Approximately 4,700 motorcyclists were killed on U.S. roadways in 2015, the last year a full set of statistics are available, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Thousands of other motorcyclists were injured, oftentimes seriously, in accidents in the United States during that same time period. The rate of motorcyclist injuries and fatalities in the Greater Los Angeles Area is comparable to what is occurring across the nation as a whole, according to the California Department of Transportation.
If you are a motorcyclist who suffered injuries in an accident, you need to understand your legal rights, as well as what you need to do to protect these interests. A key step in the process of understanding and protecting your legal rights is engaging the services of experienced, capable motorcycle accident attorneys.
Motorcycle Accidents: Time is of the Essence
In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, the clock starts ticking. This includes time frames associated with pursuing a claim with an insurance company as well as a significant deadline connected with pursuing a lawsuit.
Insurance policies include deadlines associated with filing claims, responding to requests for information, and related issues. If you should miss a deadline, you can put your claim itself into a state of peril.
California law includes what is known as the statute of limitations. 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, as a general rule, a motorcycle accident lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the event. Failing to meet that deadline likely results in you being forever precluded from pursuing a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages that you otherwise would be entitled to seek.
The issue with these deadlines underscores the need for motorcycle accident attorneys in the aftermath of an accident. You need to be proactive when it comes to engaging legal representation to ensure that you do not jeopardize your interests by missing deadlines.
Compensation and Motorcycle Accidents
Because an accident involving a motorcycle often results in severe injuries or death it is important to measure what compensation is due accurately.
The primary areas of compensation are for medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. Medical bills 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 death the earnings the family would have expected to benefit from during the person’s life.
After a motorcycle accident a law firm like The Ryan Law Group can step in and find solutions to get these bills paid and get recovery underway while the litigation process rolls along. The law firm can also help you navigate the paperwork that is unfamiliar to you but is something the lawyers and legal professionals work with on a daily basis.
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.
With that noted, there are injuries, damages, and losses for which motorcycle accident attorneys commonly seek financial compensation on behalf of their clients. These include:
- medical bills and expenses
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish and emotional stress
- permanent disfigurement
- permanent disability
- property damage and loss
- lost wages
Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable when driving in California. A motorcycle can be involved in an accident caused by another driver or a faulty part. Motorcycle riders often face the worst injuries during an accident because they are less shielded than people in a car or truck. If a rider was injured or killed and the accident was caused by another party there is a responsibility for compensation.
Fault and Liability
To assign the fault and liability for a motorcycle accident the reason the accident occurred must be established. Evidence that is considered to provide a reconstruction of the event includes eye witness testimony or accounts, photos from the scene of the accident or of the injuries sustained, police reports filed by officers who arrived on the scene, and physical evidence collected. Using these clues, a timeline and idea behind the crash is created.
Through an investigation the driver or object that caused the accident is considered for liability. If the motorcycle was struck by another vehicle the health and mind frame the driver was in is taken into account. If the driver was impaired or driving outside of local laws there could be a strong case that these conditions caused the accident. If the vehicle was improperly maintained and not suitable to be on the road the driver can also be held accountable. In the event that the accident was caused by another type of physical object or road condition there needs to be a determination of why this came into contact with the motorcyclists and if there was any negligence involved.
A motorcycle rider can also be involved in an accident caused by his own bike. In the event that a recall has taken place or a part malfunctioned in such a way that caused the accident the bike maker can be found liable for their participation in the accident.
Fault and liability can be shared among multiple parties including the motorcycle driver themselves.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys will fight to ensure that you obtain appropriate compensation not only for existing or current losses, but also for those you reasonable can expect to face in the future. For example, odds are that as an injured motorcyclist you may face ongoing medical care and treatment for an extended period of time. You may endure chronic pain because of your injuries. 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.
The first step in retaining a motorcycle accident attorney is scheduling an initial consultation. Contact The Ryan Law Group at 310-272-5689. Our attorneys charge no fee for an initial consultation regarding your case.