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Deadly Motorcycle Accidents in California

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Deadly Motorcycle Accidents in California


Most deadly motorcycle accidents are caused by negligent vehicle drivers. When another person has caused an accident that results in the loss of a beloved family member, the experienced California injury lawyers at AutoAccident.com can offer compassionate and experienced legal representation for the grieving next of kin.  

Motorcycle Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, there are many hundreds of fatal motorcycle accidents each year in our state, most of which were avoidable. When another motorist’s negligence causes a fatal accident, the next of kin may be able to file a wrongful death claim and receive monetary compensation. Relationships that most often define next of kin include the spouse, children, parents, or siblings of the deceased. 

While no amount of money could ever compensate for the heartbreak of losing a loved one, the compensation from a wrongful death claim can help to lessen the significant financial burdens that may follow an untimely death. 

Compensation For a Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a fatal motorcycle accident can seek compensation for:

  • Any medical bills that the deceased incurred related to the accident preceding the death
  • Expenses for the funeral and burial
  • Past and future income and employment benefit loss
  • Loss of household services
  • Non-economic damages, which could include (as applicable): the loss of love, companionship, support, affection, and parental guidance
Common Causes of Deadly Motorcycle Accidents

The most common scenario that causes a motorcyclist’s death is when their bike is struck by a motor vehicle. Head-on collisions and T-bone collisions that occur during a turn at an intersection are two types of accidents that often result in fatal injuries to the motorcyclist. While everyone traveling on the highways is at risk for car crashes, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injuries, given their lack of protection. 

Experience Matters for Motorcyclists

Serious motorcycle accidents often happen when the rider is new to the activity. Inexperience can be deadly. Practicing riding in a safe area, such as on a track or in a location with deserted roads, is a good way to become accustomed to how your bike handles and practice evasive maneuvers with less risk. 

However, most new riders will not invest nearly enough time gaining riding experience before taking their bike out onto the highways, where they are subject to the actions of other motorists with whom they share the road.  

Motorcycle Training

One of the wisest things a motorcyclist can do is take a solid, comprehensive training course. Such classes should not be reserved for brand new riders, although it is most important for those who are new to the activity. 

Brushing up on your skills throughout your riding life can prolong your years of safe enjoyment of the activity. Training courses that teach you the laws and rules of the road coupled with gaining riding experience in a safe and controlled setting may ultimately end up saving your life.

Beginner Motorcycle Courses

The most common type of motorcycle training course will be aimed at the beginner rider looking to get a motorcycle license. This type of class can usually be found within your particular county by visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website or the California Highway Patrol (CHP). 

A rider should never believe that after they are properly licensed to ride a motorcycle, there is no longer any training. A safe rider will want to continue to hone his or her skills. There are many other types of motorcycle courses available, such as:

  • The Basics. Even after being licensed, a basic skills class can be valuable to familiarize yourself with your bike and how it handles, learn about innovations in motorcycle safety, and remind yourself of the rules of the road.
  • Bike-specific courses. There are many brands of motorcycles: Harley Davidson, Ducati, and BMW, to name a few. There may be some brand-specific classes to help enthusiasts of each manufacturer become more familiar with the features of each product.
  • Safety Refresher Course. There are online refresher courses that will keep you up to date on traffic laws since they periodically change. Every few years, a rider may want to enroll in such a course.
  • More Advanced Motorcycle Classes. After becoming familiar with the basics and getting comfortable with riding, you may want to seek more advanced classes, especially if you are interested in track racing or off-road riding, for example.
Don’t Forget – ATGATT

The acronym ATGATT is an important one for motorcyclists to remember and to live by. It stands for All the Gear All the Time. In many of the more recent rider safety courses, this philosophy is emphasized. Protective gear may make the difference between life and death in a crash. Let’s go over some of the gear that safety experts recommend.

High-Tech Riding Jacket

Nowadays, not just any old leather jacket will do.  For optimal road protection, there are several features to look for:

  • The jacket should be constructed of gore-tex, leather, or a hybrid of materials, including kevlar. 
  • The sleeves should be designed to stay down even when the rider’s arms are outstretched.
  • Safe jackets are very form-fitting, so they stay put during an incident and do not ride up, exposing skin to the elements.
  • The jacket should have thicker material or composite armor at the shoulders, elbows, and other areas of high stress.
  • Some newer jackets even have built-in airbags, which can reduce the forces absorbed by the rider by up to 90% over composite armor. Jacket airbags are so effective they have been mandatory in MotoGP events since 2018.
Full-Face Helmet

A full-face helmet takes the state-approved helmet steps further and offers greater protection for impact absorption. 

Gauntlet Style Gloves

Given how important your hands are in properly handling your motorcycle, investing in the right gloves that simultaneously provide protection and preserve dexterity is crucial. During a fall or crash, the rider’s wrists are particularly vulnerable, so the gauntlet style of glove that extends past the wrists and up the arms should be purchased.

Riding Pants

Old-school leather pants and chaps provide decent protection, but there are better options on the market now that are made from materials reinforced with kevlar. The new technology protects the rider from slide injuries while allowing for breathability. Most good riding pants will also have padding and composite armor in zones more likely to need reinforcement during a crash. 

Motorcycle Boots

While it may be a temptation to wear sneakers on your bike because they are breathable, lightweight, have good traction, and allow for feeling the foot controls, that type of footwear will not preserve your skin and other tissues in an accident. Riding boots constructed to offer maximum protection from physical encounters and the elements while allowing for full ankle dexterity are a much better choice.  

Watch the YouTube video below, which discusses motorcycle safety gear for new riders.

Call a Motorcycle Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

At AutoAccident.com, we have been fiercely advocating on behalf of injured California motorcyclists for several decades. We strive to provide expert legal counsel coupled with compassion. 

Even the safest riders can experience a serious motorcycle crash through no fault of their own. If your loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another motorist, promptly reach out to us for a no-obligation consultation. We can help you decide the best course of action for your family.

Choosing the right wrongful death attorney to handle your case can be a difficult decision. Please see our reviews on Yelp, Avvo, and Google, and have a look at our Settlements and Verdicts.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.20.21]

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

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