Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Southern California
Between 1998-2008, motorcycle fatalities increased 175% in California, preceded by a 13-year decline in motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die in a collision than occupants of other vehicles. Improper turns, unsafe speeding and driving under the influence were the three primary causes of motorcycle collisions. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles because of another driver, the experienced personal injury attorneys of Sharifi Firm, PLC may be able to represent you in a civil action for damages.
Southern California Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
To drive safely, motorcyclists must wear helmets and assume that drivers of other larger vehicles don’t see them. Drivers of larger vehicles don’t expect to see a much smaller vehicle and are not fully alert to the possibility of a collision with a motorcycle. Because they lack the structural protections of airbags and metal walls, motorcyclists can be severely injured in accidents that would have been minor if they had involved two cars.
If you are a motorcyclist injured in an accident with another vehicle that needs to recover damages, you will need to establish the elements of negligence: (1) the duty of the other driver, (2) the other driver’s breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Some common motorcycle accidents caused by the driver of a larger vehicle involve a driver failing to yield to a motorcycle that has the right of way at an intersection, or a driver failing to turn on turn signals and making a lane change that is unsafe for the motorcyclist.
65% of fatal motorcycle collisions and 56% of motorcycle collisions that cause injuries are caused by the motorcyclist. However, California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means that a motorcyclist that is injured in an accident can recover even if he is 99% at fault for an accident. In a case where comparative negligence is raised, the jury will first assess the total damages, and then evaluate percentage of fault. A motorcyclist’s recovery will only be reduced by his or her own degree of fault. For example, if a plaintiff motorcyclist’s damages are 200,000, and the jury finds him 50% at fault, he can recover $100,000 from the defendant.
In some cases, a motorcycle accident is caused by a confluence of negligent actions. For example, a motorcycle driving through an unmarked construction zone may hit an unexpected rough edge, while lane splitting and be hit by a distracted driver. In those cases, the motorcyclist may sue the municipality or state, the construction company and the distracted driver. The jury will assess each party’s degree of fault and the motorcyclist can try to recover from each party according to degree of fault.
In California, special damages (economic damages) are subject to the doctrine of joint and several liability. This means that one party can be held responsible for all the special damages, regardless of percentage of fault. However, general damages (noneconomic damages) can only be recovered from a particular party based on that party’s degree of fault.
Consult Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Riverside
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a Riverside motorcycle wreck let our experienced attorneys bring a lawsuit on your behalf against the responsible parties. We represent motorcycle accident victims in Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and San Bernardino. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.