Glendale Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Every year, thousands of motorcyclists are injured or killed on California roads. Often, automobile drivers claim that they did not see a motorcycle before colliding with it, but this is no excuse for careless or reckless driving behaviors. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and you believe another driver or party was at fault, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
The Glendale motorcycle accident attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC are committed to protecting your rights, including your right to justice and a fair recovery. With over 40 years of combined experience, we have successfully secured $125 million on behalf of our clients; our team is ready to fight for you.
The average weight of a motorcycle is an estimated 400-lbs. In contrast, the everyday passenger vehicle weighs roughly 2,800-lbs, meaning a collision between these two vehicles will surely end in disaster for a motorcyclist. That is why riders often go through rigorous training and have to wear additional protective gear to avoid painful injuries, but there is only so much they can do to protect against negligent drivers. With enough speed and force, a passenger car can cause catastrophic damage to a motorcyclist, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Wearing a helmet can significantly decrease the risk of brain damage, but there is still the possibility of suffering a concussion, brain bleed, or other forms of trauma after being hit by a car.
- Spinal cord injuries: When a motorcyclist crashes against the pavement, their spine will likely absorb most of the impact. This can lead to tears and bruises on the muscles of the neck and back, but also damage to the spinal column. You may suffer from chronic pain, limited mobility, and even paralysis if the nerves are heavily damaged.
- Biker’s arm: Just as the spine bears the brunt of the damage when colliding with the ground, the shoulders and arms can also suffer extensive damage. This can lead to a condition called biker’s arm, which refers to the nerve damage in the shoulder, upper arm, forearm, and hand. This can start out as numbness or limited mobility but can also include full-blown paralysis if not treated immediately.
- Lower-extremity injuries: Having the weight of a 400-lb motorcycle collapse atop your legs can lead to extensive trauma, ranging from broken bones to soft tissue damage to the tendons and muscle.
- Road rash: While road rash sounds like an injury exclusive to your childhood, it can be extremely dangerous for motorcyclists. In a motorcycle accident, road rash means that the motorcyclist suffered extensive lacerations across their exposed skin, which can include damage to their muscles and nerves as they are pushed or dragged across pavement. These traumatic injuries may require surgery to repair the underlying damage and skin grafts to fully heal. Untreated road rash injuries can also lead to deadly infections.
- Deglovings: Like road rash, degloving primarily affects the victim’s skin as they collide against the pavement. The skin has the risk of being pulled away from the underlying muscle, similar to how a glove is pulled off. This traumatic experience requires immediate surgery as there is a risk of nerve damage.
These injuries can be extremely costly to recover from, requiring multiple medical appointments, time off work, stress and anxiety, and emotional trauma. Bearing the brunt of those costs alone is nearly impossible for any everyday worker in California, which is why it is important to discuss whether or not you are eligible for a personal injury claim. Most motorcyclists avoid taking legal action because they assume motorcycle bias will only place the blame on them, but there are plenty of instances where a motorcycle accident was not their fault.
Far too many motorcycle accidents are the result of someone else’s negligence. Even the most cautious of motorcyclists are at risk when they share the road with larger, heavier vehicles. Because they are relatively unprotected, even when wearing the proper safety gear, motorcyclists tend to suffer severe, and even catastrophic, injuries when they are hit by other vehicles.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving, arguing with passengers, or eating food
- Speeding, following too closely, and other unsafe or illegal driving behaviors
- Side-swiping motorcyclists when changing lanes
- Turning into the oncoming path of a motorcyclist
- Failing to stop at red lights or stop signs, or to yield the right-of-way at intersections
- Driving while under the influence of drugs/alcohol
- Reckless driving, such as street racing or engaging in road rage behaviors
- Hitting motorcyclists who are legally lane-splitting
- Dooring, or opening a door in the path of a motorcyclist
Defective motorcycle parts, including brakes and tires, as well as dangerous conditions and/or defective road design, can also lead to serious accidents. In these and other similar instances, injured motorcyclists may be able to hold negligent parties accountable for their losses.
Also referred to as “lane-sharing,” lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist drives between two rows of moving or stopped vehicles in the same lane. This practice allows motorcyclists to easily navigate heavy traffic and avoid rear-ending vehicles that have suddenly stopped, but it comes with many risks.
California is the only state that currently does not have laws against lane-splitting. While it is legal to lane-split, the state does not encourage lane-splitting and advises all drivers and motorcyclists to practice common sense driving in order to avoid accidents and injuries. The California Department of Vehicles also clearly defines lane-splitting as between two vehicles and separate from driving on the shoulder, which is illegal.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides a variety of tips for safe lane-splitting practices:
- Avoid lane-splitting at high-speeds and when traffic is unpredictable
- Be fully aware of all vehicles in your immediate vicinity
- Maintain visibility to other vehicles with reflective or bright clothing and to avoid blind spots
- The far-left lanes are considered the safest spots to lane-split
- Always use blinkers and mirrors when lane-splitting
Motorcyclists should also be aware that it is illegal for other drivers to intentionally block or impede motorcyclists if it could cause harm, and they do have the right to pursue legal action against such drivers.
At-fault insurance companies often try to use lane-splitting to devalue a motorcyclist’s claim, arguing that they were riding recklessly or putting themselves in danger, despite the fact that lane-splitting is legal in California. Even if you were lane-splitting at the time of your accident, that does not mean you are not eligible for proper compensation. Automobile drivers should always check their blind spots and avoid boxing motorcyclists against other vehicles.
Moving forward with a motorcycle accident claim can be difficult for most riders, as they must go against complex filing procedures and contend with motorcycle bias. Negative attention in the media has built up a culture of blame towards motorcyclists, where most people feel little sympathy for riders after an accident. This extends to the insurance companies who often profit heavily off of high motorcyclist insurance premiums while also denying claims based on public bias. That is why contacting an attorney is a huge step in increasing your chances of recovering compensation in a claim.
When reviewing your case, the attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC will work towards determining who was liable for your accident. This may be outlined in the police report, but we will also review any other pieces of evidence, including witness statements, photos from the accident, surveillance footage, damage to your bike and clothing, your medical records, and the at-fault party’s driving records.
During this process, we will build a case for negligence and demonstrate that the at-fault driver caused your injury through reckless or careless behavior. We will also prepare to contend with the at-fault insurance company’s bias against you and the possibility of taking your case to court. Nine out of ten cases are settled in negotiations, but our attorneys are fully capable of representing you before a jury and making a case for full compensation.
It is important to note that California courts follow comparative negligence laws, meaning that multiple individuals can be responsible for an accident and injuries in a claim. This means, if your case does go to trial, the defense will try to sway the jury to believe that your actions contributed to your injuries and that you should not be awarded full compensation. They may do this by citing California motorcycle laws, including the requirement to wear a helmet, that your bike lacked proper equipment (functioning headlights, brake lights, rearview mirrors, etc.), or that you were riding recklessly. In turn, we will push against these claims, arguing that the other driver was clearly negligent and that you have a history of safe driving.
Comparative negligence laws only impact jury cases, but it is important to keep in mind during negotiations as insurance companies will still try to use motorcycle bias against you early on. However, with the right attorney and a strong case, you may be able to recover proper compensation after an accident.
Immediately following a motorcycle accident, it is crucial that you seek medical attention. You are likely in no position to ride home on your own, even if you believe your injuries are minor, and you should seek medical treatment to rule out any internal damage or late diagnoses. We understand that you may be afraid of high medical bills from an ER visit, but those expenses can only be exasperated by avoiding treatment. Your initial medical review will also create the basis for your treatment plan and personal injury claim, outlining how your injuries developed and the overall costs that you can recover in your claim.
While at the scene of the accident, you should also try to document what happened (if possible) by taking photos of the roadway and skidmarks, recording witness statements or getting their contact information, and identifying any nearby traffic signs or hazards. You will also want to take photos of any damage to the at-fault driver’s vehicle and your own bike. Your bike and clothing are also important pieces of evidence that will outline where the car struck you, so you will want to avoid scrapping your bike, having it repaired, and washing your clothes until an expert can review them. Store the bike safely at home during the investigation and place your clothes in an airtight bag. You will also want to keep track of your helmet and other protective gear that might have additional evidence on them.
Filing a police report is another important step after an accident. When talking to the police, state only the facts and avoid admitting to any fault. The police report should be an impartial record of events and you do not want the police to place any blame on you in it.
Lastly, make sure to obtain the contact and insurance information of the other driver and report the accident to your own insurance company. However, you should refrain from speaking with the other motorist’s insurance company until you have first spoken to an attorney.
At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we can put our collective four-plus decades of legal experience to work for you. Our Glendale auto accident attorneys often conduct independent investigations into the cause of the accident and work with various experts and accident reconstructionists to uncover exactly what occurred. We are prepared to serve as your dedicated guides and aggressive advocates in our efforts to secure the maximum compensation you are owed.
- Lane-Splitting in LA: Don’t Let Them Tell You a Crash Is Your Fault
- Motorcycle Safety - CDC
- Motorcycle Safety - NHTSA
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