Trust Us With Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Based in Los Angeles, The Ryan Law Group is a full-service personal injury firm dedicated to providing exceptional legal counsel to all those who may have been injured due to the negligence of another.
- We have a reputation for success, with a proven record of results. This includes several multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients.
- We utilize our resources to ensure your case receives the comprehensive evaluation necessary to maximize your recovery. This includes retaining industry experts to have an accurate assessment of your injuries and their current and future costs.
- Our motorcycle accident lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee agreement. You pay no legal fees until the case is resolved. If we secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf, we take fees directly out of your winnings. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different From Other Car Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are characteristically different from other motor vehicle collisions because of the inherent dangers of motorcycles compared to other vehicles. Motorcycles typically do not have an added protective layer of metal to brace any impacts or absorb any collisions. Additionally, motorcycles do not have restraints or seat belt systems. As a result, any car accidents involving a motorcycle often result in the motorcyclist taking the brunt of the impact—while also being thrown from their vehicle.
Unfortunately, this is often not the fault of the motorcyclist. Those on motorcycles are also at an increased risk of serious injury because their inherent size makes them easy to miss on the road. Some of the most common scenarios leading to motorcycle accidents occur because a motorist in a passenger vehicle is changing lanes and fails to notice the relatively small motorcycle in its blind spot.
This lack of awareness can lead to higher incidences of motorcycle accidents—often with higher severity as well.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are tragically common in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. The most common injuries in motorcycle accidents include:
- Bumps and bruises
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
- Road rash—a severe scrape due to the friction between the ground and the motorcyclist’s body
- Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Other catastrophic injuries
In severe accidents, motorcycle riders may experience severe brain damage, partial or full paralysis of limbs, amputations, and even death.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Although motorcyclists represent a smaller percentage of motorists on the road, they account for a higher number of fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are about 4 times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to die than passenger vehicle occupants in accidents.
In 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents in the U.S. About 29 percent of those killed were riding under the influence of alcohol. Motorcyclists can decrease their risk of fatal accidents by always riding sober, paying attention to the road, and practicing good coordination, balance and control. However, even the most prudent motorcyclists cannot avoid every collision.
Who Is Responsible for Motorcycle Accidents?
The answer to this question depends on the insurance laws in your state and the circumstances of the accident. California is a fault-based state, meaning the driver or party at fault for a traffic accident must pay for damages through their insurance provider. After a motorcycle accident, you or your Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer must determine fault before you can file an insurance claim.
Fault – or liability – could go to many different parties based on who or what caused your motorcycle accident. Liable parties may include:
- The other driver for a careless or reckless act
- The driver’s employer, if he or she was on duty at the time of the crash
- The manufacturer or distributor of your motorcycle for a defective part
- The government for an unsafe or hazardous road condition
- A combination of multiple defendants
Holding someone financially responsible for your motorcycle accident requires clear and convincing evidence of that person’s fault by your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney: enough evidence to establish that the defendant more likely than not caused the motorcycle accident. Evidence that may be available to support your injury claim includes a police report, eyewitness statements, photographs and videos, your medical records, and testimony from experts.
Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents While Lane Splitting?
Motorcyclists are legally allowed to lane split in the state of California. However, they must do so prudently and safely. If an accident occurs while a motorcyclist is lane splitting, it is necessary to determine whether the rider was performing the maneuver in a reasonably safe manner.
Although there are no strict guidelines on what this means, in general, a motorcyclist must maintain a reasonably safe speed compared to the speeds of the other vehicles, and must not weave in and out of traffic. If the motorcyclist was engaged in reckless riding behaviors, he or she may be partially liable for the accident.
If, however, a motorist’s mistake caused the crash, such as a driver changing lanes without looking, the driver would be liable for the crash. A motorcyclist who decides to lane split is not automatically liable for a crash in California, as this maneuver is not against the law. Instead, determining liability requires an investigation.
California Helmet Law and Motorcycle Accident Claims
Failing to wear a helmet could affect your injury claim after a motorcycle accident in California. If the part of your body that was injured may have reasonably been protected by a helmet – such as your face, head or brain – the defendant may argue that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the extent of your injuries and that you should therefore receive partial fault.
California law requires all riders and passengers on motorcycles and motorized bicycles to wear safety helmets. This could place some liability with you for your injuries if you fail to do so, as you were breaking state law. If the helmet defends succeeds, the courts may reduce your financial recovery by the percentage of fault allocated to you. If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle accident, a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help you combat this defense to help maximize your recovery.
What Damages Can I Recover in Motorcycle Accidents?
Commonly, injured victims of motorcycle accidents can typically recover medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. Medical expenses or funeral costs for someone involved in a motorcycle accident can be very high and potentially unpayable by the injured party.
Pain and suffering can include PTSD, fear of riding a motorcycle again, or other such psychological ailments that can require future medical or therapeutic remedies down the road. Loss of earnings can include earnings during which time the injured person is recovering from the accident, future earnings they won’t be able to acquire because of a permanent injury, or in the event of a wrongful death the earnings the family would have expected to benefit from during the person’s life.
The compensation to which you may be entitled in a motorcycle accident case depends largely on the underlying facts and circumstances surrounding the collision itself. The nature and extent of your injuries also represent a prime factor in determining compensation.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles?
After a motorcycle accident, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you with your claims. Filing a claim with insurance providers is almost always complicated, but if you are a motorcyclist, it can be considerably more frustrating.
Insurance companies only serve their own best interests. As such, they may try to cut negotiations short by offering a quick settlement to fully resolve the case. However, these are often low-ball offers that are far below who is needed for you to make a full recovery. An attorney can help mitigate these offers, serving as an effective negotiator to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
In addition, insurance providers often have a bias against motorcyclists. There is a mentality that, by putting yourself in inherently more dangerous positions, you are actually at fault for your injuries. No matter how inherent the risks may have been, you nonetheless may be entitled to compensation—especially if you are not at fault for the accident. A Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer can ensure that this bias does not prevent you from receiving compensation.
How Our Accident Attorneys Can Help
At The Ryan Law Group, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys will fight to ensure that you obtain appropriate compensation not only for existing or current losses, but also for those you reasonably can expect to face in the future. For example, there is a high chance that you may face ongoing medical care and treatment for an extended period of time—especially if you’ve suffered more serious injuries. You may endure chronic pain that takes years to fully recover from, and you may not be able to return to work any time soon. Indeed, you may not ever be able to return to the type of work you enjoyed before the accident. These all represent the types of ongoing or long term losses for which an attorney can seek compensation on your behalf.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accident Claims?
All states have a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is a law that requires a personal injury lawsuit to be filed within a specific period of time following an accident. This includes motorcycle accidents.
In California law, motorcycle accident claims follow the same general statute of limitations as all other personal injury claims: your lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. However, in certain cases the discovery rule may apply: if you discover an injury as a result of the accident at a later date, you have one year from the date of discovery.
Failure to file by these deadlines ensures that you may not receive the compensation that you are initially entitled to.
Contact a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to a motorcycle accident in LA county, please contact us today for legal advice. Schedule a free consultation by contacting The Ryan Law Group at (310) 321-4800 to see how we can help you.