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California Motorcycle Accidents, Safety Tips, Common Injuries, and What to do After an Accident

California is known for its postcard-perfect views, incredible beaches, breathtaking coastal routes, awe-inspiring redwoods, national parks, many landmarks, movie stars, surfing, and unbeatable weather, making it the perfect state for motorcyclists. For many, the ease of movement, sense of openness, and agility felt when riding a motorcycle are nearly unparalleled. The reality is, however, that bikers can be involved in a deadly or life-changing accident at any moment, even while enjoying a scenic drive but especially involving other drivers and vehicles.

Motorcycle Accidents in California and Safety Tips

California has nearly 786,000 registered motorcycles on its roads. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), California and Florida have the largest number of motorcycles registered by significant margins compared to all other states. Unfortunately, California sees an average of 500 motorcycle fatalities each year. In addition, 88% of all motorcycle accidents in California result in either injury or death. However, there are ways to protect yourself when riding in California including, but not limited to, the following;

  • Wear protective gear, especially a helmet but also proper clothing, gloves for better grip, and reflective materials at night.
  • According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and numerous recent international studies, using your motorcycle high beam day and night decreases the chances of an accident due to not being seen by other drivers.
  • Check the weather and the traffic report to ensure it’s safe to drive.
  • Follow all traffic rules, including posted speed limits.
  • Be on the lookout for any hazards.
  • Never ride recklessly and avoid weaving in and out of traffic needlessly.
  • Be visible to other drivers.
  • Only stare at one object or point for a maximum of a few seconds.
  • Keep a reasonable distance from other vehicles.
  • Avoid any distractions when operating your bike.
  • Practice proper motorcycle maintenance and inspect it before heading out on the roads.
  • Look ahead and around yourself for other vehicles, hazards, and debris.
  • Remain vigilant and be extra careful in and around construction zones.

Note: The Nation Highway Safety Administration revealed 57% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets in 2019.

Common Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Any accident on a motorcycle can produce severe injuries or result in death. The outline below lists the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents.

  • Bruising
  • Whiplash
  • Roadrash
  • Lacerations
  • Bruised or broken ribs
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Damage to organs
  • Internal Hemorrhaging
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Spinal Injury

Following a Motorcycle Accident

After a crash in a vehicle, the driver may be able to exchange insurance information, look for and speak with witnesses to get their account of the accident and call the police to file a report. Although these steps are essential, as a motorcyclist involved in an accident, you may not be in the condition to handle such tasks.

Police should always be dispatched to the scene; however, the most critical step is seeking medical care. Even in minor accidents, you should go to urgent care or your physician and be checked out for any signs of an injury. Often after an accident, your body’s hormone production kicks into high gear. As a result of a traumatic event, notably a motorcycle crash, the hormone adrenaline floods the body. In our bodies, adrenaline prepares us to handle danger by triggering the “fight or flight” response. Your heart rate spikes, but more importantly, adrenaline and other hormones can conceal pain and mask other symptoms of an injury resulting from an accident. In addition, cortisol level rise as stress is induced by the accident’s effects; sometimes, shock can cover up severe injuries.

In addition to initially reaching out to a healthcare provider for an assessment, you must keep up with doctor appointments and treatment recommendations, keep organized records of all documents, from legal to medical ones, and track all expenditures. All of these elements will be immensely helpful to your injury attorney.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents

The number of motorcycle accidents in California is high, but some types of accidents are more common than others. Californian motorcycle accidents are most commonly caused by cars turning left in front of motorcycles and often with no regard for the motorcyclist. The driver of a vehicle making a left turn either does not see the motorcycle coming or drives recklessly. The motorcycle then hits the side of the vehicle, and the impact can eject the motorcyclist from their bike, causing severe injuries. These accidents occur most often at an intersection or when the car is turning into a driveway. Another common type of accident is when a car rear-ends a motorcycle.

Another driver follows the motorcycle too closely without leaving enough room. During this situation, the other vehicle’s driver should pay attention and watch the motorcycle carefully, particularly for breaking and any stops. A motorcyclist can also be hit from the side if a car changes lanes into the motorcycle’s path. Motorcycle accidents can also occur when a rider loses control of their bike due to road conditions or because they were riding too fast.

In addition, distracted drivers are one of the biggest dangers to motorcyclists. According to the NHTSA, the US is experiencing a nationwide increase in distracted driving-related accidents nationwide. Cruising on your motorcycle and running into bad weather conditions like a storm and slipper roads can result in one-vehicle accidents. Motorcyclists can also be involved in an accident without another vehicle being involved due to wildlife in California, which is why it is imperative to stay alert of your surroundings, never speed, veer careful around curves and sharp turns, and always be prepared to stop.

When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

There are many reasons to hire a California personal injury attorney following a motorcycle accident. One reason is that the attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries. Your attorney will work on your behalf to ensure all damages to your property are recovered. Additionally, the attorney can help you recover lost wages and other economic and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, which are harder to put a value on. However, you are still entitled to receive compensation. Finally, the attorney can help you protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair settlement.

A knowledgeable California personal injury attorney should be consulted if you or a loved one have been injured on your motorcycle due to an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, distracted driving, or disregard of traffic safety laws. Contact an experienced California personal injury motorcycle accident attorney for a free and confidential consultation.

California’s accident attorneys at Castillo & Associates are available to speak with you about your legal rights and potential options if you have been injured in a car crash. To schedule a free consultation, call 1 800-497-9774. We have recovered over $300 million dollars in compensation for our clients to date. We can help you determine your options and guide you further in each step of the process. Our experienced attorneys at Castillo & Associates can help you gather any evidence you may need to get the maximum benefits for your injury.

At Castillo & Associates, we have offices conveniently located throughout Southern California in Los Angeles County, Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and the San Diego area of Mission Valley. We are Bilingual Attorneys and have over 33 years of combined experience in Workers Compensation Claims & Workers Compensation Law as well as Personal Injury Law.

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