Motorcycles are popular throughout California, and while most riders are able to enjoy their time on their bikes without issue, motorcycle accidents do happen in the Compton area with relative frequency. When these accidents happen, though rarer than passenger vehicle accidents, they tend to cause tremendous injuries and expensive economic losses for those involved. Motorcycles lack the safety features found in enclosed vehicles, leaving riders more susceptible to injuries upon impact with another vehicle as well as the secondary impact of hitting the ground.
Representing Motorcycle Accident Victims in Compton, CA
When a motorcycle accident happens, the victim must know their rights and their options for recovery. The state follows the fault system for resolving vehicle accidents, meaning whoever is at fault is responsible for all resulting damages. However, proving fault can be more difficult in some cases than others, and the average person may have little idea how to succeed with a motorcycle accident claim unassisted.
The team at McLachlan Law, APC, has extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases for Compton-area clients, including those arising from motorcycle accidents. Recovery from this sort of incident usually requires an auto insurance claim followed by a personal injury suit, and trustworthy legal counsel can be invaluable for both of these recovery options. Our firm can provide the guidance you need to navigate your recovery with greater confidence and help maximize your recovery as much as the law allows.
Most Common Reasons for Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for most of the same reasons that all other vehicle accidents happen. However, motorcycles are more vulnerable in certain situations due to their smaller size, and motorcyclists have minimal protection from crash impact forces compared to occupants of enclosed vehicles. A few of the most commonly reported causes of motorcycle accidents in the Compton area are:
Distracted driving. Throughout the United States, distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for all accidents reported each year. Any amount of inattention while driving is dangerous, especially cell phone use. Your Compton motorcycle accident attorney can help prove that the at-fault driver was distracted when they caused your accident.
Intoxicated driving. It is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, driving under the influence (DUI) is not only common but also has a significant chance of causing extreme injuries. A DUI driver faces jail time, heavy fines, and loss of their driver’s license upon conviction, and these penalties automatically increase when the driver has caused bodily harm or death.
It is inherently dangerous for any driver to exceed the speed limit, and accidents that happen at high speeds are likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Excessive speeding can also lead to reckless driving charges.
Moving violations. All drivers are expected to respect the traffic flow and follow posted signs and signals. When drivers commit moving violations, they can disrupt traffic and startle those nearby. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable in these situations because they are smaller and harder to see. Traffic camera footage is often crucial evidence in motorcycle accident cases that arise from moving violations.
Regardless of how your accident happened, proving fault and identifying the driver or drivers responsible for your crash are crucial when it comes to recovering your damages. A Compton motorcycle accident attorney can help gather the evidence you will need to firmly establish liability for the accident.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Compton
All drivers in the state are required to stop and report any accident resulting in property damage, bodily injury, or death. Failure to do so can lead to criminal prosecution. Once a motorcycle accident happens, make sure that someone has called 911 to report the incident. If possible, take photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the scene of the crash. However, if you are severely hurt, you should not risk moving around and making your injuries worse. Wait for first responders to arrive and provide medical attention.
Your primary concern after any vehicle accident should be your personal health and safety. Seek medical care right away and refrain from speaking with any insurance companies before you have secured legal counsel. While you may need to report the accident to your insurance carrier and notify the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier that you intend to file a claim, you should refrain from actually filing the claim until a Compton motorcycle accident lawyer has reviewed the details of your accident and the insurance policy.
The recovery process for any vehicle accident will begin with an insurance claim. State law requires all drivers to have personal auto insurance coverage, but the damages from a motorcycle accident are likely to eclipse the scope of an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. Once you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance, the next step of your recovery will be to file a personal injury claim. Working with an experienced Compton motorcycle accident attorney can dramatically improve the results of your efforts.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim for a Motorcycle Accident in Compton
After receiving medical treatment for your injuries and consulting a Compton motorcycle accident attorney, you should be ready to file your insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Every driver must have a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury for a single person, at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for multiple people, and a minimum of $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage. These coverage amounts may be sufficient to compensate the victim of a minor accident, but the damages from motorcycle accidents can easily exceed available insurance coverage. Additionally, there is always a chance of encountering pushback from an insurance carrier.
Your Compton motorcycle accident attorney can be an invaluable asset for every step of the insurance claim filing process. They can assist you with gathering the documentation you will need to submit with your claim to prove the scope of the injuries you suffered and proof of the total economic damages the at-fault driver caused. If the insurance company pushes back against your claim for any reason, your attorney will be ready to address this issue on your behalf.
Building Your Personal Injury Claim for a Motorcycle Accident
Once you have recovered the maximum compensation possible from your insurance claim, you can begin filing a personal injury suit against the driver responsible for your motorcycle accident. Under the state’s personal injury statutes, a plaintiff with this claim has the right to seek full repayment of all economic damages a defendant inflicted. Economic damages you could potentially recover from your personal injury claim include:
Medical expenses. Motorcycle accidents have a greater chance of causing severe bodily harm compared to other vehicle accidents. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe bone fractures, internal organ damage, and more are all possibilities. The defendant who injured you is responsible for all medical expenses you incur for treatment of your injuries, including the cost of any long-term care you need if you sustained severe injuries that demand ongoing rehabilitative treatment.
Property damage. You can claim the repair or replacement cost of your bike and any other personal belongings lost in the motorcycle accident. Your insurance claim may cover some of these losses, but any remainder must be included in your personal injury case.
Lost income. It’s common for motorcycle accidents to cause disabling injuries that prevent victims from working. If you are unable to earn income due to the severity of the injuries you suffered, the defendant is liable for your lost wages. This includes lost future earnings if you have been permanently disabled by the accident and will not be able to return to work in the future. An experienced Compton motorcycle accident attorney can be invaluable when it comes to accurately calculating these projected future losses.
You might learn that your case is worth more than you expected when you have the right attorney representing you. The average person should be able to assess immediately recognizable economic losses like their vehicle repair costs and hospital bills, but accurately calculating long-term damages can be more challenging. However, even after calculating all your immediate and future economic damages, your recovery does not end here. In addition, you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident
It may sound difficult to determine an appropriate amount of monetary compensation for intangible losses such as your emotional distress and physical pain, but this could form the bulk of your total case award, depending on the extent and severity of the harm you suffered. The state does not limit or restrict pain and suffering compensation in motorcycle accident claims. This means you can claim as much as you deem appropriate to reflect the severity of your injuries.
When a plaintiff is expected to recover completely from their personal injury, their attorney is likely to seek a per diem settlement that awards pain and suffering compensation based on the length of time it takes the client to fully recover. Alternatively, when a client has suffered life-changing injuries, their attorney would likely seek a significant lump sum and would calculate it by multiplying their economic damages by a number representative of the serious nature of their condition.
What Other Variables Have an Influence on Your Award?
Most of the motorcycle accidents reported in the Compton area are the result of negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. However, it is also possible for a motorcycle accident to result from intentional and illegal misconduct. When this applies to your case, the defendant is not only liable for your civil damages and pain and suffering, but they could also face punitive damages or restitution. These damages are not claimed by a plaintiff and are instead awarded at the discretion of the judge handling the case.
Conversely, while a defendant’s illegal behavior could enhance a plaintiff’s recovery, any shared fault on the part of the plaintiff will diminish it. California enforces a pure comparative fault rule that comes into play whenever multiple parties share liability for an accident. Under this rule, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault for causing the accident is deducted from their final case award as a penalty. For example, if an investigation shows that a plaintiff is 10% at fault, they lose 10% of the total compensation claimed from the defendant.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Compton Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney
Anyone struggling in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident in Compton is likely faced with tremendous economic losses, severe injuries that demand ongoing treatment, and the stress and uncertainty of facing this difficult financial situation with little idea of what to expect. Hiring legal counsel is often believed to be prohibitively expensive, and this, unfortunately, deters some people from seeking legal counsel when they need it most.
However, there is no cause for concern when it comes to your legal fees if you choose McLachlan Law, APC, to represent you. We take personal injury cases on contingency rather than charging expensive upfront and ongoing fees. This means that you will only pay our firm a fee if and when we win your case, and our fee is a percentage of the total amount we recover on your behalf. If, for any reason, we are unsuccessful in securing a recovery for you, there is no fee at all. This billing policy eliminates the risk of legal expenses overtaking a case award and ensures that legal representation is accessible when you need it.
You have a limited time in which to file a personal injury claim after any vehicle accident and an even shorter timeframe in which to file an auto insurance claim. Once you have addressed the immediate aftermath of your accident and received medical attention for your injuries, the next step in your recovery process is to consult an attorney you can trust as quickly as possible. Contact McLachlan Law, APC, today to schedule your consultation with our team and learn how a Compton motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover.
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