Walnut Creek Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Northern California is a great place for motorcyclists. The Bay Area has scenic, winding roads with breathtaking views, perfect for riding most days of the year. Along with the joy of riding in the Golden State comes certain risks. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 406 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in California. Nationwide, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in a recent year, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
What Makes Riding Motorcycles So Risky?
By their very nature, motorcycles are less crashworthy than closed vehicles, as stated by the Insurance Information Institute (III). They are open, lighter, and less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, which makes motorcyclists and their passengers more vulnerable to hazardous road and weather conditions. Motorcycles are also smaller and less visible than passenger vehicles. Drivers may fail to see them in their blind spots or fail to register a motorcycle in the roadway.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents are caused by driver negligence. The following are some of the most common types of motorcycle crashes in California:
- Negligent left-hand turns: This is the most common type of collision between cars and motorcycles. It occurs when a driver violates a motorcyclist’s right-of-way, often when a motorcycle is traveling straight through an intersection. The driver, focused on executing a left-hand turn, either fails to see the motorcyclist in the intersection or fails to yield the right-of-way.
- Lane splitting accidents: California neither allows nor prohibits lane splitting, as stated by the DMV. Also known as lane sharing or filtering, this practice involves motorcyclists weaving between cars, usually when traffic is slow or stopped. Lane splitting accidents occur when drivers are not paying attention to the road around them and fail to look or signal before turning.
- Rear-end collisions: This is one of the most common and deadly types of motorcycle accidents involving cars. Motorcycles can be rear-ended when drivers are distracted, speeding, following too closely, or simply fail to see motorcycles in front of them. A rear-end collision that might be considered a fender-bender if it occurred between two passenger vehicles can be fatal for a motorcyclist.
- Head-on collisions: Although they are less common than other types of motorcycle accidents, head-on collisions are more deadly, by far. Riders are often ejected from the bike in a head-on crash with a car and may collide with the vehicle after being thrown from the bike. Head-on collisions can also throw bikers into oncoming traffic.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can range from minor to fatal. Researchers compared injuries in helmeted and unhelmeted older riders (age 40 and older) to those sustained by helmeted and unhelmeted younger riders (under 40) in a study conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.
- Among unhelmeted riders under 40, the most serious injuries were head injuries (34%), followed closely by lower extremity injuries (31%), and thoracic injuries (14%).
- Among riders under 40 wearing helmets, the most serious injuries were to the lower extremities (34%), followed by head injuries (20%), and upper extremity injuries (18%).
- For both helmeted and unhelmeted riders over 40, the most serious injuries were to the lower extremities, followed by head and thoracic injuries. In the group of older riders who were not wearing helmets, 24% suffered the most serious injuries in the chest.
Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
California is a fault-based state for auto insurance purposes, which means at-fault drivers are liable for injuries to other motorists or riders. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can thoroughly investigate your motorcycle accident to determine fault and liability.
Under our state’s comparative negligence standard, an injured party can be assigned a portion of the fault for the accident, in which case damages will be reduced accordingly. The more facts you can prove against the driver who caused your motorcycle crash, the higher that driver’s percentage of fault will be, and the more damages you can potentially recover.
Get Legal Help After a Serious Motorcycle Accident
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, call Balamuth Law at (925) 254-1234 or toll-free at (888) 254-1234 right away. Our Walnut Creek personal injury attorneys are tough advocates for injured motorcyclists.
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