Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Bike riders know that motorcycle accidents can result in serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries. Experienced riders also know that, in many cases, the motorcycle rider is not at fault in the accident but is often treated as if he or she was indeed at fault. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and feel that you are not receiving fair consideration of your claim for injuries and other damages that you suffered, you should arrange a consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer to review the options available to you.
Collecting Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that as many as 80% of all motorcycle accidents will result in serious or fatal injuries to the driver or passenger of the motorcycle. In many cases these injuries will lead to short- or medium-term disability and financial hardship caused by medical expenses and lost income. Fortunately, you have the legal right to collect damages from the person who caused your accident.
To collect damages after a motorcycle accident, you will first have to deal with the other party’s insurance company, and its insurance adjusters, by filing a claim for damages. An insurance adjuster is responsible for investigating your claim and reaching a settlement with you regarding your damage claim. The job of an insurance adjuster is to limit the amount of damages that his employer will have to pay to the smallest possible.
If you feel that the insurance company is offering you too small a settlement, you have the right to meet with a personal injury lawyer to decide on a course of action to receive a fair settlement of your claim. This will often require that you file a lawsuit against the other party and their insurance company.
Damages that may be collected after an accident include, but are not limited to:
- current and anticipated future medical expenses
- lost wages or other income due to your disability
- repair or replacement of any personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident
- cost of rehabilitation, such as occupational therapy or job retraining, related to your injuries
- non-economic damages such as your pain and suffering caused by your injuries, psychological trauma and distress, and disruption of family life
There are also other damages that you might not be aware of. A consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer will help you identify any such damages so that you can ask for all the compensation to which you are entitled.
If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet, Can I Still Be Compensated for My Injuries?
In California, the driver and passenger of a motorcycle are requited by law (California Vehicle Code Section 27803) to wear helmets. Anyone violating this law may be issued a citation by a law enforcement officer.
There is a myth that is popular with insurance claims adjusters and insurance company lawyers to the effect that if you were not wearing a helmet you cannot collect damages for your motorcycle accident injuries. This is not true! The fact that you were not wearing a helmet has nothing to do with how your accident happened!
As an example, assume that a driver turns in front of you and you strike the car. The accident would have happened regardless of what you were or were not wearing. To claim that not wearing a helmet releases a driver from liability is as absurd as claiming that if the passengers in an auto accident were not wearing seat belts then they also would be unable to file a claim because they were violating California’s seat belt law!
Time Limits for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawsuit
California has established certain time limits, known as the “statutes of limitations,” that place a “cutoff date” on how much time you have to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. For personal injury cases, you must file within 2 years of the date your injuries occurred. If you have not filed by that date, you lose your right to your day in court.
If the motorcycle accident resulted in a death, and you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of yourself as the surviving spouse or on behalf of the deceased’s estate, you must file your lawsuit within 2 years of the date of death.
There are other laws that can modify the statutes of limitations, particularly if you were injured in an accident where a city, county, or state agency may be named as a defendant. The statutes of limitations are different in such cases as well as the procedure that must be followed for filing your injury claim. In these circumstances it is vital that you consult a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in filing lawsuits against a government department or agency in order to preserve your legal right to compensation.
Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Will Work for You
A common mistake accident victims will make is to assume that they are capable of negotiating the settlement of their accident claim “on their own,” without the need to involve an attorney or any other form of outside advice. While this is certainly their right and their decision to make, this is also a guarantee that they will eventually settle for far less that what they are legally entitled to receive. In fact, any insurance adjuster will be more than happy to “assist” you in negotiating such a settlement because you will be saving the amount of money that his or her employer would have lost had the case gone to court!
The best way to avoid jeopardizing your right to a fair settlement of your injuries and other losses is to work with a motorcycle accident injury lawyer. A motorcycle accident injury lawyer will be familiar with all the California laws that may apply in your accidental injury case and will use his or her knowledge of those laws to your advantage in reaching a fair settlement of your claim for damages.
You must always remember that the party responsible for your injuries and other losses is also legally bound to pay you for those damages. By hiring a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer you will serve notice on those responsible for your injuries that you will demand a fair settlement of your injury claim!