Motorcycle Accident Attorney Serving Los Angeles, Orange County, and Southern California
Attorney John Machtinger himself has 12 years of street motorcycle riding experience. He knows that when it comes to riding motorcycles, Southern California has it all: coastal highways winding between mountains and shorelines, inland interstates that are flat and smooth, and some of the most congested cities and urban areas you’ll find anywhere. Whether riding for a weekend run or to cut through stop-and-go traffic to and from work, motorcycle riding offers a thrilling, efficient, environmentally friendly, and economical way to get there.
On the other hand, a significant drawback that every motorcycle rider is aware of is the potential danger of getting on a bike. Automobiles get safer every year with new designs and advanced features to protect their occupants, but the same can’t really be said about motorcycles. Safety experts use the term “crashworthiness” to express how well vehicle occupants are protected in a crash. Motorcycles are simply not very crashworthy. In fact, motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of a car.
The numbers and rates of injuries and fatalities for motorcycle riders are trending upwards too. Motorcycles make up only three percent of motor vehicles, but they represent over 14% of fatal accidents. Those are national averages; the rates in Los Angeles and Southern California are even higher.
At Machtinger Law, our focus is on helping accident victims and their families recover significant compensation after a serious accident involving catastrophic injury or wrongful death in Los Angeles or Orange County. Our attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of motorcycle accident victims who suffered the most serious injuries after a collision with a negligent driver. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or worse in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles or Orange County, call Machtinger Law to find out how we can help.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Southern California
Motorcycles are less visible than passenger cars in part because they are smaller and harder to see, but also because there are fewer of them on the road, so drivers are not accustomed to seeing them or situationally aware that there might be motorcycles on the road to watch out for. Some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Southern California include:
Cars making left turns – Cars turning left at intersections or across the opposite lane are a leading cause of motorcycle accidents that end in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Drivers either don’t pay attention and notice oncoming motorcycles, or they misjudge their speed and distance. Bikers don’t have time to adjust and will either strike or be struck by the vehicle, causing them to flip over the car or get crushed underneath.
Unsafe lane changes – When negligent drivers fail to check their mirrors and their blind spots before changing lanes, they can drive right into a motorcycle. This type of accident is especially prevalent in California compared to other states, since it is legal in California for motorcycles to ride between lanes of traffic.
Speeding – Speeding increases the likelihood of a crash and also makes the impact of any collision that much more forceful and harmful to the motorcycle rider. Speeding decreases reaction time and makes it harder to avoid an otherwise preventable crash. Speeding-related accidents include driving over the posted speed limit as well as driving too fast for the current weather, road, or traffic conditions.
Drunk driving – A third to a half of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment and reflexes and slows reaction time. Drunk drivers are less likely to try and avoid a wreck by applying the brakes or steering out of the way, making impacts with drunk drivers much more forceful and injurious to the victim. Just about every skill required to drive safely is negatively impacted by alcohol.
Reckless and aggressive driving – Some drivers fail to drive respectfully and share the road with motorcycles. Instead, they crowd out motorcycles, push them out of their lane, swerve in front of them, or block them from passing. Bikes are more maneuverable than cars but also less stable; it takes skill to avoid an accident, and it can’t always be done when faced with a reckless driver.
Distracted driving – Drivers who are looking at their phones instead of the road are apt not to see a motorcycle in time to avoid a crash.
Bike defects – If a mechanical defect in the bike was present due to a design or manufacturing defect, the rider has a product liability claim against the manufacturer for injuries caused by a tire defect, brake failure, or other mechanical failure at a critical moment on the road.
Road conditions – Motorcycles are more sensitive to road conditions than four-wheeled vehicles. Defects in the road such as cracks or potholes, or debris from construction zones, can cause the rider to lose control of the bike. Government transportation agencies responsible for maintaining roads can sometimes be liable for failure to repair a known defect or put up appropriate warnings about road hazards or negligently designed roads.
Dealing With Jury Bias in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Most people don’t own motorcycles and are unfamiliar with how they operate, and many people harbor unjustified biases against motorcyclists as reckless drivers. Bikers do cause or contribute to crashes through impaired driving, stunt riding, speeding, and other dangerous, reckless, or negligent maneuvers. However, in most motorcycle accidents, the other driver is at fault. Motorcycle riders know the dangers involved in riding, and they devote more time to become skilled riders than most people do to learning how to drive.
At Machtinger Law, we take the time to investigate the accident and assess fault fairly. If you were driving visibly, predictably, and defensively but were nevertheless injured in a crash with another driver, we’ll work to build a case that proves their liability to you without compromising or asking you to share any blame for the crash that does not legitimately belong to you.
Help Is Available After a Serious Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles, Orange County, or Southern California
If you or a family member were seriously or catastrophically injured in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, Orange County, or elsewhere in Southern California, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle crash, call Machtinger Law at 310-943-9300 to discuss your case with a skilled and experienced Southern California motorcycle accident attorney.