Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
6,000+ Cases Handled & $100+ Million Recovered
Southern California can be a motorcyclist’s paradise. Excellent year-round weather, beautiful vistas, and close access to the Pacific make California one of the most popular states for bikers. However, motorcyclists face one certain danger on Southern California roadways: other drivers.
No matter how skilled a rider you are, you can never be fully prepared for some of the actions of other motorists. In many cases, they strike motorcyclists because they fail to see them, make bad moves due to carelessness or recklessness, or cannot navigate Southern California’s heavy traffic.
The result is often a badly hurt motorcyclist. Alpine Law Group fights to ensure our motorcycle clients receive all the compensation to which the law entitles them. We never accept bias against bikers as an excuse to short-pay our clients.
We understand this bias is just a smokescreen to lower insurance payments. Our team of Santa Ana personal injury lawyers fights insurers as long as it needs to win our clients the settlements they deserve.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
You need legal representation if you’ve suffered an injury from a motorcycle accident, as with other types of personal injury claims, motorcycle accident victims face resistance from insurance companies.
To them, each dollar less they pay adds to their bottom line. Because of this financial imperative, they use California’s pure comparative negligence laws to reduce or eliminate payments to injured parties.
In addition, bikers face tremendous bias from insurance adjusters. When in doubt, they blame the biker instead of the sedan driver. In the worst examples, there is no doubt that the sedan driver is 100% at fault, but they seek to short-pay the motorcyclist anyway.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers at Santa Ana fight against bias against bikers and abuse of California’s pure comparative negligence standard.
Bias Against Bikers
Maybe Hollywood is partly to blame for the unwarranted bias against bikers. Movies often show motorcyclists as members of criminal gangs. In Hollywood depictions, they ride recklessly, use drugs, drive drunk, and are on the road to create mayhem. Therefore, some uninformed people think all motorcyclists must be bad guys and therefore at fault for accidents.
This attitude is completely wrongheaded. The fault for most auto accidents involving motorcycles lies with other drivers. Why would someone riding a motorcycle put themselves in a position to be thrown from their bike and severely hurt or killed?
The answer is most motorcyclists are skilled riders who avoid situations that could land them in the hospital or worse.
The percentage of motorcyclists who belong to criminal organizations is also small. Most riders have no criminal ties or criminal records. They enjoy the freedom of riding California’s roadways on the weekends and may commute to work on a bike.
The state has over 900,000 motorcyclists, with approximately 2,000 belonging to biker gangs. The rest are law-abiding citizens. Some are even lawyers!
When a motorcycle accident case arrives at Alpine Law, our team analyzes the fact pattern to determine the cause instead of relying on preconceived notions. We investigate claims thoroughly and determine where the actual negligence resides.
With the facts and law on our side, we cut through bias against bikers by negotiating hard with insurance companies and being willing to take cases to trial if insurers try to cheat our motorcycle clients out of their rights.
California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law: A Tool for Insurance Companies to Exercise Biker Bias
Alpine Law has seen plenty of abuse of California’s pure comparative negligence law. Because it splits liability for an accident among two or more parties, insurance adjusters see a method of transferring blame onto innocent riders. Even in accidents where the other driver is obviously and entirely at fault, they form a justification to put some or even most of the blame onto a biker.
For example, improper left-hand turns by other motorists rank as the number one type of accident that kills bikers. Drivers everywhere, especially in Southern California, hate to wait even a few extra seconds at an intersection to keep roads safe.
When they see a vehicle approaching the opposite lanes, they are urged to floor it and try to beat the oncoming traffic.
They think they can squeak by, often avoiding disaster thanks to oncoming drivers–motorcyclists included–checking their speed to prevent a collision.
In other words, they gamble and get away with it until they don’t.
In the case of oncoming motorcyclists, drivers of larger vehicles are not gambling with their own lives. They won’t end up in intensive care. Instead, it’s the biker who ends up getting hurt.
When confronted with these types of claims, where the fault is so clearly on the other driver’s part, insurance adjusters often try to claim liability belongs to the motorcyclist because they must have been speeding or failed to brake.
They have no true justification. Usually, the police report and accident investigation results offer not a scintilla of evidence to substantiate their conclusion. So often, they hope bias against bikers will allow them to get away with it, and they pray they can wear down the plaintiff before the case makes it to trial, forcing a low settlement based on prejudice.
Alpine Law never accepts low settlements based on unsupported accusations. Instead, our litigation team builds airtight cases based on factual evidence we know will stand up in court. We demand our motorcycle clients receive their full compensation, or we bring the defendants to trial. Because they realize we have the winning case, most defendants capitulate before trial.
Common Type of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists suffer from many types of injuries, from minor to life-threatening. Here are some of the most common serious injuries sustained by riders:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden impact bounces the brain back and forth inside the skull. Unfortunately for motorcyclists, TBI occurs frequently in severe accidents, and helmets provide very limited protection against it.
TBI harms the victim’s life because the brain swells after injury. However, while other body parts have room for inflammation, the brain is tightly encased in the skull with little room to expand. As the swelling brain presses against the bone, internal bleeding results. Untreated, TBI can lead to a coma and death.
Moderate TBI cases have a somewhat promising prognosis. Though TBI victims may struggle with memory loss, motor skill degeneration, and psychological effects, such as depression, many of these disabilities improve with therapy.
When moderate TBI afflicts our motorcycle clients, Alpine Law ensures they receive the settlement they need for the therapies that can restore them to their former level of functioning.
Severe TBI often leads to lifelong debilitations of memory and other forms of cognitive function. In addition, sufferers may experience changes in personality and display uncharacteristic difficulties controlling emotions. Managing this condition presents myriad challenges for family members, and lifelong care may be needed.
Alpine Law takes severe TBI cases as far as they need to go to win clients the settlements that safeguard their future.
Spinal cord injuries are among the most difficult to mitigate with surgery and other treatments. Often, motorcycle accident victims lose the use of their legs or suffer neck-down paralysis. These injuries result in lifelong disabilities and struggles for the injured and their family.
No one should be shortchanged in a settlement after sustaining paralysis in a motorcycle accident. These are some of the most challenging injuries, often costing a fortune for long-term care, ending careers, and compromising the victim’s personal life.
All of these represent substantial losses that Alpine Law aggressively seeks compensation for in every motorcycle accident case involving this type of injury.
Being hit and knocked off your bike jars the internal organs. This violent movement can result in severe and permanent organ damage.
Examples include the following:
Spleens often suffer injuries from trauma due to their location within the abdomen. Because they sit under the left rib cage near the stomach, a blow to the abdominal region often leads to perforation or rupture. Without treatment, internal bleeding from a spleen injury can be fatal.
Sometimes, the spleen can be treated, but surgeons must remove the organ when severe spleen damage occurs. Without the spleen, patients can live a normal life but have a compromised immune system.
The liver is partly subject to damage in a vehicle accident because it is the body’s largest organ. This organ is vital because it makes the proteins needed for blood clotting, manufactures chemicals essential for digestion, and cleanses toxins introduced into the body.
Minor liver injuries respond to treatment; however, significant liver damage can lead to fatal internal bleeding.
Kidneys serve critical functions for human survival, including filtering blood and generating urine. Kidney damage occurs most frequently when an auto accident victim injures their mid- to low-back region.
Kidney damage has serious repercussions, such as reduced immunity, urine leaks, and dangerous blood-pressure changes. In addition, doctors must examine accident victims carefully for kidney damage because symptoms often manifest themselves hours or days later.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Most motorcycle accident injuries happen because of a collision with another vehicle. However, in many cases, other drivers miss motorcycles in their field of vision, making bikers more likely to be struck.
These are the most common types of motorcycle accidents:
Left-Hand Turning Vehicles
Drivers attempting left-hand turns in front of oncoming motorcycles account for 36% of all biker fatalities. These are some of the most tragic because they are so preventable. Oncoming traffic has the right of way, but impatient left-hand turners sometimes think they can floor it and pass through the intersection before the vehicles arrive.
Motorcycles cannot stop on a dime and may lack the space they need to swerve around these careless drivers. The result is usually the rider injured on the pavement while the left-hand turner suffers only property damage. These are cases where a little patience can save a life.
These tend to happen at stoplights or when a sudden traffic jam forces vehicles on high-speed roads to a stop. In Southern California, they often happen due to the dense traffic, stop-and-go traffic patterns, and simple lack of attention by drivers. Though being knocked off your bike while stationary is less damaging than other types of accidents, the injuries can still be critical.
These occur less frequently than other accidents but are the worst for any vehicle and especially bad for motorcycles. They tend to occur on two-lane roadways when a driver attempts to pass another vehicle in the oncoming traffic lane. On high-speed roads, vehicles moving toward each other need plenty of distance for passing to be safe.
For example, if two vehicles are ½ mile distant and approaching each other head-on at 60 miles per hour, they meet in just 15 seconds. Misjudgments here are often fatal for riders.
Motorcycle Accidents Statistics
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of auto accident fatalities in 2019
- Nine in ten motorcyclists killed in crashes are male
- The majority of motorcyclists killed are aged 25–29
- Twenty-five percent of motorcycle deaths occur because of collisions with fixed objects
- Wet weather factors into one-third of motorcycle accidents
- Seventy-five percent of motorcycle crashes involve collisions with other vehicles
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident In Santa Ana?
You have serious injuries if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash. In that case, you need to focus on your safety and getting medical treatment.
However, if you are lucky enough to walk away, it often pays to compile information about the accident at the scene. Bias against bikers rears its ugly head in many cases, so documenting evidence that the other driver was at fault can be the difference between receiving full compensation and being treated unfairly.
Try to gather the following evidence:
- Video of the scene
- Pictures of the scene
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Insurance information
How Does the Investigation Process Work?
Alpine Law thoroughly investigates accidents on our client’s behalf. This is especially true with motorcycle accidents because many people in law enforcement and the insurance industry have a bias against motorcyclists. We want to get to the bottom of the accident’s cause, so we can win our clients every penny to which they are entitled.
Our litigation team carefully analyzes police and accident investigation reports. In addition, we contact witnesses, obtain video or camera images of the scene, examine the involved vehicles, and hire expert witnesses who can pinpoint the accident’s root cause.
In addition, we look for mechanical issues with the vehicles that may have contributed to or caused the calamity.
We use interrogatories and depositions to investigate the defendant’s claims during litigation. Interrogatories are written questions we prepare for the other side’s witnesses, while depositions are face-to-face interviews. These proceedings allow us to develop evidence that challenges specious defense arguments.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
As with all personal injury claims, the range of value is broad and depends on the seriousness of the injury and the court’s ruling on fault. Serious accidents resulting in death, paralysis, or TBI can be worth thousands or millions.
California law allows plaintiffs to seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the plaintiff’s direct expenses and losses due to the accident, such as medical bills and lost income.
Categories of monetary damages include the following:
- Ambulance charges
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost salary
- Lost benefits
- Lost business income
Non-economic damages consist of the intangible losses suffered by the accident victim, such as the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
California law places no cap on non-economic damages.
California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law
California law uses pure comparative negligence in calculating personal injury awards. Under this scheme, the court assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in an accident. The percentages range from 0% to 100%.
Most auto accident claims end up with the majority of the liability falling on one party and a minority on another.
For instance, imagine a sedan making a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist and hitting him. The motorcyclist had the right of way, and the sedan driver was the cause of the crash. In almost all cases, courts find the sedan driver mostly at fault.
However, the defense may argue that the biker was speeding. They may use the damage done to the vehicles to support this claim–even though it may have no basis.
If the court agrees with the defense, it may find the sedan driver 80% at fault and the biker 20% liable. In the bikers’ case, such a verdict reduces his award by 20%.
For example, imagine the biker sustained $100,000 in damages. A finding that he was 20% at fault would reduce the claim’s value to $80,000.
Settlements and verdicts that unfairly penalize bikers are what Alpine Law fights to prevent. In the above example, the sedan driver is most likely 100% at fault, and the speeding claim is just the insurance company’s way of trying to force a lower settlement and save money.
Alpine Law’s litigation team has seen all insurance company tricks to reduce settlement amounts. We fight back ferociously and demand that our clients receive all the compensation to which they are entitled, or we take the insurance company to trial and win the total amount.
Contact a Top-Rated Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
When you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need tough Santa Ana motorcycle accident lawyers from Alpine Law Group.