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Everything You Should Know About Handling a Motorcycle Accident Claim

In 2019, it was reported that the United States had 5,014 fatal motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a traffic accident in comparison to a driver in a passenger vehicle. The fatality rate for California motorcyclists has actually doubled since 1999.

California has over 800,000 registered motorcycles, which is more than any state in the country. Riding a motorcycle is especially popular because of the state’s great weather and many scenic routes. Bakersfield doesn’t have nearly as many motorcyclists as Los Angeles, but the disparity in population makes its motorcycle statistics that much more alarming. When adjusted for population size, motorcycle accident statistics in Bakersfield are noticeably worse than in Los Angeles, a city with more square footage and a larger population.

Below are the most recent (2017) motorcycle accident statistics for Bakersfield and Kern County:

  • The most dangerous hour for Bakersfield riders is between 12pm to 3pm.
  • 261 motorcycle accidents happened throughout Kern County. 77, or 30 percent, took place within Bakersfield city limits.
  • Of the 261 motorcycle accidents in Kern County, 20 were fatal (8 percent). Out of 77 Bakersfield motorcycle accidents, 8 were fatal (more than 10 percent).
  • 207 of 261 (79.3 percent) Kern County motorcycle accidents involved serious injuries. This percentage is nearly the same in Bakersfield, where 61 of 77 (79.2 percent) accidents involved serious injuries.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and would like to take legal action against the party at-fault, our Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorneys will help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (661) 299-7554 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation at our Bakersfield personal injury law firm.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you have suffered injuries after a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you will typically be entitled to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your losses.

A negligent party will usually be held liable for any injuries caused to a motorcycle rider. However, in order for you to recover damages for your injuries, you must show that the driver was negligent. This means proving that:

  1. The driver owed you a duty of care
  2. The driver breached his or her duty of care through negligence
  3. The driver’s negligent actions were the significant factor that caused your injuries

Suing for a Motorcycle Malfunction

Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver’s negligence. Many accidents may also be caused by defective motorcycles or motorcycle parts. According to California products liability law, businesses who design, manufacture, or sell faulty motorcycles or motorcycle parts can be held liable for losses caused by negligence.

If you have suffered injuries because of a defective motorcycle or motorcycle part, you do not not have to prove the manufacturer or distributor was negligent. Strict liability after a motorcycle defect case can be imposed for manufacturing defects, design defects, or failing to warn a user of known defects. However, in order to recover damages, you must show that:

  1. The defendant designed, made, distributed and/or sold a defective motorcycle/motorcycle part.
  2. The motorcycle was defective when it left the defendant’s possession.
  3. You used the motorcycle/motorcycle part in a reasonable manner.
  4. You were injured because of the product defect.

An example of a products liability motorcycle case: Let’s assume that Frank just purchased his first motorcycle from his Bakersfield Harley-Davidson dealership. Frank is aware of the potential dangers involved with riding a motorcycle. Therefore, he gets his license, takes the necessary classes, and purchases protective gear. In other words, Frank is confident and prepared to safely ride a motorcycle.

Frank immediately goes out for a ride. Everything is going well and he is enjoying himself. Suddenly, the brakes malfunction and Frank cannot stop at a red light. As a result of the defective brakes, Frank is hit by a car and experiences severe injuries, including incomplete paralysis.

In the above example, Frank did everything right. Furthermore, he didn’t play any role in causing the accident. Frank would almost certainly be entitled to file a product liability claim against the motorcycle manufacturer and retailer for his injuries and losses. Given the seriousness of his injuries, Frank would likely qualify for significant damages.

Available Damages

Motorcycle accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Below is a brief explanation of the types of damages an injured Bakersfield motorcycle accident victim may recover for his or her losses. Damages are a monetary award determined by a court of law to compensate an injured individual for injuries and losses sustained as a result of another party’s negligence.

Economic damages are intended to compensate an accident victim for losses a dollar amount can objectively be attached to. The total amount of compensation is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an injured motorcyclist has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. A few examples of economic losses include loss of earning capacity, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate an injury victim for losses that are thought of as subjective. For example, non-economic damages may include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The third category of damages a Bakersfield court may award an injured motorcyclist is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded as punishment and only when a defendant’s behavior is particularly harmful or deliberate in nature. There is no real standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. It is awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, if a driver deliberately knocked you off your motorcycle and you suffered serious injuries, you may be entitled to punitive damages.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Always Here to Help

A Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can recover compensation for losses you have suffered, including medical bills, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.

Contact us today by calling (661) 299-7554 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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