Differences between california motorcycle and car crash lawsuits
How to ensure you receive maximum compensation following a California motorcycle crash
Car and motorcycle accidents can be caused by several factors, including reckless driving, driving under the influence or even mechanical issues. Regardless of the cause, California motorcycle accidents can lead to severe injuries and even death in some cases. Most motorcycle accident victims think they’ll receive the same treatment as car crash victims, but, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
The same “rules of the road” may apply in both cases, but insurance companies and juries often view motorcycle accidents differently. Before filing your lawsuit, you need to understand the difference between motorcycle and car crash lawsuits. This way, you can present a stronger case before the insurance company or jury.
Differences between a motorcycle wreck and car accident
The open design of a motorcycle makes it inherently more dangerous to operate than a car. Below are some of the biggest differences between cars and motorcycles to keep in mind while driving in California.
Motorcycle accidents result in more severe injuries than car crashes
Before getting on your motorcycle, it's important to note that your vehicle doesn't have the same protective body frame or other safety features that cars have, which puts you at a greater risk of suffering from a catastrophic injury in case of an accident.
This discrepancy is mainly because most automakers have invested heavily in producing safe vehicles with features such as seatbelts and airbags. Many modern vehicles are also fitted with driver-assist technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, pedestrian recognition and collision alert systems. Most of these features are not found on motorcycles, making cars safer overall.
It's also worth noting that cars have a protective steel frame and airbags that are designed to cushion the driver and passengers in case of an accident. On the other hand, a motorcyclist has no protection from direct contact with another vehicle. This lack of a protective shield increases the risk of injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Some safety equipment that many motorcyclists take advantage of includes helmets, elbow and knee pads, and protective boots. According to research, helmets are an effective way of preventing deaths and reducing brain injuries in case of a motorcycle accident. However, it's best to remember that helmets can only protect you from head injuries. You’re still at risk of suffering internal injuries in the event of a crash.
Motorcycle accidents result in more fatalities compared to car accidents
According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, motorcyclists are more likely to die in a crash compared to passengers in a car. Their data showed, “Per vehicle miles traveled in 2017, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.”
NHTSA also estimates that in 2017, helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives, but they believe 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had been wearing helmets at the time of their accidents.
Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur than car accidents
According to studies, 1 factor influencing the rate of accidents with motorcycles is their size. Compared to even the smallest car, motorcycles are much smaller. Because of this, drivers often fail to see them on the road, resulting in fatal accidents. Motorcyclists are most disadvantaged when it comes to blind spots, since they’re less noticeable, increasing the chances of a collision.
Another factor that increases the chance of a motorcycle accident is their design. Unlike vehicles with 4 wheels for stability, motorcyclists have to learn how to balance their motorcycles on 2 wheels while riding. Due to this design, motorcycles are not always able to balance properly in rugged terrains or weather conditions with pooled water. The instability in motorcycles makes them more prone to accidents than cars that can typically remain balanced regardless of the terrain.
Why you should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer after an accident
Unfortunately, many people, whether they realize it or not, have biased views against motorcycle drivers. The previously mentioned NHTSA report from 2017 found that motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had the highest percentage of alcohol impairment of any other vehicles (27 percent for motorcycles, 21 percent for passenger cars, 20 percent for light trucks and 3 percent for large trucks). These statistics are perhaps 1 reason that the public may have a prejudice against motorcyclists.
One of the best ways to defend yourself in a motorcycle injury case is to get a motorcycle injury lawyer. Here are some of the ways an experienced lawyer can help your case.
Many people who don't ride motorcycles see motorcyclists as thrill-seekers. A stereotype likely resulting from a small group of motorcyclists that speed or weave through traffic. This bias can make it difficult for victims to argue their cases in court. A motorcycle injury lawyer will help by:
- Eliminating people with prejudice against motorcyclists from the juror pool
- Trying to change negative beliefs against motorcyclists that could hurt your case, such as showing the safety measures you took and explaining what you did to avoid the accident
Many people have never ridden a motorcycle and don't even know how they’re operated—this includes jurors. Because of this, jurors need to be educated on the basics of riding a motorcycle before they can fairly deliberate on your case. An experienced attorney knows how to present this information in a way that can reduce bias and increase your chances of winning the case.
Increase your chance for compensation
Many motorcycle accidents are serious and end in life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, like jurors, insurance companies often have a prejudice against motorcyclists and will try to shift blame to the victim to avoid compensating the injured rider. However, a skilled lawyer can provide legal services that protect injured riders from the cunning nature of insurance adjusters so they can receive fair compensation for their injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in California or Texas, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at MVP Accident Attorneys. Our firm specializes in personal injury law, and our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our thousands of satisfied clients over the years.
We never charge you a fee unless we win your case. So, contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.
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