On March 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm our client was driving his 2014 Kawasaki motorcycle Westbound on the San Francisco Bay Bridge one half mile east of Fremont Street.  His motorcycle hit a slick of gasoline in his lane and he went down, suffering severe injuries. In addition to serious leg injuries, he had a loss of work and large medical bills, leaving him in a quandary.  

About The Accident

This was a one vehicle accident from the point of view of the California Highway Patrol.  However, our office’s investigation revealed that there was a previous collision on Interstate 80 Westbound (San Francisco Bay Bridge, East of Yerba Buena Island) in which a 1995 Kenworth T600 big rig truck ran over a piece of metal which punctured the truck’s gas tank.  The truck continued Westbound across the bridge, leaving a trail of diesel fuel in the number five lane.

The big rig was insured by Carolina Casualty Insurance Company and our client was insured by American Modern Insurance Company.  

After the accident, our client was immediately transported by San Francisco Fire Department medics to San Francisco General.  He was admitted for four days and suffered a fractured left clavicle, six fractured ribs, left him bruising and pain, neck pain and headaches.  

Case Details

Our client needed ongoing medical treatment after the case and needed to do something about the fact that he was out of work for a significant period of time.  He also needed to deal with his mounting medical bills. He reached out to GJEL Accident Attorneys to see if he was entitled to compensation and to have his questions answered.  He wanted to know:

Do I have a case against the insurance company for this truck if the truck did not know that it had run over the piece of metal and did not know that its gas tank was punctured?  

Attorney Andrew Gillin advised the client that although the case was not a sure thing, the firm was prepared to take the risk.  The client was pleased and the staff at GJEL Accident Attorneys started a full investigation.

At first the insurance company for the truck took the position that they didn’t know anything because the accident was the fault of whomever left the piece of metal in the road way.  Attorney Gillin let the insurance company know that since the truck driver eventually pulled over long before getting to his destination, he must have realized immediately that he had hit something in the road and it was his duty to use his cell phone and call the CHP immediately.  Enough time had elapsed between the gasoline leak in to the pavement and the time our client hit that gasoline leak with his motorcycle that a call to the CHP would have resulted in the lane being shut down and the accident being avoided. Attorney Gillin let Carolina Casualty know that the law firm was prepared to take the case to trial.  

The case took approximately six months to settle, and through aggressive representation, our client was awarded $220,000 for this accident.  

Case Facts

Insurance Company Names: Carolina Casualty Insurance Company

American Modern Insurance Company

Location of Accident: GPS Coordinates & Map (Casey provides)
Police Report San Francisco California Highway Patrol
Vehicle Types 2014 Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle

1995 Kenworth T600 big rig

Accident Locations: 1-80 Westbound 0.5 miles East of Fremont Street
Hospitals and Medical Centers Visited San Francisco Fire Department

San Francisco General Hospital

UCSF Medical Center Orthopedic Institute

Types of Injuries (Specific as possible) Fractured left clavicle, six fractured ribs on the left side, left him bruising, neck pain, headaches

Key motorcycle accident statistics in the United States

Motorcyclists at High Risk of Fatalities in Crashes

Motorcycle accidents have become a major concern in the United States, with motorcyclists 28 times more likely to die in a crash compared to those in passenger cars, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists lost their lives in traffic crashes, a 5% decrease from the previous year, but still accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities. This highlights the need for proper safety measures, such as wearing helmets, to reduce the number of motorcycle accident fatalities.

Decrease in Motorcycle Accident Fatalities in 2018

According to NHTSA, the number of motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes decreased by 5% in 2018 compared to the previous year. While this is a step in the right direction, motorcyclists still accounted for 19% of all occupant fatalities, which highlights the importance of continued efforts to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents. The average motorcycle accident settlement amount is between $2,500 and $3,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Motorcycle Accidents Result in Injuries and Bills

In addition to fatalities, motorcycle accidents also result in injuries and bills. In 2017, NHTSA reported that 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, a 5% decrease from the previous year. However, the number of injuries and financial costs associated with motorcycle accidents continue to be a cause for concern. Motorcycle accident victims may seek compensation for damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help victims navigate the court process and ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Negligence Can Lead to Fault in Motorcycle Accidents

Negligence can play a significant role in motorcycle accidents, as it can result in fault and liability for damages. This may occur when a driver fails to follow traffic laws, pay attention to their surroundings, or take appropriate safety precautions, such as wearing a helmet. If a motorcycle accident victim believes that another party was at fault, they may consider filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for their damages. A motorcycle accident lawsuit settlement can help victims cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the accident.

What state has the highest number of motorcycle accidents and settlements?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is difficult to determine which state has the most motorcycle accidents, as data is collected differently by each state. However, states with the highest number of motorcycle registrations and popular destinations for motorcycle riders tend to have a higher number of motorcycle accidents. Some states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, have consistently high numbers of motorcycle accidents each year.

Author Photo

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Since 1972 he has been helping seriously injured victims throughout northern California fight & win their personal injury cases. Andy is one of the top awarded & recognized wrongful death lawyers in northern California.