Woods Williford, P.C., Serves California As Trusted Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation in the United States, and the popularity of these motor vehicles is increasing. Fortunately, the traffic accidents that result from motorcycles are not increasing in popularity. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded that 89,000 motorcyclists were injured in traffic accidents, which is a 14% decrease from the year before. People use motorcycles for a variety of reasons, from regular transportation to recreational fun on the weekends. Though motorcycles are a common sight on the roadways, motor vehicle drivers are not always careful to watch out for these vehicles when driving, which can result in serious consequences for the motorcycle driver and any passengers riding on the bike.
Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents In Orange County
Motorcycle accidents are especially dangerous and deadly for the rider and any passengers because a motorcycle offers very little protection to its riders. The causes of these crashes vary, but there are some scenarios where a motorcycle rider is more likely to be involved in an accident, including:
- Left-hand turns: A common cause of motorcycle crashes is when a car is turning left and strikes a motorcycle. The crash can occur when a motorcycle is going straight through the intersection and the car fails to see them or account for the distance between the car and the motorcycle. In addition, accidents can occur if a motorcycle is trying to pass or overtake a vehicle.
- Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents are a common type of car accident. However, while there may be only minimal damage when the accident occurs between cars, if a motorcycle is rear-ended, it can result in serious injury to the motorcycle rider.
- Open car doors: Motorcycle accidents can also occur when a door is opened unexpectedly while a motorcycle is passing a parked car. For example, this can occur if a motorcyclist is attempting to pass traffic and drives along the side of the road next to park cars. If a vehicle occupant is not careful to look out for oncoming traffic, including motorcycles, then the motorcyclist may hit the open car door. This could cause the motorcycle rider to go flying or veer out into other cars.
- Lane splitting: Another cause of motorcycle accidents is lane splitting, which allows motorcycle drivers to pass “other vehicles by riding between them along the lane line.” California became the first state to formalize this practice in mid-2016. Prior to the state legislature enacting this law, the practice had been neither legal nor illegal but has been accepted by California law enforcement agencies.
Common Types Of Injuries In Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle rider is more likely to suffer serious injuries or death if he or she is involved in an accident because motorcycles do not afford riders the same protections that a motor vehicle does to its occupants. There is no steel frame to absorb some of the impacts of a crash, nor are there usually seat belts or airbags to help prevent injury. The type and severity of the injuries that a motorcycle rider can suffer varies, but about “80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death.” Some of the most common types of injuries that motorcyclists suffer in accidents are bone fractures, road rash, and head injuries.
- Broken and fractured bones – Leg fractures are one of the most common types of broken bones. Ankle, foot, knee, and pelvic fractures can also occur in a motorcycle crash, as well as dislocated or fractured hips.
- Arm injuries – If a biker is thrown or otherwise going to impact the ground, he or she likely will use an arm to try and lessen the impact. This can result in immediate pain and injury to the arm, as well as long-term or permanent injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries – Another type of injury that can happen as a result of a motorcycle crash is a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury occurs when there is “damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or discs of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.” These injuries can result in severe disabilities for an individual, especially if the spine is completely severed. According to the Mayo Clinic, “[a]uto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.”
- Head injuries – Head injuries can also occur in motorcycle accidents, especially if the motorcycle driver or passenger is not wearing a helmet. Suffering a head injury can be particularly devastating as it can leave an individual with permanent brain damage and in need of life-long care.
Time Limits To File A Motorcycle Claim
If you have been injured it is important to be aware you can lose your right to file a claim if you wait too long. The law sets a limit on the amount of time an individual has to bring a legal claim, called a “statute of limitations.” The amount of time available will depend on the type of claim that a person has. In California, a plaintiff generally has two years to file a lawsuit if he or she has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, but there are scenarios where the time limits are less, according to Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1.
How To Stay Safe On Motorcycles In Orange County
Motorcycles have a reputation for being very dangerous. Oftentimes, drivers operating motor vehicles have a hard time seeing motorcycles because they are much smaller and quicker. Riders of motorcycles should take extra precautions to ensure that they stay as safe as possible. Following are five ways to stay safe while operating a motorcycle:
- Wear a helmet
- Utilize proper safety gear
- Equipment maintenance
- Stay sober
- Don’t drive in inclimate weather
Contact Woods Williford, P.C.
If you or your loved one has been injured while riding a motorcycle please do not hesitate to contact our Orange County motorcycle accident lawyers. Our attorneys have extensive experience practicing personal injury law in California. We genuinely care for our clients and strive to provide the best representation possible. We fight to get our clients the just compensation that they deserve after an accident.
Hear It From Our Past Clients
“I hired them to represent me in a personal injury case. Clayton and the entire firm were honest, upfront with all information and kept me informed as we went through this process.”