California has more than 800,000 motorcycles registered in the state and has the largest volume of motorcycle traffic in the U.S. A lot of those motorcycles are here in the Bay Area. Motorcyclists are under several elevated risks on the road, as drivers may be more likely to overlook them, and accidents involving motorcycles may lead to more serious harm to motorcyclists and their passengers. Whether you’re driving a massive SUV or a basic motorcycle, other drivers still have a legal obligation to be attentive and avoid crashing into you. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, be sure you contact a knowledgeable San Mateo motorcycle accident attorney to get the advice you need about your legal rights and options.
A recent Bay Area accident is a tragic example of how serious motorcycle accidents often are. According to KPIX, M.D. was a motorcyclist traveling on a six-lane road in South San Jose. As he headed north, the driver of a southbound Jeep attempted a left-hand turn onto a two-lane road. The Jeep crossed directly into the motorcycle’s path and the vehicles slammed into one another. The impact threw M.D. from his bike and he died at the scene, according to the report. Police quickly ruled out intoxication as a possible cause of the accident.
How does a driver who was neither drunk nor high turn right into the path of an oncoming vehicle? There are several possible explanations. Many drivers are guilty of driving while distracted, with their cell phone or other electronic device serving as the distraction. Other drivers may drive with a certain degree of diminished attention that, while allowing them to see cars or trucks, allows them to miss vehicles like motorcycles.
All drivers on California streets, roads and freeways owe all other drivers a legal obligation to operate their vehicles carefully and attentively. That means many things, including yielding the right of way when the rules of the road say to yield. Those obligations are the same when encountering a motorcycle as it is when encountering a large truck. Inattention is no excuse.
In a case like M.D.’s, demonstrating liability in a court of law may be relatively straightforward. When a driver turns left across oncoming traffic without a clear path, that driver typically has improperly failed to yield the right of way, so that driver generally is negligent and liable for the harm caused by that crash.
Motorcycle accidents often end with severe — or fatal — injuries
Of course, just getting a judgment of liability is not enough. Motorcyclists and their passengers are often injured more seriously as opposed to drivers or passengers in cars, trucks or SUVs. They may be killed, they may be permanently paralyzed or they may suffer lifelong effects from a traumatic brain injury inflicted by the impact.
That means that these accidents often create a lot of damages. Whether due to death or to permanent disability, an injured motorcyclist may never work again, leaving his family deprived of a lifetime of financial support that biker’s earnings would have brought in. For bikers who are not killed but who suffer massive injures – such as permanent paralysis or massive brain injuries – their injuries may leave them needing a lifetime of medical care (including considerable specialist care) and 24/7 personal care, as the impact of their injuries may have left them unable to care for themselves at all. These kinds of expenses, especially when they extend across a period of many years or even decades, can add up to enormous sums. And those things are all on top of huge amounts of pain and suffering the motorcyclist has suffered.
In order to get an appropriate outcome, you need more than just a judgment of liability. You need an award of damages that is sufficiently large to compensate you or your family for the enormous toll that this accident has taken, and will take, on you and your family. This may involve multiple medical experts, vocational experts, expert economists and others.
An experienced injury attorney can help you assess exactly what evidence you need to get the full recovery you deserve. For this kind of effective and reliable advice and advocacy, count on the skilled San Mateo motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have many years’ experience helping motorcyclists and their passengers get the outcomes they need from the legal process. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys and find out how we can help, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.