Are you looking for an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Sherman Oaks or the surrounding area? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. After a motorcycle accident, you might feel like you have nowhere to turn. Medical bills pile up, and serious injuries keep you from returning to work.
You have to deal with your insurance claim and make arrangements with a repair shop, all while handling the stress of recovering from your injuries and trying to make ends meet.
Having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney by your side can take the burden off your shoulders and let you focus on getting your life back on track.
Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Case?
To have a legitimate motorcycle accident case, the victim must prove that the negligence of another party caused the accident. Without a legitimate claim, you cannot obtain financial recovery. In the case of a motorcycle accident, negligence could be:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Distracted driving (for example, texting or operating the GPS),
- Drowsy driving,
- Aggressive driving,
- Running a red light,
- Failure to yield,
- Poor maintenance,
- Following too closely,
- Speeding, or
- Road hazards.
Demonstrating that the other driver did any of these actions is not enough to prove a case of negligence. Proving negligence requires showing that:
- The person had a duty to other vehicles on the road to operate their vehicle safely.
- The person breached this duty by engaging in unsafe behavior.
- The unsafe behavior caused the rider’s injury.
It is crucial to the motorcycle accident case that you prove a clear connection between your accident and the breach of duty. For example, you might need to show that the at-fault driver ran a red light while looking at their phone, which resulted in a collision with you and causing your injuries.
Once you establish the relationship between the breach and the accident, then you must show the accident caused your injuries. This can be a daunting task, but our motorcycle accident lawyers can help.
If you can successfully prove these elements, then the next step is proving the extent of your damages.
How Are Damages Calculated in Sherman Oaks CA?
An insurance company calculates your claim’s value by assessing economic and non-economic damages. In calculating these damages, the goal is to compensate a person and make them whole again. Economic damages are losses such as:
- Medical bills,
- Future health care costs,
- Lost income for missed work,
- Lost future earnings, and
- Property damage or loss.
These damages tend to be easily calculable because a specific monetary value is attached to them. An attorney requests medical records, bills, pay stubs, and repair invoices to substantiate your claim for special damages on your behalf.
Non-economic damages are more subjective, and the insurance company may not consider them if you don’t claim them. An attorney knows what to look for in assessing these damages. Some examples are:
- Pain and suffering,
- Physical impairments (disfigurement, scarring, or amputation),
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate because no specific monetary value is attached to them.
To determine your claim’s worth, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Sherman Oaks will compare your damages to similar claims. The attorney will then consider what an insurance company has paid in the past for comparable damages and arrive at an appropriate value for your claim.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Motorcycle Accident?
California law applies pure comparative negligence rules in motorcycle accident cases. Under these rules, a person responsible for causing an accident compensates the injured party only by their percentage of fault.
For example, if a party is 75% at fault for causing an accident, the person will be liable for paying only 75% of the total damages in a case. In this example, the other party is responsible for 25% of the loss.
An example of comparative negligence in a motorcycle context is lane splitting. Lane splitting is allowed in California, but police officers have the discretion to determine if a ticket is warranted when motorcyclists practice unsafe lane-splitting behaviors.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, safe lane-splitting practices include:
- Operating a motorcycle at a low rate of speed;
- Assuming other vehicles cannot see a motorcycle navigating between lanes; and
- Avoiding blind spots, especially when sharing the road with large commercial trucks.
If motorcyclists abide by these guidelines, it may be difficult to prove negligence. However, the following behaviors may increase your percentage of fault and may help the other party prove your partial negligence:
- Abruptly changing lanes,
- Failing to signal before changing lanes,
- Using a cell phone,
- Riding in blind spots of other vehicles,
- Distracted driving, and
- Operating a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Each of these factors may prove that you breached your duty of care and are partially at fault for the accident under the pure comparative fault rules.
Our Sherman Oaks Law Firm can Help Determine if you Need to File a Lawsuit
If after filing an insurance claim, the insurance company does not offer what you believe, or your Sherman Oaks motorcycle law firm believes, your case is worth, then it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against all at-fault parties. This type of case is based on negligence and is filed in court as a “tort” claim.
Sometimes a lawsuit can result in punitive damages if the defendant’s actions caused the accident and were egregiously careless.
These damages are rare but may be available when filing a lawsuit. They are not available in an insurance claim. It’s important to reach out to a motorcycle law firm in Sherman Oaks to find out whether these additional damages might apply.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Sherman Oaks
California has some of the most attractive roads for motorcyclists, but accidents can happen. The experienced lawyers at Starpoint Law firm are motorcycle lawyers in Sherman Oaks, CA, who will take the burden of handling your claim or lawsuit off your hands.
We provide our clients with the highest and most professional experience while dealing with complex legal situations. Please chat with us online or call us today at 310-906-4967.