Many people drive motorcycles for recreation, while others find it necessary to avoid traffic that is common on our roads. Just like vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents are prevalent on our roads. The causes of these accidents vary from reckless driving by the riders or other motorists to hazardous roads or malfunctioning bike parts. Of all these, reckless driving is the most prevalent cause of these accidents. Accidents from motorcycles often register significant injuries and fatalities.
The losses due to the injuries are high because some of the injuries require extensive treatment. Receiving compensation for the damages incurred in a reckless driving motorcycle accident is possible in California. An experienced attorney can help you raise a claim for your losses and receive reasonable payment. In California, The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm will pursue your claims, and make sure you are awarded.
Understanding Reckless Driving According to the Law
According to VEH 23103, reckless driving is when a motorist operates their motor vehicle or motorcycle carelessly with wanton disregard for others and their safety. A motorcycle accident can result from the reckless driving of the motorcyclist or another road user. This will expose the rider or another road user to traffic offense and payment of restitution to the injured victims.
If injured by a motorcyclist that was driving recklessly, you must prove that they are to blame to be awarded damages. California is a fault state meaning the party responsible for the injuries is liable to pay for the costs.
Motorcyclists also are involved in an accident by themselves due to their reckless behavior. Some feel they have much experience and can overcome any challenge, thus they become careless on the road. Unfortunately, despite the expertise, crashes resulting in significant injuries happen.
Even with the carelessness, some factors may enhance the risks a motorcyclist is exposed to. These include:
- Helmet use – Failing to use a helmet increases the severity of the injuries you get on your head. California has a law against riding without a helmet. According to VEH 27803, all riders and their passengers must put on a helmet. When a rider or passenger does not wear a helmet, they will receive a traffic violation ticket.
- Age – Riders who are older stand a higher chance of suffering more injuries compared to younger riders.
- Sex – most of the fatalities in a motorcycle accident involve male riders
- Unlicensed riders – Some riders get a motorcycle and start riding when not licensed. They ignore getting well trained and passing a test to get a license. As a result, they are a danger to themselves and other road users as they often cause these accidents.
- Alcohol and drugs – Alcohol and drugs impair a rider. When intoxicated, it becomes increasingly challenging to operate a motorcycle. Many accidents causing significant injuries and fatalities are as a result of drunk motorists. An intoxicated rider is often reckless in how they run their bike, increasing their risk of causing accidents.
How Various Causes of Motorcycle Accidents are Enhanced by Recklessness
Motorcycle accidents can be as a result of various reasons. These various reasons are increased when a motorcyclist is reckless in how they operate their bike on the highway. Knowing these causes, however, helps know who to blame for the accident and the responsible party for the damages sustained. These causes are:
- Colliding with a stationary object – motorcyclists often collide with fixed objects, especially when faced with an emergency on the road. For instance, if they were driving in the wrong lane, and another motorist appears from the opposite direction, they will panic. In avoiding an impending accident, the rider will veer off the road and hit the cab, a lamp post or other stationary objects like buildings. The injuries and damages to their bike can be substantial as a result.
- Bad weather – when the weather conditions are not conducive, they pose a risk to anyone using the road. Motorists are called to practice more caution in such instances. Unfortunately, a reckless motorcyclist in a hurry to get where they are going, they still navigate carelessly on the roads. With slippery roads due to ice or heavy rainfall, they will quickly cause an accident.
- Mechanical malfunction – When moving at a moderate speed where you are aware of your motorbike's functioning, you will notice when something is wrong and stop. Unfortunately, reckless motorcycle drivers may not realize this, or when they do, it is too late to control their bike.
- Dangerous road conditions – roads also pose a risk to all motorists. This is one of the reasons one is encouraged to be mindful of the way in case they are faced with such conditions. When driving carefully, you can notice a road hazard in time and avoid it. Unfortunately, a reckless motorcyclist may see the danger when it is too late, making it impossible to prevent an accident.
Reckless Behaviors that Result in Motorcycle Accidents
Earlier, we defined reckless driving as the act of operating a motor vehicle with wanton disregard for other people's safety, road users, or property. Some behaviors constitute the careless riding of a motorcycle, leading to accidents. These behaviors include:
Motorcyclists, just like other drivers, will get on the road intoxicated. Unfortunately, group riders are associated with drug use and alcohol consumption, especially when riding for recreational purposes. When you are on the way when drunk, it is an act of Recklessness. A motorcyclist exposes themselves and other road users to the risk of sustaining injuries when they operate their motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Most motorcyclists find a thrill in speeding. Hardly will you find a motorcyclist driving at reasonable speeds. Over speeding is a form of reckless driving that is prevalent with motorcyclists. When they suddenly face a challenge on the road, it becomes difficult for them to control their bikes and end up crashing.
Failing to Give Way, Stop or Slow Down
Intersections, junctions, and other areas require a motorist to stop or give way. When approaching such places, a rider needs to slow down to access the road before proceeding. Unfortunately, some motorcyclists feel that they can quickly make a turn underestimating the speed of another road user. This type of behavior often leads to severe collisions resulting in fatalities or injuries.
Distraction is not only experienced by vehicle drivers. Motorcyclists are distracted as well. A distraction may be from something they have observed while on the way or using a phone. Disturbance on the road also leads to accidents as a form of reckless behavior by the motorcyclist.
Vehicles are supposed to keep a certain distance from each other to avoid accidents, especially when one suddenly stops. Tailgating occurs when the car or motorcycle drives near a vehicle ahead of them without leaving adequate space as required. Everyone knows that keeping a safe distance is essential in avoiding accidents. Unfortunately, some bikers like to drive close to the vehicles ahead of them, assuming that they are careful. When the car ahead comes to a sudden stop, the motorcyclist will often crash into the car because they were unable to stop on time.
Failing to Signal
Signals are essential for communication between road users, and failure to signal is a traffic offense in California. Every sign has a meaning and is crucial to road safety. Motorcyclists sometimes assume that they can quickly maneuver between lanes without signaling. When you fail to indicate, the other road user will not give you way or know you want to make a turn. When one fails to signal and changes lanes or turns on the road, it is an act of Recklessness.
Street racing is not only a reckless behavior, but it is also illegal. Street racing involves bikers coming together and racing against each other to show their bike's power or who is a better biker. This is a reckless and dangerous behavior that results in some of the worst accidents involving motorcyclists.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents Due to Reckless Behavior
When motorcyclists engage in reckless behaviors on the road as described above, it will lead to different types of accidents. The injuries as a result of these accidents are critical and, in some cases, fatal. Some of these accidents include:
Reckless driving will result in reckless overtaking at bends. When passing at a curve, you will not be able to see any oncoming vehicles. As a result, a car moving towards the motorcyclist from the opposite direction will crash into a motorcyclist head-on. These kinds of crashes are violent and result in catastrophic injuries if not death. Most of the head-on collisions involving motorcyclists are caused by reckless over speeding and overtaking at dangerous corners.
Accidents While Making a Left Turn
When making a left turn, you are required to signal to warn other motorists of your need to turn. Unfortunately, as earlier discussed, motorcyclists ignore issuing signs and suddenly make left turns. A motorcyclist that is careless driving on the wrong side can ignore signals from other motorists resulting in a crash with a vehicle. Accidents in this case happen when:
- A motorcyclist is attempting to overtake another motorist.
- A motorcyclist decides not to stop at an intersection or junction and drives through.
- A motorcyclist passes on the wrong side of a vehicle on the highway.
Motorcycles are smaller than vehicles. As a result, sometimes where they are riding, a driver of a car, especially trucks or buses, will not see them. Most of the vehicles have a blind spot area where they cannot see a motorist very close to them. When a motorcyclist is tailgating a car, chances are the vehicle driver may not see them, and when turning will crash into them. Avoiding the reckless behavior of tailgating other vehicles is essential in preventing these accidents.
Accidents Involving Lane Splitting
Many motorcyclists are notorious for lane splitting. This consists of the behavior of driving in between vehicles on the road. When a motorcyclist is riding between two cars, the space between themselves and the vehicles on either side is minimal. Often, the vehicles may not be aware that the motorcyclist is riding between them. The likelihood of having an accident in such a case is high. Some factors that make this behavior risky are:
- When there is a small distance between the cars, making it impossible for the biker to maneuver past them.
- The closeness of the bike to the vehicles enhances the possibility of a crash.
- When the vehicle drivers are unaware of the bike's presence, and do not expect it to pass there.
The presence of the above factors makes it more likely for an accident to occur.
Accidents hitting on the side are more common at intersections. Reckless driving of a motorcycle involves disregarding the traffic lights and riding through the intersection. Sadly, a motorist that has the right to pass assumes the other road users will yield way. When both the vehicle and the motorist find themselves at the junction, an accident occurs. A motorcycle may crash on the side of the car, or the car crashes on the motorcyclist.
Rollover accidents are those that involve the overturning of a vehicle or motorcycle. These are violent accidents that often lead to fatalities, if not catastrophic injuries to the motorcyclist. An impaired driver will often miscalculate turns or be involved in such a disaster when trying to get away from a dangerous situation ahead. The response time of an impaired driver is slower, and the situation is made worse by speed. When these accidents happen, the victims, in most cases, the rider suffer traumatic injuries or death.
Laws that Enhance the Safety of Motorcyclists
Although there are many motorcycle crashes in California, the state has put up rules that increase safety when on the highways. Unfortunately, even with these rules, motorcyclists disregard them and boldly continue to operate their motorcycles. This complete disregard of the laws results in the accidents that cause significant injuries. These laws are:
- If you want to ride a bike, you must obtain a license from the DMV and have insurance cover to compensate you for the damages.
- You must ensure your eyes are protected by having eye protectors.
- If you are carrying a passenger, your motorbike must be fitted with a footrest and a seat for the passenger.
- You must do a course on motorcycle riding and education if you get the license for the first time.
- You must have side mirrors on your motorcycle, sound mufflers that will help minimize the sound as you ride.
- The state discourages riding between lanes.
- Handlebars on your bike should never be above your shoulders while seated.
- Always use headlights while riding.
What You Should Do Following a Motorcycle Accident
Typically, any person involved in an accident is shocked when it happens. The injuries make it worse for the victim to think straight. However, you must be calm if you want help. Some of the things you need to do are:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police show up. This is even more important if the accident involved other motorists because you will be charged with hit and run. However, when injured, your health is of more importance. The law only allows you to leave the scene of seeking medical care.
- Calling for help after you have calmed down is crucial. The operator will ask you questions about the location of the accident and the injuries. The operator will also want to know if the accident scene poses more danger, such as if there is spillage of fuel that can result in a fire. These questions are crucial to enable the right kind of help to reach you and avoid more accidents as a result.
- The collection of information is the next thing as you wait for emergency rescuers and the police. If the accident involved other parties, exchange your names, contact details, and insurance details. Take the details of the vehicles involved in the accident, if any as well. If there are witnesses to the accident, get their contact, their statement to the cause of the crash is crucial. Additionally, pictures of the scene are essential in giving a pictorial story of what happened or caused the accident. Take as many photos as you can and from different angles. Pictures should also document the injuries you sustained.
- Avoid engaging in small talk with the other parties to the accident. This is important because you may say something, and it is used against you when pursuing damages. What you say, such as apologizing for the crash, can mean you accept liability for it.
- You must go to the hospital even when no apparent injuries are noticed. Some injuries may not be evident, especially internal bleeding or damages to the organs. Left unchecked, they can lead to complications or death later.
Various Kinds of Injuries in a Bike Accident
Accidents involving motorcycles result in more severe injuries compared to those of vehicles. The significant factor for this is that another body does not protect motorcyclists like vehicle victims. When an impact in an accident happens, it directly hits on the biker's body.
Although a helmet helps reduce the chances of sustaining traumatic injuries to the head, it does not offer total protection against the injuries. The elements that increase injuries are felt directly to the motorcyclist's body. Some injuries common in reckless motorcycle accidents are:
- Brain injuries – Although a motorist will prevent significant injuries to their brain by wearing a helmet, the impact can still be forceful enough to result in traumatic injuries to the brain. These injuries are challenging to heal, and in some cases, they leave lasting damage to the victim.
- Fractured or broken limbs – When a motorcyclist hits against another vehicle or the road surface, the impact is usually forcefully resulting in their bones getting broken or fractured. The hands or legs, even collar bones, are broken as a result. Some riders also sustain broken or fractured ribs, especially when hitting on the side.
- Internal injuries – These are common in these types of accidents where the internal body organs get damaged. The victim can also suffer internal bleeding resulting from the accident, which, if not treated fast, can result in death.
Most of the injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are traumatic. These will require extended periods of treatment, and the victim suffers through a lot of pain. The damages for treating these injuries are extensive, but fortunately, you can be compensated for the losses.
Compensable Losses Following a Reckless Motorcycle Accident
Following an accident, the victims will experience financial losses that arise as a result of the injuries sustained. Fortunately, having an insurance cover helps receive compensation for the damages one sustains. In California, you will be awarded damages for economic and noneconomic losses. Economic costs include those that are financially quantifiable while noneconomic are not. Some losses you receive are:
- Medical expenses - When injuries occur, you must seek treatment for them. Motorcycle injuries are significant, often requiring various procedures in their treatment. The state allows for the compensation for all the costs incurred, seeking treatment for the damages. These costs include X-rays, CT scans, surgical procedures, the medication used, and medical equipment like wheelchairs.
- Property damage – This includes the money a victim uses to repair their motorcycle following the accident.
- Lost income – While on the recovery period, a victim may not work, resulting in the loss of income. When the injuries are catastrophic also, the victim may lose their ability ever to work. All the income the victim loses due to the accident is calculated and compensated.
- Pain and suffering – The suffering and pain a victim endures as they heal from the injuries is a noneconomic damage that is compensated.
- Wrongful death – This is another noneconomic damage that is awarded to the family of the deceased victim.
Find an Accident Lawyer Near Me
Injuries from a motorcycle accident cost hefty amounts of money to treat because of their nature. This makes it crucial to aggressively pursue compensation for the damages and ensuring you receive reasonable payments to cover your losses. An experienced attorney in California can help with your claim for damages. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm has a team of attorneys with extensive knowledge of Personal Injury law and understands how to pursue claims. Call us at 619-625-8707 and let us discuss your damages.