Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
Contact Our Santa Maria Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for the Help You Need
Why do you ride a motorcycle? The answer to that question is different depending on who you ask. Some enjoy riding because of the beautiful scenery you get to explore. Some like it for the unparalleled freedom riding offers. Everyone has a different reason to ride, but all riders take on certain dangers every time they get in the saddle.
Motorcycling can be a dangerous hobby/motorsport. Riders often only have a helmet and leather protecting them from the road, debris and other vehicles. This is why every rider deserves the added support of a Santa Maria motorcycle accident lawyer.
Though an attorney cannot help you avoid a crash, what they can do afterward is just as important. At the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates, we help riders put their lives back together after a crash. We offer support to help you and your family recover the compensation you need. Our caring compassion builds our clients up during their journey of healing.
How Often Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in California?
California may be the best place to ride in the entire country. We have great roads and destinations such as Pacific Coast Highway, the Redwood Forest, and the Sierra National Forest. The laws in our state are also very friendly to motorcyclists. We even hold the honor of being the only state in the U.S. that allows safe lane-splitting in traffic. It is no wonder that there are more motorcycles registered in California than in any other state. However, there is one drawback to this riding freedom. More motorcycle accidents happen here in California.
Almost 14,500 California motorcycle crashes resulted in fatalities or injuries in 2017. Motorcycle accidents make up around 15% of traffic deaths in our state, but only 3 percent of California vehicle registrations are motorcycles. So, why are so many motorcyclists injured in our state? Often reckless drivers are at fault.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Drivers of cars, trucks, SUV’s and other four-wheeled vehicles often pose the greatest danger to motorcyclists. These drivers forget that motorcyclists do not have seat belts, airbags and cabins protecting them from danger. This leaves riders vulnerable to hazards such as:
- Open Vehicle Doors – Sometimes, vehicle occupants fail to check if the way is clear before opening their door. This has led to serious crashes. This is even a danger for motorcyclists who are safely lane-splitting in slow-moving traffic.
- Rear-End Crashes – Even a slow-moving vehicle can cause serious damage and injuries if it hits a motorcycle from behind. Damage to the motorcycle can be thousands of dollars. Injuries to the motorcyclist could lead to months of recovery.
- Lane Changes – Drivers who fail to notice motorcycles traveling next to them can cause serious damage. If they come over on an adjacent motorcyclist, the resulting crash can be severe and possibly deadly.
- Vehicles Turning Left – These are the most common and deadliest motorcycle crashes. When drivers fail to sight motorcyclists before making a left-hand turn, there is very little a rider can do. Broken bones, head trauma, spinal injuries or worse are often the result.
In California, drivers owe other motorists a duty of care while driving. This includes motorcyclists. Neglecting this duty can have serious repercussions. And the law holds negligent drivers responsible for the harm done to motorcyclists.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
In the event of a motorcycle crash, you need to remember several key points:
- Get Out of Harm’s Way – If your crash happened in the middle of a highway, get off the road and away from the wreckage. Make sure you and anyone else involved in the crash are safe. Also, remember not to remove your safety gear like your jacket or helmet. These items give you protection both during a crash and after.
- Always Seek Medical Attention – Not every injury suffered in a motorcycle accident is instantly apparent. The adrenaline from the crash may have dulled your sense of pain. Injuries such as a brain bleed may not cause pain or be outwardly visible. However, if left untreated, such an injury can prove fatal. You can also use your medical records as evidence in any subsequent lawsuits or insurance negotiations.
- Call the Authorities – Once again, it is important to get help for anyone who has suffered an injury. Calling emergency services will expedite this process. Authorities can assess the scene and make sure everyone is safe. The police will also make a report that could help you if you have to go to court, so cooperate with officers.
- Gather Evidence – Do you have a camera in your smartphone? Take pictures and video of the crash scene. Were there people around who saw the crash? Get their contact info. Their testimony could be important.
- Exchange Information With the Other Party – No matter who is responsible for the crash, both sides will need to communicate later. You should get the other driver’s name, phone number, license plate number and insurance information. Do not apologize to the other party. The court may construe such an apology as an admission of fault.
- File an Insurance Claim – This is often the first step in recovering damages after an accident. However, avoid volunteering any extra information. Do not interpret what you think happened, just stick to the facts. In most cases, it may be wiser to talk to an attorney before you talk to your insurance company or the other party’s carrier. It may help you avoid saying something that could hurt your chances of getting fair compensation.
How Can a Santa Maria Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?
When you are recovering from a motorcycle crash, the last thing you need to worry about is paperwork, court dates and insurance companies. A skilled Santa Maria motorcycle accident lawyer can help. At the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates, we help our clients gather evidence and negotiate with insurance companies. If the need arises, we can even take your case to court. Most of all, we are here for our clients and their needs during this difficult time.
For more information about our caring and compassionate service, fill out our online contact form or call us at (805) 608-3743.