motorcycle accident attorney

Motorcycle Crashes: How to Avoid, What to do After

Motorcycle accidents can leave riders with catastrophic injuries, and as the hobby continues to be popular throughout the United States and especially in California, better education to both riders and car drivers alike can only help to heighten everyone's awareness and hopefully prevent future crashes. After all, there are an estimated 8.6 million motorcycles on the roads, and if you drive a car or truck on California roads, you are guaranteed to be driving alongside motorcyclists eventually. Despite the inherent risk, California is a wonderful place to ride, and the state is home to some of America's most picturesque roads. For both motorcycle riders and car drivers alike, better education can prevent crashes.

California is home to some of the best motorcycle rides in America

California is home to some of the best motorcycle rides in America

Pay Attention at Intersections

Nearly half of all motorcycle-vehicle collisions happen at an intersection. Thus, when approaching an intersection on your motorcycle or in your car, you should be aware and alert that this is where many crashes happen. Vehicles make bad turns - too wide, too soon or out of turn, illegal u-turns, you name it, they happen at intersections. Sometimes the buildings at intersections in commercial areas are distracting, and there can be a lot happening at any given moment, leading to distraction. Every driver passes through intersections regularly, so it's a good habit to develop to pay particular attention to your surroundings at intersections. Remember, even if you're doing everything by the book, that doesn't mean the drivers around you are. For your own protection and safety, paying close attention to traffic in intersections can help you avoid a crash.

Intersections in California can be particularly distracting, as lane-splitting is now legal in the state, meaning when you're stopped, you may have a motorcycle approach you and pass you in-between lanes. Motorists should by now be aware that this technique is legal, but many drivers become frustrated and angry, sometimes creating a dangerous situation for both themselves and the motorcyclist. 

Helmets Save Lives

California requires motorcyclists to wear helmets, and the requirement saves lives. Based on extensive studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets are more than 67 percent more effective at preventing brain injuries than those not wearing a helmet, and helmets are approximately 37 percent more effective at preventing death. California has required riders to wear helmets for some time now, and the effect has undoubtedly been many lives saved. Some motorcycle riders from out of state are unfamiliar with the requirement; failure to wear an appropriate helmet can result in a ticket, regardless of whether you were aware of the requirement or not. The State of California has a free motorcycle safety and laws handbook, which is available for download, and is also available at all California DMV locations. The contents of this handbook are valuable for all riders, both those who live in California and those who do not. 

Don't risk the "coolness" factor of riding without a helmet. A helmet can save your life!

Don't risk the "coolness" factor of riding without a helmet. A helmet can save your life!

Motorcycles Are More Dangerous Than Cars

More people die in car accidents every year than in motorcycle accidents, but that's because there are more cares on the road than motorcycles. In fact, motorcycles are an estimated 27 times deadlier than cars in the United States, based on federal government comparisons of death per mil traveled. Part of the reasons for so many deaths related to motorcycle accidents is that motorcycles do not provide protection to the rider, so when there is a collision between a car and a motorcycle, the rider's body takes the impact, whereas a car's doors and frame take the impact in a car accident.

Also, a motorcycle rider can easily fall off his or her bike after impact with another vehicle, so even a seemingly minor collision can put a rider onto the roadway; depending on how fast he or she was moving at the time of collision, a motorcyclist can die as a result of a minor impact, after losing control of the bike and falling into the roadway at a high rate of speed. 

What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash

First, regardless of what happened, who caused the crash, and many other important questions, you must take care of your health. Seek proper medical treatment, even if you're worried about your ability to pay for the resulting medical bills. Many people involved in car crashes decline to go to the hospital or see their doctor based on financial pressure; while understandable, this decision can have devastating consequences in the long run. If you weren't at fault for the crash, a good injury lawyer will likely be able to recover the costs of your medical care, so you won't be stuck with high bills in the end. Reasonable medical attention should be sought when your injuries require an expert's opinion. Sometimes this is obvious, such as with fractures and lacerations. Other times, such as whiplash and neck and back pain, people decide not to go to a doctor, but they may be setting themselves up for many months or even years of pain that could otherwise be treated by a competent doctor.

Document Everything

If you were injured, you will eventually be making a claim to the other party's insurance company. Any money you are paid will likely come from their insurance, but first you will need to prove everything, including that you were actually injured, the cost of your medical treatment, and any other expenses for which you are seeking compensation. Don't expect the insurance company to take your word for it, or to show much sympathy. Their job is to pay as little money as possible to resolve your claim. Expect the insurance adjuster to reduce your medical bills, meaning they will offer to pay a portion of the bill, but not the bill in its entirety. Again, a good injury lawyer will make sure this doesn't happen, but it is to be expected if you try to settle your claim alone. Of course, because motorcycle accidents can result in serious injury, the medical treatment required can sometimes be very expensive. Before undergoing very expensive procedures, you may want to discuss your claim with a personal injury lawyer, as the phone call may give you some insight into how the procedure will affect your case, and whether the bill is likely to be paid by the at-fault driver's insurance company or not.

Consult With a Personal Injury Lawyer

You may decide not to hire a lawyer in the end, but the information you will learn by talking with an injury attorney can be invaluable. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent motorcycle riders throughout California for all types of injury claims, including lane-splitting crashes, debris on the roadway crashes, motorcycle versus auto crashes, and most other motorcycle-related claims. At the very least, a telephone call with a knowledgable attorney will give you a better understanding of how your claim will be processed, the timeline of claim processing, and even the approximate value of your case. The Lions Injury Lawyers strive to help their clients return to full health, and return to financial stability. If it wasn't your fault, you should not have to pay for medical bills, and you should be paid for the pain and suffering you've endured. Call the Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyers.

California is home to many motorcycle enthusiasts, and for good reason. California roads can be the perfect terrain to ride your motorcycle.

California is home to many motorcycle enthusiasts, and for good reason. California roads can be the perfect terrain to ride your motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for California Car Drivers

California motorcycle riders have the benefit of riding their bikes nearly year round, and so driving around motorcycles is not a seasonal occurrence here. The State of California requires motorcycle riders to pass a safety test prior to taking to the road, but aside from perhaps a question on the written exam at the California DMV for new drivers, car drivers are not required to know much about driving around motorcycles. Tragically, motorcycle-related injuries and deaths are common on our roadways. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help car drivers and motorcycle riders stay safe and avoid crashes.

Motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data. To keep motorcyclists safe, we urge everyone to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober.
— National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Keep Your Distance

Give motorcyclists a full lane width, even if you think you can fit into the same lane. They are entitled the same space and accommodation as a car. Of course motorcycles and their riders take up less space and maintain a lower profile on the road. Treat them like a normal size vehicle, and give plenty of space. Especially when you're behind a motorcycle, leave at least four to five seconds of stopping distance at any speed, just in case. You never know when you will encounter poor road conditions, a slow moving vehicle that turns in front of the motorcyclist, or another unpredicted condition that will force the motorcyclist to slow. You don't want to rear end anyone, much less a motorcyclist. Motorcycles lack the "crashworthiness" of automobiles and trucks, meaning crashes involving motorcycles are more likely to result in injury, serious injury, and even death. Keep your distance and both you and the motorcycle rider will stay safe.

Look Twice

Because motorcyclists take up less space on the road than cars and trucks, many injury-causing accidents are the result of car drivers either not checking their blind spot, or doing so as a matter of habit and not really looking to see if someone is in their blind spot. Especially during the summer months when there are more motorcycles on the roads in California, you should be checking your blind spot and using heightened caution with the specific awareness of whether there are motorcycle riders in the area. This is especially important when making a left hand turn, as approximately 40 percent of all motorcycle crashes involve a car that turned left in front of the motorcyclist. These are accidents that can be avoided. Tragically, due to the exposed nature of a motorcycle rider to direct contact with a vehicle, many motorcycle accidents result in serious injury and death. Look twice before turning or changing lanes.

Info credit: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/12/24/48867/gas-prices-economy-blamed-for-spike-in-motorcycle/

Info credit: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/12/24/48867/gas-prices-economy-blamed-for-spike-in-motorcycle/

Be Considerate

Every California driver has seen inconsiderate and often rude motorcycle riders drive past them at often unsafe speeds, sometimes weaving in and out of traffic. These riders are the exception to the norm. Most California motorcyclists are respectful, law abiding riders. Even if they weren't - the law requires you to give them ample space and consideration on the road. As the signs say, "Share the Road" with motorcyclists! If you are bitter about being cut off by a motorcyclist, or think they're reckless and dangerous, consider your own safety as well. Don't attempt to rectify the situation by trying to regulate motorcyclist behavior; crashes involving motorcyclists often occur due to the automobile driver trying to correct what they perceive to be bad driving by motorcyclists. Crashes don't only hurt motorcyclists, but also often result in the driver of the car and his or her passengers being injured as well. 

Motorcycle Crashes

If you were involved in a motorcycle crash as a car driver, you should proceed to remove yourself from the roadway and make sure your vehicle is in a safe spot. Then, you are in a position to try to assist the motorcyclist, if possible. Depending on the nature of the collision, you may not be able to help the motorcyclist, and should immediately call 911 if the situation appears to necessitate the help of medical professionals. Don't worry about who was at fault, your car insurance, or anything other than the safety and well-being of yourself and the other parties involved in the crash. When you are safe and the proper authority has been called, you should exchange information with the other parties and contact your auto insurance provider. Most California insurance policies require drivers involved in a car accident resulting in around or more than $500 property damage to report the collision; they are also required to report the car crash when someone is injured, even if the injury is not severe or catastrophic.

Motorcycle Crash Attorneys

Depending on the nature of your crash, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be well served by contacting a California injury attorney. Even when the facts seem straightforward, there are many unforeseen loopholes that enable insurance carriers to deny coverage. This can mean that your medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as lost time from work and other expenses will not be covered by the at fault party's insurance, or your insurance. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured people throughout the state of California, including many motorcyclists. The injury attorneys at The Lions are experienced in handling the details of car crashes resulting in injury, especially motorcycle accidents that result in injury and death. If you or a loved one was injured on a motorcycle and the crash was not your fault, call The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with an injury lawyer.

Fall Weather Driving Hazards

Parts of California may enjoy some of the most predictably sunny weather in the country, but even minor changes can result in major safety hazards. An increased awareness of road conditions that can result in dangerous conditions may help you avoid an accident.

fall-wallpapers-tumblr-wallpaper-high-definition-54374852.jpg

Wet Roads

We all know that California cities often crawl to a stop during heavy rains, but most of the precipitation on the roads is not heavy rain, or rain at all. With daylight savings time approaching, the days feel shorter and many drivers will be making their morning commute in the dark. Condensation settles on the road heavier this time of year than most. Even cities in Southern California, like Los Angeles, Orange County (which includes major business hubs like Costa Mesa and Irvine), and all the way down to San Diego, experience higher levels of morning dew. Similar to black ice in colder climates (some parts of California of course to have black ice as well), dew can be unrecognizable and therefore even more dangerous. If you are driving in the morning or evening, consider there may be more condensation on the roads than you can see, making fast stops and high speeds dangerous. Every year, drivers are injured and killed in California car accidents that are the result of a driver not realizing slick conditions on the roadway. Slow down, give yourself more time to break, and remember that there's more water on the road than you see, even if it is in the form of dew or fog.

Fog

Similar to dew, fog becomes a safety issue this time of year, especially in coastal cities and mountainous areas. Fog presents many safety hazards, and is a more obvious dangerous condition than dew, as drivers can readily see their visibility is impaired. Don't use your bright beam headlights - it doesn't help and it makes the situation even more dangerous for other drivers. Drive slower, put your normal lights on, and give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination. Keep your foot on the brake, as fog can be more dense in some areas and significantly decrease vision. The California Highway Patrol responds to fog-related accidents resulting in injury and death every year at this time, sometimes single-car accidents where the driver becomes disoriented and crashes. Avoid crashing your car in fog by taking it slow and proceeding cautiously.

Pedestrians

Halloween is, of course, a time of great excitement and increased pedestrian traffic. It is not just the neighborhoods, either. Consider there are more people at the grocery store and shopping mall, and as happens during every holiday season, people preparing for holidays are often aloof and not paying attention. Auto versus pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury or death, as no person is a match for a moving automobile. Pedestrians bear responsibility too: if you are walking in areas that pedestrians share with cars, remember to keep your eyes up and stay off your cell phone. Drivers owe pedestrians a heightened level of care because they are driving heavy machinery that can be dangerous and deadly. Pedestrians too can help avoid accidents simply by paying attention and acknowledging they see drivers, and visa versa.

Darkness

Daylight savings time results in more darkness, especially in the early evening. You should drive more slowly in the dark, taking more time to get to your destination. Remember that visibility is decreased, meaning other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians are more difficult to see. Drive slowly, and remember that your response time is diminished when it is dark outside.

Involved in a Fall Weather Car Accident or Injury?

For those unlucky enough to be injured in a car accident, or an auto versus pedestrian accident or slip and fall injury, the road to recovery can be challenging. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with and even more difficult to get fair compensation for your losses. Speaking with an experience personal injury attorney may be advisable. If your injury wasn't your fault and you are wondering how you will pay for everything, a good injury law firm will be able to give you sound counsel regarding your options. The Lions Injury Lawyers help people throughout California bounce back after an accident. If you are wondering what to do and how you will recover, the attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers will be more than happy to give you a free case assessment, as well as recommend medical providers that may be willing to provide high quality healthcare at no cost up front.

Going With a "Local" Attorney: Pros and Cons

After a car accident in which you were injured, you may wisely decide to discuss your case with an injury attorney. The benefits of talking about what happened can be great, and there really is no risk - all injury attorneys will gladly discuss your incident free of cost. But before you get on the phone, which law firm or attorney should you call? This blog post will address the pros and cons of going with a "local" attorney.

What To Look For In an Injury Attorney

Consider first that your lawyer will be your advocate, your representative. You want he or she to be familiar with all aspects of injury law where you live. If you live in California, this means the lawyer will be admitted to practice law in California. The laws regarding injuries are the same in California whether you live in San Diego or San Francisco. In this regard, the attorney who's office is down the block from where you live is not more qualified or experienced to handle your car crash if the accident happened locally. More important than geography is experience and expertise in the specific practice of injury law. Thus, if the attorney practices injury law exclusively, he or she may be more likely to be successful in handling your claim than a "generalist" attorney. This is similar to medicine. If you have a specific injury, say to your eye, you could certainly visit your primary care physician, who would be able to help you with your injury, to some extent. However, a doctor specialized in eye injuries, such as an opthamologist, would certainly have the expertise and experience to give you thorough, high-quality care. The law is similar. The more specific an attorney's practice, the more likely they are to be up to speed on that specific area of law. 

Is Local Better?

In short, no. Consider that your attorney will be corresponding with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your injury claim. Your attorney will be your advocate, fighting for your fair and reasonable recover. This is done via letter, over the phone, and if necessary, in court. The vast majority of injury cases in California, no matter where you live, will settle out of court. Your attorney will be discussing your claim with attorneys for the insurance, who may be located anywhere in the country. For example, several large insurance companies have their main offices in Georgia, Arizona, and on the east coast. Their attorneys may or may not be in California. Again, technology allows representatives from all over the country to handle the matter. Thus, whether your attorney lives hours away or down the street, his or her skill in injury law is what matters, not how close you live to the office.

Should I Meet My Attorney In Person?

This may be a surprise to many people, but often times claimants (injured people who hire an attorney) never meet their attorney in person. Why? It is simply not necessary in most cases. How is this possible? Again, technology. Your attorney's office will request all medical documents directly from your doctors. You will provide the office with photographs and any applicable documents related to your California car crash, and your attorney will go from there. There are, of course, some cases where meeting in person with your attorney may be beneficial. Some attorneys utilize Skype or FaceTime, or other live video apps, to make this possible. Your attorney should be willing to meet with you personally, but don't assume you will get a better outcome if you meet with your attorney in person. Your case comes down to the facts - and you attorney's skill in advocating your injury claim. A good injury lawyer will do this regardless of whether you meet in person.

What About Going To Court?

Most car accident cases never go to court. Court is expensive, inefficient, and takes a very long time. In the end, you are not likely, in many cases, to get more money for your injury case if it goes to court. Thus, your injury lawyer will, in many cases, be able to get you just as much money outside of court, either in pre-litigation negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or any setting prior to court. If your case goes to court, your injury attorney will make appearances on your behalf, regardless of where their office is located. Therefore, injured people are usually better off choosing an attorney who handles lots of injury cases, rather than just choosing the lawyer who has an office in town or down the road, or where the accident happened. In most cases, where the attorney's office is physically located is not important. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent clients throughout the state of California, from San Diego all the way to the Oregon state line. The Lions Injury Lawyers practices injury law exclusively. Wondering what your case is worth, how to proceed, or what you should be doing after a car crash? Call the Lions Injury Lawyers to discuss your car crash case with an attorney today. 

Tips for Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, regardless of how experienced you are. Because we see so many motorcycle cases where our clients are not at fault but still suffer serious injury, we thought we'd put together a few tips for the motorcycle community. 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Most riders think that so long as they know how to operate the motorcycle, the rest will come naturally. For this reason, many riders forego taking a safety course, or even reading the safety manual that comes with most new bikes. The tuition for motorcycle safety courses is usually a lot lower than most riders expect, and the proper course could make all the difference. Most riders who have taken a course attest to the value of what they learn in the course.

WATCH FOR CARS TURNING LEFT

Cars turning left into motorcycles is the most common cause of motorcycle versus car accidents. Drivers of cars turning left often have a hard time discerning how fast the motorcycle is driving. When riding, pay close attention to cars turning left in front of you, or into your same lane. The knowledge that left hand turns account for the most injury-related accidents involving cars and motorcycles alone may help riders be more cautious and aware.

LANE CHANGES

Similar to left hand turns, changing lanes can be difficult for automobile drivers when it comes to evaluating how fast the vehicles surrounding the driver are moving. For this reason, riders should pay special attention to areas of the road where cars are likely to attempt a lane change. Remember, not all drivers use their blinkers, and many drivers fail to check their blind spot prior to moving into another lane. Be attentive and keep an eye out for lazy and distracted drivers who might merge into the lane you're riding in without looking.

REAR END ACCIDENTS

Unfortunately, many injured motorcyclists are hit from behind by inattentive and distracted drivers. Remember, your brake light, no matter how bright, is smaller than the brake light of a car (which has two large brake lights). 

When braking, remember to pump your brakes. This is not only better for the wear and tear on your bike, but it also makes your brake light flash on and off, which tends to draw the attention of other drivers on the road. Also, when you do come to a stop, do so not directly behind the vehicle in front of you, but to the side, if space allows. 

SAND AND GRAVEL

Especially on turns, sand or gravel on the road can be especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. If one of your wheels slips too much, losing control of your bike can happen quickly and recovery from a slide can be difficult, if not impossible. Take extra precaution when riding in areas known to have debris, gravel, and sand on the road. Similarly, when riding in the early morning hours or late at night, be aware that more condensation on the road can lead to minimized grip between your tires and the road. 

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in California and you need an experienced attorney to help you recover, call our office today. We will provide you with a full consultation at no cost to you, and we'll advise you as to your best options moving forward.