The best thing about motorcycles is the freedom, convenience and sheer thrill they give riders. However, riding a motorcycle exposes you to an increased risk of injury should an accident occur, especially where other motorists act with negligence. In fact, you are 9 times more likely to be injured in a motorcycle accident compared to a car accident. The risk for death is even higher – motorcycles are 37 times more likely to cause fatalities compared to cars.
The risk for injury and death increases significantly where the motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Where a drug-related motorcycle accident is due to the negligence of another party, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Our team at the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney is here to help you with filing a personal injury lawsuit. We are dedicated to ensuring you get compensated for your injuries. Read on to find out more about drug-related motorcycle accidents.
An Overview of Motorcycle Accidents
Riding a motorcycle exposes riders to risks of injuries and fatalities while on the road. You can sustain multiple injuries in many parts of your body such as neck and head injuries, paralysis, spinal injuries, fractures, burns (where the motorcycle overturns and the fuel tank leaks), road rash, joint breakages, concussions, eye damage, scarring, and knee injuries. These injuries require medical care which can be expensive. The common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
Negligence of drivers: Motor vehicle drivers may be negligent on the road by acting in ways that endanger the safety of a motorcyclist. For instance, where the driver intentionally ignores the motorcyclists’ right of way, they are likely to cause an accident.
Unsafe lane changes: Motorists may change lanes carelessly, putting them in the way of a motorcyclist, which increases the chances of accidents.
Sudden stops: When the vehicle ahead of a motorcycle stops suddenly, the motorcycle can rear-end the car thereby causing a collision. The rider may be thrown off the bike due to the impact of braking, which can even lead to death.
Left-hand turns: Left-hand turns are a major cause of motorcycle accidents. A left-hand turn can result in an accident when:
The motorcycle is going through an intersection or overtaking
The driver of the car is not paying enough attention to the road
The driver overestimate your position on their blind spot leading to a collision
Road hazards: Road hazards that contribute to motorcycle accidents include slippery pavements, potholes, and defects in the motorcycle, tree leaves, and animals. If you are injured in an accident caused by a road hazard, then your lawyer will help you in identifying the party at fault.
Negotiating corners: Negotiating corners exposes a lot of motorcycle riders to danger. Corners do not allow motorcycle riders or oncoming vehicles to see other approaching motorists, which may result in accidents. For instance, a motorcyclist may turn too hard or too fast, leading to an accident. Where the sudden turn is due to the negligence of another driver (e.g. where the driver tries to overtake at a corner), then such an accident can be blamed on that driver.
Collision with stationary objects such as buildings.
Vehicles getting into the lane of the cyclist.
Towing vehicles in front of motorcycles.
The fatalities and injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents increase due to:
The absence of a protective body like that of vehicles. Your whole body is exposed, meaning you are more likely to take the full impact of the accident on your body.
Motorcycles are less stable compared to vehicles. Since motorcycles operate on two wheels, they are easy to destabilize and throw off course. In addition, riders have to focus on maintaining balance to avoid crashing or falling off the motorcycle.
Motorcycles are harder to spot compared to cars. Accidents may happen because other drivers find it hard to spot motorcycles while on the road. In cases when they notice them, the response time might be so small that they end up injuring the motorcyclist.
Failure to wear a helmet: A helmet can save your life by 40% when an accident happens. It protects your head, therefore, preventing serious injury to your head. The California Vehicle Code 27803 requires that all motorcyclists wear a helmet. Thus, it is an offense to ride without a helmet. When you have a drug-related accident without a helmet, then you are likely to be found partly at fault for the injuries you sustain. Every time you ride a bike, wear protective gear to reduce the impact of the injury and reduce fatality should you be involved in an accident.
Speeding: Like in cars, driving over the speed limit is a culprit in motorcycle accidents. When motorcyclists ride under the influence, their likelihood of crashing increases as their response time reduces significantly.
Inexperience: When the driver is inexperienced, then the risk of accidents increases because they are not sure about how to respond to situations or have not adjusted to driving together with motorcyclists.
Age: Older motorists have an increased risk of being in a motorcycle accident and sustaining serious injuries due to their fragility, reduced visibility and reduced speed of response to impending danger.
Drugs and alcohol: Drug-related motorcycle accidents happen either because the driver of the vehicle is drunk or the motorcyclist is drunk or under the influence of drugs. In most of the cases, drunk or intoxicated driving or riding not only puts the life of the operator at risk but exposes other road users to an unnecessary threat to their safety and well-being.
Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
Drug-related motorcycle accidents are those that happen when the motorist or other motorcyclist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These drugs include prescription medicines and recreational drugs that affect the normal brain function, leading to impaired judgment and irresponsibility on the road. Intoxication from drugs increases the risk of crashing by five times. When the concentration of alcohol is higher, the risk for injuries and fatalities increases greatly.
When the alcohol concentration of either the driver of the vehicle or the motorcyclist is above 0.8% BAC, that person is intoxicated and should not be legally driving or riding. As mentioned before, alcohol impairs the brain function of the operator and increases the chances for misjudgment and accidents.
Common motorcycle accidents that result from intoxication involve group rides meant for entertainment and recreation. Group riders are more likely to ignore safety rules such as drinking and riding. When such a group rides when drunk or under the influence of drugs, they are likely to over speed, take the wrong lanes or even fail to adhere to any traffic rules. They may take unnecessary risks that expose them and other road users to danger. When such intoxicated driving happens at night, the risk for causing an accident increases significantly.
California law charges drug-related motorcycle accidents as DUI causing injury to others under California Vehicle Code 23153. This law protects road users and motorcyclists against injury from drivers. What this means is that the driver will face a DUI charge and where the motorcyclist or injured party chooses to, the person will also face a personal injury lawsuit.
Some of the drugs which have contributed to motorcycle accidents include:
Prescription drugs that cause drowsiness
Recreational drugs that impair the normal functioning of the brain
Drug-related motor accidents can also happen where a motorcyclist, under the influence of drugs, hit a pedestrian, property or collides into the car of another person. In such cases, the injured parties can sue the motorcyclist for damages.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the police will probably collect the BAC of both drivers, check their licensing and training and collect witness statements. You can use these reports, in addition to your own testimony, to provide evidence to the court that the driver or operator was negligent and their negligence resulted in your injuries.
Recoverable Damages in Drug-Related Motor Accidents
When the negligence of another driver or motorcyclist leads to your injury, you have the right to be compensated for damages you suffer. Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious and life-changing injuries that can have lasting effects such as disability, loss of limbs, chronic pain and back pain. With the help of your lawyer, you should be able to recover damages to cover for medical costs, loss of income, loss of earning ability, property loss and pain and suffering.
The amount of compensation you receive for each category depends on the type of injury and the circumstances of the accident. In most cases, the medical bills for you or your loved one may put a strain on your finances. You can sue the at-fault party requesting for reimbursement of medical costs to cover treatment, surgery, medication and any therapy or rehabilitation required to help in your full recovery. In some cases, the accident could require a lifetime of medical care making the need for compensation even greater.
Where the accident prevents you from doing your regular job, you can sue the other party for loss of income and in some cases, loss of earning power. The latter happens if an accident leads to permanent disability which affects your overall ability to compete favorably in the job market. An accident may also limit the type of work you can do. Your lawyer should be able to negotiate your case favorably so you are compensated for your loss.
In most accidents, both the motorcyclist and the motorcycle suffer damage. Where your motorcycle is damaged, whether partially or fully, the other party should compensate you for destroyed or damaged property. Often, the insurance company of the respondent will offer you a settlement for the damaged bike. The compensation you receive will pay for any repairs required in reconstructing your bike and in other cases, get you a new bike. If you can still ride after your recovery, it is wise to seek property damages.
Pain and suffering resulting from motorcycle accidents attract a varying amount of compensation depending on how well your lawyer negotiates your case, and the evidence you present to the court. Ideally, you can keep a journal of your pain and emotional distress to document your feelings during your recovery period. A convincing case of emotional, psychological and physical pain will make a good case and attract a higher amount of damages.
Some motorcycle accidents are fatal and can result in the death of your loved ones. In such a case, the surviving spouse or family may receive compensation for the wrongful death. While money cannot replace the lost person, the damages for the death you receive will give you a sense of justice. Your family will receive compensation for loss of companionship, burial expenses and medical expenses incurred after the accident.
What Happens When you are Injured By An Intoxicated Motorcyclist?
Passengers of motorcycles are also at risk of sustaining injuries in drug-related motorcycle accidents. When the accident leads to injury, you can sue the cyclist. You have the right to sue the motorcyclist if they played a part in the accident, whether a car was involved or not. In a personal injury lawsuit against the motorcyclist, you have to prove that they acted in negligence which resulted in your injuries.
A motorcyclist under the influence of drugs can hurt pedestrians, whether on or off the road. In either way, they are responsible for the accident and should compensate you for the damages they cause.
Dealing with Insurance Firms After a Drug-Related Motorcycle Accident
As soon as you are involved in an accident, you should consult the insurance provider of the at-fault party for settlement for the injuries you sustain. You are supposed to file the claim as soon as possible, mostly within 24 hours of the accident. Also, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early medical treatment eliminates the possibility of the insurance company denying your claims on the basis that your injuries are not serious or are not related to the accident.
Once you send your claim, the insurance adjuster comes up with a settlement offer meant to compensate you for your damages and avoid a lawsuit. Since insurance companies are business ventures looking to make a profit, they are most likely going to present you with a settlement offer that hardly covers all your damages.
It is always advisable to decline these offers. Once you accept the settlement offer, you lose your chance of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Insurance companies rush to give the injured party a compensation offer to avoid the risk of a lawsuit. This is because personal injury lawsuit increases the risk that they will pay a lot of money if the plaintiff wins the case.
In calculating the settlement offer, the insurance company takes into consideration the actual medical costs, the nature of your injuries, damages to property and loss and suffering damages. After computing these amounts, they then decide on the highest amount they are willing to pay. They then place the offer at 25% or more below this amount. This gives them a room within which to negotiate.
In case you are injured in a drug-related motorcycle accident, hire a personal injury attorney to help you with the case. Take the insurance company’s offer through your lawyer so that they can provide you with sound legal advice on whether the settlement covers the damages from the injury.
The personal injury attorney will help you in gathering the relevant evidence, including medical records, police reports, and witness statements to prove that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Also, the lawyer will assess your damages and their worth to help you determine the amount you can settle for.
Afterward, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company in trying to get you a better offer. The response of the insurance company will determine whether you proceed to court or not.
When you and your lawyer feel that the compensation amount is low, you can file a lawsuit in court. Once the lawsuit is filed, you have to attend various court processes to determine whether you deserve the compensation and the amount you will receive. At this stage, the court will decide on the most appropriate compensation that will cover all your damages.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Drug-related motorcycle accidents expose their victims to a lot of serious injuries and even death. The pain, loss, and damages left behind by such accidents cannot be compensated just by money. However, the money provides a cushion against financial loss, provides a sense of justice and closure for many of its victims or bereaved families. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney will hold your hand throughout your recovery as you fight for just compensation. We will provide you with sound advice, help you in gathering evidence and negotiate a fair compensation for you. Call our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer today at 424-231-2013 if you need help seeking proper compensation as a victim of a drug-related motorcycle accident.