According to the California Highway Patrol, more than 872,000 motorcycles were registered in California as of 2013, while over 1.3 million people were licensed to operate motorcycles. Motorcycling is certainly a popular pastime here in the Golden State, whose winding shoreline and gorgeous natural scenery make it a natural hotspot for motorcycling enthusiasts all around the country. But while motorcycling is popular in California, it can also be highly dangerous, with crashes frequently leading to serious, disabling injuries. The question is, who will pay for the victim’s medical bills while he or she is recovering and unable to work? Our Ventura motorcycle accident lawyers discuss compensation for motorcycling injuries in California.
How Likely Are You to Be Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
In 2013, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported that 11,644 motorcycle crashes caused injuries, while 467 crashes were fatal. These accidents injured nearly 12,000 people, and, sadly, claimed the lives of more than 460. The highest numbers of fatal and non-fatal injuries occurred in people aged 25 to 34 years old, and most of the accidents took place from May to October, when the weather is mild and more motorcyclists are on the road.
Even though motorcycles are heavily outnumbered by cars and trucks, motorcycle accidents account for a disproportionate number of fatalities and serious injuries, for several reasons:
- Motorcycles are not equipped with airbags for injury protection.
- Due to a lack of seatbelts and enclosing walls, motorcyclists are often ejected onto the road, causing two sets of injuries: the injuries caused by impact with the striking vehicle, and the injuries caused by striking the pavement.
- Motorcycles can be difficult to see, which makes them vulnerable to collisions.
- Motorcycles are much smaller and lighter than other vehicles, which means they will sustain greater damage in the event of a collision.
- Compared to bulkier vehicles, motorcycles are more susceptible to crashing due to defects and debris in the road, such as potholes, uneven surfaces, and fallen branches.
Just how great are the risks? The answer depends on location, road conditions, and other factors – but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes” in 2013. NHTSA data also reveals that in 2013, the injury rate for motorcycle accidents was 434 injuries per 100 million miles traveled – nearly six times higher than the overall injury rate for auto accidents (77 injuries per 100 million miles traveled).
How a Ventura Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Pursue Injury Compensation
There can be no question that motorcycle accidents tend to produce injuries, often of a permanently disabling nature. Catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, are especially common in victims who do not wear a helmet, leaving the skull and upper cervical spine – the portion of the spine that runs through the neck – completely unprotected. In its 2013 report on motorcycle crashes, “NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,630 motorcyclists’ lives in 2013, and that 715 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.” California requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets, and compliance with this law is critical for your own safety.
In addition to limiting function, inflicting pain, and causing immense mental anguish and emotional suffering, injuries of this degree also lead to devastating expenses and financial losses. Not only does the victim have to worry about enormous medical bills for hospitalization, surgery, medical devices, and ongoing care, but because they have lost all or most of the ability to work, they will also lose years’ or decades’ worth of income toward supporting themselves and their loved ones.
When a motorcycle accident victim is already coping with so much, they should not have to bear the additional penalty of medical debt, especially not if their accident was caused by another driver’s carelessness, as is frequently the case. If your crash was caused by another motorist, you may be able to make a third-party claim with his or her insurance company as a way of pursuing compensation.
However, insurance companies are notorious for making inadequate, lowball settlement offers, so it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Ventura personal injury lawyer before entering negotiations or signing any agreements with an insurance company. Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on the insurance company to make you a just settlement offer. If you are not represented by an aggressive motorcycle crash attorney, they will try to take advantage of your lack of familiarity with the claims process in order to pay less than you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness – for example, running red lights, speeding, or driving while intoxicated – the Ventura injury attorneys of Bamieh & De Smeth can fight for accident compensation on your behalf, including compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, income losses, and other damages. We represent motorcyclists and injured passengers throughout both counties, including Camarillo, Carpinteria, Fillmore, Goleta, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Moorpark, Oak Park, Ojai, Orcutt, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Maria, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and beyond.
You deserve dedicated legal support to help you through this difficult time. Allow the California personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC to put our decades of experience to work pursuing the maximum compensation for your injuries. For a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (805) 643-5555 today.