Los Angeles County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Motorcyclists face a myriad of risks every time they start up their bike. Distracted and negligent drivers often make a turn right into your path and cause substantial damage to you and your motorcycle! If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact a Los Angeles County motorcycle accident lawyer at the law offices of Duque & Price to help you recover the damages you need.

In the weeks following a motorcycle accident, you will undoubtedly be focusing on recovery, but you will also be left with numerous questions as to whether or not you have a legitimate case. As the victim, this emotional time is not optimal for making important decisions on your own. You need a team of attorneys that are experienced in the art of crafting a case within the limits of California Motorcycle Law to ensure that your rights are protected.

Motorcycle Accident Representation in Los Angeles County, CA

The attorney team at Duque & Price has a reputation in and throughout Los Angeles County for providing aggressive representation to victims of motorcycle accidents. Those who’ve suffered injury and loss in an accident deserve to recover full compensation for their losses. Our lawyers have extensive experience investigating, negotiating, preparing, and litigating our clients’ cases as we fight to hold negligent and liable parties responsible.

You only have a narrow timeframe to file a suit and get compensation from the responsible party for your accident. With the help of our expert attorneys, you can focus on your recovery while we fight on your behalf to get the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

What Is Your Case Worth?

With the almost certain likelihood of mounting medical bills, lost time at work and damage to your motorcycle, your decision to retain legal counsel is crucial. Our highly trained motorcycle accident lawyers will research and investigate the cause of your accident, will determine a fair settlement to help you through your recovery and will handle the aggressive negotiations with your insurance company and their team of lawyers.

What Types of Compensation Should Insurance Cover?

Victims of motorcycle accidents can pursue several types of recovery in their claims against the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance agents will generally be quick to contact victims in order to offer a quick settlement for the case. Unfortunately, these offers tend to represent the minimum damages for which you are owed in your case.

For this reason, it is vital that you resist the temptation to accept the offer and instead work with your attorney to pursue the maximum compensation possible.

Partnering with your motorcycle attorney is the surest method to ensure that you can secure a fair and just settlement that accurately represents your actual losses in the accident. This amount will include compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is legally obligated to cover the medical expenses associated with any injuries sustained in your accident. This includes emergency services, hospital visits, medical procedures, medication, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and other treatment costs.
  • Property loss. Victims of motorcycle accidents are also entitled to recover the costs associated with restoring their physical property, such as their motorcycle, back to its previous condition. This includes all repair and replacement costs or the fair market value of the motorcycle if it was deemed a total loss due to the accident. In addition, you should be reimbursed for towing costs, rental fees, and replacement costs for other gear, such as helmets, leather jackets, and other accessories.
  • Lost income. Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries, for which recovery can take up to several months or longer. Being unable to return to work for an extended amount of time represents a significant financial loss for which you should be compensated. When an injury leaves you permanently unable to return to the same type of work, your settlement should include damages for the loss of future earning capacity.
  • Disability. In many cases, insurance companies offer disability benefits for victims who have suffered long-term, permanent, or debilitating injuries. Though the compensation awarded by the insurance company will be limited by definition, the intention of the award is to attempt to cover the loss of quality of life and future medical costs, living expenses, and other economic losses related to your new condition.
  • Pain and suffering. Insurance companies are also liable to cover the non-economic losses associated with the accident. It isn’t enough to merely pay the newfound bills that have arisen on account of the accident. Victims who have suffered should be compensated for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish associated with their injuries and diminished quality of life.

Non-economic losses, also known as general damages, can be a challenge to quantify. Your accident attorney has extensive experience, however, in assessing and evaluating cases and will know what represents an appropriate amount that covers the overall distress experienced from your accident.

Insurance companies are legally obligated to make you “whole” after an accident, restoring you back to the condition you were in before the accident occurred. Unfortunately, this is usually not the goal of the insurance agent initiating your settlement offer.

Your insurance company will come to court heavily armed with attorneys attempting to get out of paying you what you deserve. You need a strong team of lawyers on your side to ensure that they do not get away with it! A thorough understanding of your rights and the ability to fight the insurance company will help you recover your losses and recover peacefully.

How Can a Personal Injury Claim Supplement My Compensation?

By working closely with your motorcycle accident attorney, you can enhance your settlement award amount by pursuing a personal injury claim against a negligent party. There are some forms of compensation that are beyond the scope of what an insurance company can provide, but nevertheless, you are entitled to them as a victim. If you and your attorney are able to establish fault on the basis of negligence, you can potentially recover the following additional damages:

  • Long-term medical expenses. Insurance companies will likely cover the present medical costs related to the accident. However, those settlements rarely cover the actual long-term costs that ongoing treatment requires. Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, assistive devices, and long-term physical therapy, usually requires a personal injury claim to cover the costs.
  • Loss of future earning capacity. While you can expect to recover a portion of the lost income you experienced as a result of missed work, a personal injury claim can more comprehensively compensate for the actual loss of earning capacity imposed by the extent of your injuries.Victims who are left with permanent injury or disability following a motorcycle accident are unable to return to work in the same capacity. Personal injury claims can seek the appropriate damages in these cases
  • Loss of consortium. Family members of a loved one who is killed in a motorcycle accident can pursue a wrongful death case against the at-fault party.In addition to recovering all the same damages to which their loved one would have been entitled, family members can seek compensation for their loss of consortium, which represents the intangible loss experienced in the death of a loved one, including the loss of companionship, love, and support provided by the victim.
  • Legal fees. Personal injury claims are more legally involved and often include hiring attorneys and going to trial. Those who successfully recover damages can be awarded compensation for the legal fees involved in bringing the case to trial, enabling you to recover the costs associated with securing legal counsel.
  • Punitive damages. Lastly, at-fault parties in accident cases who are guilty of committing gross negligence may be charged with punitive damages in addition to other damages owed.Judges may choose to impose these damages as a means of punishment toward the defendant rather than in an effort to reimburse the victim. Those whose actions display a blatant disregard for the safety or lives of others often experience these harsher penalties as a means of discouraging the same behavior in the future.

Proving Fault In a Los Angeles County Motorcycle Accident

Emotions and adrenaline can make an accident seem minor at the scene, but it can often turn out to be very serious for the motorcyclist involved. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles County, you should gather all available evidence during the aftermath of the accident. Our experienced team can build a strong, evidence-based case using photographs of the crash scene, police reports, medical records, forensic specialists and eyewitness statements. We focus on the hard work while you regain your health.

Comparative Fault Laws in California

California follows a standard of pure comparative negligence, which means that more than one party may be found to be partially at fault for an accident. If you are deemed to share a portion of the fault in your accident, you will receive a settlement award that is adjusted proportionally to your level or percentage of fault.

For example, if a gross settlement award of $60,000 is granted to you, but you are found to hold 10% of the fault for the accident, you will receive instead a net award of $54,000.

The benefit to you in this system is that it allows you to pursue compensation for damages even if you are mostly at fault for the accident. For example, if you are deemed 90% at fault for the same accident as above because you were speeding or riding under the influence, you could still receive an award of $6,000 for the same settlement.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies or defense lawyers will use this standard as a means to reduce their own liability by attempting to place blame for the accident onto you. They may attempt to turn any piece of evidence or statement made into an opportunity to share fault.

You will, therefore, need not only a strong accident attorney but a lawyer who is experienced in defending their clients against such claims. Our attorneys can be aggressive in pressing the negligent party to accept responsibility while remaining steadfast in protecting your full settlement award during negotiation and trial.

Proving Negligence in a Los Angeles County Motorcycle Accident

In most cases, negligent behavior by one party or another is the root cause of a motorcycle accident. However, in order to prove negligence, you and your attorney must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Duty of care. You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This is relatively simple in vehicle accidents, as all motorists owe a duty of care to others on the road. Drivers owe a particular duty of care to motorcyclists, as they are much more vulnerable to injury in the event of an accident.
  • Breach of duty of care. There are myriad ways in which a motorist can breach their duty of care, such as speeding, driving under the influence, running through a traffic light or stop sign, or breaking some other traffic violation. Failing to pay enough attention to road conditions, driving recklessly, or driving while distracted are also ways in which a driver may be considered negligent.
  • Damages. As part of your case, you would have to establish that you suffered real harm, injury, or loss in the accident. This is relatively easy to prove, but you would do well to ensure that this portion is covered thoroughly with substantial evidence to cover each claim. Keeping copies of all medical records can detail the injuries inflicted by the accident.
  • Causation. Lastly, in order for negligence to lead to accident liability, it must be proven that the injuries you sustained were directly caused by the breach of duty of care previously established. Some cases are easier than others on this point, but your attorney can use a combination of eyewitness accounts, photos from the accident scene, video surveillance, and other evidence to establish the cause.

What Parties May Be at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

Proving negligence in a case is foundational to establishing liability and pursuing compensation in a claim against the at-fault party. However, fault may not always lie, at least completely, with another motorist. Often, other parties can bear a percentage of fault for an accident, including:

  • The city. A local municipality could be liable for an accident if inadequate road conditions were a factor, such as unfilled potholes, unpainted road markings, unkempt foliage that obstructs view, or improper road signage.
  • A contractor or construction company. Construction companies that fail to demonstrate reasonable care by inadequately marking construction zones, leaving debris on the road, creating dangerous detours or alternate routes, or otherwise creating hazards for motorists could be held liable for any accident that subsequently ensues.
  • Pedestrians. Despite generally holding the right-of-way, pedestrians are equally expected to follow all road and traffic laws and owe a duty of care to others on the street. If a cyclist or a walker fails to use a designated bike lane or crosswalk, does not exercise proper caution, or recklessly enters into the path of a motorist, they may be guilty of negligence.
  • Public transportation agencies. If a motorcyclist is the victim of an accident that involves a bus, airport shuttle, or other public transportation vehicle, the agency that operates the transportation could be liable for the action or inaction of the driver.
  • Parts manufacturer. When a defective part fails to meet safety standards through poor design, improper testing, or issues with production, the parts manufacturer could be held liable if the defect directly contributed to the accident.
  • Private property owner. If a private property obstructs the visibility of an abutting road through overgrown foliage, oversized signs, or some other hazard, then the business or private owner of the property could be held responsible for the accident.

It is imperative that you speak with a qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney if you’ve been involved in an accident so they can discuss the specific details of your case with you as soon as possible. There may be more than one party at fault in your accident, and your lawyer can determine which parties to bring your case against.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles County?

If you are ready to begin your personal injury claim, you must file your case against the at-fault party as soon as possible to ensure that you do so within the statute of limitations. For personal injury claims in California, this time period is two years. To file, you must pay the appropriate filing fee with the applicable local court system and submit an official complaint and summons. If your claim is against a government agency, you only have six months to begin this process.

What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

The vulnerability of motorcycle riders makes motorcycle accidents some of the most dangerous and devastating types of vehicle accidents. Even with great care and safe riding habits, riders are susceptible to accidents for several reasons.

Common Motorcycle Accident Causes Include:

  • Negligent Drivers – Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, aggressive driving (tailgating, sudden lane changes, etc.), violating traffic laws or driving while drowsy can all lead to an accident with a motorcycle rider.
  • Defective Motorcycle Parts – Defective tires, faulty brakes or damaged fuel lines can all contribute to causing an accident for a motorcyclist.
  • Dangerous Roads – Potholes, poor lighting, broken signs, loose dirt or gravel or natural debris are all common hazards facing both motorists and motorcycle riders.

Lane Splitting in California

Although illegal in most other states, California allows motorcycle riders to ride in between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic. This is known as lane splitting. Because California regularly experiences high levels of congested traffic, keeping this practice legal prevents riders from getting stuck during rush hour and incentivizes motorists to use lower-impact vehicles such as motorcycles.

Unfortunately, lane splitting is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents throughout the state. Riding in between lanes opens up several unique potential dangers, such as:

  • Sudden lane changes. Drivers, especially those in larger vehicles with wider blind spots, can often attempt to change lanes quickly without noticing an oncoming motorcycle from behind.
  • Car doors. Drivers and passengers may open their car doors suddenly, especially when in parked cars, creating the risk that a motorcycle rider could collide with the open door.
  • Speed differential. Even when driving at lower speeds, the difference in velocity between a stopped or slow-moving car and a motorcycle that is riding between them is generally much greater than during the normal flow of traffic.
  • Reduced reaction time. The close proximity between motorcycles and other vehicles when lane splitting reduces the room for error, making collisions—even minor ones—more likely.

Because riders are significantly more vulnerable to injury in the event of a collision, it is imperative that motorcyclists exercise prudence and common sense in order to remain safe by avoiding excessive speed, staying alert and cautious, and making reasonable determinations as to whether practices such as lane splitting are appropriate in any given situation.

Nevertheless, it remains the responsibility of other motorists to remain alert and aware of all those on the road—especially motorcyclists. Because lane splitting is legal in most situations, it cannot be used as a means to share liability by the defense.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Motorcycle Accident Victims Face?

No matter how they happen or who is at fault, motorcycle riders can experience a wide range of potentially severe injuries if an accident occurs. Though many riders thankfully experience minor injuries, serious injuries can require intensive medical treatment and intervention and lead to long-term consequences. Motorcycle accident injuries can include one or more of the following:

  • Minor injuries. Road rash, whiplash, concussions, dental injuries, and minor cuts, bruises, and fractures are common injuries in even the mildest motorcycle accidents.
  • Moderate injuries. Burns, fractures, lacerations, joint injuries, injuries to internal organs, back and neck injuries, facial injuries, head injuries, herniated discs, and dislocated hips could all be considered moderate, depending on the extent of the actual injury. Even moderate injuries, however, can take months from which to recover.
  • Severe injuries. The most serious injuries include spinal cord injuries, major organ damage, crush injuries, amputations, severe scarring or disfigurement, or traumatic brain injuries. Many of these injuries can be life-threatening, leading to permanent disability or even death.

There is also a significant emotional toll that can befall motorcycle riders who experience serious accidents. In addition to the physical pain suffered as a result of an accident, riders often suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Settlement offers that seek to make a rider “whole” again following an accident should compensate for all harm, including the mental and emotional harm inflicted.

What Is My Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?

While there is no average settlement amount for motorcycle accidents, as they vary greatly depending on how severe the injuries are and how effectively each attorney is able to secure benefits, there is a general range within which you can expect your compensation to fall. Settlement payout amounts tend to fall within the following ranges:

  • Minor accident. When a victim suffers minor injuries, such as road rash, cuts, and minor bruising, their settlement can fall within about $10,000 – $50,000.
  • Moderate accident. When a victim suffers moderate injuries, such as broken bones, dislocated hips, or a head injury, their settlement can fall within about $50,000 – $250,000.
  • Severe accident. When a victim suffers severe injuries, such as back, neck, or brain injuries, their settlement can fall within about $250,000 – $1,000,000.

How Much Does a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in California Cost?

Most accident attorneys in California work on a contingency fee basis. This fee structure is contingent on winning the case and securing a settlement. In successful cases, your accident attorney will collect a percentage of the net compensation amount to cover their legal fees.

This means that personal injury lawyers and accident attorneys will not collect any fees unless or until they win in your case. This provides greater access to strong legal counsel and representation, as it does not require any upfront costs to the client.

Most personal injury lawyers will receive around 33%, or one-third, of the settlement award. Although this may seem like a large amount, lawyers will be much more motivated to secure a higher value in your claim, working diligently to earn the most favorable outcome in your case.

As part of your personal injury settlement, you are entitled to seek to recover the costs of any legal fees, which can help to offset some of the financial burden. Qualified and experienced attorneys are far more capable of securing greater compensation amounts than individuals who choose to represent themselves. Ultimately, hiring an attorney for your motorcycle accident personal injury case is in your interest.

Don’t Wait To Take Legal Action

The most critical thing to remember about motorcycle accidents is that you must take legal action as soon as possible. The clock starts ticking as soon as the accident occurs. If you wait too long, you may unknowingly forfeit your right to seek fair compensation.

Your Los Angeles County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

At the Los Angeles County law offices of Duque & Price, we maintain a staff of a highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful motorcycle accident attorneys who represent injured people through our offices that stretch across Southern California.

Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident. Contact the Los Angeles County law office of Duque & Price at 877-590-0080 for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.

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