San Jose and the surrounding areas are great places to ride a motorcycle, but the unfortunate reality is that motorcycles are at a greater risk of a motorcycle accident when compared to passenger vehicles – indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they are 28x more likely. This is due to a variety of factors, but the most obvious is the significant size difference between a motorcycle and a car. This makes it easy for the rider to get lost in a blind spot or be overlooked when a driver looks for oncoming traffic before turning onto a road or passing through an intersection.
Motorcycle riders are also at a much higher risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries. Roughly 20% of passenger vehicle crashes result in an injury or death, while 80% of motorcycle accidents result in an injury or death. Between a 28x higher chance of being involved in a crash and a 4x higher chance of being hurt or killed, it’s important for motorcycle riders to know their legal options in the event of an accident. Working with a San Jose personal injury attorney is an important step in navigating an insurance claim or lawsuit successfully while also focusing on recovering from serious injuries.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP For a Free Consultation About Your San Jose Motorcycle Accident Today
Our law firm offers a free consultation to motorcycle accident victims and their families. We understand that the aftermath of a serious motorcycle accident will have widespread impacts that the victim and their family must navigate while also focusing on medical care and the recovery process. All of these impacts will have significant financial repercussions, as well. While an insurance claim is designed to help a victim recover compensation, the reality is that the insurer is focused on settling motorcycle accident claims as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
During our free consultation, you will be able to discuss your unique situation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will provide you with specific advice and be able to answer your questions about what comes next. The legal process can be bewildering for those unfamiliar with it, and this is even more true when trying to juggle the consequences of a motorcycle accident at the same time. Motorcycle accident attorneys can help with this process significantly.
Read more below to get a better sense of the legal process that follows a motorcycle accident and the important support that a personal injury attorney can provide during this difficult time. Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP right away to request your free consultation and get on the road toward getting the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of a San Jose Motorcycle Accident
The following examples of motorcycle accident causes are just a few of the most common, but remember that whether or not you see your own accident cause below, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP are here to help you make sense of your unique situation. If someone else caused your accident through negligence, recklessness, or malice, whether the at-fault party is an individual or a company, we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of traffic and it is legal in California. Although legal, it can be dangerous, especially because other drivers may not be expecting a motorcycle to be riding up between the lanes while they are in slow or stopped traffic. When a driver attempts to make a lane change or even opens their door, it can lead to a serious accident. Due to blind spots on large vehicles, lane splitting can be a cause of truck accidents, as well.
Speed is a factor in roughly ⅓ of all vehicle accidents, including motorcycles. At high speeds, a motorcycle rider will be thrown from the bike and suffer a second impact when they hit the ground. There could be other possible impacts if they encounter obstacles before their body comes to a stop. A motorcycle accident lawyer will work to prove that speed was a factor in your motorcycle accident and motorcycle accident injuries.
Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, eating, reaching to grab something in the back of the car, or even daydreaming, are engaging in dangerous behavior called distracted driving. When they are not paying attention to their surroundings, they can easily miss a motorcycle, especially one in their blind spot, and may commit to a move that puts them directly into the motorcyclist’s path.
Driving Under the Influence
When someone makes the dangerous decision to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at serious risk of an accident. Driving while intoxicated can cause drivers to make dangerous maneuvers because of decreased awareness of their surroundings, a decreased ability to identify risks, and a slower reaction time, all of which make for dangerous conditions for a motorcycle rider.
It’s easy to forget if you are an experienced driver, but operating a motor vehicle can be an intimidating activity at the start, especially when trying to deal with San Jose traffic. New drivers have a lot on their minds as they try to remember all of the details about what it takes to operate a vehicle, and in their distraction may forget to check their blind spots or pay attention to smaller vehicles — particularly motorcycles.
San Jose Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were a total of 39 injuries and deaths (combined) in San Jose in 2020, the most recent year of reporting at the time of publishing this page. This puts San Jose 13th out of 15 “Group A” cities (cities with a population over 250,000) in the state in terms of motorcycle accidents — an encouraging statistic for motorcycle enthusiasts.
However, the 39 people involved in crashes in 2020 in San Jose almost certainly found no comfort in the fact that this city is relatively safe. Working with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that you aren’t just another number while trying to work through the insurance claim process.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
No two motorcycle accidents are alike, and the injuries that victims sustain vary just as much. A seemingly identical injury on two different victims may have vastly different impacts on their lives depending on all sorts of factors. Whether or not you see your injuries mentioned below, our team of motorcycle accident attorneys will be able to discuss your situation in detail during our initial consultation. We will work to communicate the gravity of your injuries as we calculate the compensation you are owed.
Whiplash is a common injury in all types of impact accidents. It is caused by the head being jerked rapidly until it snaps back — making an “S” motion and tearing muscles, ligaments, and tissues as it happens. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may recover on their own by keeping the neck stable. However, more serious instances may require surgery to repair tears and give the victim a good chance of a complete recovery.
A bone will fracture and break when it is subjected to a force greater than its own tensile strength, which is common in motorcycle accidents. Riders often suffer an initial collision — often with another vehicle or obstacle — that can cause initial injuries, at which point they are thrown from the bike and strike the ground. They may even hit further obstacles depending on the speed they are traveling. Each of these impacts is likely to cause trauma, often in the form of broken bones.
When a rider is involved in an accident, the body may be subjected to high impacts that can cause internal organs and tissues to rupture or be damaged. Hitting the handlebars, being struck directly by a vehicle, landing on the ground, or making contact with anything else can generate enough force to cause significant damage to internal organs like the spleen, liver, lungs, or other essential organs.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI happens when the brain experiences significant force during an impact. A rider can sustain a serious, life-threatening TBI, even if there is no sign of major trauma. Brain injuries can range from a mild concussion to serious, lasting injuries that can have permanent impacts on cognitive function. Wearing a helmet saves roughly 1,800 lives each year, according to the CDC, and even surviving a crash without a helmet can lead to lifelong complications.
Road rash is an abrasion injury that happens when a rider’s skin scrapes against the ground after an accident and can resemble burn injuries. Depending on a multitude of factors like whether or not the rider was wearing appropriate riding clothing (leather jacket, pants, helmet, gloves, and boots) and how fast they were going, road rash can be a minor scrape that heals on its own, or be a severe injury that requires medical attention to treat or prevent infections.
Spinal Cord Injuries
When a rider is thrown from a motorcycle and experiences the force of an impact, it can cause their spine to twist or break, leading to serious spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord carries signals between the brain and the rest of the body, and disruption to this essential bundle of nerves can cause paralysis and other long-term disabilities.
When a person on a motorcycle is hit by a car, several factors can contribute to the severity of injuries and, tragically, even result in death. In accidents involving a motorcycle and a car, head injuries are a major concern. If the rider was not wearing a helmet or the impact is severe, it can lead to traumatic brain injuries, which can be fatal. The impact can also cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, which may be life-threatening. Riders can sustain injuries to the chest and abdomen due to direct impact or being thrown onto the car’s hood or windshield. As well, a rider may be hit by the car and then struck by other objects or the pavement, leading to additional injuries that can be critical.
The Importance of Working With a Motorcycle Attorney in San Jose
After a motorcycle accident, the victim will likely file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer and initiate a claim. Many people don’t realize that a motorcycle accident attorney is an important ally from the start. Once the insurer learns of an accident, the adjuster assigned to the case will search for details that the insurance company can leverage to reach a low settlement as quickly as possible. Many of these tactics can feel intimidating and overwhelming to the victim and their loved ones, but a motorcycle accident lawyer will not be swayed.
When you work with a personal injury attorney, they will be able to handle all communications and contacts with the insurance company or defense attorneys while you focus on recovery and healing. Motorcycle accident attorneys will be able to put their years of experience to work gathering evidence, calculating damages, dealing with negotiations, and preparing to take your case to the California courts if necessary.
Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP is here to help after a San Jose motorcycle accident. Contact us as soon as possible to request a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer and learn how we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. If someone else caused your accident, you should not be on the hook for the impacts of their reckless or negligent behavior.