Walnut Creek Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Walnut Creek Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you own a motorcycle – or are considering buying a bike – then you know firsthand just how incredible the experience of hitting the open road on a motorcycle can be. Yet along with this sense of freedom and fun comes serious risks.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded increases in motorcycle accident fatalities in 13 of the last 14 years. The statistics underscore just how serious motorcycle accident risks are, and the devastating nature of these accidents. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of motorcyclists on our roads.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t necessarily coincided with increased motorist awareness of motorcyclists’ rights.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. The Appel Law Firm will work with you to get the best possible outcome for your motorcycle accident claim, fighting to get you top dollar for your property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. Contact our law offices today to schedule a free consultation with a Walnut Creek motorcycle accident attorney. 

Motorcycle Accident Causes

Many motorists believe that motorcyclists have no place on the highways. This attitude creates a hostile and potentially hazardous situation for motorcyclists.  Such ignorance or lack of awareness towards motorcyclist rights can be seen in the fact that so many accidents are traced to the failure to yield to motorcyclists.  In fact, failure to yield is one of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents.

In 1981, the Hurt Report, a groundbreaking motorcycle safety study, found that most motorcycle accidents occur due to several primary factors:

  • Failure to see the motorcycle by the car driver 
  • Violation of the motorcyclist’s right-of-way

In fact, as many as two-thirds of motorcycle accidents were linked to these causes.  Flash forward to several decades later and not much has changed.  These two factors continue to be the major causes of motorcycle collisions.

Many accidents are also caused because motorists turn right in front of motorcycles, without considering that a motorcyclist has a much more serious risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.  The kind of accident that can occur in a situation like this can throw a motorcyclist several feet away from the point of impact, causing serious injuries or death.

In some cases, it is readily apparent that another driver caused your motorcycle accident – such as a car pulling out in front of a motorcycle and striking it. In other cases, a motorcycle crash may be caused by a poorly maintained road or even a dangerous or defective part. If someone else caused your accident, whether it be another driver, a government agency, or the manufacturer of a motorcycle part, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.

Proving fault in motorcycle accident cases can be difficult. A seasoned Walnut Creek personal injury attorney will thoroughly investigate the facts of the crash, interviewing witnesses, analyzing accident reports, reviewing photos and videos of the scene, and more. They will then put together a claim for compensation that is supported by both the facts and California law – and fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.

Lane Splitting Laws in California: What Do the Riders Think?

Imagine this scenario: You are stuck in your car in bumper-to-bumper traffic and a motorcycle comes whizzing past you by splitting the lane between your car and the lane next to you. Is the motorcyclist committing an illegal traffic maneuver by driving between lanes? Well, the answer is no!

This answer may surprise you and as revealed in a survey conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety, you were not alone. The survey revealed that only 53 percent of people thought that lane-splitting by motorcyclists was legal.

Why did more than half of the people surveyed think that it was illegal? Well, interesting enough, California is the ONLY state to legalize lane-splitting by motorcyclists. While there is not an explicit code section in the California Vehicle Code that allows for lane-splitting, motorcyclists must still follow the basic speed rule that requires all persons to act reasonably in the operation of their vehicles. Specifically, it states that it is unlawful to operate a vehicle at a speed that is unreasonable for the given traffic and roadway conditions. [California Law, Vehicle Code Section 22350]

Motorcyclists should be reminded that the key to safe lane splitting is driving in a “safe and prudent manner, being cognizant of overall traffic speeds, speed differences, spacing and lane changing patterns of surrounding traffic.”

Enhanced Risk of Injury In Motorcycle Accident Injuries

The toll in motorcycle accidents is so heavy because these are typically devastating accidents that result in serious injuries.  A motorcyclist has very little protection from injuries in an accident, except for his helmet.  Even a helmet may not completely guarantee protection from traumatic brain injuries.  As a result, a motorcyclist can suffer from a range of injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and blunt force trauma that can prove fatal.

The potential for serious, life-altering injuries in motorcycle crashes makes it all the more important that accident victims work with an experienced Walnut Creek motorcycle accident lawyer. In a motorcycle accident claim, you may recover money for:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Medical bills
  • Future medical treatment
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Too often, insurance companies focus on the direct financial losses – known as economic damages – that an accident victim suffers. They often downplay the intangible losses (noneconomic damages), like the emotional trauma of being in a wreck, that are just as important. A fair settlement for a motorcycle accident should include financial compensation for all of your losses – and get as close as possible to making you whole again.

This is particularly critical in motorcycle accident cases that involve serious injuries. A settlement should not just include money for current medical expenses, but for treatment and other needs going forward. For example, if you will need to modify your home and/or vehicle to make it accessible or will require ongoing treatment, that should be included as part of your motorcycle accident settlement.

The best way to get the money that you deserve for a motorcycle crash is by working with an experienced Walnut Creek motorcycle accident attorney. They will advocate for you with the at-fault party’s insurance company, file a lawsuit to protect your legal rights, and if necessary, take the case to trial to ask a jury to return a verdict in your favor. In this way, your lawyer will help you get maximum compensation for your losses.

How Appel Law Firm Can Help

Being in a motorcycle accident can be incredibly traumatic. It also carries a substantial risk of severe, life-altering injuries. If you have been hurt in this type of crash, then you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident.

The Appel Law Firm advocates for the rights of accident victims throughout Northern California, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle crashes. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Walnut Creek motorcycle accident attorney, give us a call at 925-938-2000 or fill out our online contact form.

The California accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP represent persons who have been injured in motorcycle accidents across California.