Updated: Jul 24
After a motorcycle accident in California, you have one of two alternatives for pursuing compensation for your injuries: a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. It’s very important that you understand the difference between these two options as they each will have different outcomes in your legal case.
In a personal injury claim, you file an claim with your insurance company as well as the insurance company of the other driver. This initiates an investigation by insurance claims adjuster. After the investigation is finalized, you engage in negotiations directly with the insurance company, they will offer you a settlement to pay for your injuries, financial losses, and property damage.
In exchange for accepting the settlement they offer, you typically have must agree to give up your right to sue the at-fault driver in court.
A personal injury claim is usually the first step after a motorcycle accident. In most cases, the insurance company will offer you a low amount than what you actually deserve. You must understand that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company and will protect the insurance company interests all the time.
Hopefully, at this time and before you engage in any type of negotiations with the insurance company, you will be adequately represented by a great Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney who is experienced in motorcycle accidents in the state of California. He/she will pursue a personal injury lawsuit against all the parties involved.
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil legal action in which an injured victim of a motorcycle crash makes a demand for monetary damages that take into account the seriousness of his or her injuries and other losses suffered as a direct result of a the accident. Many personal injury lawsuits settle before going to trial, however, if it goes to trial a judge or jury will decide the amount of money you are entitled to receive.
Common Injuries After A Motorcycle Accident
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle fatalities have increased over 129% from 2,028 in 1997 to 4,654 in 2016. Most of the injuries in these motorcycle accidents are to the lower body. Common injuries include road rash, burns, broken bones, concussions, as well as back and spine injuries.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident?
Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney will make sure to put together a strong case in your behalf. In California, there are five elements of a standard negligence claim. An “element” is a critical building block of a legal claim. If your personal injury attorney can’t establish all of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence, your personal injury claim will not succeed.
Duty: The defendant is required by law to act in a certain way toward the victims of a motorcycle crash. In the case of a motorcycle accident involving a passenger vehicle or commercial truck, the “defendant” would be the at-fault driver. There is a legal duty for drivers of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks to exercise reasonable care toward motorcyclists on the roadway at all times.
Breach of duty: Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney must prove the driver breached his or her duty to exercise reasonable care. If a driver breaks a traffic law and hits a motorcyclist, the court will most likely recognize that the driver has breached his or her duty of care under a legal definition that is recognized in California called “negligence per se.”
Cause-in-fact: The victim of a motorcycle crash must prove that the driver caused his or her injuries and other losses. This element is referred to as “but-for” causation because the injured motorcyclist must prove that the actions of the driver caused the accident and injuries.
Proximate cause: The driver in a motorcycle accident case will only be legally and financially liable for the injuries suffered by the motorcyclist that were foreseeable as a result of the accident. In most motorcycle accident lawsuits in California, serious injuries are considered to be foreseeable consequences of negligent driving and proximate cause is almost always established.
Damages: The injured biker must show that the motorcycle accident caused him or her to suffer a serious bodily injury, financial losses, or damage to his or her motorcycle and other personal property.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer los angeles referral service to find a specialist in this field who can help you gather the evidence from the parties who were involved in the accident, law enforcement officers, your medical care providers, and other experts in order to boost your case and establish that the driver who injured you was negligent in causing your bodily injuries.
How Will Comparative Negligence Impact My Case?
There's a legal theory known as pure comparative negligence very common in California courts. Under this theory, if there is evidence shows the motorcycle driver was also at fault for the accident, the amount of money he or she receives will be reduced by the percentage of his or her responsibility.
In many motorcycle accident lawsuits, the defendant will argue that the motorcyclist was also negligent in causing the accident. This is often used as a defense tactic by the defendant's lawyers to reduce the amount of compensation you'll receive.
It's very important that you make an informed decision when hiring a motorcycle accident for your personal injury case to make sure he/she is ethical, competent and has a proven track record.
What Types of Damages Can I Pursue In A Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
In California, a plaintiff who successfully proves his/her case in court can expect to receive compensation for the following types of damages.
Costs of Past and Future Medical Treatment: This includes costs for time spent in an emergency room, hospital, treatment facility. I will also include copayments for visits to your physician or other treatment specialists, costs of prescription drugs and other medical supplies needed to treat your injuries, and the cost of any long-term physical therapy.
Compensation for Pain And Suffering: If the injuries you sustained after your motorcycle accident were severe and lead you to experience extreme pain and emotional suffering, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Your lawyer make sure to pursue compensation for this type of damage as part of your lawsuit if applicable.
Lost Wages: Many motorcycle accident victims are forced to take time off from work to recover from the serious injuries they sustained after the accident. Sometimes victims are left unable to work for extended periods of time or become permanently disabled. If you lose wages or have your ability to work is affected as a direct result of a motorcycle accident, your los angeles personal injury attorney will make sure you are compensated for your financial loss.
Damage to Property: If your motorcycle or personal property were damaged, you may also pursue compensation for the fair market value of your motorcycle and any other property at the time of the accident.