If you’re a motorcycle rider, you know there is nothing quite like being out on the open road with the wind at your back and the California sun on your skin. But what makes motorcycles so enjoyable can also make motorcycle accidents severe and even fatal. At Banafshe Law Firm, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney has decades of combined experience helping people get back on their feet after a crash. Our team works to ensure that those responsible for the accident are held fully accountable and that insurance companies live up to their promises. We have a strong track record of successful results for clients in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
Our attorneys understand the pain and stress that comes with a motorcycle collision, for you and your family. We work diligently to our clients’ full compensation, including medical bills, pain and suffering, missed wages and the other financial implications of the accident. Our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers offer you the freedom to focus on your physical and emotional recuperation with the confidence that comes with knowing that we are fighting to get you the complete remedies available under the law.
We also take the hassle out of haggling with insurance companies by working directly with them on your behalf. Our personal injury lawyers understand the strategies that these companies often use to try to limit payouts. We have successfully resolved insurance disputes for many clients.
It should be noted that — in California — motorcyclists may also be lured into dangerous situations on the roadways by virtue of the lane splitting laws in the state. Lane splitting is legal in California, but that does not necessarily mean that doing so is the best decision under any given circumstance. If you lane split when doing so would expose you to a heightened risk of harm, then you could be found negligent. Contributory negligence in California will reduce your overall damage recovery, which, as noted above, could have far-reaching implications for your ability to cover all your losses in the event of a catastrophic injury.
Any vehicle accident comes with the risk of a serious injury. Motorcycle collisions, however, are particularly hazardous because little or nothing is protecting you as a rider from an oncoming vehicle or in the event you are thrown from the bike. That’s not to mention that unsafe roads and poor weather can raise specific hazards for motorcyclists.
Some of the injuries most frequently sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
These and other injuries often at first seem less severe than they actually are, sometimes because you may be in a state of shock. They can, however, have significant long-term consequences, which includes requiring extensive medical treatment and limiting the type of work you can perform. A Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer can help advise you on the types of long-term damages you should seek.
Accidents can and do happen. Although the threat of a crash is part of life on the road, there are a number of factors that can increase the chances of a collision.
Here are some of the factors that commonly contribute to accidents:
As a result of this unique “dangerousness,” motorcyclists tend to sustain severe or even fatal injuries when involved in an accident. An impact that might only cause the passengers in a car to suffer minor injuries, could lead to a catastrophic injury for a motorcyclist. Catastrophic injuries (i.e., injuries that substantially impair the ability of the affected individual to maintain their original lifestyle and to work over the long-term) require significant compensation to cover the losses suffered by the plaintiff. As such, motorcycle accident litigation tends to be just as much about maximizing damages as it is about “winning.” It’s not sufficient to win the case but to have the jury undervalue your losses — effective litigation requires both a win and an adequate recovery of damages.
It is important to understand the cause of the crash to determine who is responsible for the injuries and other damage. A seasoned Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can explore the circumstances, including using accident reconstruction experts as needed, to help determine how the accident happened.
If you are injured in a motorcycle or other accident, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and any property damage. The extent of the monetary damages to which you may be entitled varies based on the specific circumstances of the accident. This is why we recommend contacting a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney.
In California, if you are injured in a motorcycle collision, you can seek compensation for medical bills directly related to those injuries as well as the expected cost of future medical treatment. You can also recoup money for any missed wages as a result of time away from work resulting from the injuries. That’s not to mention any decrease in your future earning capacity that is related to the injuries.
Your loved ones may also have the right to seek certain noneconomic damages. That includes “loss of consortium,” or the loss of companionship, moral support and intimacy stemming from the injuries.
To successfully recover money damages, you may have to prove that the person or entity responsible for the crash was negligent. A Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can explain this further, but this legal term refers to a person who fails to live up to what courts call a “duty of care.”
California law, for example, imposes specific responsibilities on car and motorcycle drivers. They are generally required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner and to refrain from dangerous behavior behind the wheel. That means obeying traffic laws and signs, maintaining appropriate speeds and properly signaling turns and lane changes, among other safe driving techniques. It also means refraining from drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel and avoiding distractions that can take a person’s attention off of the road ahead.
California’s comparative negligence system allows you to generally seek money damages if you are injured in a motorcycle or other accident, even if you are partly to blame for the crash. In other words, if you are found to be 15 percent responsible for the collision, you can still recover 85 percent of the money damages that you incur. Proportionate fault is typically determined by a judge or jury. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will be sure to collect as much evidence to limit your liability as possible in order to recover the most compensation available.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is vital that you seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney. Insurance companies often push low-ball settlement offers in the aftermath of a crash, using pressure tactics on accident victims who may not be fully aware of their legal rights. A seasoned attorney can help get you the best possible deal and preserve your right to go to court if needed.
At Banafshe Law Firm, your Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney understands the pain, stress and confusion that can come with being involved in a crash. Our lawyers also know how insurance companies often approach these situations and what judges and juries regularly look for in these cases. We have had significant success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table for the people that we represent.
Even when you know exactly what happened, proving your legal rights after a motorcycle accident can still be extremely challenging. There are several critical steps involved in the process, and you need to be able to navigate the process effectively to recover the full compensation you deserve. Here is an overview of the steps a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer will take to recover just compensation on your behalf:
To prove that you are entitled to financial compensation, your lawyer will need to investigate the cause of the accident. In addition to sending an investigator to the scene to take photos and collect any other evidence that may still be available, this may involve various other investigative efforts. For example, your attorney may need to subpoena the driver’s phone records, traffic camera footage, or surveillance footage from a nearby home or business. At this stage, the goal is to uncover all of the evidence available to prove your claim for damages. It is imperative to act quickly since video footage can be overridden or lost and the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to find witnesses.
In addition to proving that you are entitled to compensation, your Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer will also need to prove how much compensation you are entitled to receive. This involves calculating your financial and non-financial losses.
Your financial losses include costs such as medical bills, prescription costs, rehabilitation expenses, repair (or replacement) costs for your motorcycle, and other property damage. They also include your lost income and benefits. Your non-financial losses include your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, permanent scarring and disfigurement, loss of companionship and consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
With knowledge of who is liable for your losses and how much you are entitled to recover, your lawyer can now file all available insurance claims on your behalf. In addition to a claim under the driver’s auto insurance policy (if you were hit or run off of the road), this could also potentially include claims based on product liability. For example, if your motorcycle’s brakes failed or you suffered a head injury and your helmet was not up to Snell or DOT standards, then you may have a claim against your motorcycle or helmet manufacturer. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may have other claims as well.
Most motorcycle accident claims are resolved through pre-trial settlement negotiations. If an insurance company makes an offer to settle your claim, your lawyer will evaluate the offer to determine whether it represents just compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. Your attorney will then review the offer with you and explain your options in detail, and then it will be up to you to decide whether to settle or keep fighting for more.
If you are not satisfied with any settlement offer you receive, then your lawyer will need to take your case to trial in the California courts. At trial, your motorcycle accident lawyer will present evidence of liability and damages, the insurance companies will present their evidence, and then the jury will decide how much you are entitled to recover for your financial and non-financial losses.
After a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, the most important thing you need to do is to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Not only is this important for recovering from your injuries, but it is also important for preserving your ability to recover just compensation. If you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance companies may try to deny coverage on the basis that your medical records don’t prove that your injuries are accident-related. The next steps are to contact an attorney and preserve all evidence including the clothing worn, helmet, and motorcycle.
Yes, if you are serious about recovering your losses, you need to hire an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney. There is simply too much at stake – and too much that can go wrong – for you to try to handle your claim on your own. From proving liability to calculating just compensation for your pain and suffering, an experienced attorney will be able to help with all aspects of your motorcycle accident claim. If you don’t hire a motorcycle attorney, the insurance companies will do everything in their power to settle your case for as little money as possible.
Yes, as of August 16, 2016 lane splitting and lane sharing became legal in California. Lane splitting is legal in certain circumstances under California law (i.e. in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway.) The California Highway Patrol set out guidelines for motorcyclists and motorists as it pertains to lane splitting. Even if you were illegally lane splitting, this does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to recover your losses. Before you make any decisions about whether to file an insurance claim, you should discuss your legal rights with an experienced attorney.
Yes, even if you were not wearing a helmet or full riding gear, you may still be entitled to just compensation for your accident-related losses. This includes all financial and non-financial losses you incur as a result of your injuries. While the insurance companies may try to use this against you, an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney will be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
If the insurance companies try to blame you for your own injuries, you should not accept this as a just resolution of your claim. Blaming the victim is a common insurance defense tactic—especially for motorcycle accident claims. Once again, an experienced attorney can help; and, even if you were partially at fault in your accident, an attorney may still be able to help you recover partial compensation.
Under California law, you have two years from the date of a motorcycle accident to seek just compensation. However, in order to give yourself the best chance of securing maximum compensation, you should consult with an attorney right away. At Banafshe Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations, and you can contact us to speak with an attorney 24/7.
We are pleased to offer free initial consultations from our office in Beverly Hills with our seasoned Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers. During these meetings, our team will review your case with you and let you know what you are likely to receive in money damages. Our lawyers let clients concentrate on getting back on their feet while we fight to get them the compensation they deserve.
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