San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

A motorcycle accident can happen in a matter of seconds. You get on a bike and are enjoying a beautiful ride across our California scenic roads and highways. Suddenly, a crash occurs and you are lying on the pavement. You are in pain, nervous, alone, and there are many things you need to do. What happens next? You will need medical treatment. You may not be able to return to work. Your life may be changed forever. Drivers who are reckless and negligent are responsible for all of your damages and harm. A San Diego motorcycle accident injury attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys will get you the monetary compensation necessary to help you get your life back.

Accident Rates

San Diego County has one of the highest rates of incidents of motorcycle crashes throughout the State of California. In a recent study, California Highway Patrol reported 1500 people were injured in a motorcycle accident in San Diego County in a single year. In California, motorcycle accident deaths were 17% of all road fatalities even though only 3% of registered vehicle owners rode motorcycles. The last reported year on file showed that 519 people died because of a motorcycle accident that occurred in California. At our firm, we understand the negligence and recklessness of many drivers who do not pay attention to motorcycles on the road. The lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys study the motorcycle accident rates and understand what it will take to help you when you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.

 

California Law – Motorcycle Drivers and Passengers Have Rights

Fundamentally, a motorcycle is regarded in the law as if it were an automobile, and the same basic and general rules are applied to motorcycle accident cases as are applied in car accident cases. California law makes clear: “A motorcycle is a motor vehicle.” (Chong v. California State Automobile Association (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 285.) Other cases have found a motorcycle accident is just as foreseeable as an automobile accident, and motorcycle riders face a much greater risk of injury in the event of an accident than do occupants of a car or truck. (See Nicolodi v. Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. (1979) 370 So.2d 68.) A cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death can be brought as a result of a motorcycle accident.

 

California Law – Lane Splitting

It is not illegal for motorcycles to pass other vehicles that are driving in the same direction in the same lane. This is called lane splitting. California drivers of cars must keep a lookout for other vehicles – including motorcycles. The drivers must also control the speed and movement of their vehicles. If a driver fails to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle – that is negligence. People driving cars fail to pay attention to the road and keep a lookout for motorcycles and these drivers cause accidents. That is negligence. Having an attorney or lawyer to prove your case and put up the legal fight to hold the negligent driver responsible is very important after a motorcycle accident. Many times the motorcycle driver is blamed for the crash, and is offered less money because they say the motorcycle driver was at fault. As experienced lawyers, Gomez Trial Attorneys understands that motorcyclists are good drivers and have knowledge of how to drive and control a motorcycle – many times the car drivers are distracted and not paying attention.

 

Active Military and Veterans Involved in Motorcycle Accidents

Active military and service members are afforded the right to bring a case when injured in a motorcycle accident. Under the federal law, the Service members Relief Act allows an active military or service member who is involved in a motorcycle accident to have extra time to bring a claim while that member remains on active duty. And California courts have recognized a person who is in the military full time is exempted from the statute of limitations to bring a case during that time period of active duty. When a person is in the service, “the period of limitation is automatically tolled during the duration of the service.” (Syzemore v. County of Sacramento (1976) 55 Cal. App. 3d 517, 523.)
If you are a part of San Diego’s community of active duty service members – you have a right to bring a claim if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Your injuries are compensable, even if you are not able to file a claim right away. Gomez Trial Attorneys has been proud to represent many veterans and active duty service members for injuries that have occurred in motorcycle accidents.

 

Accidents – By the Numbers

  • Over 80% of motorcycle accidents cause a driver or passenger to suffer injury or death.
  • 33% of motorcycle crashes are caused by a driver turning into the path of a motorcycle.
  • Over 40% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol.
  • Head injury in a motorcycle accident is a leading cause of death and injury.
  • Motorcycle helmets prevent fatal injuries only at a rate of 29%.
  • A rider with a helmet has a 73% lower fatality rate versus a rider without a helmet.
  • The death rate for motorcyclists in Kansas rose 61% the year following the repeal of the required helmet law.
  • Private health insurance on average pays for only 66% of the costs of inpatient care for motorcycle crash victims.

(Information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

 

Motorcycle – Common Injuries

  • Catastrophic bodily and head injury causing death.
  • Immobilization and paraplegia.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and “Mild” Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • Trauma to spine causing cervical, thoracic, and lumbar herniated discs.
  • Broken hip and pelvis requiring emergency surgery and placement.
  • Collapsed lungs and other serious injuries to internal organs.
  • Multiple fractures to shoulders, arms, legs, and other body parts.
  • Severe emotional distress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Disfigurement, scarring, and permanent disability.

 

San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer FAQ

Below you can find some of the answers to the frequently asked questions you might have about hiring an attorney.  If you don’t see your question on this list, the Gomez Trial Attorneys are dedicated and available at (619) 237-3490 to schedule a free consultation. there you can ask, learn, and discuss all aspects of your injury and how we can assist you in filing your claim. 

 

Can I afford a motorcycle accident attorney?

Some motorcycle victims and their families forego contacting a lawyer after a severe accident because they are worried about the cost of the attorney. This tragedy often involves victims receiving inadequate settlement amounts after suffering severe injuries, if they recover any losses at all. When you suffer serious harm as a result of another party’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial consequences, including your own attorney fees. It is industry standard for personal injury attorneys, including those who represent motorcycle accident injury victims, to offer free case evaluations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis.

 

When law firms take cases on contingency, clients don’t have to pay anything up front or out of pocket. In most cases, they will sign an agreement with the law firm that states the firm will deduct its fees from any compensation it secures for the client. Compensation might come from a negotiated settlement with an insurance company or court-awarded damages following a trial.

 

How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident injury claim in California?

California’s Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) covers the state’s statutes of limitations rules, which are the time limits for taking legal action in civil cases. Like most states, California’s law is strict. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in San Diego, you generally have two years to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If it has been longer than two years, you should still consult a motorcycle accident lawyer regarding your eligibility to file a claim. Although rare, the court does make some exceptions and will grant limited extensions under specific circumstances to plaintiffs in personal injury cases.

 

Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries that leave victims hospitalized for weeks or months. In the case of a traumatic brain injury, or any other injury or condition that causes a victim to be unconscious or physically and mentally unable to take legal action, a California court might toll—or pause—the statute of limitations time clock. Your attorney will advise you on whether you or your loved one’s injury might qualify for an extension.

 

Should I accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier?

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies that know their policyholder is at fault to quickly make a settlement offer. This might seem counterintuitive, as we all know insurance companies don’t like to pay out claims. These early offers are a tactic for the insurance company to avoid paying out a larger settlement claim or court-awarded damages in the future. If you have received an offer, you might be tempted to accept it. Insurance companies want the initial offer to be strong enough for you to accept it, but still less than the compensation you might receive later on.

 

It’s in your best interest to consider an early settlement offer as a jumping-off point for negotiations. You should avoid communicating directly with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained to elicit statements from people to devalue their claims. Instead of jeopardizing your case, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Insurance companies take claimants with legal representation more seriously and avoid employing some of the strategies that they might otherwise try to use against you. Additionally, lawyers are trained negotiators who will strive to maximize your compensation.

 

How much is my motorcycle accident injury worth?

Several different factors will determine the worth of your motorcycle accident claim, including the severity and nature of your injuries, economic losses related to your injuries, your likelihood for a full recovery, non-economic damages that stem from your injuries, the insurance policy limits involved in your case, and the extent to which you might have contributed to the accident that led to your injuries.

 

Your attorney will use solid numbers and past cases to calculate the value of your claim. In some areas, he or she might even call upon experts, such as life care planners who can better quantify the cost of future medical treatment, or accident reconstruction specialists who can help determine liability for the insurance company and the court. Below you will find a more in-depth explanation of the factors mentioned above:

 

Severity and Nature of injuries and compensation amount

Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the more your claim will be worth. For example, a broken leg that heals in six to eight weeks will cost far less than a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that requires hospitalization for months. When injuries cause permanent disability or indefinite, chronic issues, the value of a claim also increases. Some examples include limb amputations as a result of getting pinned under a motorcycle, spinal cord injuries that lead to paralysis, or back injuries that cause chronic lifelong pain even after corrective surgeries.

 

Economic Losses

The aftermath of a severe motorcycle accident often causes serious financial burdens, or at least adds a significant amount of financial stress for victims and their families. Medical bills are likely piling up, and time away from work results in lost household income. Although insurance might cover some medical expenses, severe accidents include significant medical expenses.  The total cost can easily reach six figures, sometimes seven figures in the most extreme cases. Common medical expenses which can add to the value of your claim include:

  • Ambulance services
  • Emergency room visit
  • Hospitalization
  • Diagnostic testing and X-rays
  • Prescription medication, such as pain medication
  • Doctor services, including follow-up visits
  • Surgery and all associated costs
  • Physical therapy and other rehabilitation expenses
  • Travel to and from the doctor

Beyond medical costs and lost wages, other expenses that might increase the value of your motorcycle claim include the cost of modifying your home to increase access, such as by adding ramps or handrails, and the cost of replacing domestic services, such as lawn care and cleaning.

 

Likelihood of a Full Recovery

Some catastrophic motorcycle accident injuries require lifelong care. If your loved one is in a permanent vegetative state (PVS), has permanent paralysis of some or all of the body, or has suffered a mentally incapacitating injury, the chances of a full recovery are slim to none. No amount of money can undo such damage, but when the damage is this severe, the value of a motorcycle accident injury claim greatly increases. In these situations, your attorney will gather expert analysis and testimony concerning the costs of required long-term care and the value of lost future wages. Not only does a catastrophic injury increase future medical costs, but it likely means the injured victim will be unable to partially or fully return to gainful employment.

 

Non-Economic Damages

Severe motorcycle accidents wreak havoc in all aspects of a victim’s life. In addition to the financial challenges in the wake of a motorcycle accident, victims must deal with the physical pain of injury and recovery, as well as changes in their personal relationships and quality of life. When your attorney values your claim, he or she will take into account the non-economic damages you have suffered, which might result in additional compensation. These damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse
  • Loss in quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

 

Insurance Policy Limits

When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and insurance carrier will play a big role in the value of your claim. Unless the driver is independently wealthy or has a significant amount of high-dollar assets, it will be very difficult to recover damages beyond the insurance policy limits, even if the court rules in your favor. Fortunately, California has minimum insurance coverage requirements, and anyone who has a loan on a vehicle is typically required to carry full liability coverage. If you or your loved one has suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, your attorney will likely seek full compensation up to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy limits, at the very minimum.

 

How can a motorcycle accident lawyer help me?

A motorcycle accident attorney is a valuable person to have in your corner to ensure you that seek compensation for the full cost of your injury and hold accountable the driver who harmed you. Oftentimes, injured victims and potential clients don’t know the entire scope of how a lawyer can help them or about the things he or she will do to build, support, and win a case. Below are a few of the ways a motorcycle accident attorney can help you from the first time you meet:

  • Evaluating your claim. Not all motorcycle accident claims require legal action. A motorcycle attorney can evaluate your claim and advise you on your best course of action.
  • Communicating with insurance companies. A qualified attorney can handle communications with insurance companies, removing any chance of them devaluing or denying your claim because of something you said.
  • Investigating your accident. Your attorney will uncover the relevant facts of your case and gather necessary evidence, such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and anything else which might support your case.
  • Valuing your claim. Your attorney will place a reasonable monetary value on your claim and has a network of qualified experts to consult in areas of uncertainty.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies. Your lawyer will negotiate a settlement with the relevant party, typically an insurance company. When a victim has representation, insurance companies are often more responsive because they want to avoid litigation.
  • Litigating your case. Sometimes settlement is not an option, because the at-fault driver is denying fault or the insurance company doesn’t want to offer fair compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will fight for you in court to give you the best chance of securing compensation for the full cost of your injuries.

 

Insurance Companies – Our Specialty

After a motorcycle accident, you will certainly need to deal with insurance companies. The insurance company will call you nonstop and many times will try to ask you questions that will later be used against you in a court of law. The insurance companies recognize Gomez Trial Attorneys – and they know that if they do not settle for the top result available – we will go to trial and seek more than was ever offered to settle. We take the necessary care to navigate the insurance companies and make certain that you do not need to deal with this complicated system. This is so important for compensation of medical bills, future medical care, lost property, time missed from work, and your pain and suffering.

$6,000,000 settlement after dirt biker crossed highway and Ambulance driver struck the dirt biker.

$5,000,000 settlement after motorcycle accident trial against the U.S. Border Control for an illegally stopped car in the roadway.

$2,500,000 settlement after motorcycle accident against County of San Diego arising from dangerous condition on a road.

$500,000 settlement after motorcycle accident where driver of SUV made a left turn into motorcycle driver.

 

Former Client Testimonials

You really need an expert to navigate the process of negotiating a settlement with all these different parties. More importantly, you want an attorney you can trust and give you peace of mind.”

– Liesel P. (Former Client – Motorcycle Accident)

“As soon as you walk through their doors you know you are going to be well represented. They treat you like family and make sure that their clients are taken care of. If you want great representation, talk to Gomez Trial Attorneys.”

– Sergius A. (Former Client – Motorcycle Accident)

“These guys took care of me like I was their child after a motorcycle accident last year. They fought tooth & nail for me and I could not be happier with the results. They’re personable and helpful. I’d recommend them to anyone needing legal help.”

– Christine S. (Former Client – Motorcycle Accident)

 

Contact for Free Consultation

Motorcycle accident attorney San Diego

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys for a free consultation. To get the compensation that you deserve, you need an experienced and powerful legal team. A San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys can aggressively pursue the best result for you and your family.
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