Stockton experiences mild weather year-round, and it’s rare that temperatures are too cold or precipitation levels too great to be able to enjoy a motorcycle ride. Yet riding a motorcycle, as pleasant and enjoyable as it may be, isn’t always safe. In fact, there are hundreds of motorcycle accident fatalities reported in our state each year.
Motorcycle accidents should never happen–this type of accident is completely preventable and usually would not occur but for the negligent actions of one of the parties involved. At the law office of Redkey Gordon Law, our Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers know that when a motorcycle crash occurs that isn’t your fault, there are few things more important in the world than recovering compensation in full for your harm. When you work with our law firm, you can count on our lawyers to aggressively advocate for you. To learn more about bringing forth a Stockton motorcycle accident claim and how we can help, please call our law office today for a free consultation.
Damages from a Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the motorcyclist involved is at high risk of catastrophic or fatal injury. If a motorcyclist survives a crash, they may be faced with physical injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, long-term or permanent disability, property damages costs, pain and suffering, and psychological harm.
- Physical injury. Common physical injuries in a motorcycle accident include, but are not limited to, traumatic brain injuries (which are more likely and more likely to be severe if the motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet at the time of collision), bone fractures, road rash, internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, facial injuries, limb amputation injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
- Medical expenses. Severe injuries will demand medical treatment, which isn’t cheap. Medical expenses, which might include ambulance costs, in-hospital stay costs, surgery costs, doctors’ fees, medication costs, rehabilitation and treatment costs, and more can total into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Lost wages. When a person is severely harmed in a motorcycle crash, they will be unable to return to work, at least temporarily. This means that they will suffer lost wages and, sometimes, a loss of earning capacity and benefits.
- Long-term disability. Many severe injuries will cause long-term or permanent disability. This will not only impair an affected person’s ability to work and earn an income, but also their ability to care for themselves, engage in activities they love, and perhaps even maintain personal relationships.
- Property damage costs. Of course, a motorcycle crash likely means that the motorcycle is destroyed. A motorcyclist should be compensated for the value of their motorcycle in full.
- Pain and suffering. The injuries sustained in a crash aren’t just disabling; they’re extremely painful, too. Pain and suffering damages are a type of non-economic loss that are recoverable in a motorcycle accident case.
- Psychological harm. The trauma of a motorcycle accident, especially when combined with severe injuries, can result in psychological harm. Types of psychological harm that are especially common include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
Top Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
As mentioned, the vast majority of motorcycle accidents are completely preventable and would never occur but for the negligence of other parties involved. Top causes of motorcycle accidents in Stockton include:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the primary causes of crashes of all types, but can be especially worrisome around motorcycles which, due to their smaller size (compared to motor vehicles), are harder to see. If a driver is distracted, they may never see a motorcyclist, leading to a crash.
- Drunk driving. Another top cause of accidents is driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving leads to hundreds of crashes per year, and is dangerous for both drivers and motorcyclists. All operators of motor vehicles should commit to not getting behind the wheel unless sober.
- Speeding. Speeding is dangerous for two primary reasons: first, speeding increases the risk that a collision will occur, as the risk of losing control of a vehicle is greater. Second, speeding increases the severity of crash, as the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more force that is involved. For a motorcyclist who has few protections to prevent injury, speeding is a deadly maneuver.
- Failure to look. Some motorcycle accident crashes happen simply because a driver fails to double-check their blind spots before changing lanes. Failing to look at oncoming traffic or look both ways before making a turn also leads to motorcycle crashes.
- Illegal maneuver. Finally, any other illegal maneuvers–changing lanes illegally, failing to signal, following too closely, running a red light, etc.–can all increase the risk of motorcycle crashes. Following traffic laws is key to accident prevention.
Who’s Liable for a Stockton Motorcycle Accident?
When a motorcycle accident occurs, one of the most pressing questions that must be answered is: Who’s liable? Liability refers to legal responsibility and in California, liability is based on fault. This means that the party who caused the accident is responsible for paying for damages.
California has a comparative negligence rule on the books, which holds that if a plaintiff (i.e. the motorcyclist in this case) contributed to their injuries, then they can still recover damages from the other responsible party, but their damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist is found to be 10 percent at fault for their traumatic brain injury because they were not wearing a helmet at the time the crash occurred, then they can only hold the other party responsible for 90 percent of their damages related to this injury.
In order to make a determination about fault and percentages of fault, a thorough investigation must be conducted. A thorough investigation will involve collecting evidence at the scene of the accident, talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing the police report, and talking to accident reconstruction experts.
Most often, one of the parties directly involved in the crash–either the motorcyclist or the driver of the motor vehicle–is found to be at fault; however, these are not the only two potentially liable parties. Other parties who could be found at fault in a motorcycle accident claim include
- A third-party driver whose negligence caused the crash;
- The manufacturer or distributor of a defective motorcycle or vehicle part that caused the crash; or
- The party responsible for road or signage maintenance, if either caused the crash.
Statute of Limitations in Motorcycle Accident Claims
There are multiple reasons to take action quickly after a motorcycle crash, including that you surely deserve to be compensated for your injuries as quickly as possible. In addition to speeding up the settlement timeline, though, there’s another more practical reason to hire an attorney and file your claim as soon as possible: you only have a limited amount of time to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Stockton.
California’s statute of limitations puts a cap on the amount of time that a plaintiff in any type of personal injury case has to file a lawsuit against the defendant for damages. The statute of limitations is two years from the date that the cause of action accrues. This means that if you are going to file a lawsuit (which is only necessary in the event that you can’t reach an out-of-court settlement), then you must do so within two years from the date of your accident. If you breach the two-year deadline, then you will be permanently barred from recovery.
How Will a Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
Working with an attorney may feel like an invasion of your privacy and something that is unnecessary; however, this really couldn’t be further from the truth. Your attorney will advocate for you to improve your chances of recovering your full settlement amount and can advise you and answer all of your legal questions along the way. Your attorney will handle all of the logistics of your case so that you can focus on your recovery, including things such as investigating your accident, analyzing evidence, making a determination about fault and liability, calculating your damages, filing a demand letter, and negotiating your settlement. At Redkey Gordon Law, our lawyers also have trial experience and can litigate your case if need be.
Throughout the entire process, we can answer any questions that you have and promise to remain accessible and available. We always offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t have any out-of-pocket costs when you choose our law firm.
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash and are wondering whether you have any rights or legal options, please call us directly. We can help you to understand the basics of a wrongful death claim and can represent you in your suit.
Call Our Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
There are few things more tragic or traumatic than being involved in a motorcycle accident or losing a loved one in a motorcycle crash. For the superior guidance and support you need as you navigate the claims process, please call our Stockton motorcycle accident attorneys today or send us a message telling us more about your case. We can offer your free consultation at a time and place that’s convenient for you.