Aiding Those Injured in San Bernardino Motorcycle Accidents
The Mother Road, Route 66, cuts right through San Bernardino, and the great Nat King Cole hit song named after the highway name-checks our city. With our year-long warm, dry weather and a legendary highway, who wouldn’t want to ride motorcycles in San Bernardino?
The wonderful experience of rolling through San Bernardino on a Harley, Kawasaki, or Triumph, however, can turn tragic and even deadly when other motorists fail to react in time to stop a motorcycle accident.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a San Bernardino motorcycle accident, your initial concerns will focus on your physical safety, but soon, the financial impacts of the injuries will start to pile on as well. If you are in San Bernardino or a surrounding area, our San Bernardino personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys can help you determine your eligibility to recover damages for your motorcycle accident injuries. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.
Gomez Trial Attorneys—A History of Results
Gomez Trial Attorneys zealously advocates on behalf of each of our clients, which has resulted in a consistent history of successful results. The firm has successfully collected over $750 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including numerous motorcycle accident cases. While our case results represent the firm’s success well, each case is unique, and the strength of the evidence and facts will dictate the anticipated recovery. Our San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorneys work with all of our clients to understand their cases and goals, including an analysis of all evidence and consultation with experts.
Why San Bernardino Motorcycle Accidents Are so Deadly
There is a reason why there are more than 800,000 registered motorcycles in San Bernardino. Motorcycles provide mental, physical, and environmental benefits, including an improved mental outlook through boosted endorphins, increased calorie burn and core strength, improved focus and attention, and better fuel efficiency.
Motorcycle accidents come with a high risk of injury. Unsurprisingly, they often result in serious injuries. Below we discuss some of the risks and injuries associated with motorcycle accidents.
San Bernardino Motorcycle Risks
The factors that contribute to these risks include:
Motorcycles are less crashworthy. Closed vehicles, like cars, provide protective features, including a steel frame, seat belts, airbags, and other safety measures. Motorcycles lack these protective features. Recommended motorcycle protective gear, such as helmets, eyewear, and other clothing, provide some measure of added safety but cannot match the safety of a passenger vehicle.
Size matters. Motorcycles are smaller than most other modes of transportation on the road. This makes them less visible to other drivers, making them more susceptible to being missed in a blind spot. They are also less likely to be noticed when a driver is making a left-hand turn.
Motorcycles are less stable. The two wheels of a motorcycle provide less stability than the four wheels of other vehicles. This means that motorcycles are more likely to crash when attempting to maneuver around hazards or when there is inclement weather.
Proper training is required. The skills and focus required to drive a motorcycle differ from those required to drive a traditional passenger vehicle. Approximately one-third of motorcycle drivers are unlicensed or improperly licensed, and many who are properly licensed have not received formal training. Motorcycle driving in California requires additional skill and expertise, as California is one of the only states that permits lane splitting. Lane splitting is when a motorcycle driver navigates between lanes. It can be dangerous, especially when inexperienced motorcycle drivers do it.
Common San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The following injuries are common after a motorcycle accident:
Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic injuries to the brain are all too common in motorcycle accidents, especially when the victim is not wearing a helmet. A traumatic brain injury can affect every aspect of an individual’s life, resulting in loss of cognitive processing abilities, impact on the ability to focus, short-term or long-term memory loss, and trouble with emotional regulation.
Spinal injuries: The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. If the spinal cord is partially severed, the victim can lose significant motor function and control. If the spinal cord is fully severed, complete paralysis may result.
Neck and back injuries: Accident victims may suffer from whiplash, slipped or herniated discs, or nerve damage.
Amputations: The force of an accident can result in the loss of a limb. Limbs are often crushed and may require amputation at the hospital or suffer from a lack of blood flow, resulting in amputation days or weeks after the accident.
Broken bones: The force of a motorcycle accident often results in broken bones, either from striking the pavement or contact with another vehicle. While some broken bones will simply need time to heal, more severe breaks will require surgery or long-term physical therapy. If multiple bones are broken, the victim may struggle to accomplish daily tasks, and recovery may prove long and complicated.
Road rash: Road rash is the common term referring to the abrasions that result from friction of skin scraping on the pavement. Proper protective gear can reduce the risk of road rash. Road rash is often painful and may leave a victim with severe scarring. Extreme road rash requires skin grafting to heal.
The physical pain of a motorcycle accident injury is not all that a victim suffers. Injured individuals must also deal with the financial and physical stresses caused by such injuries. A victim will often attempt to determine if another party should bear responsibility for the accident.
Avoiding Serious San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Injuries
While serious injuries are unfortunately common in motorcycle accidents, some steps can reduce your risk of suffering a life-altering injury in an accident, including the following:
Wear protective gear. Any motorcycle driver or passenger must wear a compliant motorcycle safety helmet. The California Department of Transportation also recommends a plastic, shatter-resistant face shield (rather than goggles) because a face shield protects your entire face. Make sure your clothing provides necessary comfort, temperature protection, and protection from debris. Wearing bright or reflective clothing will also ensure that you are more visible to other drivers.
Ride a safe bike. First, make sure your motorcycle is sized appropriately, with your feet comfortably reaching the ground. Second, consider investing in a bike that includes anti-lock brakes to help you maintain traction and keep your wheels from locking up. Finally, make sure your bike is in good working order before getting on for a ride. Check the tires, fluids, headlights, and taillights, and turn signals, brakes, clutch, throttle, mirrors, and horn.
Be alert and aware while driving. To avoid incidents with other drivers, stay out of another vehicle’s blind spot, and always use your turn signals. Scan your surroundings, including any hazards up ahead. Avoid speeding, and never drive under the influence of alcohol.
Stick to your skill level. Don’t attempt to ride beyond your expertise. If you are a beginner, avoid complicated routes and don’t attempt lane splitting. Consider investing in a motorcycle training course.
Determining Which Party Is Liable for a San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident
Even though motorcycles present unique risk scenarios, this does not mean that a motorcycle driver is always (or even usually) at fault for an accident. If another party acted negligently and caused the accident, then that party is responsible for the injuries suffered by the victim.
Other parties who are often at fault for motorcycle accidents include the following:
Negligent drivers: If the accident involved another vehicle, the driver of that vehicle may face liability if he or she acted negligently. Negligent actions by another driver include:
Failure to check a blind spot
Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
Following too closely
Failure to follow traffic signals, such as stop signs
Causing an unnecessary obstacle for a motorcyclist, such as opening a door into a motorcyclist’s path
These actions by a driver give you a good idea of what constitutes negligence, but the above list is not comprehensive. Work with a lawyer to understand the strength of the evidence of negligence in your case.
Additional parties that may face liability include:
Car manufacturer or mechanic: If either the motorcycle or another vehicle involved in the accident malfunctioned in a way that caused the accident, you must examine whether the failure to properly assemble or repair the vehicle constitutes negligence. If so, the manufacturer or mechanic is responsible for such injuries. While any mechanical failure is relevant, important ones to consider are brake failures, defects in tires, improperly installed parts—such as handlebars, and failure of any safety mechanisms to function properly. A San Bernardino motorcycle accident lawyer can help you find experts to ensure that you have solid evidence of the vehicle’s failures.
Local government: Motorcycles are at particular risk when roads are not well maintained or when other hazards exist on the road. If a local government is not living up to its road maintenance requirements, an attorney can help you determine your eligibility to recover from a government entity.
Recovering for Your San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Once you have established that another party’s negligence or intentional act was the cause of the accident and your injuries, you are entitled to recover compensation, from either the responsible party or his or her insurance party, for the damages you have suffered. Damages are generally intended to compensate you for any injuries that you have suffered due to the accident. It is important to include all injuries, not just the obvious medical expenses.
Additional damages may include:
Medical expenses: Be sure to consider non-obvious medical expenses, including ambulance services, prescription medication, future care—such as physical therapy, modifications to your home to accommodate injuries, and travel to and from the doctor.
Lost income: If you missed work or will continue to miss work because of your injuries, these lost wages are important damages that you should include in any claim for compensation. Many injuries also limit a victim’s ability to perform certain job functions, advance in his or her profession, or work full time. You should include any negative impact on your future earning potential in your claim. A lawyer can work with an expert to help quantify these damages.
Property damage: If your motorcycle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, include the cost of repair or replacement in your claim.
Emotional distress: Accident victims often find themselves struggling with emotional trauma, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are important injuries to include in your claim.
Loss of enjoyment: Many injuries limit an injured individual’s ability to participate in meaningful activities, such as playing a sport. An attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for these damages.
Punitive/exemplary damages: Exemplary damages are meant to punish a defendant for egregious behavior rather than to compensate a victim. In California, courts only award punitive damages if the evidence shows that the defendant acted with oppression, fraud, or malice.
Your San Bernardino motorcycle accident lawyer can prepare a comprehensive damages assessment that can help you understand the damages you are owed and coordinate with necessary experts for input. Having a clear view of your damages will help you evaluate any settlement offer from the other party. Commonly, the defendant or his or her insurance provider will propose a settlement offer that fails to adequately compensate an injured plaintiff. It can be tempting to accept an early settlement offer to get quick financial relief, but make sure you work with your San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorney to ensure that a settlement offers fair compensation before accepting.
Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys’ San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, it’s our goal to be the best in the business. Our attorneys have excelled at the nation’s top law schools and have gained valuable skills that they bring to all of their cases.
We not only have the personnel, but the resources and facilities to help us win difficult cases. In addition to our team, the firm has a 20,000 square foot legal center that includes an on-site audio, visual, and graphics department, a jury and trial consultant, a full courtroom for mock trials and focus groups, a video conferencing center, and a jury deliberation area for mock deliberations.
If you are located in San Bernardino or the surrounding area and a motorcycle accident changed your life, contact us today at (619) 237-3490 or through our website to schedule a free case evaluation. We want to help you.
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Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 W Broadway #1700, San Diego, CA 92102 (619)-237-3490