California Intersection and Stoplight Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Contact us our law firm for legal assistance after your motorcycle accident at a stoplight or intersection.
Intersections are dangerous, but it seems like intersections with stoplights should be much safer, right? Not at all!
While stoplights and traffic lights help control traffic, they don’t automatically make intersections safer, car accidents happen – especially for motorcyclists. Stoplights can introduce confusion, distraction, and traffic jams that set the stage for dangerous motorcycle accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), half of all motorcycle crashes occur at intersections and 80% cause severe injury or death for the motorcyclist. In a way, intersections with stoplights are more dangerous than other intersections because they give a false sense of safety.
If you’re ever in a motorcycle accident at a California intersection, you need a motorcycle injury lawyer to help sort out what happened. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have an excellent track record for getting positive results for our injured motorcyclist clients.
Contact us now for a free motorcycle accident case evaluation. Below you’ll find some additional information that will help you understand California law regarding motorcycles, intersections, and stoplights.
What is a Motorcycle Intersection/Stoplight Accident?
Motorcycle intersection accidents happen when motorcyclists are struck by other vehicles at road crossings. Sometimes the intersection is controlled by a stoplight, or it could be a two-way stop, four-way stop, roundabout, or another type of intersection.
A motorcyclist is vulnerable in these areas for numerous reasons. For one thing, other motorists have a bad habit of failing to see motorcycles on the road. Intersections are no exception and in some cases, their sightlines make them extra dangerous for motorcyclists.
Plus, intersections bring together huge amounts of traffic rushing together from various angles. All it takes is a momentary distraction or misunderstanding, and a motorcyclist is struck and sliding across the intersection. Negligence is a major factor in intersection and stoplight accidents.
Why Do Intersection Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
There’s no single cause of accidents at intersections and stoplights. Drivers might try to “beat the light” and speed up through an intersection on the yellow light, or they might have a habit of blatantly running red lights and putting others’ lives at risk.
Maybe the accident happened due to inattention, distraction, aggression, impatience, or mistaken assumptions about who has the right of way. Some motorists even assume motorcyclists always have to yield the right of way to other vehicles, which isn’t true here in California.
Drunk and drugged driving is also an issue in California and across the nation. When someone is too drunk or high to be driving safely, they may blast through an intersection and injure a motorcyclist.
Plus, some drivers just refuse to acknowledge motorcyclists’ rights. They won’t share the road despite California’s strong laws supporting motorcyclists’ rights.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve seen all kinds of explanations for intersection accidents that involve motorcycles. It’s common to hear the other driver tell the motorcyclist, “I never saw you!” But that’s no excuse for hitting someone in an intersection.
Who’s at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident at an Intersection?
In accidents like these, the fault isn’t assigned automatically or the same way every time. Legal liability depends on the circumstances of what happened and which kinds of evidence are available to examine.
Here’s how it works, generally speaking. First, the police will investigate any accident with injuries, death, or significant property damage. Their investigation will probably involve asking both drivers questions, looking at road debris and vehicle damage, recording skid marks, examining the operation of the stoplights, and interviewing witnesses.
The insurance company will do its own investigation, so don’t be surprised if they call you soon after the accident. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand how to handle these insurance interviews, plus they can also conduct a separate investigation to reveal additional details about what happened in your crash.
Evidence matters a lot in these cases! It’s up to the insurance companies, lawyers, courts, and involved parties to review the available evidence and eventually come to a determination about liability and compensation.
Factors in your accident case may include:
- The police report from your motorcycle accident
- Witness accounts including expert witness testimony
- Damage to vehicles and your motorcycle, plus crash debris
- Relevant road signs and stoplights
- Any aggressive behavior
- Potential influences of speeding, alcohol, drugs, or distracted driving
- Video and photo evidence like dashcams or traffic camera videos
- Investigator accident reconstructions
- The weather and road conditions
It’s certainly possible that the other driver is liable for your accident or there could be multiple other drivers involved. You might even have partial liability, which does NOT ruin your case. We’ll explain more about that below.
There’s even a chance that a motorcycle or vehicle company, parts manufacturer, or repair shop contributed to the unsafe circumstances of your accident in some way. A government municipality may share the blame, too. Your lawyer can help you sort through the details.
Shared liability isn’t a bad thing. California is a comparative negligence state, meaning the fault may be split among parties with each receiving a portion of the blame and compensation.
That’s good for you because it means even if you share partial fault for what happened, you can still claim partial compensation to cover your bills. Talk to your lawyer about how fault might be assigned and what that means for your case.
Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents at Intersections
Any motorcycle crash can cause extensive injuries that require surgery, rehabilitation, rest, and recovery time. The extent of your injuries usually depends on the severity of the crash.
Common motorcycle injuries at intersections include:
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Foot and knee injuries
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Facial injuries including tooth and dental injuries
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Chest and ribcage impact injuries
- Loss of feeling in the limbs
- Limited range of motion
- Problems with balance
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
- Worst case – wrongful death
How is your emotional state? You may also have severe emotional injuries from the trauma of an accident. Injured motorcycle riders sometimes have long-lasting mental suffering that needs significant psychological treatment.
If you seek treatment for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues, your costs could be covered by an insurance claim or lawsuit. Talk to your lawyer about this option.
The Legal Deadline for These Accident Claims
All California accident claims, including motorcycle accident claims, have a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. It’s usually within two years of the date of the accident, although there can be exceptions that make it shorter.
For example, the timeframe tightens if you’re dealing with a government entity. Was your accident somehow caused by a dangerous and confusing city construction zone? Were the road signs improperly marked for the intersection? This could be a government injury claim.
Don’t wait! The clock starts ticking on the day of your motorcycle accident. Talk to a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to start building a strong case or you could lose your right to claim compensation.
Protecting Yourself and Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Before you know it, you’ll have a pile of medical bills and the insurance company will be trying to contact you. It’s time to decide on your next steps.
There are some important things you can do to protect your case. Preserve any evidence you may have like photos of the accident scene, debris from the accident, and your damaged motorcycle. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.
Seek medical care right away and photograph your injuries. Capture any cuts, bruises, deformities, or scarring. Continue to document these injuries as they heal and photograph your medical gear like crutches, casts, slings, canes, and so forth. This is all valuable evidence.
Save your medical records and keep track of your out-of-pocket costs. Medical bills are a huge part of determining the value of your motorcycle accident claim, even if many of your costs are covered by your health insurance. Track additional expenses you encounter like bus fares, Uber rides, and copays.
Your lawyer can help you open a claim with the insurance company, but don’t talk to them without speaking to your lawyer first. And don’t give up personal details like your social security number until your lawyer weighs in on the pros and cons of doing so.
Don’t talk about the crash on social media or send photos/texts to other people showing what happened. A motorcycle accident is life-changing, so it might feel irresistible to update your friends. Resist the urge! It could ruin your case.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Helps Your Case
These cases are complicated and you could easily become buried in the details or even do something accidentally that harms your case. Having a lawyer protects your rights and helps you maximize the value of your claim.
An insurance company will typically toss out a lowball offer at first. They’ll assume you don’t know what you’re doing and will say they owe you less money than you deserve. Plus, they’ll imply your claim isn’t worth much.
For example, we’ve seen clients receive initial offers that only cover their basic, existing medical bills. What about your future treatments? Your mental health counseling? Your lost days of work? The value of your motorcycle? These costs could be huge.
Here’s another important thing to consider about a severe motorcycle accident: Your pain and suffering hold value. Compensation for pain and suffering is protected by California law, so don’t let anyone pressure you to think otherwise.
In the attorney-client relationship at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we don’t take our fee until the conclusion of your case after you’ve already covered your costs. So let’s talk about your motorcycle crash as soon as possible in a free and confidential consultation!
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a motorcycle accident at an intersection, contact the intersection motorcycle accident lawyers at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including motorcycle accidents involving intersections and stoplights. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.