Every day, thousands of California motorcyclists put their lives at risk when they hit the road. The size and shape of motorcycles put riders inherently more at risk of serious and fatal injuries in accidents than standard passenger vehicle drivers. Motorcycle accidents might not be as common as other auto collisions, but they result in fatalities more often. Learning your rights and responsibilities as a motorcyclist can help you avoid a crash in El Cajon.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, our El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys can help. Contact the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Howard Kitay to discuss your case in detail by calling 619-442-0542 today. If another driver, a dangerous pothole, or a defective vehicle part contributed to your injuries, we can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party or parties. Our El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys have extensive motorcycle accident case experience and have recovered millions for clients.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- In 2015, El Cajon reported 46 motorcyclists injured and killed in traffic accidents. San Diego County reported 1,667 motorcycle victims injured and killed the same year.
- In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists died throughout the United States. This was a 5.1% increase from 5,029 deaths in 2015.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2016. Of all the motorcyclists killed in car accidents, 94% were riders and 6% were passengers.
- More than one fourth (27%) of motorcyclists in fatal accidents in the U.S. in 2016 were operating vehicles without a valid license.
- Helmets saved an estimated 1,859 motorcyclist lives in 2016. At least 802 additional motorcyclists likely would have survived had they been wearing helmets.
- In 2016, 548 motorcyclists in California died in traffic accidents. This was an 11% increase from 494 deaths in 2015.
- Motorcyclist deaths from failure to wear helmets increased by 9% in California from 2015 to 2016 (23 to 25 deaths, respectively).
- Throughout California, 1,059 people (motorcyclists and drivers) died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents in 2016.
It is illegal in California to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Yet hundreds of motorcyclists break this law and fail to strap on an approved safety helmet before riding. Failure to wear a helmet can significantly increase your odds of suffering a serious face, head, or brain injury in an accident. It can also hurt your ability to recover financial compensation during a personal injury claim. The defense can use your lack of helmet-wearing against you, as proof that you contributed to your own injuries. Always wear a helmet when motorcycling.
Types Of Motorcycle Accidents
It is a misconception that most motorcycle accidents are due to aggressive driving by motorcycle riders. In fact, most motorcycle accidents occur because car and truck drivers do not see motorcyclists. There are a number of different types of motorcycle accidents, some of them include:
- Poor weather conditions
- Lane splitting
- Ignoring traffic signs
- Not utilizing a turn signal
- Ignoring traffic conditions
- Not seeing a motorcyclist due to glare or other view obstructions
- Inexperienced motorists
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Vehicle defects
- Roadway defects
- Construction zones or road hazards
- Distracted drivers
- Motorists failing to yield the right of way at intersections
The moments following a serious motorcycle accident can make the difference between recovery and a life of permanent injury or disability. It is crucial that everyone involved in a San Diego motorcycle accident get medical attention regardless of how minor the injuries may seem. Common injuries suffered include road rash, biker’s arm, facial fractures and disfigurement, broken bones and burns. Injuries can range from minor to disabling, such as limb amputations, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
Common Types of Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
A recent Centers for Disease Control study found that between 2001 and 2008 more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and an estimated 1,222,000 persons were treated in a U.S. emergency department for a non-fatal motorcycle-related injury. With more people in the United States riding motorcycles today than ever before, motorcyclist deaths and injuries are an important concern.
California’s nice weather and open roads make motorcycle riding very popular. On California roads in 2005, there were 411 fatal accidents involving motorcycles and 9,061 reported injuries in 2005. With the largest population in the country, California had the most motorcycle crashes in 2008, with 469. Most of the accidents still result from other motorists not seeing the motorcyclist, and most of the injuries still come from head injuries. The most common types of injuries from motorcycle accidents are:
- Road rash – when an individual is thrown from a motorcycle unprotected skin that meets the pavement will be injured. These skin and bone abrasions are referred to as road rash. They often are very painful and can leave scars. Sometimes road rash requires skin grafting.
- Fractures – leg fractures are a very common type of motorcycle accident injury. Fractures to almost any other bone in the body can also be fractured as well. Wrist fractures tend to also be very common because motorcyclists reach out to protect themselves.
- Damage to pelvis – pelvic fractures are very common and can cause complications with urological injuries. This area of the body is often crushed with the trauma and impact on gas tanks and the middle frame of the bike.
- Spinal cord – spinal cord injuries can cause very serious, life-changing injury, such as paralysis. The extent of the damage depends upon the exact location of the injury and whether the entire spinal cord has been damaged.
- Traumatic brain injury – motorcycle accidents often involve some form of head trauma. This can be mild to severe, depending on the accident. A traumatic brain injury can dramatically reduce the victim’s overall quality of life and his or her ability to live independently. Serious brain injury can also cause death.
- Chest trauma – chest injuries are the leading cause of death after head and spinal cord injuries when it comes to motorcycle accident injuries. They can include rib and sternal fractures, chest wall hematoma, lung laceration, aortic rupture, the buildup of fluid in the heart, and bruising of the chest wall and lungs.
The severity of your injury may not be apparent at the time of the motorcycle accident. Some injuries, such as herniated disks in the backbone, grow more painful over time. For this reason, it is very important to have thorough medical examinations on the day of the accident and in the following days and weeks. It is important to not accept a low settlement offer from an insurance claims adjuster until you, your doctor, and your attorney believes that is in your best interest. Do not settle with the insurance company. Contact an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay. Our attorneys will work with the insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today at (619) 442-0542 for a free legal consultation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association found that 1,829 lives were saved in 2009 by helmets. If all the riders that crashed were wearing helmets, over 800 more lives could have been saved. Most states in the USA have made DOT (Department of Transportation) approved helmets mandatory for all motorcycle riders and many passengers. This is the case in California. All statistics and studies show that wearing a helmet greatly reduces your chances of death or serious injury if you are in a motorcycle accident.
The experienced El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay have helped many injury victims throughout California obtain the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident contact our office today for a free initial consultation.
Accidents Caused By Defective Motorcycles
Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by reckless driving. While negligent drivers are the primary cause of motorcycle crashes, accidents can also be caused by defective motorcycle equipment, such as tire defects, brake defects, or other equipment problems. A defective part can cause the motorcycle to operate incorrectly, break down altogether or create a dangerous situation, such as a tire blowout, brake failure, or another incident. This kind of accident is not the fault of any of the drivers involved, but there may be a fault with the manufacturer of the defective part.
Under federal law, manufacturers must remedy any and all safety issues affecting their motorcycles at no cost to consumers. If widespread defects are determined to affect a large number of motorcycles, manufacturers are required to notify consumers of the recall so as to avoid any serious personal injury resulting from accidents. Motorcycle manufacturers are liable for any accidents caused by defective products. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) holds motorcycle manufacturers to a high standard when it comes to ensuring the safety of their products, considering the increased risk of injury that motorcyclists face on the road.
THE NHTSA requires the manufacturer to take specific steps when issuing a recall of a defective product. The manufacturer must file a public report describing:
- The safety-related defect or noncompliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard.
- The involved vehicle/equipment population.
- The major events that resulted in the recall determination.
- A description of the remedy.
- A schedule for the recall.
Also, even if you do not receive a notification of a recall, if your motorcycle or another item of equipment is the subject of a safety recall, the manufacturer is obligated to provide a free remedy. Manufacturers have a duty to notify owners of recalled motorcycles or motorcycle equipment. For motorcycle recalls, manufacturers check their own records of vehicle purchasers with current state vehicle registration information. For equipment or parts recalls, manufacturers must notify their distribution chain and known purchasers of the recalled equipment.
A product liability suit can be filed against those who are responsible for introducing a dangerous product into the marketplace, including the manufacturer, the marketer, and independent firms who were hired to test the safety of the product. At the Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay, our attorneys have the financial, medical, and legal resources to battle the large corporations who are manufacturing dangerous or defective products, as well as the insurance companies and attorneys who protect them. When a company profits from a defective product, it can and should be held responsible, both to compensate an injured consumer and to help ensure corrective action is taken.
California Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycle laws vary by state and while California’s laws are similar to other states, there are a few exceptions that everyone on the road should know about. Some important California Motorcycle Laws to be aware of are:
- License requirements – In California, riders must either have a Class M1 or M2 license to operate a motorized cycle on California roadways. A motorcyclist with a Class M1 license may operate any two-wheel vehicle motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized scooter and all vehicles listed under Class M2. A Class M2 license allows the holder to operate any motorized bicycle, moped, or bicycle with an attached motor, or a motorized scooter.
- California Helmet Law – Veh Code Sec. 27803 states that any driver or passenger of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or bicycle shall wear a safety helmet meeting the standards of Sec. 27801 (fastened by helmet straps and is of a size that fits the wearing person’s head securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement).
- Lane sharing – California allows lane sharing, which means that motorcycles can drive in between cars that are in a lane. It is often discouraged because it is potentially very dangerous. Police officers often will blame the motorcyclist for an injury accident involving lane sharing.
- Under age 21 – motorcycle applicants under 21 years of age are required to complete a Basic Rider Course before they receive a motorcycle instruction permit. Motorcycle applicants 21 years of age and older are encouraged to take a motorcycle rider course but it is not required.
- Motorcycle Exhaust System – Under California Vehicle Code, Sections 27150 – 27159, exhaust systems may be modified so long as the modification meets the law’s strict requirements.
- California Insurance Requirements – all drivers must carry minimum compulsory liability insurance for bodily injury (BI) coverage of at least $15,000 per person injured, and $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident as well as property damage coverage of at least $5,000.
- Motorcycle specifications – certain bike specifications are required in California. If you are carrying a passenger a passenger seat and footrest are required. Handlebars’ height may not exceed six inches above a driver’s shoulders when sitting. Turn signals are required. Motorcycles are subject to random safety inspections by law. There is no restriction on the use of radar detectors. A muffler is required and any cutout, bypass, or similar devices are banned.
- Leathers and other protective wear – there are no laws in the state of California that require the wearing of leather protective jackets and pants or other protective wear. However, protective clothing, goggles, and full-face helmets can protect the body and the face from road rash and other injuries in the event of an accident.
- Compensation based on negligence – the behavior of a motorcyclist during an accident can affect the amount of compensation that could be awarded. If laws were violated this could reduce the amount of compensation that could be awarded.
Contact Our Experienced El Cajon Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Our El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys can help you combat prejudices against motorcyclists, evening the balance between you and a major insurer. We will aggressively negotiate for a fair and full settlement on your behalf, or take your case to court if that’s what it takes to obtain the amount we believe you deserve. Learn more about your El Cajon motorcycle accident case for free. Contact us today.
If you live in or plan to ride your motorcycle in California, you need to know the motorcycle laws. El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay can help you understand the rules and regulations of riding in California. If you have questions about specific California motorcycle laws or if you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay today at 619-442-0542. Our El Cajon motorcycle accident attorneys specialize in California motorcycle accidents and have over 20 years of experience handling such cases and fighting for the full compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment to find out exactly what you are entitled to recover in your case.