San Diego is well-known as a year-round destination for a great climate and an abundance of outdoor activities, which is why it’s no surprise that San Diego is a popular city for driving a motorcycle. Motorcycles are a great method of transportation for people who want to enjoy nice weather while driving, and Southern California is one of the best places in the United States to take advantage of this weather. However, driving or riding on a motorcycle comes with a significant set of risks that are more or less unique to this method of transportation, and puts motorcycle riders at a greater risk of an accident than other vehicles.
If you choose to operate or ride on a motorcycle in San Diego, there are many steps that you can take in order to stay as safe as possible on the California roads, such as taking advanced rider courses and staying aware of common mistakes by drivers. However, no matter how skilled a driver you may be, you will always be at risk because of other drivers on the road, which is why it is also important that you understand how personal injury claims work after motorcycle accidents.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that someone else caused, then you are entitled to compensation for the other driver’s actions. Working with an experienced lawyer for your claim is one of the best ways that you can maximize your chances of a fair settlement, a low-stress claims process, and a clear path towards a good outcome after this unfortunate situation.
Read more below to learn about how a motorcycle accident attorney can help you get the most out of your claim while helping you prioritize both your financial and physical health. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation to speak with our team about your unique accident, and we will be able to discuss the specific ways that we can help you through this period in your life.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a San Diego Motorcycle Accident
Once you have left the scene of the accident, attended to your immediate medical concerns, filed an accident report, and are able to start thinking about the next steps that you will need to take, one of the first things that you will need to consider is your insurance claim. When the other driver in the accident is responsible for the accident, whether through recklessness, negligence, or any other actions or inactions, their insurance policy will be responsible for compensating all victims, including you.
Many people think that they should wait until after the claim investigation is underway to hire an attorney, but the best time to hire legal support is as soon as possible after the accident. If you hire an attorney before filing a claim, then you will have legal guidance through every step of the process.
Filing a Claim With a Lawyer
Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company seems fairly straightforward, which is exactly how the insurance company has designed the process. For an insurance company, the best thing that can do is make a claims investigation simple and stress-free for the victim, so that they do not feel compelled towards hiring a lawyer. This is just one tactic they will use in order to limit the amount of money they ultimately pay for your injuries.
When you hire a lawyer before filing your claim, they will be able to handle the paperwork for you, meaning that any statements made to the company will not come back to complicate your case in the future. Unfortunately, there are many seemingly-innocuous ways that a victim can create obstacles for their final settlement, including something as innocent as making an apology to the other driver (which can be construed as an admission of fault).
Working With a Lawyer and a Claims Adjuster
Once you file your claim, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to go through all of the details of your case in order to determine how much to pay you for a settlement. The reality of their work is that they are looking for any possible way to poke holes in your claim and limit the final amount that they must pay in order to compensate you for the accident. They will gather police reports, eyewitness accounts, financial statements, and more.
During the investigation, you may need to submit to an independent medical examination so that an “independent” (contracted by the insurance company) doctor can verify the injuries that you have claimed. Again, any statement that you provide to the doctor, and therefore to the insurance company, will be used to limit your settlement if at all possible. Your attorney will be able to advise you about how to proceed with each step in the investigation in a way that does not hinder your claim.
Negotiating a Settlement
During this investigation, your lawyer will also be able to take advantage of the time and do their own fact-finding and settlement calculations. When it comes time for the insurance company to make a settlement offer, you may be shocked at the difference in amounts that your attorney and the insurance company calculated. Luckily, your lawyer will be ready to make a counter-offer.
Negotiations will go back and forth aggressively for some time until either an agreement can be reached or you and your attorney decide to take the next step in the process—filing a complaint with the California court system. Up to 95% of car accident insurance claims are settled, but in the event that your claim must be taken to court, you will be ready to go with the trial lawyers at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC.
Calculating a Settlement Amount After a Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident is generally handled like any other type of personal injury claim, meaning that the victim is seeking compensatory damages for both economic and non-economic impacts of their injuries. In very rare instances, the victim of a personal injury case may be awarded additional punitive damages by either a judge or jury at the end of a trial, but a victim can neither request them or expect them, so they are not considered when calculating the damages sought in a settlement agreement.
Economic damages are the basis of any personal injury claim including motorcycle accidents and are the easiest to calculate for a variety of reasons. Particularly, economic damages are simple to calculate because they have actual dollar values attached to them, and in nearly every instance they have a paper trail that clearly connects them to the accident. They include all injury- and recovery-related costs, such as hospital bills, ambulances, medications, and more.
In addition to medical expenses, economic damages also seek compensation for any income-based effects of the accident, such as lost wages, impacts to earning capacity, vacation days or sick leave cashed in to cover missed work, and possible long-term disability payments. There are many other economic damages that an experienced lawyer knows to include in negotiations.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate, simply because of the subjective nature of the damages themselves. Non-economic damages seek compensation for the emotional and physical impacts of an accident, such as the pain and suffering of the injuries sustained, and the depression or fear that come with such a traumatic event. Since there is no way to truly put a price on pain, these are typically the most-contested part of a settlement negotiation, although they are no less important.
There are many different ways to calculate non-economic damages, but one common way is by using a multiplier: a number along a predetermined scale meant to indicate the severity of these damages. Once you and your lawyer have chosen a number, it will be used as a multiplier against your economic damages in order to translate them into a dollar amount. For instance, if your number is 1.5 and your economic damages amount to $50,000, then your non-economic damages would amount to ($50,000 x 1.5) a total of $75,000.
Common Injuries in San Diego Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents, like any other type of vehicle accident, are unpredictable and dangerous. There are many different types of injuries that a rider can suffer, and the severity and nature of the injuries can depend on things like the speed of both vehicles, the size of the other vehicle, the way the rider hits the ground after the initial impact, and more.
That said, some very common injuries in motorcycle accidents are as follows:
Road rash and other laceration injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents since the rider is typically thrown from the vehicle and then hits the ground. There are many different types of protective gear intended to protect from these injuries, but they are not 100% effective.
Whiplash is more common in car accidents, where a seatbelt holds the passenger as their head makes a quick “S” motion forward, down, and back, but it is still a significant injury in motorcycle crashes. This type of injury is caused by damage to the soft tissues in the neck as the head rapidly jerks back and forth.
Broken and fractured bones can be expected when a rider is thrown from their motorcycle at a high speed and makes direct impact with the ground. It is instinctual for a person to extend their arms in front of them to protect their head and chest, which means that broken wrists are very common in these types of collisions. However, there are many other types of fractures that result from a motorcycle crash.
Traumatic brain injuries
Under California Vehicle Code Section 27803, all riders and passengers must wear a helmet on a motorcycle, which has certainly helped cut back on traumatic brain injuries, but they are still unfortunately common even with proper head protection. These types of injuries can be life-threatening, especially if left untreated.
Bruising, Hematomas, and Internal Bleeding
As with all impact injuries, bruising and hematomas are common with these types of accidents, especially in areas of the body that made initial contact with the other vehicle or the ground. In addition to these visible injuries to the circulatory system, the internal organs can experience serious trauma and suffer their own lacerations, leading to internal bleeding. If ignored, internal bleeding can be fatal.
Whether or not your injuries are similar to those listed above, you deserve compensation for them. We will be able to help you identify all of the different impacts that the accident has had on your life, and help you fight for the money that you deserve after these injuries.
Why You Should Hire Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
After a motorcycle accident, your main priority should be recovering from your injuries and getting your life back in order. When you are working with the award-winning team at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC for your case, you can be confident that you have the right legal representation for your claim process, negotiations, and a full lawsuit if required. Since 2004, our firm has represented victims of motorcycle accidents, car crashes, and other personal injuries with great success, and our experience will be a major benefit for your case.
Contact us for a free initial consultation, where we will be able to speak about the specifics of your injuries, as well as offer examples of past clients we helped in similar situations, and to get a better understanding fo your situation in general. Speaking with an experienced professional is one of the best ways to ease your initial stress of uncertainty about your case, especially as you discover that there are people out there who are willing and ready to help.
Speak To An Experienced San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Our San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys have a proven track record of successfully helping those injured in motorcycle accidents. Additionally, we have investigators and experts who know what to look for when building your case. We also know how to negotiate with the insurance company to help maximize your recovery.
Injury Trial Lawyers, APC has built a reputation as being a client-centered firm. We know that no two cases are the same, and give your case the attention it deserves. We offer a free consultation and get paid nothing unless you win.
- Motorcycle “Lane-Splitting” Safety Study (Office of Traffic Safety)
- Motorcycle Safety Info from the California Highway Patrol
- California Highway Patrol Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System
A Review of Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, a Personal Injury Law Firm
San Diego personal injury attorney Richard can help if you have been injured in an accident. Richard has a proven track record of success both in the courtroom and in settlement negotiations.
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC we understand that after being injured you will have many questions regarding your rights and possible compensation. We have assisted many people throughout the years to get the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, call us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents
The following are some common questions that we answer during our free initial consultations. Keep in mind that your situation is unique, and the following answers are only intended to provide you with a general idea. Contact us now to get the specific answers that you need.
If I am partially responsible for the accident, am I still entitled to compensation?
Under California’s laws regarding comparative negligence, a victim is still entitled to damages in an accident even if they are partially responsible for the crash. In order to determine the final amount that they are able to receive, the agreed settlement amount will be reduced by the percentage that they are found to have contributed fault to.
For example, if you are found to have been 10% responsible for a crash that resulted in $100,000 of damages, then your final settlement will be reduced by 10% for a final payout of $90,000.
Will my motorcycle accident case go to trial?
As mentioned above, nearly 95% of all accident claims are settled before they must go to trial. This is due in part to the multiple opportunities to negotiate a settlement before a trial, as well as an insurance company’s willingness to reach an agreement without a costly court case.
How much is my settlement worth?
In order to truly determine how much you deserve, the best thing to do is begin working with a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. The more time that your lawyer has to calculate your damages during the claims investigation, the more aggressively they will be able to handle negotiations and fight for the amount you are rightfully entitled to.