Q: I was recently injured in a Serious Motorcycle Accident, what do I do to protect myself?
A: Let me start by saying that if the damage to your Motorcycle is minor and the other party admits liability and if you have no injuries you should be able to Settle the case on your own. MOST ACCIDENTS INVOLVING MOTORCYCLES ARE SERIOUS. Let’s first define who you are in this case. If it’s the other party’s fault then they are the Defendant, you are the person making the claim or the Plaintiff, that will be the definitions we will use.
As of January of 2010 we had over 800,000 Motorcycles and Scooters registered to operate in California. Motorcycles Riders are over 35 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than in a car accident and Motorcyclists increase in numbers every year. Statistics show that close to 70% of Motorcyclists killed in Traffic Collisions were themselves at fault. (I personally believe this Statistic is incorrect.)
I believe that in the majority of Motorcycle Accidents, it is in fact the other party at fault not the Motorcyclist. Early in my career I interviewed a client in an Auto Accident case. We began discussing his previous Motorcycle Accident at which time he suffered a fractured leg and was out of work for some 3 months. His former Attorney, a well known Motorcycle Accident Lawyer who professes an inordinate amount of skill in handling Motorcycle Accidents, and advertises as a ‘Top Lawyer’, settled his case for $15,000.00. This was some six months before I met the client. As we were discussing the facts, my client was driving straight within the speed limit when the Defendant pulled from a stop at a side street to the left into the path of my client. Unfortunately this Defendant had only a $15,000 liability policy which my client’s ‘Hot Shot’ Attorney accepted and closed the case. Unfortunately with Medical Bills of $50,000 and wage loss of some $15,000 and after Attorney’s Fees my client walked away with almost nothing and on top of that had horrendous bills to pay. The facts further showed that my client was forced to lay his bike down and in doing so both him and the Motorcycle crashed into the right side of the auto that cut him off. So far the impact between my client’s Motorcycle and the Defendant’s vehicle was expected, except for one thing, just to the right of the impact was an entrance and exit to a Construction site where numerous dirt moving trucks traveled in and out of the site. All day long nowhere around was a ‘sweeper’ to control traffic at this intersection or sweep the street as the trucks were dropping dirt and gravel on the roadway.
Being a purist, I looked at my client and I said, “I think your attorney screwed up.” There was no question in my mind that a full financial recovery for my client’s injuries, wage losses as well as pain and suffering was available to this poor guy had the Lawyer brought in the Construction Company as well as the Builder of the project in a Lawsuit. There went a case up in smoke which I valued at somewhere between $250,000, and $500,000, thousand dollars
Motorcycle riders are subject to the same rules as Automobile drivers but with certain exceptions. Personally I feel that there should be a high percentage of fault placed on Auto and Truck drivers when involved with Motorcyclists. The advanced skill and experience in riding a bike overwhelmingly assures negligence on the part of other party when an accident occurs. Consider the fact that most Automobile accidents are caused by “inattention”. Show me a case where a Motorcyclist’s been inattentive prior to an accident. In a nutshell that initial investigation of the accident must be thorough. It’s up to your Attorney to take photos, interview witnesses to establish traffic conditions and all facts related to the accident. The uniqueness of Motorcycle Accidents makes it imperative that you stay with your original Attorney since we find it extremely difficult to handle a case when days, weeks and even months have past and your next Attorney is No longer able to gather that evidence vital to a successful outcome. “YOU CAN ONLY BE A WINNER BY CHOOSING A WINNER.”