San Francisco Bay Area Motorcycle Crash Attorneys With Over $950 Million Recovered
GJEL Accident Attorneys is an award-winning California Motorcycle Accident Law Firm. We have been helping injured victims get the justice and compensation they deserve after being injured in a motorcycle accident.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash you should call us right away.
We will help you through this difficult time and be with you every step of the way.
At GJEL we have a track record of success and have recovered over $950 Million Dollars for our clients injured in California. We also maintain a 99% success rate and there is no fee unless and until we win your case.
It’s no wonder why motorcyclists love traveling California’s highways.
With winding roads and breathtaking views, the Bay Area is filled with scenic roads that are perfect for riding all kinds of motorcycles during most of the year.
Unfortunately for motorcyclists, riding in the Golden State is not without risk. In California, motorcycle deaths represent 17% of all road fatalities and the state’s total number of motorcycles fatalities is second only to Florida.
Each year, as many as 88,000 motorcyclists are injured in the United States. For every mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities are 26 times more likely to occur than passenger car occupant fatalities in serious accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident contact GJEL Accident Attorneys for a free case evaluation.
This article provides essential tips for choosing the best personal injury attorney for your case.
You Should Speak To The Best Motorcycle Injury Lawyer For Your Case After A Crash
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in the Bay Area, you should understand your legal rights.
This article provides a basic introduction to motorcycling accident law in California. First, we discuss the options you have for financial compensation after a motorcycle accident.
Then, we explain how a motorcyclist establishes negligence in a personal injury lawsuit and why a legal concept called “comparative negligence” often plays a role in motorcycle accident lawsuits.
Finally, we give an overview of the types of damages a motorcycle accident victim may receive in a personal injury lawsuit and how an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help.
Finding the right attorney can be a difficult task and finding the right (or best) attorney can be even more difficult. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to make sure you get the right lawyer for your case.
What You Should Do After A Motorcycle Crash Injury
After a motorcycle accident, you have two options for securing compensation for your injuries and other losses: a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important for you to understand the difference between the two.
In a personal injury claim, you file an insurance claim with your insurance provider and/or that of the at-fault driver. This initiates an investigation that will be managed by someone known as an insurance claims adjuster. After the investigation is complete, you engage in negotiations until the insurance company offers you a financial settlement to compensate you for your injuries, financial losses, and property damage. In exchange for accepting the settlement, you typically have to sign a release in which you agree to give up your right to sue the at-fault driver in court.
A personal injury claim is typically the first course of action after a motorcycle accident. If the claims negotiation and settlement process breaks down and it appears that you won’t be able to obtain adequate compensation for your injuries, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil legal action in which an injured person makes a demand for money damages that take into account the severity of his or her injuries and other losses suffered as a result of a serious accident. Many personal injury lawsuits settle before reaching trial, but some go to trial and a judge or jury will decide the amount of money the injured person is entitled to receive.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle fatalities have increased over 129% from 2,028 in 1997 to 4,654 in 2006. However, most of the injuries sustained are to the lower body. Common injuries include road rash, broken bones, as well as back and spine injuries.
How Do I Prove Negligence In A Motorcycle Accident?
If you file a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, your lawsuit will likely include a claim or claims against the at-fault driver for negligence. The definition of negligence is the failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have used under the same or similar circumstances. In California, there are five elements of a standard negligence claim.
An “element” is a critical building block of a legal claim. If you can’t establish all of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence, your claim will not succeed.
Duty: The defendant must be obligated by law to act in a certain way toward the injured motorcyclists. In the case of a motorcycle accident involving a passenger vehicle or commercial truck, the “defendant” would be the at-fault driver. There is almost always a legal duty for drivers of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks to exercise reasonable care toward motorcyclists on the roadway.
Breach of duty: The driver must have breached his or her duty to exercise reasonable care. If a driver breaks a traffic law and hits a motorcyclist, the court may automatically assume that the driver has breached his or her duty of care under a legal theory that is recognized in California called “negligence per se.”
Cause-in-fact: The injured motorcyclists must prove that the driver actually caused his or her injuries and other losses. This element is sometimes referred to as “but-for” causation because the injured motorcyclist must show that but for the actions of the driver, his or her injuries and other losses would not have occurred.
Proximate cause: The driver in a motorcycle accident case will only be legally and financially responsible (or “liable”) for the harms suffered by the motorcyclist that were foreseeable as a result of the accident. In most motorcycle accident lawsuits in California, serious injuries are considered to be foreseeable consequences of negligent driving and proximate cause is established.
Damages: The injured biker must show that the motorcycle accident caused him or her to suffer legally recognized harm, typically in the form of bodily injury, financial losses, or damage to his or her motorcycle and other property.
An experienced motorcycle accident will gather evidence from the parties who were involved in the accident, law enforcement officers, your medical care providers, and other experts in order to help build your case and establish that the driver who injured you was negligent in causing your injuries.
How Will Comparative Negligence Impact My Case?
California courts apply a legal theory known as pure comparative negligence to personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident lawsuits. Under this theory, if there is evidence that the plaintiff was also substantially at fault for the accident, the amount of money he or she ultimately receives will be reduced by the percentage of his or her responsibility.
In many motorcycle accident lawsuits, the at-fault driver will argue that the injured motorcyclist was also negligent in causing the accident. While this is sometimes true, this is often used as a defense tactic by the at-fault driver’s lawyers to reduce the amount of damages you receive for your injuries and other losses. For example, say a truck driver and a motorcyclist are in an accident. As a result of the accident, the motorcyclist suffered $250,000 in damages. The lawyers for the truck driver successfully argue that the motorcyclist was 40% at fault for the accident. Under California law, the motorcyclist’s damages would be reduced by 40% to $150,000.
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to hire an experienced and aggressive motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your case.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
The ultimate goal of any motorcycle accident lawsuit is to secure compensation for the victim’s injuries and other harms that he or she suffered. In California, a plaintiff who succeeds in his or her motorcycle accident lawsuit can expect to receive compensation for the following types of damages.
margin-top: 0pt;”>Wear bright clothing. You can also wear a colorful helmet. Lime green or yellow tends to stand out.
Put reflective tape on your clothing and on the motorcycle.
Add auxiliary lights to your bicycle.
Use your beams during the day. These will make you stand out.
Tap your horn if you are entering a blind spot or if you think a motorist cannot see you.
Following Too Closely
Motorists need a cushion between them and surrounding vehicles in case they need to stop or slow down. When motorists follow too closely, they can easily collide with other vehicles around them.
According to SWITRS data, following too closely was the primary cause in fewer than 2% of all accidents where the motorcyclist was at fault. However, tailgating might also have been a contributing cause of many more accidents.
When coupled with poor road conditions, such as sleet, snow, or rain, following too closely is a recipe for disaster. Especially in poor weather, remember to give yourself an added cushion of time—four seconds or more. Reckless bikers might think that they don’t need a cushion because they can maneuver the bike quickly out of the way to avoid a crash.
Unfortunately, it is just as likely that you will quickly avoid the crash but then strike another vehicle or lose control of the bike when you swerve onto a gravel shoulder.
Because motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, some bikers like to drive between two lanes of slowed or stopped cars to make headway in traffic jams. This is called “lane splitting,” and it, unfortunately, is quite dangerous.
When you lane split, you risk striking a vehicle or having a vehicle strike you as it inches along the road. Most motorists are not expecting motorcyclists to threat in and out of traffic, so they might not be looking for you.
Colliding with a Fixed Object
A large number of motorcycle deaths stem from motorcycles colliding with stationary objects like trees, mailboxes, fire hydrants, and walls. There are many reasons why a motorcyclist would collide with objects that they should be able to avoid. For example, a motorcyclist might become distracted, either because they are reading a text message or talking on the phone.
Motorcyclists might also lose control in inclement weather and crash into objects. The reasons for losing control might vary, with driving too fast for conditions being one reason.
Sometimes defects on the road cause motorcycle accidents. Because of their smaller size and greater instability, motorcycles often have more trouble with road defects than operators of passenger vehicles or commercial trucks. Many different road hazards can cause a biker to lose control, including:
Oiliness or other slickness on the road
Some road defects have existed for years without the government taking any action to make the road safer for all motorists, including bikers. In certain situations, you can sue the government for failing to repair the road.
A vehicle parked on the side of the road usually poses no problem to a motorcyclist. However, if a passenger in the vehicle opens a door without looking behind them, then the biker can drive straight into the door. Many bikers tear the door off and/or end up being thrown clear of their bike, where they collide with the pavement or another parked vehicle.
In city driving, you can avoid this problem by driving closer to the center of the lane. Also avoid trying to pass vehicles on the right, which could put you in direct line for striking the opened door of a parked car.
Malfunctioning or Defective Motorcycles
Even careful defensive driving cannot prevent all accidents because sometimes a crash is caused by your bike. When a motorcycle malfunction, even the most skill biker can lose control and end up colliding with another vehicle or a stationary object.
Motorcycles are recalled all the time. Some of the most recent recall for safety defects include:
Yamaha recalled almost 3,500 bikes in 2018 because the drive chain guard could become loose due to a defect.