Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles
In terms of motorcycle accident law, California is a comparative fault state. This means that California law analyzes how responsible each party is for an injury-causing event. If a case is not settled before a trial, a jury will decide what percentage of fault to assign to each party. The amount of recovery a defendant can receive after a motorcycle accident is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. Motorcycle accidents are a specific area of law that requires expertise and experience. Our Los Angeles attorneys specialize in motorcycle accident law. We have handled many cases involving bike accidents. We will guide you through the entire process on your road to recovery – from taking care of your medical needs and recovering lost wages to repairing or replacing your damaged motorcycle.
What you do in the hours and days after an accident can greatly affect your case and the amount of compensation you may receive. In accordance with California law – whenever possible – it is vital to gather information from anyone involved in the accident, such as contact and insurance information. In addition, capture images of the damage to your motorcycle and other vehicles involved – before calling the police and filing a report. If you are injured, seek medical help promptly and be honest about your symptoms and injuries.
Motorcycle Riding in Los Angeles
windy roads Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Los Angeles If a “biker’s way to heaven is the road,” then the Los Angeles area offers some of the most paradisiacal highways for bikers. From the breathtaking coastal scenery of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, to the twisted mountain roads of Topanga Canyon, the vicinity of Los Angeles has some of the absolute best places to ride. Unfortunately, this means that riding accidents in Los Angeles are also common.
The freedom of being out in the open on a bike is also what makes motorcycle accidents so devastating for riders. In a motorcycle collision, the human body is exposed to forces that it simply is not meant to withstand. The most deadly injuries are typically those to the chest and the head. Spinal injuries often cause paralysis. If you survive a collision, the recovery time is often lengthy; and, you can expect hefty medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
In 1981, the famous Hurt Report revealed some in-depth information about motorcycle accidents and their causes. The study, which examined close to 4,900 motorcycle collisions in the Los Angeles area, was sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While there are a variety of factors at play in any motorcycle collision, there are a few of those factors which are common in biker accidents. Just being aware of these common factors could help you avoid a motorcycle accident.
Visibility and Right of Way
In most cases, other drivers simply do not see motorcycles. This means you should be keenly focused on what is going on around you – especially if you are riding in L.A. in traffic. While being in a driver’s blind spot is certainly a factor in some collisions with vehicles, more than 75% of motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles actually involve head-on collisions with automobiles. Drivers report either not seeing the rider or seeing him or her too late to avoid the collision. In Los Angeles, intersections are one of the most likely places for collisions between motorcycles and automobiles. Most of the accidents which occur at intersections are caused by vehicle drivers turning left in front of oncoming motorcycles.
There are some fairly simple precautions which you can take to help other drivers see you, precautions which could not only reduce the risk of fault assigned to you, but ones which can also save your life. Colorful or reflective riding gear is one of them. Another is extra lighting. In November of 2011, the NHTSA report on Motorcycle Conspicuity and the Effect of Auxiliary Forward Lighting showed that enhancing the front end of your bike with auxiliary lights may be an effective countermeasure for daytime crashes, especially those involving right-of-way collisions.
The Statistics on Short Trips
Most of the motorcycle collisions in Los Angeles involve short trips, such as those associated with quick runs to the store, visits to friends’ homes, or recreational riding; and, the accident is most likely to take place close to the trip origin. These are the times when we may be less likely to pay special attention to safety. As one rider said, “Each time you get on your bike, act like it’s your first time.”
The Benefit of Motorcycle Safety Courses
“The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than two seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.” How do your riding skills measure up? An overwhelming majority of riders involved in accidents are untrained. Inexperience in the basic operating characteristics of motorcycles, such as those involved in braking and approaching curves, have caused many accidents. These kinds of collisions can be avoided. The California Motorcyclist Safety Training Program teaches not only basic and evasive techniques, but also, actions you can take to reduce injury when collision is unavoidable.
Even if you are an experience rider, if you have not been trained in collision avoidance, learning what to do in those final two seconds can make the difference between whether or not you are involved in an accident.