There can be several factors involved in motorcycle accidents. However, crash statistics have found that the leading cause of Bakersfield motorcycle accidents is other drivers failing to see the biker. In fact, as many as two-thirds of motorcycle accidents are caused when the driver of a larger vehicle fails to see the motorcycle, resulting in side-swipes, right-of-way violations, and other dangerous scenarios.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident in California, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine online or by calling (661) 333-3333 to schedule a free consultation today. Mickey Fine serves victims of serious motorcycle accidents throughout California from our offices in Bakersfield. If your injury prohibits travel, Mickey Fine will come to your location to help ensure you are provided the services you need to get the justice you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
In California and throughout the United States, over 70% of motorcycle accidents occur when drivers of cars and trucks fail to see a bike or to cede right of way to motorcyclists. Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Bakersfield include:
Cars Making a Left-Hand Turn
This is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. Usually, a car fails to see a motorcycle or doesn’t judge the motorcycle’s speed correctly when turning left at an intersection and ends up causing a head-on collision. This situation can be blamed on multiple scenarios such as inattention, distracted driving, blind spots, and others. These accidents are most commonly due to drivers failing to see a motorcyclist in their mirrors when making a turn.
Rear-end accidents and intersection accidents are common as well. Regardless of where your motorcycle accident occurred, if it was caused by another driver, you are entitled to seek compensation well beyond the offerings of insurance companies. Remember, insurance companies are more interested in helping their bottom line than in helping victims of serious injury. An experienced trial attorney, Mickey Fine will take your case as far as necessary to help you get the true compensation you deserve.
Speeding or Aggressive Riding
Speeding in any motor vehicle – motorcycles, cars, or trucks – is an illegal practice and should be avoided. Riding a motorcycle at high speeds is an extremely dangerous practice. Often, bikers engage in speeding and end up paying a huge price for doing so. According to a report from the NHTSA, in 2013, 34% of all motorcycle accident that involved a fatality were due to the motorcyclist speeding. This is much higher compared to that of cars (21%), light truck drivers (18%), and large truck drivers (8%).
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Dangerous or Defective Roadways
Road conditions can be a major problem for motorcycle riders. There are a wide range of conditions that could result in issues for riders. Wet and slippery surfaces, potholes, objects in the road, and irregularities on the roadway can all prove to be very dangerous. Riders should always keep their eye out for anything such as:
- Loose gravel
- Broken asphalt
The problem with being on a motorcycle is you are not going to see defects in the road or obstructions until you are right at the obstruction or defect.
Drug or Alcohol Use
Just like driving a car, operating a motorcycle when under the influence can prove to be deadly. According to the NHTSA, 30% of cyclists who were involved in serious accidents had a BAC over .08%. Being drunk on a motorcycle increases your chances of getting into an accident significantly. When riding at night, bikers with a BAC over .08% increase their risk of getting into a crash by 46% compared to riding in the day time.
Blind spot accidents are scary and can happen in an instant. Most motorcyclists think that having a loud exhaust or a bright colored bike will increase the chances of another driver seeing/hearing them. However, that is not the case. Exhaust pipes point backwards off of a motorcycle so the sound is traveling behind the rider not in front. Additionally, lane splitting being legal in California makes everything worse. Drivers could suddenly decide to change lanes in slow moving traffic while a motorcycle is coming in between them. Being on a motorcycle in a driver’s blind spot is not recommended and should be a best practice to either pass the vehicle safely or simply stay in their mirror. A good rule of thumb while on a motorcycle is if you can’t see the driver’s face in any of their mirrors then they cannot see you.
There is no question about it, two wheels on the road vs. four is going to have a substantial impact on cornering and maneuverability when riding down the road especially in inclement weather. Being that annual average snowfall in Bakersfield is 0, and near 0 everywhere else in California, motorcyclists can ride year round. Rain, on the other hand, is when things can head down a slippery slope. The worst time to be on a motorcycle when it is raining is right when the rain starts. That rain loosens up all of the dirt and loose gravel on the road and essentially becomes ice for a motorcyclist.
Vehicle Malfunction or Defect
What it comes down to is not the power of the motorcycle but the weight. Motorcycles are very light, and you are basically sitting on an engine. Motorcycles are meant to be ridden hard because of their performance capabilities. When you are pushing something hard, all the time parts are going to break or malfunction. When you are traveling at a high rate of speed and something breaks, bad things can happen. Ride within your comfort zone and the limits of your abilities. Additionally, if you hear or feel like something is wrong with your motorcycle, pull over and check it out. The worst thing you can do is ignore any sign of a malfunction when you are traveling at a high rate of speed with limited protection.
Let’s face it we have turned into a mobile world, a microwave society where we need things and we need them now. Our phones have given us a sense of fearlessness, meaning we can get what we want when we want. However, that does not always translate into the right thing to do. We see it all the time. Drivers on their phones texting, talking, changing the music, looking at a GPS, eating, and the list goes on and on. According to the CDC, every day approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. When you are behind the wheel of a car you should be focused on one thing, driving. When you are riding a motorcycle you should only be focused on one thing, riding. The discerning aspect of distracted driving is that it can be prevented if we simply do not touch or look at our mobile devices. Look twice and save a life, it is not worth it.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Despite the fact that a majority of motorcycle accidents are not caused by bikers, a cultural bias against motorcyclists can prevent you from being treated fairly by others involved in the accident, law enforcement officers, and insurance companies. Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney Mickey Fine knows how unfair this bias is and has spent nearly three decades standing up for bikers’ rights and helping injured motorcyclists get maximum compensation.
Many of the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents will result in both immediate medical intervention and long-term rehabilitation. These methods may still prove insufficient to fully restore function and may necessitate permanent home and lifestyle modifications. Your injuries can prevent you from working, resulting in additional financial losses, and cause untold amounts of physical pain and emotional duress. Victims of motorcycle accidents deserve full compensation for all of their damages. Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer Mickey Fine knows what needs to be done in these cases to help ensure justice is served and you are awarded a settlement that provides everything you will need to recover.
Due to the minimal protection motorcycles offer their riders during impact, motorcycle accidents tend to result in a larger number of traumatic injuries than those involving passenger vehicles. Even when protective gear is worn, motorcycle accidents frequently result in:
Whether a biker has a helmet or not, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common when motorcyclists crash and hit their heads on the asphalt. Minor brain injuries like concussions and more devastating injuries can leave a biker dependent on others for their lifetime.
The degrees of brain injury that result from a motorcycle accident include mild, moderate and severe. Signs of a moderate TBI are as follows.
- Cognitive, physical and behavioral disabilities
- Massive headaches
Wearing a helmet is the only way to minimize your risk of sustaining head injury from a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists who wear helmets increase their chances of surviving a motorcycle accident. A helmet can also help reduce the severity of a head injury.
Spinal cord injuries
When motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes and skid across the pavement, their body is jostled with great force. When your body is thrown around in such a way, spinal injuries can occur. Cracked vertebrae, bulging discs, and severed spinal cords are not uncommon injuries in motorcycle accidents. According to a study by the NCBI, out of 1,121 motorcyclists involved in crashes, 126 of them suffered a severe spinal cord injury. The study concluded that the thoracic spine is the region in the spine most commonly injured in motorcycle accidents.
Mild to Severe Road Rash
Perhaps the most common injury sustained on motorcycles is road rash. Motorcycle road rash can be minor to severe and is classified in three degrees.
- First Degree – This is when the skin is reddened similar to that of a rug burn. This degree is not a serious issue and usually will not require medical treatment.
- Second Degree – second-degree road rash happens when the victim’s skin breaks. When this happens, the skin under the top layers remains intact but is usually visible. There is a chance that second-degree road rash will require an examination by a doctor and can usually be fixed with over-the-counter-medications.
- Third Degree – This is the worst degree of road rash. Third-degree road rash signifies a complete breakage of all five layers of skin. Usually third-degree road rash exposes fat and tissue. Those who sustain third-degree road rash should seek medical attention immediately.
Pulverized or Fractured Bones
Bones break in motorcycle accidents very often due to the amount of force that’s placed on the body during a crash. High rates of speed and hard asphalt can cause severe damage to a human’s bone structure and can cause symptoms such as:
- Pain from movement or pressure
- Compound fractures, or bone being exposed through the skin
- Sudden deformity of a limb or joint
- Sudden numbness
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney Mickey Fine understands the special considerations these accidents demand and has over 20 years of experience helping victims of motorcycle accidents get maximum compensation.
Protect Yourself From Motorcycle Injuries
In the state of California, the operators and passengers of motorcycles are required by law to wear helmets. This law is intended to help prevent brain injury and death from motorcycle accidents and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has been incredibly effective at doing just that.
California law also requires motorcycles to have:
- A daytime operating headlight
- At least one mirror
- Fully operational turn signals.
All of these things can help increase visibility and enhance a biker’s ability to safely maneuver his or her motorcycle.
Driving defensively is a great way to protect yourself from being involved in a motorcycle accident. It is best to be cautious around larger vehicles, particularly when changing lanes or preparing to turn. However, your actions may not be enough to completely prevent an accident.
You cannot prevent other drivers from causing an accident, but you can take steps to protect yourself against catastrophic injury if they do. One of the easiest steps to take is always using safety gear.
In addition to the helmet required by law, bikers can help protect themselves by wearing:
- Leather boots
- Leather jackets
- Long pants
These things can help keep you safe, but may not fully be enough to prevent all injury. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in California, Mickey Fine can help see that you are treated fairly and awarded the compensation you are due.
Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Injury In Bakersfield
The compensation the victim of a motorcycle accident receives depends on the circumstances. First, assessing fault and injuries sustained in the accident must take place. In California, a driver is at fault when they acted negligently. This could mean they violated traffic laws or drove recklessly.
What Compensation is Available in a Motorcycle Accident?
It is very difficult to put a price tag on a victim’s injuries. If a motorcyclist happens to be injured in an accident in California, they are entitled to monetary rewards for medical help. Motorcyclists can be entitled to monetary awards for damages such as:
- The cost of treatment
- The cost of medications
- Loss of income
- Future pain and suffering
- Remodels necessary for accommodation to home or car
Who is at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
Based on the circumstances of a motorcycle accident, the victim may have the right to sue for compensatory, general, and punitive damages from the following parties:
- Another driver. This occurs when a motorcyclist can identify another driver and hold them liable for their injuries.
- The bikes manufacturer. This occurs when the motorcycle accident was caused by a defective product on the bike. If the defective product was responsible for the accident, the owner of the bike can pursue legal compensation for their injuries.
- The government. This occurs when road conditions cause a motorcycle accident. The government is responsible for maintaining roads, and when they do not, accidents can happen. Cases against the government are very difficult to navigate, so it is important that you have an attorney fight for you.
- The dealership in which the bike was bought. Just like the bike’s manufacturer, product liability law allows a motorcycle accident victim to sue the dealer of the motorcycle if a defect caused their accident.
It is very important that you identify the guilty party before filing your lawsuit. Take the time to understand how your accident occurred and determine who was at fault. Review police records, take photos and talk to witnesses. We advise you to get expert advice from our motorcycle accident lawyer, Mickey Fine so that he can help you navigate this process.
What is Comparative Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
There are instances when fault is shared in an accident. In these cases, California’s comparative fault system is put in place for determining awards for damages in an accident. This rule requires a percentage of fault that is attributed to all motorists involved in the accident. When the case settles, the compensation for the injured motorcyclist will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Motorcyclists who have been injured in accidents should enjoy the same rights as everyone else on the road. Sadly, a cultural bias exists against bikers, and insurance companies are not above exploiting this fact to cheat you out of your fair settlement. Despite crash data from sources including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicating that motorcyclists are most commonly victims of these accidents, you may still face an uphill battle when trying to collect compensation for your damages. Our Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney strongly believes that this injustice must not be allowed to prevail.
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we take the time necessary to fully understand how your accident will impact every aspect of your life. We are prepared to protect you against insurance companies who may stoop to scare tactics to try and force you into accepting an inadequate settlement. Mickey Fine is an experienced trial attorney who is willing to take your case as far as necessary to ensure you are provided every penny you are due.
During your initial consultation, Mickey Fine will answer any questions about Bakersfield motorcycle accidents that you may have. He will also listen to your concerns, assess your claim, and help you determine what your case is worth.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident in California, call Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney Mickey Fine at (661) 333-3333 for a free and informative consultation.