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Motorcycle Accidents

Collision
Motorcycles and cars are a dangerous mix

Anytime a motorcyclist is involved in a collision they are at a high risk of being severely injured or killed. When a biker is harmed they have legal rights to hold the at-fault party responsible and recover damages. The compensation recovery will include medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages.

Medical Costs and Payment

Harm caused in motorcycle crashes can be serious injuries that require comprehensive types of medical treatment beginning at the hospital emergency room. The ER visit can consist of testing including x-rays CT scans and MRI’s and lead to long term health care along with physical therapy resulting in costs to rise quickly.

The motorcyclist may have insurance to help with some of the expenses or that will reimburse the rider and in some situations the person may not have health insurance to cover any of the medical expenses. Whether the motorcyclist has health insurance or not to help with medical costs they are still entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party.

The damages for bodily harm by the at-fault driver will first come from their auto insurance company and when their policy is $15,000 per person it may not be enough to cover medical expenses for a rider who has been severely hurt.

This is why anyone that is underinsured should consider having coverage of $100,000, $250,000 or $300,000 to ensure there is enough coverage per person for bodily harm. The cost for motorists to have these amounts of coverage is a negligible expense and much cheaper than waiting until someone is hurt and if there is not enough insurance coverage it could cost the at-fault driver personal assets.

Loss Wages.

When a biker gets hurt in a crash, the injuries can be severe or permanent, and it is not uncommon for the individual to become hospitalized. The result of serious harm can cause the person to be bedridden temporarily or permanently. Of course this depends on the severity of their injuries. So this can mean being unable to work for an extended amount of time and cause financial hardship due to the actions of another motorist.

The responsible party is liable for damages of financial loss. The person who has been harmed filing a claim including loss of wages will need documentation to show their loss of earnings, which can be a challenge for the rider that is self-employed.

Having a top notch legal advocate at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC can ensure this area of the claim goes unchallenged to recover compensation for loss of wages.

Permanent Disability.

When the harm caused in a crash results in permanent disability many problems crop-up. For example, a limitation of the body or mental function will have a long-term effect on the victim’s earning capability. In some situations, it means the inability to be promoted due to the limitations or disability.

So the consequence may mean either a lower paying position or being retrained in another career. Of course that assumes it remains possible to continue working. But any of these circumstances will result in a loss of income and earning capacity.

The loss of income is one of the damages that will be included in a legal claim as temporary or permanent earning power and when the disability is permanent the damages will be for what the victim could have earned during the rest of their working life to be compensated by the liable party.

Motorcycle Damage.

During a motorcycle accident the bike can be damaged or it may be destroyed making it beyond repairing. Bike damage is an additional element of stress for the rider that has suffered injuries, since it will require towing, repairs or replacement and in some situations the individual may require a rental vehicle.

This is a time when the person hurt should be concerned with healing. After all, they should not have to worry about the damage to the bike. In fact, obtaining a settlement from the insurance company for the repairs or replacement of the motorcycle should be simple.

Our accomplished motorcycle accident attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company to recover the maximum settlement for repairs or replacement of the bike, the rental vehicle and the loss of use of the motorcycle. We can assist with the most reputable shop to have the repairs done on the bike, while the rider concentrates on healing.

Physical Pain and Emotional Suffering.

Any kind of accident can result in pain, but with motorcycle crashes the rider is often seriously hurt and this can result in pain during the healing process and often for a longer period. Living with pain daily can be miserable and make it impossible to carry on with day to day activities.

Along with the pain from severe injuries the emotional suffering can also cause harm and make daily life difficult for the victim and their family. If the rider was not at fault and another motorist was they can be held liable for the harm that resulted from their carelessness.

Recovering damages for pain and suffering cannot change the fact there was an accident, but it can ease the financial stress while being able to concentrate on getting better or healing as much as possible both physically and mentally. These types of damages are difficult to show and must be done in a manner to relate to the jury the plaintiff has suffered the harm to place a dollar figure in the awarded compensation.

General Information.

The compensation that may be recovered include these and other damages, since every motorcycle collision is unique, as well as the harm that is sustained. When the event is due to the actions of an at-fault party they are legally responsible for the damages and injuries in the form of financial compensation.

Getting Legal Help.

Ehline Law Firm is a reputable law firm with accomplished and dedicated attorneys specializing in motorcycle accidents. We will provide top notch legal services from the beginning phases of the case through the conclusion, while keeping the client apprised of the process. We work hard to get our clients their life back in order.

Often attorneys will handle the claim without keeping the client in the loop, getting their bike repaired or replaced and in some cases rushing to a settlement that may not be what the client deserves. Our lawyers keep in contact with the client and gently guide them through the legal process.

Also, they help with the repair or replacement of their bike. Plus, they will never settle with the insurance company for less than the maximum amount. After all, the injured victim remains entitled to this even if it means going to trial.

Also, we look out for the best interests of our clients. In fact, we remain committed to protecting their right to recover damages. We are the law firm that can be trusted to work hard on your case. Last, we keep you informed every step of the way.

Common Questions After a Rider Accident.

What should be done after a crash?

After being involved in a motorcycle collision the police and emergency medical personnel should be called immediately. What should be done once the police and medical personnel are called that may help with a future claim against an at-fault driver:

  • Calling the police is essential. Also, tell the operator if there are injuries. In fact, this is not uncommon in motorcycle collisions. Even if no apparent injuries exist, call the police to the scene. Make them create an accident report. Once an accident report gets made, the police will do an investigation of the scene. Also, they will interview the people involved and any witnesses and obtain statements. Doing this will ensure the report and investigation determines who was at fault in the collision.
  • Do not provide any statements and only answer the questions the police have, rather than offering information. Any information provided may be used at a later time by the insurance company to lower a settlement or deny a claim.
  • Do not have conversations with the other driver or admit fault or partial fault. Leave determining fault up to the police and once you have legal representation allow the attorney to determine what the insurance company statement or information provided should be. The lawyer will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, and anything you say without legal protection can be used against you.

  • At the scene if you have not been injured seriously obtain the personal and insurance information from the other driver involved. This should include their driver’s license information, their license plate number, name, address, telephone numbers and insurance information including the company name and policy number.
  • Do not make any statements against your interests. For example, never say you remain un-injured until seeking medical care and a physician gives their medical opinion. Some injuries cannot be seen or have immediate symptoms, and in some cases, it can take days before becoming aware of the condition. Accidents are traumatic and cause excess adrenaline making some bodily harm difficult to be immediately aware of or diagnose. It is essential to seek immediate medical care due to these reasons even when injuries are not apparent.
  • Take pictures at the scene of the crash of all vehicles involved and the motorcycle from different angles to show the amount of damage and location. Take photos of any injuries as soon as possible and throughout the healing process. These photographs can be invaluable whether negotiating with the insurance company or going to court to show the harm that was caused during the collision.
  • If there are no injuries in a collision and the police are either unwilling or unable to come to the scene, you must take steps. Get to the crash scene and obtain written signed statements from the other parties in the collision. Often the at-fault party will be honest and willing to admit fault at the scene.  But later they will change their mind and story how the incident took place.

What About Medical Treatment and Bills?

When a collision results in bodily harm there will be medical care necessary and often ongoing medical treatment. Some individuals have health insurance that will help in covering medical costs totally or partially, and then some people do not have health insurance coverage that will be responsible for full payment.

But this means out of pocket medical expenses. Also, if the cause of the accident was due to another individual’s careless actions, there is another way of handling the medical expenses involved with injury treatment.

Here, the at-fault driver becomes liable for damages. So that means recovering monetary compensation from their insurance company. But this takes time, and medical treatment cannot wait.

Also, this must be done by medical professionals with a payment arrangement referred to as lien based treatment. The necessary treatment is provided by the medical professional without payment out of pocket, and then the doctor will be paid once a settlement in the case gets awarded.

Can Prior Injury History Affect a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

Some people have suffered injuries in other incidences and then get hurt in a motorcycle collision. They may even be chronic injuries. So this should get discussed with your attorney. That way you will have the right legal strategy to show the harm and damages caused in the current collision while acknowledging past injuries. Also, this will provide the full picture during insurance company negotiations or to a judge and jury to obtain the compensation justly warranted from the negligent party.

Having prior injuries will not deter a top notch attorney from taking your case, instead they will use the information to combat the insurance company or defense lawyers claims of using past conditions to strengthen their case. This will help to ensure you will recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages suffered in the current accident.

In some situations a pre-existing injury may even be aggravated by the collision and that will be addressed by the legal advocate in showing the condition would not have worsened without the careless actions of the at-fault party and the damages caused should be compensated.

How do Insurance Companies Evaluate Claims?

Insurance company agents are methodical in their claim process and generally use computer programs to input search information to arrive at a settlement value range for the type of claim and damages. The data that is keyed into the program includes the claimant’s diagnoses, length of treatment, medical expenses, loss of income time and amount and property damage.

The person was harmed and suffered damages. So they deserve a fair settlement. And this would mean obtaining the high end of the computer generated figure range. After all, the lower end may not cover all of the expenses incurred.

The accomplished attorney specializing in motorcycle collisions uses their intricate knowledge of the law. And they know the insurance companies strategize to offer lower settlements instead of a fair compensation. But we have the ability as legal professionals to bring a lawsuit. And we do so when insurance company negotiations don’t result in a fair settlement amount.

Every accident has unique elements and injuries making it unfair for the insurance company to treat an individual as a number in a computer program, rather than assessing the medical diagnosis and other damages.

Remind the insurance company in negotiations that a jury will likely agree with the evidence. And look at the harmed individual instead of comparing their information with a computer program output. Remind adjuster it will not end favorably for them. Because of this, often the insurer rethinks their offer. So this lets the insurer’s agents know we are committed to protecting the rights of the injured victim and not their bottom line.

What Happens if You Not Insured at the Time of the Accident?

It is the law for all motorists to carry valid insurance in the state of California, which is designed to protect other drivers and passengers against financial harm in the event of a collision. While it may seem like not having insurance shouldn’t matter if another driver is at-fault, Proposition 213.

But this is legislation the insurance companies agreed with being put into law since it can relieve them of paying pain and suffering damages to any claimant who does not have valid insurance at the time of a collision where they are not the negligent driver.

When this was vote was taken on this legislation, the insurance companies conned folks. In fact, they convinced voters only those driving under the influence and criminals fleeing would be hit. But it affects any driver who remain uninsured.

What is the Time Limit on Filing a Claim?

The time limit legally referred to as the statute of limitations in the state of California for personal injury claims is two years from the date the accident occurred to either settle the claim or bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for the damages. When filing a lawsuit in a bodily injury claim, it remains possible to arrive at a settlement. Also, many times cases get settled before the lawsuit goes in front of the jury.

The one exception to the two year statute of limitations is when the negligent party is a government entity, their employees or agents. In this situation a claim initially filed is a “notice of claim” with the appropriate government agency and must be filed within six months of the date of the incident.

The claim filed will be seeking a financial compensation settlement for the harm and damages. The claim will be reviewed by the government agency and if it is denied then you will have six months to file a formal lawsuit against the government entity, employee or agent.

Assuming the claim is not denied, but no response comes within 45 days, assumed it was denied. That way, within a six month period a lawsuit can be brought. But government claims or lawsuits are complex. So we advised you to have legal representation. After all, a knowledgeable lawyer remains skilled in dealing with this type of claim.

California Motorcycle Laws.

California has laws governing personal injury claims in motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents in which another person acted carelessly causing injury and damages. In order to recover a financial settlement or jury award one of the requirements is another person must have been negligent, which means they acted careless. Even though accidents are something that is not planned, but happens by chance due to careless actions the term used under the law will be negligence of the at-fault driver.

Negligence and at Fault Drivers.

Negligence will mean the at-fault driver can be held responsible for the damages and it will mean proving the party acted negligently. This means they breached the duty of unreasonable risk and put the plaintiff in harm’s way. Being held legally responsible will mean the at-fault party is held liable for monetary compensation for the damages and physical harm caused by their actions.

In proving negligence there are vehicle codes that are established in California that outline what the motorcyclist must prove including the elements of negligence. The elements of negligence necessary to prove will be the breach of duty, which is the careless action that resulted in the collision.

  • California Vehicle Code Sec. 22350 is useful when a driver was going over the posted speed limit, since it states a driver shall never operate a motor vehicle faster than it is safe to drive. This could also include weather beside the posted speed limit or other conditions that can create a hazard that could result in an accident. It is a code that may be used in rear end crashes as well as collisions, because drivers must have control of their vehicle at all times and a rear end crash unless it is a chain reaction impact means the driver did not stop their vehicle within a safe amount of time or was traveling to fast for conditions.
  • California Vehicle Code Sec. 21800 often applies in motorcycle collisions, because it states that a driver making a left hand turn must yield to the right of way for oncoming traffic. One of the highest percentages of motorcycle crashes occur at intersections and with automobiles making turns.

Other California Vehicle Codes that apply in motorcycle accidents that may also prove negligence include:

  • California Vehicle Code 22517, which states if a driver or passenger car door is opened into traffic resulting in a motorcycle crash or bicycle resulting in harm the individual who opened the vehicle door is the at-fault party.
  • California Vehicle Code Sec. 20003 outlines that when a driver is involved in an accident and is unharmed, they have the duty under the law to render aide to hurt individuals. These folks were hurt so the wrongdoer must ensure the person is transported to the hospital.
  • California Vehicle Code Sec. 22400 states that a driver who obstructs a motorcycle’s way and hurts the rider is negligent and considered at-fault.
  • California Vehicle Code Sec. 1602 this legislation involves employees in accidents with an employer vehicle. This law requires the employee must notify the employer within a ten day period of the crash.

Motorcycle Safety and the Law.

Motorcycle safety is crucial since the harm that can result from an accident can be life changing or deadly. There are laws that motorcyclists must observe that helps to protect them from harm including lane sharing, which under California law must be done safely and it is the only state where this is legal. Sharing a lane with another bike should be done using extreme caution especially in congested traffic.

California is a state that requires riders to wear helmets and is for the safety of the biker. In the event of a crash the helmet can help in protecting the rider from head injuries. If a head injury occurs during a crash it may be possible to hold the manufacturer of the helmet responsible if the helmet did not provide the proper amount of protection.

Rider’s not wearing a helmet may still file a claim.  But compensation may be reduced. For example, it drops based upon additional damage from not wearing the helmet.

California Vehicle Code Sec. 16025 states the individual involved in an accident has the right to information from the other drivers involved such as the driver’s current address, insurance information and the VIN of the vehicle. Whether filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or filing a lawsuit, this information will be necessary, and the driver under the law must provide accurate information.

Motorcycle Legal Experts.

Ehline Law Firm PC is the Los Angeles motorcycle accident specialist that assist injured bikers recover the damages they deserve. Our personal injury lawyers are also riders who understand the unique circumstances involved in motorcycle collisions. We represent the motorcyclist who has suffered minor injuries or debilitating long term harm.

Our Commitment.

We provide quality legal representation for our clients from the beginning. And we do this with the personalized care they deserve. Our rating of 9.5 on Avvo by our past clients speaks for itself. Also, many have read about Michael Ehline on Super Lawyers.

No Upfront Legal Fees

We work on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront legal fees and if we don’t win compensation in your case there will be no legal fees. But only if you recover compensation do we get paid. Also, we understand accidents often result in financial adversity, and we can assist with securing medical treatment without out of pocket expenses.

Getting your motorcycle repaired or replaced remains important. After all, we want to get you back on the road. We are committed to helping you heal and getting your life back in order.

Our Goals

One of our main goals is gently guiding clients through the legal process with every question answered. Also, our clients are kept apprised of every detail in your case. We earn the trust of our clients with regular communication.  And we are always fighting to protect your right to the monetary compensation you are entitled. Ehline Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss your case and evaluate the best course of legal action to take. Reach us toll-free at (213) 596-9642.

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Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorney, APLC
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