According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of motorcycles on California roads has more than doubled over the last 20 years. In 2021, there were 952,977 bikes registered in this state, with only Florida coming close at 645,012.
While few exercises can be more enjoyable than riding around the scenic Bay Area on a motorcycle, there are still dangers on the road. Drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles don’t always watch out for motorcyclists, and when impairment or distraction hinders their driving ability, the risk of a catastrophic accident increases. When a collision occurs, the motorcyclist is more likely to sustain serious injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Major burns
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
With motorcyclists being 28 times more likely to die in a crash than the occupants of motor vehicles, many motorcycle accidents result in wrongful death claims.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or lost someone you love in a preventable motorcycle accident, you deserve compensation to cover resulting losses like medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. An Oakland personal injury lawyer at the Kuvara Law Firm will help you hold all negligent parties accountable and demand the money you need to make as complete a recovery as possible.
What Causes Most Motorcycle Accidents in Oakland?
In California, approximately 88% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries or fatalities. While some motorcyclists crash due to driving errors, in most cases they are not at fault. Common causes of serious collisions include:
- Distracted Drivers: Motorcycles are harder to see than larger vehicles, so drivers who are already distracted by their phones or passengers can easily miss them in traffic. Even minor distractions can lead to unsafe lane changes, failure to check blind spots, and running motorcyclists off the road.
- Intoxicated Drivers: Everyone on the road is at risk from drunk drivers, including motorcyclists. As with distracted drivers, impaired people may not be able to see motorcyclists in their path, resulting in a collision.
- Reckless Drivers: Some motorists become aggressive when frustrated with traffic. They may speed, make unsafe lane changes, and ignore yield rules, increasing the risk of crashing into a motorcycle.
- Defective Bike Parts: Occasionally, motorcycle accidents are not caused by another driver but by the manufacturer of the motorcycle or its parts. Motorcyclists can easily lose control of their bikes when an essential part is defective.
- Defective Roads: Motorcyclists are especially susceptible to hazardous road conditions like uneven pavement, potholes, and cracks. When a road is poorly maintained, a serious motorcycle accident can result.
The above are only some examples of how negligent parties can cause motorcycle accidents in California. An Oakland car accident lawyer at the Kuvara Law Firm can assist you in determining which parties are responsible for your injuries, so you can file a personal injury claim against them and get the settlement you need to cover your treatment costs and take care of your family.
Tips for Preventing Motorcycle Accidents
While some motorcycle accidents happen without warning, most are preventable. The following tips can help improve safety on the road and reduce the risk of a collision.
- Remain Visible: To increase your visibility, wear bright clothing, use reflective materials on your bike and riding apparel, and turn on your lights when riding after dark.
- Stay Alert: Be sure to check your blind spots and mirrors at all times, especially before merging or turning. Even a moment’s distraction can have devastating consequences.
- Stay Within the Speed Limit: Driving too fast for the road conditions leaves you with less time to react if traffic patterns change. When collisions occur, speed also raises the impact force, increasing the possibility of severe injuries.
- Refrain From Drug or Alcohol Consumption: Even small amounts of alcohol can adversely affect your judgment, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination. Do not use illegal drugs or ride until you know how prescription medications affect you.
- Keep Your Motorcycle Well-Maintained: Make sure you maintain your bike by checking it regularly, changing the oil, replacing the tires, and doing any other necessary maintenance.
- Avoid Riding in Bad Weather: Weather conditions such as rain, ice, or wind can make it harder to maintain traction and increase the risk of losing control while riding. Whenever possible, only take your motorbike out during clement weather.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Oakland, you can protect your legal rights and establish a solid foundation for your personal injury claim by taking the following steps:
- Gather evidence from the accident scene, including photographs and contact and insurance information for everyone involved. If there were witnesses to the accident, ask them for their contact details so your lawyer can get a statement from them later.
- Get medical attention right away to determine the extent of your injuries, obtain the treatment you need, and establish a record of your injuries.
- Attend all follow-up appointments as ordered by your doctor to show you are taking your health and recovery seriously. Many insurance companies will use failure to follow treatment instructions as an excuse to reduce your compensation.
- Keep all medical bills, pay stubs, and travel receipts related to your accident injuries so that assigning a value to your claim is easier.
- Contact an Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer. Getting full and fair compensation for accident injuries can be difficult, as insurance companies try to protect their bottom lines by paying as little as possible. An attorney will help you understand your rights and explain your legal options for seeking compensation.
How Can the Kuvara Law Firm Help Me?
At the Kuvara Law Firm, we work diligently to ensure justice in every motorcycle accident case. Motorcyclists face a lot of challenges during the claims process due to the inherent bias against them; the popular assumption is that they are reckless, dangerous drivers prone to causing accidents. Motorcycle accident victims need a law firm that knows how to deal with insurance companies seeking to cash in on this bias and reduce the value of their claim.
Our skilled team of motorcycle accident lawyers can handle every aspect of your case, from filing and discovery to negotiation and, if necessary, litigation. We will arrange access to medical treatment until you have achieved Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), deal with the insurer(s) on your behalf, and charge no legal fees until we make a recovery for you. Come discover for yourself why so many injured motorcyclists in Oakland have trusted us with their claims.
What is My Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
The financial compensation you might receive will depend on factors like the severity of your injuries, your current and anticipated treatment costs, and whether you share fault for the accident. In general, a motorcyclist injured in a preventable collision may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical costs, including surgeries, hospital stays, and prescription medication
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
In California, if you contributed to the accident or your injuries in any way, your settlement or award may be reduced by your share of fault. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and sustained a traumatic brain injury, a court may conclude that you were 45% responsible for the injury, and you would receive only 55% of your claim value instead.
During negotiations with the insurer, your motorcycle accident lawyer will challenge any attempt to unfairly assign blame to you. At the Kuvara Law Firm, we have seen repeated instances of insurance companies trying to minimize payouts in this manner and will protect your interests at all times.
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The time limit for filing a personal injury claim in California is two years. Unless an exception applies, your claim may be barred if you miss this deadline. Examples of possible exceptions include:
- The injuries you sustained did not reveal themselves within the two-year period. The ‘delayed discovery’ rule governs this situation.
- At the time of the accident, you were under 18 or suffering from a mental illness, creating a ‘legal disability.’.
- After the collision, the at-fault driver left California before a lawsuit could be filed against them.
In these situations, the two-year statute of limitations can be extended or otherwise affected. Your Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer will know how to proceed if any of them apply to your case.
Get a Free Consultation From an Oakland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The Kuvara Law Firm understands that no two motorcycle accidents are the same, so we never take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to client representation. Instead, we approach each case from a fresh perspective, with strategies and tactics specifically tailored to your needs. We take cases on a contingency basis, which means there will be no fee unless we win compensation for you.
Initial consultations are always free, so if you would like to speak to an Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer, call 510-839-0400 or fill out our online contact form. Client well-being is always our top priority, and we look forward to serving you.