Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident

New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle AccidentEverywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances—and now your motorcycle. A number of technological innovations have hit the market recently, all designed to help you maximize the enjoyment of your motorcycle while helping you stay safer. Here are some of the more popular new technologies:

  • Airbags—Airbag technology is applied differently to motorcycles—it’s in the clothing you buy, rather than the bike. The most basic airbags are tethered to your bike and deploy when a cord is pulled. More sophisticated products have computerized systems that detect an impending crash.
  • Directional headlights—The single headlight on a motorcycle, pointed straight ahead, has always been less than adequate, particularly when you’re turning a corner at night. New adaptive headlights use sensors to pivot when you’re rounding a turn, so your headlights shine where you’re going.
  • Antilock braking—Slamming on your brakes is one of the least effective and most dangerous ways to try to stop your bike. Antilock brakes create a “feathering” effect by rapidly reducing and reapplying the brakes a number of times per second. Studies show that fatal crash rates are about one-third lower on bikes with antilock braking systems.
  • Electronic throttle control—This technology replaces the traditional accelerator cable with an electronic device that minimizes the risk of accidental and sudden acceleration.
  • Smart helmets—A number of manufacturers are incorporating Bluetooth technology into helmets, allowing riders to see GPS images and rearview cameras on helmet visors.

Another technology in development, but not yet ready for release, is “vehicle to vehicle” communication, which integrates sensors into a bike to accomplish two objectives: emit a signal to nearby vehicles, making them aware of the presence of the bike; and give motorcyclists notification of the presence of other vehicles nearby.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience to people who have suffered personal injury, including victims of motorcycle accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Identifying the Parties Responsible for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Who Can You Sue When You’re Hurt in a Bike Wreck?

When You're in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardIn the aftermath of a motorcycle accident when you’re trying to recover lost wages, medical expenses, or other damages—the most obvious responsible party is the driver whose negligence caused the accident. While the law is clear that you must prove someone was negligent in order to recover compensation, parties other than the at-fault driver may be liable for your losses.

In a motorcycle accident injury claim, as with other types of personal injury , claims the most common legal theory used to recover damages is negligence. In a negligence claim, you must show three things:

  • That another person failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances (or, in other words, “breached the duty” to act reasonably);
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident; and
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident.

Besides the at-fault driver, a number of other parties may have acted carelessly in a way that contributed to or caused the accident that led to your injuries:

  • The manufacturer or designer of a product—Designers and manufacturers of consumer products—including those who make bike and automobile parts, safety equipment, and traffic lights—have a duty to use reasonable care. You may have a product-based claim if your accident was caused by defective brakes, steering mechanisms, or other bike parts, or if your injuries were made worse by carelessly-designed safety gear, such as helmets, gloves, or clothing. Any party in the chain of distribution, including the bike dealership, can be legally responsible for this kind of “product liability” claim.
  • The at-fault party’s employer—If the accident occurred while the at-fault driver was in the normal course of his or her job, the employer may have some responsibility under the legal theory of respondeat superior.
  • A local governmental body—If roadway defects caused the accident, you may have a claim against the entity responsible for maintaining that stretch of road.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have been successfully representing people hurt in motorcycle accidents for more than three decades. To arrange a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010

No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

Can You Recover Damages If There’s No Collision?

No-Contact-Motorcycle-AccidentsIt’s an all too common occurrence—you’re out on the road on your motorcycle and a distracted or careless motorist turns into your path. To avoid a collision, you lay the bike down or veer and lose control. You suffer injuries when you hit the pavement, and your bike is damaged, but there was no contact with the motor vehicle. Can you still pursue compensation for your injuries and losses? The answer is generally yes.

The Legal Basis for a Personal Injury Claim

There’s no requirement that there be impact between your bike and another vehicle for you to have a valid claim for damages. Most personal injury claims are based on the legal principle of negligence. Under this rule, everyone in society is deemed to have a duty to act reasonably at all times, including while operating a motor vehicle.

To establish liability for negligence, you must prove three things in court:

  • That the defendant (the person from whom you are seeking compensation) failed to meet the standard of care reasonably expected—Another way of saying this is that the defendant “breached the duty of care.”
  • That the breach of duty caused an accident—You must show that the accident would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably and also that your injuries or losses were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the breach of duty
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident—If your losses are covered by insurance, you cannot recover them from the defendant. In addition, if you have property loss, but the property has no value, you cannot recover damages for it.

In a no-contact accident, then, the court will look at the facts of the case and apply these standards. Did the motorist carelessly turn into your path or cause you to take evasive action? Did that carelessness cause you to lay down the bike or lose control? Did you suffer actual losses as a result?

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims throughout California for more than 30 years, including victims of motorcycle accidents. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation.

Comparative Negligence in California Motorcycle Accidents

What Happens If You Are Partially Responsible for Causing a Crash?

Comparative Negligence in California Motorcycle AccidentsThough there are many motor vehicle accidents where the courts ultimately find only one party responsible, the reality is that many crashes are caused by carelessness or negligence by both the person seeking damages and the party being sued. For example, a motorist may make an illegal turn or fail to stop at a stop sign and you may have been speeding. If the motorist had not turned into your path, the accident would not have happened, but if you hadn’t been speeding, it wouldn’t have happened, either. What happens when you’re involved in a motorcycle accident where there’s liability attributed to both parties?

For centuries, the principle of contributory negligence applied to such a situation. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a person who contributed in any way or to any degree in causing the accident that caused his/her injuries could not recover any compensation. As the principle developed, defense attorneys adopted a strategy of looking for any evidence of carelessness or negligence on the part of the injured person (the plaintiff). That led to situations where a grossly negligent person could escape responsibility for injuries suffered by someone who was only nominally careless.

The perceived unfairness of the contributory negligence approach led lawmakers across the country to adopt a new approach. All states now use some form of “comparative negligence” to determine how liability will be allocated when both parties were at fault. The comparative negligence scheme looks at the plaintiff’s total losses, determines the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible, and reduces the total award by that percentage. For example, if the total losses were $100,000 and the plaintiff was deemed 25% responsible, the total award will be reduced to $75,000.

Two different approaches to comparative negligence have evolved: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. With pure comparative negligence, an injured party will always receive something, unless deemed to be 100% responsible. With modified comparative negligence, if the plaintiff’s negligence exceeds a certain threshold (usually 50%), there will be no recovery. California is a pure comparative negligence state.

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring decades of experience to personal injury victims throughout California. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident in 2020

Measures You Can Take to Reduce the Likelihood of Injury

Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident in 2020If you’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast for any length of time, you know it’s a two-edged sword. There’s nothing quite like the feel of the open road, wind in your face, taking in California’s spectacular scenery. But motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other types of vehicles. Statistics indicate that bikers are 28 times more likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury in a crash than travelers in passenger vehicles. You can, however, take measures to minimize the risk of a motorcycle accident:

  • Drive defensively—The evidence is pretty conclusive—other drivers generally don’t look out for bikers on the road. That means you have to take concrete measures to protect yourself. Keep an eye on the motorists around you. Look for signs that they might be turning without giving a signal. Keep a safe distance behind the motorist in front of you in order to maximize your reaction time. Watch out for potholes, loose gravel, or debris on the road.
  • Improve your skills—Take a safety course or learn new techniques for handling your bike. Go to a vacant parking lot and practice and practice for a while.
  • Make certain other drivers can see you—Wear bright clothing. Keep out of blind spots. Always use turn signals and hand signals. Consider driving with your headlights on at all times.
  • Make certain your bike is road-ready—Check the brakes, throttle, horn, and turn signals before you get on the road. Make certain your tire pressure is good and that you have plenty of fuel.

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle-Accident Lawyers

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided aggressive legal counsel to personal injury victims in California for more than three decades. We will listen carefully to learn the specific details of your claim, as well as what you need to compensate you fully for all your losses. Contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Importance of Having Motorcycle Insurance in California

How Proposition 213 Affects Your Right to Compensation After an Injury

The Importance of Having Motorcycle Insurance in CaliforniaIn California, as in other states, all motorists (including motorcycle operators) must carry a minimum amount of insurance. Nonetheless, many drivers, including bikers, either fail to obtain the necessary coverage or carelessly let their policy lapse. Obviously, if you have no valid insurance policy in place, you can’t look to an insurer to cover your losses after an accident. In California, Prop 213 also may prevent you from recovering damages in a lawsuit, even if another party was at fault.

The Effect of Prop 213 on a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim in California

Prop 213, known as the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, bars uninsured drivers from recovering a general damages award in certain circumstances. General damages typically include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Prop 213 states the following:

  • An uninsured motorist can never collect general damages, regardless of fault.
  • An uninsured motorist may be able to collect compensation from an at-fault party’s insurer for medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses.
  • Passengers on or in a vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist may collect general damages in a lawsuit.

Exceptions to the Rule

The driver of an uninsured vehicle may still be eligible for general damages when the accident occurs under the following circumstances:

  • The uninsured vehicle is owned by the driver’s employer.
  • The accident occurs on a private road.
  • The vehicle involved in the accident is uninsured, but the driver has insurance on another vehicle.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience successfully handling a wide range of personal injury claims, including injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. We will takethe time to learn the details of your accident, as well as what you need to be fully compensated for your losses. Contact us online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Tips for Maximizing Your Safety on a Motorcycle—Part One

Things You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Injury

Tips for Maximizing Your Safety on a MotorcycleFor many, riding a motorcycle can be a two-edged sword. There’s exhilaration and freedom you can’t get from anything else when you hit the open road with the wind in your face. But it’s an inherently dangerous venture, too. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate that bikers are 28 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash than someone in a passenger vehicle. In many instances, too, the causes of an accident are beyond your control. There are, however, some specific things you can do to reduce the risk of injury on a bike. Here’s our first installment:

  • Make sure your skills are finely tuned—Don’t be afraid to take a motorcycle safety course. In California, you may even be required to take a safety class or pass a driving skills test. Even if it’s not mandatory, it’s a good idea.
  • Take advantage of safety gear—A helmet, leather pants and jacket, good boots and gloves are essential. You also might look into new airbag technologies available for motorcycles.
  • Keep your bike in top condition—Keep a checklist to go through every time you get on your bike, so you know that brakes, lights, tires, steering and other mechanical conditions are satisfactory.
  • Make certain other drivers can see you—The most common response by other motorists after a collision? I didn’t see the motorcycle. Minimize that risk with brightly colored clothing or reflective tape. Make certain you always use mechanical and hand signals, and ride with your headlights on in the daytime.
  • Give yourself some room—Always allow yourself adequate space and time to stop in the event of an emergency without hitting the vehicle in front of you.

ContactWeber & Nierenberg

At the law office of Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of injured people in California for more than three decades, including those hurt in motorcycle accidents. We will take the time to listen carefully in order to learn the details of your case, and we will help you seek full and fair compensation. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

California Jury Awards $21.5 Million in Motorcycle Injury Claim

Improper Lane Change Determined as Cause of Accident

A California jury returned a verdict in a motorcycle accident claim determining that the injured biker’s losses totaled $21.5 million. The man was injured in 2017 on the 405 Freeway in southern California. According to trial testimony, the defendant, who worked for a car dealership in Irvine, changed lands without signaling and hit the plaintiff, who was traveling northbound. The impact of the collision threw the plaintiff off his bike and into the path of another vehicle.

According to his attorneys, the plaintiff suffered serious and permanent injuries as a result of the accident. The parties could not agree on a reasonable amount of compensation for the injuries, so the case went to trial.

Witnesses testified at trial that the defendant suddenly shifted from the high occupancy vehicle lane and sideswiped the motorcycle. In addition to the driver of the motor vehicle, the plaintiff sued the car dealership that employed him, alleging that the driver was “unfit and incompetent” to perform the work he was hired to do and that the dealership was negligent in hiring and training him. Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer can be liable for injuries caused by an employee, provided the employee was performing duties that were part of his job at the time of the accident. The driver was delivering a car for his employee at the time of the crash.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Proven Representation

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have successfully protected the rights of personal injury victims in California for decades, including those of people injured in motorcycle accidents. We take an individualized approach to every claim, learning the details of your accident and tailoring our counsel to get the outcome you want. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter Injuries

Many Mishaps Tied to Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter InjuriesData gathered from three Southern California trauma centers indicates that, as electric scooters have escalated in popularity over the past couple years, so have the number of injuries sustained by operators and riders. In a study published in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open, researchers found that most of the victims were male and that more than half tested positive for blood alcohol or other controlled substances, including THC and methamphetamines. Officials say 79% of the victims in the study were tested for blood alcohol, with 48% showing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08 percent, the legal limit in most states. Approximately 60 percent of the injured scooter users were tested for drugs, with 52% found to have controlled substances in their bloodstream.

The most common types of injuries suffered were broken bones and head trauma. Of those victims included in the study, 98% were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. The average hospital stay for the scooter injury victims was three days and about one in three required some type of surgical procedure. Though no one died, eight patients spent time in intensive care and six required long-term acute care.

Police and prosecutors in some California cities have started applying the DWI/DUI laws to electric scooter operators. As early as September, 2018, a man in Los Angeles was convicted for driving a scooter while under the influence. The 28-year-old man apparently knocked down a pedestrian while drunk and fled to a nearby apartment building without giving aid. When officers arrested him, the defendant had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit. He was convicted of a misdemeanor.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have aggressively protected the rights of injured people in California for more than 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle and scooter accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

Scooter Backlash—Increased Use Leads to Increased Complaints

Fatalities and Serious Injury Lead to Public Outcry

Modern eco electric city scooters for rent outdoors on the sidewalk. Alternative tourism, transportation around the city, bike replacement service.If you’ve been in just about any major city in the last year, you’ve seen the onslaught of e-scooters, the new darlings of the “micro-mobility” industry. Experts estimate that as many as 85,000 such scooters are used every day across the United States. They can offer an easy way to get from one place to another, but they have been governed by a patchwork quilt of local regulations thus far. As injury and death tolls mount—a 2017 study found more than 1,500 injuries and 8 fatalities, a number that has increased dramatically in the last year—there’s been a bit of a backlash from consumers, who are asking government officials to take steps to protect public safety. In Oregon, some have even dumped the vehicles in the local river!

The e-scooters have many positive attributes:

  • They don’t use gasoline or carbon-based fuels
  • Payment is easy—typically done through an app on your phone
  • They travel four times as fast as you can travel on foot

Unfortunately, because of the way they are rented, it’s difficult to enforce measures that would improve the safety of both riders and others. For example, as a general rule, an e-scooter operator is supposed to be at least 18, wear a helmet, have a valid driver’s license and travel alone. There’s really no one to monitor these requirements, though, so the scooters are frequently taken by unlicensed individuals or by minors, and the operators often ride without any protective gear. In addition, many try to put more than one person on the scooter, which can make it extremely difficult to control. They have also been used like skateboards by some riders, who try to take them over curbs and do other stunts.

Another significant problem—many e-scooter riders don’t want to be on the roads (they can’t go more than 15 mph), so they ride on the sidewalks. That can constitute a hazard for the scooter operator and the pedestrian.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have helped injured people in California for more than 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle and scooter accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

 
 
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Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident

New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety Everywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances—and no... [Read More...]