Driving is risky for everyone, but motorcyclists are at a higher risk of injuries because motorcycles lack the protection that cars, trucks, and buses provide. The primary cause of motorcycle accidents where the motorcyclist is the victim is reckless driving. Note that reckless drivers and Insurance companies of the faulty parties will do anything to reduce the possible compensation. We advise you to get in touch with an expert law firm like the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney to help defend your rights, hold the responsible parties liable for your injuries, and pursue fair compensation.
Overview of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is the wanton disregard of traffic and safety rules while on the road. Any major traffic violation that causes injuries to a motorcyclist, pedestrians, other drivers, or passengers amounts to reckless driving. Eating or using the phone while driving, on the other hand, is careless driving, and if an accident doesn’t occur, but you are caught, the punishment is a traffic ticket or fine.
Drivers are deemed reckless when they know certain conduct is likely to cause harm and still deliberately engage in the conduct, disregarding this risk. Failure to take safety precautions is not reckless. Instead, it is knowingly disregarding that there are higher chances of another person sustaining injuries. Reckless drivers are held to a higher standard, more significant than negligent drivers.
Reckless driving involves:
- Driving without headlights
- Drinking and driving
- Failure to obey a red light or stop sign
Reckless Driving Towards Motorcyclist
A driver can engage in various actions or behavior that puts a motorcyclist at risk. Some of these conducts include:
A significant number of motorcycle accidents where the motorcyclist is the victim involve excessive speeding by drivers. If a motorist is driving too fast, the reaction time will be less, which means they are less likely to spot a motorcyclist on their lane and slow down, thus resulting in an accident. The small size of motorcycles makes it difficult for some drivers to spot them. Thus, if a driver is driving at high speed, there are high chances of causing a reckless driving motorcycle accident. The motorcyclist will be hit before the driver can slow down or stop.
Motorists are encouraged by the law to maintain a minimum distance of two vehicles between them and the motorcyclist in front. The reason being a motorcycle can apply brakes and stop faster than a car. When a motorist violates this rule and follows a motorbike too closely, if the motorcyclist spots something like a pothole or must stop instantly, the motorist is likely to hit the motorcycle from behind, causing injuries and property damage.
Failure to See Motorcyclists
A significant cause of reckless driving motorcycle accidents is the driver failing to see the motorcyclists in a blind spot or rearview mirror. Drivers who are used to riding motorcycles are in a better position to spot motorbikes on the road than others. It means a driver who is more attentive on the roadway will see a bike than the one who ignores that there may be motorcyclists on the road. Assuming there are no motorcyclists on the street is reckless driving, and it’s the reason why many drivers don’t see motorcyclists on the highway hence hitting them.
Squeezing Motorcycles Out of the Lane
Some reckless drivers don’t prefer sharing lanes with motorcyclists. As such, they bully them by edging them off the road or infringe on their driving space, thus causing accidents. These actions amount to reckless driving and could result in serious injuries.
Cutting Off a Motorcycle
Drivers are encouraged not to cut off other motor vehicles when driving. But many motorists disregard this common courtesy when they fail to notice a motorcycle on the road or assume that they will bully the small size of motorbike into forcing them to slow down, allowing them space to make their maneuvers. Doing so is reckless driving and can cause severe injuries for the motorcyclist.
Drunk or drugged driving impairs the physical and mental abilities of a driver, thus increasing the chances of colliding with motorcyclists. Alcohol or drugs impairs a driver’s capacity to estimate the speed of a motorcyclist or its distance. Also, alcohol lowers motorist’s reflexes or delays their response, which puts motorcyclists sharing the road with such drivers at high risk of suffering catastrophic injuries.
Failure to Signal
Drivers are required to signal whenever they intend to do something so that other road users, including motorcyclists, can know what the driver is planning to do. Unfortunately, motorists do not always signal. They change lanes or make turns without signaling, thus creating a dangerous situation that results in a motorcycle accident. Drivers are encouraged to take at least five seconds after signaling before changing lanes or making a turn.
Failure to Obey Red Lights or Stop Signs
In most intersections, you will find traffic control devices like red lights and stop signs. Drivers exhibit reckless driving behavior when they try to hurry through a red light or stop sign, which results in motorcycle accidents.
The number of motorcyclists on the road today has increased than they were decades ago. So, there is no reason motorists should not watch out for the safety of the motorcyclists.
What to do after a Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident
If a driver engages in reckless behaviors while driving and collides with you as a motorcyclist, there are things that you should do after the accident, regardless of the damages. Some of these things include:
Check Yourself and Other Casualties for Injuries
Reckless driving motorcycle accidents are usually severe and catastrophic. For this reason, it is less likely that you will not sustain injuries. If you or other people involved in the crash have been hurt, the first thing you should do is to request an emergency response by calling 911. Regardless of whether you have suffered injuries or not, seeking medical examination is paramount.
Seeking medical attention after this kind of accident is advisable as the doctor can assess the damages incurred. If you have any injuries that cannot be seen, a medical examination will help spot these injuries and address them before they get out of hand. Some of the injuries you are likely to sustain include:
- Leg injuries
- Muscle damage
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
If you commence treatment for these injuries right away after the crash, there is a higher possibility of you recovering. Seeking medical attention is also the first step towards gathering evidence for a personal injury claim. Ensure you request for the medical reports and share them with your Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney.
After the accident, make sure you and the victims move to safer grounds. Staying at the same point makes you susceptible to more injuries. Take note that not all victims can be relocated. If the injuries are so severe, moving someone will worsen the situation. The emergency response team should handle such victims because they have the training and equipment to handle the victims with care. When moving to a safer point, notify other road users about the accident using warning triangles and flares. You do so to ensure more accidents don’t occur at the scene.
Being involved in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless behavior of a motorist can trigger a lot of anger. However, you are encouraged to maintain a calm demeanor and not engage in any argument or physical confrontation with the responsible driver. Doing so will help avoid statements or actions that might be used against you during the claim. As mentioned in the introduction, reckless drivers will try all means to minimize their actions despite being aware that they are responsible for the accident. So, don’t do anything that will strengthen their defense.
Calmness will allow you to gather composure and collect relevant evidence that will enable you to build your case. The information you pick should be accurate and should focus on crucial areas of the crash. Some of the information that will be instrumental in your compensation claim includes:
- License plate numbers of the reckless driver
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Insurance provider of the reckless driver and policy number of the vehicle in question
- The badge number of the law enforcement officer at the scene
- The police report number
In the event there are witnesses at the scene, get their contact information and a statement about the crash.
Don’t Leave the Scene
You are encouraged to remain at the scene until the police arrive to ensure no one interferes with the evidence. Staying at the stage is beneficial because you get to share your side of the story. If you leave, the officers will get the reckless driver’s account, which means most of the evidence in the police report will be in the liable party’s favor. However, if you are in pain or discomfort, don’t insist on staying at the scene because the injuries might become life-threatening.
Give your Side of the Story
When the officers get to the scene, report to them about the accident. Share the necessary information on what happened to result in the crash. However, you should not admit responsibility for the accident. When the police are done preparing the report, you should get a copy because the account will speed up the claim.
Notify your Insurer
If you don’t inform your insurance company about the accident, they might deny you the claim. Therefore, notify them right away after the collision. Provide basic information like the location and time of the crash. If they demand more information about the events leading to the accident and your injuries, it’s best to let your attorney handle the matter. The reason being insurers assume motorcyclists are more reckless than motorists, which means they will try to hold you accountable for the crash.
Insurers are in this business for profit, so they might undercompensate or not compensate you. As such, you should speak to a legal practitioner with knowledge about motorcycle accidents to improve the chances of receiving compensation. An experienced injury attorney will ensure you receive payment enough to cover all your damages.
Also, note that insurers might deny you a claim because of a simple thing like not wearing a helmet. Therefore, be careful about what you say to insurance adjusters because they are only looking for a reason to deny you a claim or undercompensate.
Hire a Profound Motorcycle Accident Legal Advocate
At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we have the expertise needed to handle motorcycle accident cases. Our attorneys will advise you accordingly on the right legal steps to take towards receiving maximum compensation. An experienced attorney will prove useful when:
- Wrongful accusations are being made against you
- Your insurer denies you a claim
- Your medical or motorcycle damages exceed insurance coverage
An attorney will speak to the police, witnesses, and your doctor to gather more evidence about the accident and ensure that reckless drivers award you the damages you deserve of the reckless driving motorcycle accident.
Also, keep in mind that you only have two years to file a claim and six months if the liable party is a government agency. You should, therefore, contact an attorney immediately after the crash to ensure you have enough time to file a claim before losing this constitutional right.
If you do not require immediate medical attention, take pictures of the scene or even record a video capturing the vehicle that hit your motorcycle, its license plate numbers, and the damages done on your motorbike. If you can’t, the officer at the scene or a witness can take the pictures or record the video on your behalf.
Make sure that you don’t take the motorbike for repairs before you consult with your attorney. Our attorneys work with motorcycle experts who will examine the bike to rule out the accident was caused by a faulty part or design. By reviewing the damage done on the motorcycle, the experts can also tell how the accident occurred and whether the motorcycle should be repaired or replaced.
Types of Evidence to Prove Liability
Several documents and other pieces of evidence are necessary to ensure maximum compensation for your claim. The various types of evidence you need include:
- A police report
- Witness statements
- Images of photos of the scene, damages, and injuries
- Medical records
- Surveillance footage of the crash from local businesses
- Accident reconstruction expert’s testimony
Note that you will also need evidence to prove economic damages. Some of the pieces of evidence you will require are:
- Doctor’s bills
- Documents showing days you have missed work
- Expert testimony from an economist on the loss of future earning capability
- Expert testimony from a medical practitioner about your recovery
- Bills from rehabilitation centers
Compensation for Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Your personal injury attorney will use all the above evidence to ensure you receive compensation for:
- Doctor bills related to severe and continuing injuries
- Lost income and loss of future earning capability
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of pleasure of life
- Wrongful death where the victim dies
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
Note that to receive the above benefits, you must prove the responsible driver was operating the vehicle recklessly, and the recklessness is what caused the injuries. To demonstrate liability on the part of the driver, you must prove the following:
- The driver should have acted in a particular way or adhered to specific guidelines
- He or she failed to do so by violating traffic laws
- The violation caused you, as a motorcyclist to crash, thus causing your injuries
- You suffered real losses due to the motorcycle accident and injuries
You can also pursue punitive damages to punish the driver for reckless behavior and discourage others from engaging in the same in the future. You must prove the following to receive punitive damages:
- The conduct or action by the defendant was carried out with wanton disregard of the rights and safety of other road users
- The conduct by the defendant subjected you as the plaintiff to unjust hardship in deliberate disregard of your rights
- It was made with the intention of the defendant to cause injuries
Wrongful Death Claim
You could pursue wrongful death claim damages if your spouse or partner was killed in a reckless driving motorcycle accident crash. The surviving family members or relatives of the deceased are the ones that claim these damages. The claim seeks to recover damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and support
- Lost financial earnings
Find a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
Reckless driving is a threat to the safety of all road users, including passengers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. While there are criminal punishments for reckless driving such as imprisonment, hefty fines, and license suspension, victims of these accidents are left dealing with severe consequences. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney is here to give victims of reckless driving motorcycle accident relief by ensuring they receive compensation. Call us today at 424-231-2013 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.