Modified: November 13, 2022

County Will Pay Out $3 Million as a Result of a Motorcycle Wreck

County Will Pay Out $3 Million as a Result of a Motorcycle Wreck

A motorcycle accident is more likely to result in significant injuries than a car accident due to the nature of the vehicle. Motorcycles are light and fast and do not have sufficient safety measures to protect riders and passengers during a motorcycle crash, scooter or moped incident.

Over the years, the common motorcycle accident has consistently proven to be more than a passenger or other enclosed vehicle. For those surviving the accident, their lives never return to normalcy. No amount of attorney advertising can guarantee the amount clients will receive from workers compensation, wrongful death, or other catastrophic injuries in litigation where a crash occurred.

Clients will need money for their property damage claim, lost wages, and legal guidance to obtain it swiftly. Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney at Ehline Law can ensure that the victim receives a proper inspection and maximum financial compensation for any other type of insured or uninsured loss to help treat the client’s injuries for maximum medical improvement.

Were you hurt? We can provide valuable answers and set up treatment for the client on a health insurance lien right away. Our proud, attentive motorcycle accident attorneys across California work closely with motorcycle accident victims.

We are experts at filing motorcycle accident claims protecting the rights of clients and their confidential or sensitive information. We are about recovering a fair settlement from the at-fault driver or other negligent parties operating at the motorcycle accident scene. Let us help clients identify the deep pockets to get them treated and made whole with a pre-suit mediation or full-blown court trial.

California’s Motorcycle Fatalities Keep Fluctuating

During the 19th century, the automobile revolution took over the United States, with many middle-class workers saving money to purchase their first-ever cars. Many considered motor vehicles safer than motorcycles, and driving a car became a status symbol. As the U.S. economy recovered from the war, it galloped faster than expected, uplifting individuals and society.

As household incomes rose and many new automotive manufacturers started releasing budget-friendly cars, the number of car sales in the country broke all records year after year. By 1994, more people were driving cars than motorcycles, and motorcycle fatalities only accounted for 5.7% of the total motor vehicle deaths in the country. However, in 2016, motorcycle fatalities contributed 15% of the total motor vehicle deaths and much more soft tissue injuries.

Concerning these statistics, motorcycles in 2016 constituted only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States. While motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. were just under 15% of the total motor vehicle fatalities, the figure crossed the 15% mark in California, suggesting a cause for concern. Generally, statistics follow a common trend, and after the grim 2016 fatalities report, the relevant government departments expected it to climb further in the years to come. However, that was not the case. In 2017, motorcycle fatalities dropped more than 28%, from 566 deaths to just 406 in a single year. Many personal injury cases requiring a visit to the emergency room and future medical treatment are caused by minor car accidents. The more fatal wrecks often involve significant rig truck accidents. (Source National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

In the following year, the trend continued downwards as the number of motorcycle fatalities further decreased. But it soon picked up again in 2019 when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recorded 474 motorcycle fatalities, 13% of the total vehicle deaths in California.

With a record number of motorcycles sold in 2020 in the United States (780,000 units), the 67% increase in motorcycle sales over a single year suggests that many are exploring other modes of transportation besides a car. California is the leading state with the highest number of motorcycle registrations each year.

Were you struck by a Lyft Vehicle or an Uber? Perhaps you suffered a rotator cuff tear and need to hire an expert witness to prove liability against the Lyft driver to obtain total value. Do you need legal assistance for an injury case involving a motorcycle versus a pickup truck or a legally impaired driver’s negligence? Our accident lawyers can help any client, your suffering family member, or other injured motorcyclists when they are at their wits end after a crash occurs.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Like drivers, motorcyclists must also exercise extreme caution to avoid accidents with other vehicles, pedestrians, or objects. You must drive on the right side of the road, for starters, if you want to avoid liability for your own crash.

Since there are more motorcycles on the road in California than ever before, there is an increase in the risk of crashing. Even if you’re careful, the other driver, rider, or person may not be, thus resulting in a collision and serious injuries. Here are some of the most common causes of riding accidents in California that prior clients who hire us have encountered.

Distracted Driving

When a driver is behind the wheel, many things can tempt them to glance over or cause distraction, resulting in an accident. Distracted driving has become a severe epidemic whether it is a mom distracted by all the noise her kids are making in the back seat or a young adult picking up the phone to talk to their friend.

A 2021 Office of Traffic Safety public opinion survey revealed that 74% of Californians believe distracted driving has become a severe concern for drivers. Although the state increased the number of measures to combat distracted driving, such as media campaigns, education programs, and changes in the law, distracted drivers remain a considerable threat.

Failure to Yield (Right of Way)

We hear it constantly from our clients, “the car ran a red light and plowed into me while riding.” The intersections are confusing enough for drivers to follow, but the right of way adds a heap more to the confusion, especially among inexperienced young drivers. Although many traffic laws dictate that drivers must yield the right of course, they do not go into detail or provide any instructions to follow for the client.

In cases where a motorcycle has the right of way, failing to yield by cutting off the motorcyclist leaves no time for the rider to take evasive action, resulting in an accident. These types of accidents are prevalent in the United States. There are thousands of dashcam videos across social media platforms and YouTube suggesting an incomplete understanding of traffic laws and the rights of clients.

These types of accidents lead to severe injuries to riders and passengers and, in worse cases, wrongful deaths. The failure to yield does not provide enough time for the motorcyclist to slow down, causing the accident while traveling at high speeds. Surviving victims of such accidents have traumatic brain injuries and permanent disabilities, altering their lives completely.

Failure to Signal

The idea that motorists are secure in their vehicles compared to motorcyclists gives motorists enough confidence to make mistakes during driving. Failure to turn on their signal light before turning is a common mistake many motorists make simply because they fail to judge a motorcyclist’s speed or the distance they are traveling.

Any person or their loved one will never be paid enough to cover the extent of injuries if they are a partially at-fault driver themselves.

DUI – Intoxicated Driving

Alcohol and, more recently, marijuana has caused their fair share of scooter accidents and others. In the United States, 28 people die due to crashes caused by drunk driving. Although the number of people dying in the country due to drunk driving has come down since the all-time high figures in 1982, it is still a considerable number. Modernly, we see more than 10,140 people losing their lives. Was someone you know killed, yet no one has paid for their share of the liability?

In California, injuries fell over the past few years, but fatalities rose considerably. In 2020, 941 drivers lost their lives due to DUI accidents. The California Highway Patrol did not have any explanation for the increase in the number of DUI fatalities across the state.

Tailgating

Were you rear-ended while riding your chopper? Tailgating is when a vehicle follows another vehicle closely without leaving ample room. This is reckless driving because if the front vehicle steps on the brakes for whatever reason, it can lead to a rear-end collision. This remains true since there is not enough time and space for the other driver to avoid the accident.

However, in many tailgating cases involving motor vehicles, the rear-end collision often results in minor property damage or insignificant injuries. That is not the case if a motorcyclist gets into a rear-end collision.

Motorcycles are light vehicles, and any impact from behind can throw the motorcyclist and the motorcycle on the road, resulting in serious injuries and property damage.

Road Rage

There is a common bias against motorcyclists, as many motorists label them as reckless drivers. This bias often leads to road rage and an irrational dislike of motorcyclists, causing motorists to disregard their personal safety. When motorists must exert extreme caution, this dislike of motorcyclists causes them to act irrationally, resulting in a severe accident. Whether intentional acts like this are covered by the insurance company and settled quickly is up to the lawyer.

Left Turn

Motorcycles are small vehicles, and drivers can easily overlook motorcycles due to blind spots. When making a left turn, motorists are often unable to see the motorcycle or do not realize that a motorcyclist is right next to their vehicle, causing a side-impact accident upon the bend in the opposite direction.

These accidents are pretty common around intersections or when motorists make sudden turns without checking their surroundings to see if it is safe to turn. In such situations, the drivers may be at fault. However, since California follows comparative negligence law, the motorcyclist may share the fault if they were speeding or violating traffic laws.

Lane Splitting

Most of the states in the country have banned lane splitting, except for California, which is the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split. But what is lane splitting?

During traffic congestion, motorcyclists in California can drive legally between lanes to escape the traffic. However, in doing so, they put themselves at risk if they’re not careful, as other vehicles may want to change lanes. Also, there are conditions that the rider must fulfill before they embark on lane splitting.

Poorly Maintained Roads

Unlike drivers in a motorcar, motorcyclists are more prone to accidents on poorly maintained roads, and California is notoriously known for its streets’ state of despair. 35% of the roads in California have gone through severe wear and tear over the last 50 years, and the state budget is not enough to cover the repair costs of these roads.

Bumps, cracks, uneven roads, and other obstacles pose a huge threat to motorcyclists as they can cause the motorcycle to swerve, flip, turn, or crash. The earlier mentioned incident involving Lisa Marie Hermann sums up perfectly what can happen on the roads of California if you’re riding a motorcycle.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents

There are three types of motorcycle accidents: single-vehicle accidents, multiple-vehicle accidents, and commercial vehicle accidents.

A Single Vehicle Accident

Inexperienced or reckless motorcyclists can lose control over their motorcycle and crash into an object, causing injuries to the rider. However, it is not just inexperience but could be poorly maintained roads that caused the bike to lose balance or motorcycle equipment failure that resulted in the vehicle spiraling out of control.

There are many reasons why a single-vehicle accident can occur, but when filing a motorcycle accident claim, the victim must have enough evidence to recover compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate the accident and determine its cause, whether it is a faulty product or unmaintained roads.

Multiple Vehicle Accident

Most motor vehicle accidents in the United States are multiple-vehicle accidents where the motorcyclist gets hit by another vehicle (a car or a truck). We’ve already discussed the many reasons why a driver may crash into a motorcycle. An attorney could hold the negligent party responsible for the damages if the driver did not see the motorcyclist or simply did not yield.

Commercial Vehicle Accident

Large vehicles such as semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are a serious concern for all other vehicles on the road. However, it poses a significantly larger threat to motorcyclists as the large vehicle’s blind spot is considerably sizeable. A motorcycle collision with an 18-wheeler truck can prove fatal for motorcyclists. In many cases, the last thing you will see is the shoulder of the road as you are thrown to your death.

Types of Damages That May Arise from a Motorcycle Accident

Like any other accident, a motorcycle accident can cause pain and suffering, require rehabilitation and therapy, incur huge medical expenses, and result in a loss of income due to disabilities. The insurance adjuster will usually blame riders who don’t wear helmets for their brain injury. After many years in practice, we see it all the time.

Pain and Suffering

Regardless of the medical advancements, a motorcycle accident victim goes through undeniable physical pain due to injuries. An accident can leave a victim fighting for their life or cause disabilities resulting in emotional suffering, depression, and other mental ailments.

There is no way to accurately measure a motorcycle accident victim’s pain and suffering. Still, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can work with you and recover the compensation you deserve.

Medical Expenses

In the United States, the medical system has continuously received criticism for administrative inefficiencies, resulting in patients facing skyrocketing medical bills from things like arthroscopic surgery repairs and physical therapy for a comminuted fracture. If you don’t have health insurance, you must pay from your pocket to cover the medical costs and then wait for reimbursement if your claim gets approved.

There are two immediate problems with this. First, you need to have a huge bank balance to cover medical costs, which few people in the country have. Second, the insurance company might reduce your injury claim or even deny it, leaving you financially dry.

A law firm with medical contacts can help locate a lien doctor for your medical treatment, allowing you to pay the medical bills after the assigned lawyer wins the case for you. With a reputable law firm on your side, you don’t have to worry about insurance companies reducing or rejecting your claims.

Rehabilitation

Depending on the severity of the injuries, a patient may need to undergo therapy, and in such situations, a doctor will recommend rehabilitation. Severe injuries like a traumatic brain injury can negatively affect motor and sensory skills, which require time, exercise, and constant medical care to return to normal.

Rehabilitation can last for a few weeks or, in some cases, even go on for a couple of months. The longer the rehabilitation period, the higher the costs. A personal injury lawyer can financially protect you from rehabilitation bills for physical, emotional, or speech therapy.

Loss of Income

Sometimes, after an accident, you may not be able to return to work anytime soon due to the severity of the injuries. Some injuries can cause permanent disabilities, keeping you from returning to work. You can work with an attorney to recover compensation to provide financial security for you and your family in such situations.

Let’s look at an incident from 2007 that led to San Bernardino County paying $3 million in damages for a motorcycle wreck. Again, your total settlement amount depends on many factors other lawyers with less experience might overlook.

Hermann and the Poorly Maintained San Bernardino County Road

In 2007, a motorcycle with a rider and a female passenger named Lisa Marie Hermann was cruising around in San Bernardino County when a devastating accident took place. Generally, a motorcycle wreck involves another rider or driver responsible for the cause of the accident. However, in the case of Lisa Marie Hermann, this was not the case.

The 2007 accident in San Bernardino County was a single-vehicle accident resulting in the passenger on the motorcycle, Lisa Marie Hermann, receiving severe and permanent injuries and disabilities to her head and neck. The court documents stated that the accident occurred near the Nevada border in the Mojave Desert.

Lisa blamed the poorly maintained roads of California for resulting in her accident and severe injuries. She and the motorcycle rider each sued the county. According to the court records, there was a deep trench on the San Bernardino County road. The road was already partially collapsed before the accident, and a couple of days earlier, heavy and continuous rains had washed the road out.

During the few days when it was raining, the county made no effort to reconstruct or repair the road to avoid accidents. The county did not even sign to warn drivers or motorcycle riders of the partially collapsed and washed-out road. Following the accident, the county immediately sent a team of crew members to repair the road. However, by then, the damage was already done.

Lisa Marie Hermann was immediately taken to a hospital for medical treatment, and her injuries were severe, resulting in hefty medical bills. However, the county agreed to settle the case outside of court by paying Lisa Marie Hermann $1.9 million in damages and $78,811 to cover the medical bills.

Since the injuries resulted in permanent disabilities, it would affect Lisa Marie Hermann’s quality of life and her ability to continue working. Due to this, the county further agreed to deposit a million dollars at an annuity firm, which they will release to Lisa Marie Hermann in monthly installments over 25 years.

The motorcycle rider, Vanjaymes Tonies, also sued the county, and, as expected, the county decided to settle this outside the courts.

Considering how vulnerable motorcyclists are to injuries, you may believe that all motorcycle accidents are worth millions from this real-life incident. Is this true?

Are All Motorcycle Accidents Worth Millions?

It depends on many factors, but the most important one is the severity of the injuries incurred in the accident. The 2007 incident described earlier was a case of severe head and neck injuries to Lisa Marie Hermann, causing permanent disabilities and affecting her ability to work. Due to her injuries, the county paid the plaintiff $3 million in damages.

Head, brain, spinal, and neck injuries are accidents’ most serious injuries. A severe spinal injury can cost the victim up to $5 million in medical expenses. However, relatively minor injuries like broken bones may not be worth millions of dollars. Another factor determining how much you receive for your injury is the coverage limits on the negligent party’s insurance and yours. An insurance company will only pay up to the policy limits. It is essential to have underinsured motorist coverage that kicks in once you exhaust the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. If you don’t have additional coverage besides the standard motorcycle insurance, you might find yourself in serious financial trouble.

For example, you incur a million dollars in damages due to an accident, but the other party’s insurer only pays you $500,000 due to the policy limit. Suppose you don’t have any additional insurance coverage. In that case, you will have to pay from your pocket for the damages incurred unless you decide to sue the other party for their financial assets. There are no financial assets in most cases, and pursuing a lawsuit against a party that does not have financial support is just a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, the ability, experience, and knowledge of the attorney you work with that result in the maximum compensation. Personal injury attorneys at Ehline Law understand that each case is unique, and they have substantial experience to ensure you receive total payment for your loss.

Here are some of the results of the motorcycle accident cases Ehline Law has won:

  • Lanham v. Doe Texas-Based Oil Company – $10.5 million (spine and brain injuries)
  • Doe v. Doe – $8.7 million (spinal cord injuries)
  • Altamirano v. Harrison – $3.265 million (motor vehicle collision.)

How Can Ehline Law Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?

Since there is a stigma that motorcyclists are reckless drivers, even if you’re not at fault, the negligent driver and their insurer will make all efforts to blame the accident on you. You need an attorney specializing in motorcycle accidents to ensure a strong chance of winning the case.

Our attorneys will help investigate your motorcycle accident case, negotiate with the insurance company, and even represent you in court.

Investigate the Case

The defendants’ central argument for causing motorcycle accidents is that they did not see the motorcycle. Our attorneys will investigate the case by immediately sending professionals to the accident site to collect evidence and gather witness statements to support your claim.

Ehline Law works with medical professionals to determine the claim’s value and prove the injuries resulting from the accident.

Negotiate with the Insurance Company

You may have been run over in a dangerous parking lot or poorly maintained road. This means multiple defendants may seek compensation on your behalf. Once an insurance company receives the relevant documents, they have two options.

They can either start the negotiation process to settle outside court or reject the claim. In the case of negotiations, we discuss with the victims before the negotiations the compensation they are happy to accept and, therefore, can negotiate on your behalf.

However, in the case of a disagreement or rejection, Ehline Law and our attorneys are not afraid to take the case to court. Our attorneys have a solid positive track record, enough to send the insurers a silent message to settle outside of court.

Provide Court Representation

It is highly likely that the insurer will settle outside of court, as they’d rather avoid the bad publicity associated with court cases. However, if it comes to that, we’re more than ready to tackle them in court, as all the cases we build are trial-ready. We will call all involved in the investigation and even call your doctors to testify. This is our business, and we do it well!

Why Choose Ehline Law?

Ehline Law is a premier personal injury law firm offering legal services to the residents of California across 15 different locations. We understand that recovering from an accident takes a mental toll, and with so much on your plate, tackling the claims process with insurers adds more stress. Let our attorneys relieve some pressure by handling the claims process and negotiating with the insurer on your behalf.

No sum of money can undo the damage done to you by accident. However, a successful motorcycle accident claim can provide you with the compensation you deserve, easing the financial strain and the mental burden that comes with it.

Your chances of a financial recovery increase substantially from the day you speak to our legal experts. We’ve helped over 3,000 injured victims recover more than $150 million in compensation. Recovering compensation is a challenging and lengthy process, but our attorneys are ready to assist you in every way possible.

Wounded plaintiffs should consider us for any roadway injury case before submitting their claim to mediation or lowball settlements.

Reputable Law Firm

When looking for an attorney to represent your case, you should consider one associated with a reputable law firm.

Over the years, Ehline Law has amassed several achievements and recognitions. Some of these include:

  • Best Attorney of America
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Superlawyers Rising Star Award
  • Premier Personal Injury Attorneys
  • And more.

Besides awards, Michael Ehline (Founder of Ehline Law) and our attorneys create awareness on multiple media platforms on legal issues and current laws, including cruise ship law, dog bite law, and limousine law. You owe yourself to get a great lawyer and maximum payment for your claim.

Professional Attorney-client Relationship

The stress from the accident and the constant harassment from insurance adjusters can leave you more worried with less focus. This is why you need a professional attorney who is always available and handles your concerns immediately. Our entire team is always ready to give you time, help you out, and alleviate your post-accident stress.

Superior Results

Ehline Law has a solid positive track record, a testament to our specialist attorneys’ reasonable. We dedicate all our resources towards a case to ensure each aspect of it is trial-ready. Whether bringing medical professionals on board for opinions or hiring investigators to reconstruct the accident for more information, Ehline Law and our attorneys will ensure you receive fair compensation for your loss.

Locate Lien Medical Providers

After an accident, you may not have the financial resources to pay for an ambulance, medical treatment, and hospital bills. Speak to our attorneys, and we will help locate a lien medical provider to start your medical treatment immediately. With strong relationships with world-class medical providers, you don’t have to worry about arranging funds to pay for the treatment.

Contingency Fee Basis

Another great way we help alleviate the financial stress following an accident is by offering our legal services on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge any legal fees unless we win the case and make a financial recovery for our clients against the defense.

Free Consultation

Our attorneys will go over your case and provide you with the available legal options you can pursue to get reimbursed quickly. There is no commitment to retain our services after the first consultative session, so why not talk to us and explore your legal options for free? We’ll aggressively pursue all forms of PIP insurance and any full coverage available if hired.

If you received injuries from a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, contact us or visit our law offices. We are ready to assist you throughout the entire process, from the beginning to the end. Ehline Law offers a free consultation to all injured victims looking for legal help. Call us at (213) 596-9642 to book your first free consultation session with our legal experts to discuss your case. Call for a free consultation today!

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 596-9642
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