As drivers, we all share certain responsibilities to ensure the safety of our roads. Too often, however, motorcyclists bear an unfair burden of having to protect themselves from the neglect of the larger vehicles surrounding them. Even though motorcyclists are often the safest, most well prepared drivers on the road, it is sometimes assumed that the act of riding a motorcycle in and of itself is reckless behavior. Although drivers of motorcycles have every right that drivers of other vehicles possess, sometimes it takes a motorcycle accident lawyer to protect those rights and ensure that others do not take advantage of odds that may be stacked against an injured motorcyclist.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento may be able to help. Contact Eric Ratinoff Law Corp today for more information on representation in your case, and how we can assist you in getting proper and fair compensation for your injuries.
Increased Risk of a Motorcycle Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic accident. In 2008 alone 5,290 motorcyclists were killed and 96,000 were injured.
Motorcycle riders face special dangers every time they climb onto their bikes:
- Motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to be injured in an auto crash than someone riding in an automobile.
- In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents with another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident by violating the motorcycle’s right of way.
- Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 4,008 motorcycle crash deaths and 76,000 motorcycle crash injuries occurred in accidents on U.S. roads in 2004
- Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that motorcycle crash deaths have continued a nine-year increase, reaching 4,810 in 2006. Additionally, 88,000 motorcycle injuries occurred on U.S. roads in the same year.
- Motorcycle rider fatalities now account for 11 percent of total fatalities
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents Include:
- Negligence of other drivers, in fact, 70% of motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers failing to recognize motorcyclists driving near them
- Poor road and weather conditions
- Equipment failure
- Alcohol, excessive speed, and lack of safety training
Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Equipment Failure
Aside from negligence, a motorcycle accident could be caused by defective tires, or other manufacturing defects. Sometimes the accident itself may not have been caused by a manufacturer’s defect, but the safety equipment may not have protected the motorcyclist, causing injuries that would have been avoided if the equipment functioned as it should have.
Every motorcyclist has the right to expect that manufacturers will follow the highest standards when building motorcycles. When motorcycle accidents are caused by a manufacturer’s defect, the motorcycle manufacturer may be responsible for injuries caused by such a defect, under the law of product liability.
- Wear a helmet! Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle drivers and 41% for motorcycle passengers
- Never drink and drive
- Obey the speed limit
- Learn tips and techniques for safe driving
- Stay informed of safety and traffic rules
- Be aware of weather conditions before you ride
- Wear proper clothing, eye and face protection
- Use ear plugs to reduce hearing damage from wind noise
- Always inspect your motorcycle before a ride – use T-CLOCS to ensure a thorough inspection!
T-CLOCS: Pre-Ride Motorcycle Inspection
Pre-ride inspections should be a regular part of every motorcycle rider’s routine. The T-CLOCS acronym is a helpful reminder of the essentials every motorcycle rider should check weekly and before a long ride.
T stands for “Tires, wheels and brakes.”
- Tires: Check for tread depth, wear, weathering, bulges, and embedded objects.
- Air Pressure: Check when cold and adjust to load.
- Wheels: Check for bent, broken, or missing spokes. Check the tension at the top of the wheel. If it rings, it’s OK; if it thuds, there is a loose spoke. Check the cast for cracks or dents. Verify the rims are true 5mm or out of round. To check the bearings, grab the top and bottom of the tire and flex: there should be no click between the hub and axle, and no growl when spinning. Check the seals for cracks, cuts or tears, excessive grease on the outside, or reddish-brown around the outside.
- Brakes: Verify that each brake alone can keep the bike from rolling.
C stands for “Controls.”
- Levers and Pedal: Review for broken, bent, or cracked parts. Check ball ends on handlebar levers for proper adjustment. Ensure the pivots are lubricated.
- Cables: Check ends and interior for fraying, kinks, and proper lubrication. Ensure there’s no interference or pulling at steering head, suspension, with no sharp angles. Make sure the wire supports in place.
- Hoses: Review the condition for cuts, cracks, leaks, bulges, chafing or deterioration. Ensure the routing has no interference or pulling at steering head, suspension, with no sharp angles. Make sure the hose supports in place.
- Throttle: Ensure the throttle moves freely, snaps closed, no revving when handlebars are turned.
L stands for “Lights.”
- Battery: Check the terminals, make sure the battery is clean and tight, held down securely, and with proper electrolyte levels. Make sure the vent tube is routed properly, not kinked or plugged.
- Headlamp: Check for cracks, reflector, mounting and adjustment system. Make sure it aims at the proper height and right/left. Check the hi beam/low beam operation.
- Tail lamp/brake lamp: Make sure it’s clean and tight, with no cracks, and that it activates upon front brake/rear brake application.
- Turn signals: Make sure they flash correctly.
- Mirrors: Check the swivel joints and mounts. Look for any cracks.
- Lenses & Reflectors: Make sure they are not cracked or broken, with excessive condensation, and that they are securely mounted.
- Wiring: Look for any fraying, chafing and insulation wear. Make sure the routing is not pinched and that there is no interference or pulling at steering head or suspension, wire looms and ties in place, connectors tight, clean.
O stands for “Oil.”
- Engine Oil: Check the levels, warm on center stand on level ground, dipstick and sight glass. Check the gaskets, housings and seals for leaks.
- Hypoid Gear Oil, Shaft Drive: Check the transmission, rear drive and shaft levels. Check the gaskets, seals and breathers for leaks.
- Hydraulic Fluid: Check the brakes, clutch, reservoir or sight glass levels. Check the hoses, master cylinders and calipers for leaks.
- Coolant: Check the reservoir and/or coolant recovery tank levels – only when cool. Check the radiator, hoses, tanks, fittings and pipes for leaks.
- Fuel: Check the tank or gauge levels. Check the lines, fuel valve and carbs for leaks.
C stands for “Chassis.”
- Frame: Check for cracks at gussets, accessory mounts, and any paint lifting. Make sure the steering-head bearings have no detent or tight spots through full travel. Raise front wheel, check for play by pulling/pushing forks. Check the swingarm bushings/bearings. Raise the rear wheel and check for play by pushing/pulling swingarm.
- Suspension: Check the front forks for smooth travel, equal air pressure/damping, anti-dive settings. Check the rear shocks for smooth travel, equal pre-load/air pressure/damping settings. Make sure the linkage moves freely and is lubricated.
- Chain or belt: Check the tension at the tightest point. Makes sure the side plates are lubricated when hot (the belts should not be lubricated). Make sure the sprockets’ teeth are not hooked and securely mounted.
- Fasteners: Make sure there are no missing bolts or nuts and that they are threaded tight. Check for broken or missing clips and cotter pins.
S stands for “Stands.”
- Make sure the center and side stands are not cracked or bent, and that they spring in place, with proper tension to hold their positions.
Motorcycle Accident Representation: Our Motorcyclist’s Bill of Rights
Eric Ratinoff Law Corp offers aggressive representation for all accident cases in Sacramento and throughout California. We represent individuals who have been involved in motorcycle accidents caused by the neglect of another driver. Sacramento personal injury lawyer Eric Ratinoff has a proven track record, and will be here for you every step of the way.
It is our belief that every motorcyclist has a Bill of Rights. We fight for this Bill of Rights every time we represent a person injured on a motorcycle.
- Every motorcylist has the right to expect that other people will drive safely.
- Every motorcylist has the right to expect others to pay attention while driving.
- Every motorcyclist has the right to expect that our roads will be reasonably safe for motorcycles.
- Every motorcyclist has the right to expect that manufacturers of bikes and equipment will follow the highest standards when building motorcycles.
- Every motorcyclist has the right to enjoy the freedom of riding on our streets and highways.
- Every motorcyclist has the right not to be discriminated against by drivers.
- Every motorcyclist has the right not to be discriminated against by insurance companies.
- Every motorcyclist has the right not to be discriminated against by medical care providers.
- Every motorcyclist has the right not to be discriminated against by law enforcement officers.
- Motorcyclists have as much right to use and enjoy our roads as do cars, trucks, and big-rigs.
If you’re a new rider, the following resources may help ensure you can enjoy the road as safely as possible on your motorcycle.
Training and Information
- AMA New Rider Information
- AMA list of Rider Schools
- Advanced Motorcycle Training
- Motosport.com: An Introduction to Motorcycles
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Motorcycle Safety Guidelines
- Motorcycle Helmet Information & Reviews
- Gene Pearson Motorcycle Awareness Foundation
State and Federal Information & Guidelines
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the most important step in protecting your legal rights is to meet with a skilled and experienced attorney to discuss your case.
Proven Results for Auto Accident Injury Cases
- $2.25 million for a cyclist who was seriously injured in an auto accident
- $2 million recovery for motorcyclist who suffered a traumatic brain injury
- $1 million recovery for a woman injured in an auto accident
- $1 million personal injury recovery for a pedestrian who suffered post concussion syndrome
- $850K recovery on behalf of client who suffered herniated disks from being rear-ended on the freeway
$596,834 Jury Verdict for Motorcycle Accident after Insurance Argued Cyclist 75% At-Fault
A San Francisco jury awarded $596,834 to a man seriously injured when a car failed to ‘yield the right of way’ and struck his motorcycle. The insurance company for the car’s driver argued that the motorcyclist was speeding and at least 75% at fault for the collision. The jury disagreed based on the evidence presented at trial, and awarded the motorcyclist nearly $200,000 in medical bills, $300,000 in past pain and suffering, and $100,000 in future damages.
“We are very proud of our client who pursued this matter with dignity and never gave up in the face of a defense that unfairly tried to shift the lion’s share of the blame onto him,” said attorney Eric Ratinoff. “At the end of the day the jury agreed with us, awarding him more than 20 times the highest pre-trial offer.”
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Sacramento
Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers have years of experience successfully litigating auto accident cases. We have recovered substantial settlements for our clients who have suffered injury and death due to motor vehicle accidents. We will analyze your potential injury claim from many angles, looking for violations of traffic laws and DMV regulations, medical treatment issues, time limits for filing your case (statute of limitations), insurance issues, product liability (defective equipment), premises liability, and issues of negligent or reckless driving by all of the involved drivers, including you (comparative fault).
During your initial free legal consultation with Eric or another injury attorney from our team, we will listen to your story and ask a number of questions. You will have the opportunity and are encouraged to ask your own questions about the legal process, our experience with matters like yours, and anything else you want to know. Then we will discuss whether or not your potential case is a good fit for our firm, and if it is, we will explain our contract and fee agreement. While there is never any pressure for you to sign with our firm during this consultation, we are unable to conduct an investigation or do any work on your behalf until a contract has been signed.
We encourage all potential clients to do your research and make sure you hire the lawyer who you feel is best suited to represent you. As long as the attorney you hire has the experience and expertise to handle your case, it will most often come down to hiring the person you connect with best. A personal injury lawsuit can be a long and arduous road. Lawsuits can and typically do take a long time to resolve, so you want to be certain to make that journey with someone you trust.
Eric Ratinoff Law Corp has a proven track record for success in injury cases in Sacramento. For a free and confidential case evaluation, fill out and submit a form on our Contact Us page or call us locally at (916) 473-1529 or toll-free at (866) 527-4278.