When you've been involved in a serious accident, you need legal representation you can trust. Since 1982, Steinberg Injury Lawyers have provided clients just like you with the compassionate and respectful legal representation they need to get their lives back on track after a motorcycle or bicycle accident. Our team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys will work diligently to help you and your family secure the largest possible financial award in the shortest possible amount of time, so you can repair or replace your damaged motorcycle or bicycle, get the medical treatment you need to recover from your injuries, and even arrange for counseling, if necessary, to help you emotionally bounce back from your ordeal.
Our clients can expect first-class, attentive service, regardless of which of our five Los Angeles area law offices they visit. Our Los Angeles motorcycle attorneys can even arrange to meet with you at the hospital or in your home if desired. We're eager to answer your questions and promise to keep you up to date with any and all developments in your case so you're not left in the dark. Also, because our attorneys work on a contingency basis, we don't charge you a dime until your case is resolved.
Bike and Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles Differ From Other Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Any motor vehicle accident has the potential to be serious, but, because motorcyclists and bicyclists lack the protective exoskeleton enjoyed by the driver and occupants of passenger vehicles, motorcycle and bicycle accidents tend to be particularly dangerous and are often deadly. Because motorcyclists and bicyclists are not well protected, injuries faced by these riders can be far more severe, requiring extensive – and expensive – treatments, long recovery periods, and even special mobility equipment. A good Los Angeles accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve so you have the time and money necessary to heal from your injuries and cover any damages.
Common Los Angeles Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Include:
- Head Injuries – Even seemingly minor head injuries can cause serious medical issues. Concussions and traumatic brain damage are two common head injuries.
- Neck and Spinal Injuries – Injuries to the neck and spine can affect you for the rest of your life. The best way to minimize the damage of these injuries is to seek medical attention immediately.
- Road Rash – If you are in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, a road rash is virtually unavoidable. This injury is a result of the cyclist skidding across the road, causing a painful “rash” wherever their skin was in contact with the asphalt
- Muscle Damage – An accident can cause temporary or permanent muscle damage. Muscle damage from a motorcycle accident could include paralysis.
- Burst Eardrum – Depending on the situation, you can burst your eardrums in a motorcycle accident, which sometimes leads to hearing loss. This happens when either something enters your ear and punctures the eardrum, or when sudden pressure is applied to the eardrum and causes it to burst.
- Nerve Damage – When a biker is in an accident, their instinct is usually to use their arms and hands to break their fall. This can lead to a condition called “Biker's arm,” which is nerve damage in the arms.
- Leg Injuries – Injury to your legs can range from sprains and pulled muscles to shattered bones and torn ligaments. These can take a long time to heal and often require the injured party to stay off their feet for a while.
- Intra-Abdominal Injuries – The impact of the accident could lead to intra-abdominal injuries, which are injuries to your internal organs. Intestinal perforation, hemorrhages, and lacerations are all possible.
Both bicyclists and motorcyclists are vulnerable, especially when on a busy highway or roads with poor visibility. There are always multiple factors in these kinds of motorcycle/bicycle and car accidents, and cyclists can be severely hurt in a collision that didn’t even appear very serious. This is why it is important to seek medical help immediately after an accident, whether or not you think you have been seriously hurt.
Common Bicycle or Motorcycle Accident Injuries in Los Angeles
- Bone Fractures – Forearms and wrists are especially likely to fracture in a motorcycle accident.
- Back Injuries – Depending on the severity of the accident, back injuries are common. This includes bulged or ruptured discs.
- Fractured Clavicle – Clavicles are especially susceptible to breaks and fractures.
- Dislocated Joints – The impact of the accident can force your limbs into awkward positions, leading to dislocated joints.
- Dental and Jaw Injuries – Chipped teeth and a fractured or broken jaw are all possible injuries in a motorcycle or bicycle accident.
The severity of the injuries depends on the nature of the accident. Since motorcyclists are usually moving at higher speeds than bicyclists and are in closer proximity to other vehicles, they are more likely to be in an accident and have severe injuries. However, bicyclists are still at risk and can be in very serious accidents.
Proper Safety Equipment Can't Prevent Every Bicycle and Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles
California is one of the many states that require motorcyclists and bicyclists to conform to certain standards in the interest of safety. For example, California state law requires motorcyclists to wear a safety helmet “when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.” It is estimated that 287 lives were saved in California in the year 2017 thanks to motorcyclists wearing helmets. Additionally, California law mandates that motorcyclists have liability insurance coverage to help pay for property damage and bodily injury resulting from a crash in which they were at fault. Minimum liability insurance coverage must include:
- $15,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for the injuries or deaths of multiple people
- $5,000 for property damage
These insurance requirements are important. However, many motorcycle and bicycle accidents are often caused by other motorists—rather than the motorcyclist or bicyclist themselves. So what can you do to keep yourself safe from a careless driver?
California has specific safety equipment requirements for motorcyclists and bicyclists. This equipment helps make the cyclists more visible to motorists, which can prevent many accidents from happening. However, these items can by no means ensure your safety. Here is a list of equipment required by California state law for motorcyclists and bicyclists:
California Safety Requirements for Los Angeles Motorcyclists:
Motorcyclists in California are required to wear a helmet that is in compliance with the US Department of Transportation. They must also adhere to the following safety requirements:
- Rearview mirrors on the left and right sides of the motorcycle
- Handlebars that keep the rider’s hands no more than 6 inches above the height of their shoulders while seated
- Functioning turn signals at the front and back of the motorcycle
These are all important factors in preventing motorcycle accidents. The review mirrors enable the rider to keep an eye on the traffic behind them without having to turn around. Handlebars any higher than 6 inches above the shoulders may make it harder for the rider to control the motorcycle; this height also keeps the rider’s hands above heart level, leading to poor circulation. Functioning turn signals let fellow motorists know where you are going so they give you plenty of space to make a turn or change lanes safely.
California Safety Requirements for Los Angeles Bicyclists:
California also has specific safety equipment requirements for bicyclists. For example, bicyclists under 18 years of age must wear a helmet that is properly fastened and meets minimum safety standards. Bicycles must also be equipped with the following safety equipment:
- A white safety lamp that's visible from a distance of 300 feet
- A red rear reflector that's visible from a distance of 500 feet when in the headlamps of a motor vehicle
- A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, foot, or ankle, that's visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from 200 feet
- White or yellow wheel reflectors visible from a distance of 300 feet
Safety requirements such as these have saved many lives and can make all the difference in an accident. Lights and reflective gear make bicyclists much more visible both at night and during the day, which helps motorists see you and give you enough space while you bike on busy roads and highways. However, while they certainly help, following these rules and regulations can’t guarantee a cyclist’s safety.
Common Types and Causes of Los Angeles Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
It's common to assume that each accident and its cause are unique. However, there are a few accident scenarios that account for the majority of motorcycle accidents in our country. As motorcycle accident attorneys, our lawyers see the same types of accidents again and again. For example, when it comes to motorcycle accidents, some of the most common types include:
- Head-on Collisions – This kind of accident happens when two vehicles smash into each other. The majority of fatalities in motorcycle accidents are a result of head-on collisions.
- Left-turn Accidents – Left-turn accidents are quite common. They account for fewer deaths than head-on crashes because they typically happen at lower speeds.
- Rear-end Collisions – In 2017, 7% of the motorcycle fatalities from two-vehicle crashes were a result of a motorcycle getting rear-ended by another vehicle.
- T-bone or Side-impact Accidents – These accidents happen most often in intersections. A vehicle may run a stoplight and crash into the side of another vehicle.
All of these accidents are serious and often result in severe injury or death. Because a motorcyclist is more exposed than the people in the car, they almost always experience worse injuries. This is why proper safety equipment, like helmets and durable clothing, are very important. While every motorcyclist should take every safety precaution possible, accidents still happen. Common Types of Bicycle Accidents Include:
- Car Door Accidents – This type of accident happens when someone opens their car door either into the path of a bicyclist or strikes a bicyclist with the door.
- Crosswalk Accidents – A bicycle crosswalk accident often involves a car turning into a bicyclist while they are using the crosswalk.
- Left-turn Accidents – When a car turns left and doesn’t notice a bicyclist crossing the road, an accident is often the result.
- Right-turn Accidents – When a car turns right without taking time to make sure the coast is clear, an accident can occur.
- Rear-end Collisions – In a 2014 study, it was found that 40% of bicyclist fatalities were a result of a car hitting them from behind.
- Stop Sign Accidents – These accidents occur when either a cyclist or a driver doesn’t properly yield at a stop sign, leading to a crash.
In 2019, 843 bicyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles. When biking on the highway, it’s important to always be alert of your surroundings, wear a helmet and other safety gear, and follow the rules of the road. While these precautions won’t ensure your safety, they can help prevent some accidents from happening. If you have been involved in an accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney today to take a step closer to gaining the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Accidents for Both Motorcycles and Bicycles
- Aggressive drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Drowsy drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Speeding drivers
- Poor road design or conditions
- Motorist error, such as failure to see the motorcycle or bicycle, or failure to correctly judge the motorcycle or bicycle's distance or speed
When a motorist fails to see a motorcycle or bicycle and does not correctly judge the cyclist’s distance or speed, an accident is likely to occur. You shouldn't be forced to live with the aftermath of another motorist's recklessness. An experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help you determine if you're able to pursue compensation for damages sustained in an accident.
What to Do After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles
The cyclist is often the victim in motor vehicle accidents, and the injuries and damage can be serious and long-lasting. Taking the following steps (if they are physically able) is the best way to get the compensation needed to help cyclists pay for the necessary medical treatment and property damage. If you are too injured to take these steps after an accident, ask a trusted family member or friend to take these actions on your behalf:
Wait for the Police to Arrive
No matter how serious or minor the accident seems, it’s important to wait for the police so they can take statements from everyone involved and hear the cyclist’s side of the accident. Unfortunately, many accidents aren’t cut-and-dried and the person at fault is not always willing to take responsibility. This is why it’s important for the cyclist to tell the police their side of the story.
Collect Contact Information From the Driver and Any Witnesses
This information is important, especially if the cyclist decides to seek compensation from the driver. This allows other witnesses of the bicycle or motorcycle accident to confirm the story and increases the cyclist’s chance for restitution. Spend extra time with witnesses who had a clear view of the accident and who witnessed the entire event.
Document Your Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident Injuries
One of the very first things a cyclist should do after an accident is to seek medical attention. It’s important to keep records of all the injuries acquired from the accident; these will help the accident attorney(s) make sure the victim receives the compensation they deserve.
Preserve Any Damage Caused by the Accident
Don’t repair any damage done to the motorcycle or bicycle during the accident and keep the helmet and any clothing that was ruined. This evidence collaborates with the cyclist’s story and helps their Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney get them compensation for their injuries.
As soon as you are able, you should contact a Los Angeles bicycle and motorcycle accident attorney and schedule a consultation. Hiring an accident lawyer to handle your case helps ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and the damage to your motorcycle or bicycle.
Statute of Limitations in California Personal Injury Cases
California state law limits the amount of time a person has to file a personal injury case. These laws, known as the statute of limitations, let potential plaintiffs know exactly how long they have to file a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. Plaintiffs must file their Los Angeles lawsuit within two years of the date the accident occurred, or risk forfeiting their ability to have their case heard.
Contact Steinberg Injury Lawyer About your Los Angeles Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident
When considering whether to pursue compensation for damages following a bicycle or motorcycle accident, having a consultation with an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorney or bicycle accident attorney can make all the difference. At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, our accomplished motorcycle & bicycle accident attorneys can review your case, answer your questions, and advise you on the best way to proceed. Our long track record of helping accident victims speaks for itself—call us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you.