California has one of the most significant numbers of motorcycles in the US. There are more than 840,000 registered motorcycles in the state. With such a deep concentration of motorcycles, the number of accidents is also high in California. The US NHTSA stats show there were 529 motor-cycle related fatalities in the state.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in a motorcycle accident, you can file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit will allow you to get compensation for the injuries from the guilty party.
What Should You Do Right After a Motorcycle Accident?
You must take specific steps immediately after a motorcycle accident. This will improve the chances of getting compensation from the at-fault party.
The foremost step you should take right after an accident is to inform the police about the accident. This is necessary so that the police officer prepares the crash report. Moreover, informing the police will prevent further incidents at the crash site.
After you have contacted the police, you should collect evidence about the accident. Some of the evidence you should gather include the following.
- Name and contact details of the at-fault driver and any witnesses
- Photos of the accident site and injuries
- Time of the accident
- Car registration number
You can gather the evidence yourself or request a witness to do it for you. Once you have gathered the above evidence, you should ask for medical help.
You should get medical help even if you think the injuries are not serious. This is important since some symptoms take time to develop. The medical report will serve as evidence of the injury. Moreover, it shows that you had taken steps to reduce the extent of the injury.
After a medical checkup, you should contact a professional motorcycle accident lawyer. A lawyer will assess your situation and recommend the right course of action.
Important Factors of Motorcycle Accident Claim
Most motorcycle accidents occur due to negligence of the other driver. Negligence means that the accident happened due to the careless action of the driver. You could file a lawsuit if you had suffered catastrophic injuries.
But you should note that the settlement amount will be less if you had contributed to the accident. For instance, the fact that you had not followed road rules will have a negative impact on your case.
California Vehicle Code Section 27803 requires all motorcycle drivers to wear a helmet. The passengers on a motorcycle will also have to wear a helmet. Recovering damages is difficult if you or the passenger were not wearing a helmet. The services of a motorcycle accident attorney prove invaluable in this situation. The attorney will try to prove to the court that the injury would have occurred even with the helmet.
Remember that the pure comparative negligence law applies in California. As per state rules, injured victims can collect compensation even if they are 90 percent at fault. But the compensation amount will reduce by the percentage of the fault.
Suppose that the courts have awarded $500,000 to a victim of a motorcycle accident. If the victim was 30% responsible, the compensation amount would reduce by 150,000. The higher the fault of the victim, the lower will be the compensation amount. Unlike other states, there no 50% cap to the percentage of fault.
Proving Guilt in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Proving guilt in a motorcycle accident lawsuit is not easy. To prove the fault of the other driver, an accident attorney will have to prove the following.
- The driver had the duty to care
- The driver acted in a negligent manner
- The negligent action of the driver caused the accident
- The accident had resulted in a catastrophic injury
The above are the main elements in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Your attorney will also have to convince the court that the damage due to the accident was extensive. The attorney will have to prove all the above points to win a lawsuit.
The attorney will also have to assess the extent of the damage due to the accident. Motorcycle accident cases involve two types of damages.
Economic damages are easy to asses in a motorcycle accident claim case. The attorney will review medical bills, assess lost wages, and determine property damage. The attorney will determine both present and future lost earnings and bills. For future losses, the opinion of the expert is sought for accurate evaluation.
Non-economic damages include psychological and physical pain. Assessing non-economic damages is generally difficult. There is no exact guideline for assessing the non-economic damages. Most legal experts use a multiplier method to estimate non-economic damages. The method involves multiplying economic damages by a number between 1.5 and five.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Various factors determine the length of a motorcycle accident lawsuit. The sooner you contact an accident lawyer, the higher the chances of a quick settlement.
Moreover, the extent of the injuries will affect the settlement period. Insurance companies will want the victim to finish recovering from the injuries.
The settlement amount will also determine the time it takes to settle the lawsuit. If you accept a lower settlement amount, the case will close within a few weeks. But if you want a larger settlement amount, the case will take a lot of time. Some motorcycle accident claims go into millions of dollars and take years to settle.
CONTACT BERNARD & BERNARD ATTORNEYS, PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS FOR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CASES IN CALIFORNIA
Motorcycle accidents, in most cases, result in severe pain. You should get in touch with Bernard & Bernard Attorneys. Getting the help of a professional will improve the chances of a successful outcome.
Make sure that you file a case within the time mentioned in the California Statutes of Limitations. You should file personal injury claims involving a motorcycle accident within two years. For property damage claim, the time limit is three years in California. You should file the case within the period otherwise you won’t be able to suit the guilty driver.