For years, accident researchers have known that motorcycles are simply more dangerous than cars. Motorcycles offer none of the vital protections that are built into car designs. Without a steel frame, airbags, seat belts, and other safety features, a car crash is more likely to be fatal to a motorcycle rider than to a vehicle occupant who is involved in the same accident.
The good news is that there are safety features that have been proven to reduce motorcycle accident fatality rates. Motorcycle riders should be aware of their safety options in order to protect themselves as much as possible. And if you or a loved one is ever involved in a motorcycle accident, be sure to consult with a motorcycle injury lawyer in order to protect your legal rights. The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Arash Law are here to answer all your questions.
What Are Antilock Brakes?
Antilock brakes have the same function on a motorcycle as they do on a car. As the name implies, they prevent the brakes from locking up, which can cause the car to go into a skid that makes the driver lose control of the vehicle. Antilock brakes are even more important on a motorcycle than it is on a passenger car. Since a motorcycle has only two wheels to maintain stability, the rider’s control of the bike is far more precarious than a driver’s control over a car or truck.
In a motorcycle, the antilock braking system (ABS) works via a small metallic ring gear that is attached to the hub of the motorcycle wheel, which “tone ring” or “tone wheel” is connected to a magnetic sensor that can send an electronic signal to the ABS. The ABS constantly monitors the signals it receives from the tone ring. If the number of signals suddenly decreases, the ABS reacts to prevent the brakes from locking by slightly decreasing pressure to the brake calipers to allow the wheels to spin. Pressure is then reapplied to continue the necessary braking.
The ABS can adjust braking pressure up to ten times per second, which is much faster than human reflexes can respond, which is why ABS is so critical on both motorcycles and cars. No matter how experienced a driver or rider is, they simply cannot react as quickly as an antilock brake system can.
The Largest Study of Its Kind
Nearly a decade ago, the IIHS first called for a federal mandate requiring all street-legal motorcycles to be equipped with ABS. Since then, the Institute has continued to analyze the data that shows that ABS saves lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reviewed years of motorcycle crash data in the largest study of its kind.
It was found that ABS reduced the likelihood of a driver fatality by 22 percent, which suggests that nearly one out of every four motorcycle accident deaths could be prevented if ABS were required on all motorcycles. It is, of course, important to note that driver behavior has a huge impact on the likelihood of a crash. The IIHS study found that ABS reduced fatality rates by 32 percent in standard and cruiser motorcycles, but only 12 percent for supersport bikes, demonstrating the dangers associated with sportier – and riskier – driving habits.
How Motorcyclists Can Prevent Accidents and Death
So what, specifically, can motorcycle riders do to prevent accidents? Safe riding habits can help you avoid liability for causing an accident – and more importantly, they can prevent death and serious injuries. Some of the easiest ways that motorcyclists can reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities include:
- Always wear a helmet. For decades, data has repeatedly shown that riders who wear helmets are less likely to sustain fatal injuries than those who do not, which is why many states require helmet use. It is also why states that do not require helmet use have higher motorcycle fatality rates.
- Make sure you can be seen. It is more difficult for drivers to see a smaller vehicle with less lighting (such as a motorcycle). Use your lights and horn as necessary to make your presence known. Wear light or reflective clothing to stand out.
- Be especially cautious at night, during inclement weather, and any other time visibility is limited. Conditions can make it even more difficult for drivers to see you.
- Slow down! Speed increases the severity of injuries that are sustained in an accident. It also gives you less reaction time, meaning you are more likely to crash in the first place.
- Slow down and use caution whenever the roadway isn’t clear. If there is rain, snow, construction, or other debris in the roadway, you could lose control of your bike. Slow down and steer around these obstacles whenever possible.
- Never assume you will have the right-of-way, even when it is yours. Remember that it is more difficult for drivers to see your motorcycle than other cars. Slow down and be sure the other driver intends to yield to you before proceeding.
Who Is At Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
Depending on the facts of your case, there are many different parties who could potentially be at fault for causing your injuries. There could even be multiple parties responsible for the same accident. It is important to consult with an experienced motorcycle lawyer to be sure you find all potential defendants for your injury claim. If not, you could miss out on compensation to which you are legally entitled.
What follows are a few of the most common defendants in a motorcycle accident case.
Any time a motorcycle is involved in an accident, it is possible that the accident was caused by the motorcyclist. A passenger on the back of the bike, other drivers and their passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists can be injured in a motorcycle accident.
If the motorcyclist was at fault for causing the accident, they must pay for the injuries caused. Motorcycle riders are required to carry auto insurance with liability coverage. Like drivers, they must have insurance to pay for any injuries they cause on the road.
Often, a motorcycle accident is caused by a driver who simply did not see the motorcycle. Drivers are legally required to operate their vehicles with due care, meaning that they must keep a lookout for other road users – including motorcycles. If not, the driver can be found negligent and ordered to pay for the motorcycle rider’s injuries. A driver can also be at fault for the injuries of passengers and other vehicle occupants who were injured in the crash.
The Motorcycle Manufacturer
Some auto accidents are caused by defective vehicles. Manufacturers are required to sell vehicles that are free from defects. If not, and someone is injured as a result, the manufacturer can be found liable for the injuries, meaning that a car manufacturer can be ordered to pay injury claims for everyone who was hurt in an accident caused by one of its defective vehicles, which is why many auto manufacturers will choose to pay for a costly recall, rather than wait for injuries to happen.
Motorcycles can be recalled in the same way that passenger vehicles are. The accident lawyers at Arash Law know how to work with expert witnesses to prove that a motorcycle was defective.
Pedestrians or Bicyclists
Pedestrians and bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. Unlike motor vehicle occupants, they have no protection from the full force of a collision. (Bikers can get limited protection from head injuries by wearing a helmet. Pedestrians do not even have that much protection.)
Because these road users get the full force of impact, their injuries are more likely to be fatal. It is important for injured pedestrians and bicyclists to get the compensation they are owed for any type of injury they suffer. Injury victims are owed many different types of compensation – not just payment for their medical bills.
The Types of Compensation You Are Owed for Your Motorcycle Injuries
The law provides injury victims with compensation for all their losses, including both financial and emotional losses. It is important to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who knows how to prove the value of all your losses.
Remember, the other driver’s insurance company will not tell you the full value of your claim. They are actively working for the other side. The experienced injury lawyers at Arash Law fight hard to get their clients all the compensation they are owed.
What follows are some of the most common types of compensation you may be owed after a motorcycle accident.
Lost Wages and Future Earning Losses
Most injury victims end up missing at least some time at work as a result of the accident. Even if it is just a few hours right after the accident happens, these hours represent lost wages, and you are entitled to compensation for them. Whether you are out for a few hours or a few weeks, Arash Law will help get you the compensation you are owed for your lost wages.
If you missed a set number of hours or days from work, our employer could provide a simple statement showing exactly how many hours you missed and what your hourly rate of pay is. (Salaries are prorated based on a forty-hour workweek.) If your injuries are permanent, your lost wage claim will be more complex. You are entitled to compensation for any future lost wages you will suffer as a result of your injuries
If you are never able to work again, your lost wage claim is for the entire amount of wages you would have earned between the date of your accident and the expected date of your retirement. If you are able to return to part-time work or a different job, you are still entitled to the difference between what you were able to earn before the accident and the reduced amount you are able to earn now.
You are also entitled to the value of any lost employment benefits (like employer contributions to health insurance premiums or retirement accounts). As you can see, these future lost wage calculations can become incredibly complicated. Our motorcycle injury lawyers work with financial and vocational experts to prove the value of your future earning losses.
Injury victims are entitled to compensation for all the medical bills they accrue as a result of the accident. Your attorney can also hire experts to project the value of your future medical bills because you are owed compensation for the money you will spend on your injuries in the future.
Pain and Suffering
For many personal injury claimants, the largest area of compensation is pain and suffering. Injury victims are entitled to compensation for their intangible losses, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, the lost sense of pride in your work, missing out on family events, strained relationships with your friends and family, and other emotional losses. The experienced injury lawyers at Arash Law know how to fight back against insurance company tricks to try to reduce the value of your pain and suffering and ensure that you get fair compensation for all your pain and suffering.
The Right Injury Lawyers for All California Motorcycle Accidents
The best motorcycle accident lawyers in California are right here at Arash Law. Our skilled injury attorneys have decades of experience handling motorcycle accident cases. We understand the technical and legal issues that are raised by motorcycle accidents, and we know how to win these cases. Our skilled legal team has collected over 200 million dollars for clients across the state.
We serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We are close by, wherever you live in the Golden State. Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation. Clients all across the state trust our firm to protect their legal rights. We will fight hard for you, too, so that you can focus on making the best recovery possible.