Avenues of recovery
Doctors’ bills paid for
Injuries caused from motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries that require serious forms of treatment. From ER visits and x-rays to long-term physical therapy and MRIs, the bills can really add up. You may or may not have insurance, but either way you are still entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses because someone else caused you to incur them.
For particularly severe accidents, these expenses can range in the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Coverage for these expenses comes first from the liability insurance policy of the at-fault party. However, in California, drivers are only required to carry a police that covers $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per injured person. Even a moderate accident can quickly exhaust this. That is why we recommend carrying underinsured motorist coverage of at least $100,000, if not the full $250,000 or $500,000 available. The cost increase in your policy is minimal, and the additional coverage can prove crucial if you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Time missed from work
Injuries from an accident can cause you to be hospitalized, bed ridden or permanently or temporarily disabled. Pain and injury can cause you to miss work, and lose money that you otherwise would have made. This lost income is another harm that was inflicted upon you by the actions of another, and thus, they are financially responsible for that loss. If you are self-employed, quantifying these losses can be a real challenge, but we can help you think creatively about how to document these losses.
Where injuries result in a permanent mental or physical disability or limitation, this can have long-term negative effects on your earning capacity. The inability to be promoted due to accident-related limitations, or worse, the need to find a new, lower-paying and lower-potential career are further consequences that are conceptually similar, but magnified, with respect to loss of income. Known as loss of earning capacity, these damage will take a look at your expected earnings over the course of your life in your old, uninjured capacity as compared to your new, limited capacity. The differential in these numbers represents a real, tangible loss to you caused by someone else, and this loss is compensable.
In a motorcycle accident, your bike was probably severely damaged or destroyed. When you are injured, the last thing you want is to be put through the insurance company run around trying to get your vehicle towed, serviced, repaired, all while having to find your own ride around town or trying to get the insurance company to pay for a rental. You need to be worried about your health, not your vehicle.
We will handle your property damage claim for you as a courtesy, and for no fee – ever! We will use our knowledge of insurance company protocol to help you get top-dollar replacement value or the best body shop for repairs, and use of a rental vehicle or loss of the use of your vehicle in addition to your property damage compensation.
Money for what you have gone through
Often the worst part of any accident is the pain and agony that you go through because of resulting injuries. No matter what your injuries, living with daily pain makes for a frustrating and miserable experience. And as none of it was your fault, you deserve better than to have to go through it. While the law cannot make you better, it can help you obtain the resources by which to help yourself get better. Pain and suffering is very difficult to quantify without an understanding of how juries regard these concepts, and part of our job is to help quantify the unhappy experience you have had into a dollar figure that can help you manage your painful condition.
The above-listed categories are the typical types of losses or damages that occur in a case. However, every person is unique, and thus there always exist unique and particular harms that affect your life. It need only be “foreseeable” that these harms would happen to you for the at-fault party to be responsible to compensate you for these unique and particular harms. We can help you identify these types of harms.
You can expect to receive top-notch professional services from the moment you call our office until your case is completed. We will go the extra distance to help you get back on your feet.
Many attorneys handle your injury claim alone, and leave you to fend for yourself in getting your bike repaired or replaced. Or, even if they do help, they charge a fee to do so. We recognize that you could use a hand in such matters, and therefore we will handle your property damage for no fee. We will make sure that it is repaired in a timely fashion, or, if it is totaled, that you receive top-dollar for it to aid you in replacing it. We do all this as a courtesy so that you understand we on your team.
Our staff and attorneys are friendly, courteous and professional, and close client communication is integral to our business model. We promise you will never find yourself wondering “Is my attorney every going to call me back” because we take client calls on the spot whenever we can, and if we are out of the office, we return calls as soon as we get back.
Tips on your case
What do I do after a collision?
If you are seriously injured, call 911 immediately. If you are in a mental place where you know someone else caused the accident, and you know that you are going to have a lot of bills and expenses for which you will want to make a claim, then it is important to get a few crucial things in order at the scene:
1. Call the police, if you have not already done so. If you are injured, tell the operator that. If you tell the operator that no one is hurt, the police will not come. If the police arrive at the scene and are told no one is hurt, they will not make a report. The goal is to get a report made, because the police will do an on-scene investigation, interview the parties, get information and statements from witnesses, and most importantly, make a finding of fault.
2. If the police are unable or unwilling to come to the scene, you can actually get the other party to give you a signed, written statement and maybe even admit fault in writing. At-fault parties tend to be very honest, apologetic and accommodating at the scene, but much less so later when the reality of the situation sets in.
3. Get the relevant insurance and personal information for the other driver. This includes license plate number, insurance company and policy number, and name, address, phone number and driver’s license number for the other driver. One smart way to do all this is just to take a smartphone picture of the insurance card, driver’s license and license plate.
4. You should also take pictures of the vehicles involved. Try to get all of the angles, especially those the capture the true extent of the damage.
5. Don’t say much to the other driver, and do not admit fault. Fault is to be determined by the police and/or your attorney’s negotiation with the other driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, where both parties had some role in causing the accident, fault needs to be apportioned, and you want to leave it to an experienced attorney to best make your case for you.
6. Try to avoid giving any statements, especially recorded statements to anyone, particularly the other driver’s insurance company. They will only try to use it against you.
7. Don’t state that you are not injured until a doctor renders a professional opinion. Trauma causes adrenaline to be release, which can disguise pain and injury for up to 3 days. After an accident of any significance, it is important to seek medical treatment, whether it be the emergency room, a family doctor, or a chiropractor – start thinking about which of those makes the most sense for how you are feeling.
8. Take pictures of any injuries you have that are visible while they are fresh. Insurance companies are overly skeptical, and often need to be hit across the face with the visual impact of an injury to treat a claim fairly.
What about my medical bills?
For those who are injured but not by someone else’s negligence, there exist only a few ways to get medical treatment. First, through health insurance. Second, through paying out of pocket. Third, through just showing up at the emergency room. Where you are injured by someone else’s negligence and there exists a route to recover compensation for your injury, there exists a unique payment arrangement called lien-based treatment. Essentially, you get the treatment you need now, for no out of pocket expense, and the doctor agrees to get paid later out of the proceeds of your case. This form of treatment can be a life saver for those in need.
How long do I have to make a claim?
California has a 2-year statute of limitations on bodily injury claims, which means that you have 2 years from the date of injury to settle the case or file a lawsuit for your damages. Filing a lawsuit does not preclude settlement, however, and many cases do in fact settle after a lawsuit has been initiated.
One major exception to this 2 year time window is bodily injury that was in some way caused by the government or their employees/agents. One common example of this is an accident involving an MTA bus. In this instance, you must initially file a “notice of claim” with the appropriate government agency seeking direct settlement compensation for your damages, and you have 6 months from the date of injury to file this. The governmental agency will review your claim, and inevitable deny it. You then have 6 months from the date of denial to file a formal lawsuit as you would with any other injury claim. Sometimes, the governmental does not actually deny your claim, so it is presumed denied 45 days after it is filed if no response has been received by that point. You then have 6 months from that date of presumed denial to file the lawsuit.
The government claims process is riddled with traps for the unwary, so the help of a lawyer is particularly important for these claims.
What is the insurance company looking for?
Insurance companies are very methodical in their claims evaluation. Almost all of them use a complex computer program into which they input search information and out of which comes an acceptable claim value. These inputs include property damage, doctors’ diagnoses, length of treatment and cost of treatment, and lost income. The key is to know how to get them to the top of this range, and then how to get them to go outside of their range into new monetary territory. This is our specialty. Our knowledge of the law and inner workings of insurance company thinking, coupled with our ability to file a lawsuit if the settlement offers are not full and fair, is what allows us to maximize the value to you. We also advocate for you as a unique individual who has suffered unique harms from the accident injuries, and force the insurance company to see you as a person, not a series of medical diagnoses and other data. We know that a jury would likely see if our way, not their way, and we apprise them of the risk to their bottom line of not settling for full and fair compensation.
And if I have a history of injury, how does that affect my case?
Accidents happened throughout life, and you may have had other accidents that left you injured in the past. You may still be suffering from chronic injuries from those prior accidents. These facts must be shared with your attorney so that we know the full picture. It will not affect whether or not we take your case, it will only affect our strategy in getting you full and fair compensation for your current accident injuries.
Sometimes, prior injuries are actually helpful to your case because they provide explanation as to why you are so hurt when another person who does not have chronic prior injuries would not have been so hurt. Aggravation of pre-existing, underlying injuries is recoverable because, at the end of the day, the accident was still NOT YOUR FAULT. It was someone else’s, and they need to take responsibility for any and all harm they have caused you.
What if I was uninsured at the time?
The law requires you to carry insurance, and the purpose of this is to protect others from financial harm that you may cause them. So it shouldn’t matter whether or not you have insurance if the accident was someone else’s fault, right? Well, no, not according to “Proposition 213”, an arbitrary and vindictive law which insurance companies lobbied through to avoid having to pay pain and suffering damages to individuals who don’t pay money to them. Under the myth that drunk drivers and fleeing felons were recovering for accidents they were involved in, the insurance companies once again hoodwinked the Californian people into voting against their own interest by associating uninsured people with drunk drivers and fleeing felons. For shame.
Motorcycle law in California
Recovery for accident injuries is governed by several principles:
In California, to recovery money for an injury, another person must have been negligent. Negligent is the legal word for careless. The accident was just the – an accident. But the at-fault party must still bear the burden of the harms caused by his or her actions. It’s called taking responsibility.
Negligence must be proven, and this means each element of negligence must also be proven. To prove negligence, it must be shown that the other party had a duty to not subject you to unreasonable risk of harm, that that person breached that duty by in fact exposing you to unreasonable risk of harm, that that breach is what caused your harm, and that the harm resulting caused damages for which money is the best available remedy.
In proving negligence, the rules of the road are very helpful. Violating a traffic law establishes the first two elements of negligence: duty and breach. Traffic laws are codified in the California Vehicle Code, and there are thousands of individuals laws. However, there are a few that come up frequently, especially in motorcycle accidents.
First, California Vehicle Code 22350 states that a driver must never drive faster than is safe to drive. This is the law used to find fault on the part of the someone who rear-ends someone else. Since they were unable to stop before hitting the car in front of them, they must have been driving faster than was safe to drive.
Second, California Vehicle Code 21800 states that a left-turn driver must always yield the right of way to oncoming traffic that is close enough to constitute a hazard. This law is used to find the left-turning party at fault where one vehicle broadsides another vehicle that is mid-turn.
Additionally, California is the only state that allows “lane sharing,” which is riding between the lanes of traffic, particularly when there is traffic congestion. The only caveat is that it must be done safely.
Wearing a helmet while riding is also required under California law. If you were not wearing a helmet when the accident happened, your claim is not lost by any means. However, if your head was injured, your recovery may be reduced by the amount that you contributed to your injury by not wearing a helmet. Of course, recovery for injuries to other parts of your body is not affected by whether or not your were wearing a helmet. If your head is injured while wearing a helmet, you may also have a claim against the manufacturer of the helmet if the helmet failed to perform properly.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 20003, if someone involved in a vehicle collision is injured, the other driver has a duty under the law to render aid to that person, including but not limited to taking that person to the hospital.
Since, under California law, an employer is responsible for the vehicle accident caused by its employee, California Vehicle Code Section 16002 requires that employees notify their employers within 10 days of being involved in a vehicle accident.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 16025, the law gives you the right to some very important information which might become necessary if a lawsuit is filed, such as the other driver’s current residence, insurance information and the VIN number of the vehicles involved.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 22517, if a person opens a car door into traffic and causes a motorcyclist or bicyclist to become injured from hitting the door, it is the fault of the person who opened the door.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 22400, if another driver blocks the path of a motorcycle and that causes the motorcyclist to be injured, it is the fault of the impeding driver.
How we can get a great result for you
Extensive experience in motorcycle cases
Dunn, Carpio & Turner, Los Angeles personal injury lawyers, have been helping injured motorcyclists recover for their injuries. Our office has handled motorcycle injury accidents ranging from minor injuries to very severe injuries. Please see our Case Results page for a representative sample of the successes achieved by our Motorcycle Accident Division.
A+ Customer Satisfaction
Beyond our excellent case results, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and relations.
We only get paid when we get you recovery
We also realize the financial hardship that accompanies an accident, and and such you will never pay out of pocket for our representation, and you will never pay anything if you do not recover. We can help you secure medical treatment without going out of pocket as well. Finally, we will handle your property damage claim (coordinating getting your bike repaired or replaced) without any fee – ever – as a token of goodwill and our commitment to helping you get back on your feet.
Easy access to your lawyer
Our experienced staff and attorneys will ensure that you are kept in the loop as your case develops. We pride ourselves on maintaining regular and open communication with our clients. Our experience has taught us that client-communication approach stands out above the way many other attorneys work with clients.
Free case review
We offer a free consult to help you understand the strength of your case, the recovery process and so that you can get all of your questions answered. Knowledge is power, so call us today to learn about your rights and power – (310) 393-2769.