Motorcycle accident victims often have lots of questions regarding accidents. Knowing where to find answers to the motorcycle accident FAQs is highly challenging. That is why at Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we have compiled frequently asked questions concerning motorcycle crashes.
Note that these questions and answers are meant for general information purposes. Therefore, if you cannot find your specific question answered here. Contact us immediately if you get involved in a motorcycle collision. Every crash is different, and so is our lawyers’ approach to every case. Meeting you in person helps us learn much about your situation and figure out the best way to help you.
What Does the Law Say About Motorcycle Riding in California?
Motorcycle rules and regulations are more complicated compared to other automobile laws. California has some of the most strict laws in the country. It’s good to consult your personal injury lawyer if you ever get injured in a motorcycle crash because they understand the law better. The following is an overview of what the law says concerning motorcycle riding and accidents in California:
- All motorcyclists must put on helmets irrespective of their ages.
- California is the only state that allows lane splitting. This means motorcyclists can ride in-between lanes of traffic that’s moving in a similar direction.
- Daytime headlights are a requirement for motorcycles manufactured after 1978
- In case a motorcyclist gets involved in a crash, he/she has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit per the statute of limitations.
- Motorcyclists should have minimum insurance of $15,000 for death/injury to one individual, $30,000 for death/injury to several persons, and $5,000 for property damage.
Our attorneys have a deep understanding of motorcycle rules and regulations, and strategies to win a motorcycle accident claim. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle collision because of someone else’s fault, our lawyers are ready to fight for you and make the guilty party accountable.
What Could Cause a Motorcycle Accident?
Common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
Unsafe changing of lanes
— A motorist may fail to check their blind spots when changing lanes.
Driving while intoxicated
— Driving while intoxicated impairs the motorcyclist’s ability to ride safely.
— Over speeding could be the motorcyclist’s or another motorist’s fault. Over speeding is a primary cause of motorcycle accidents because it reduces the motorist’s ability to see and react to obstacles fast enough.
— Lane splitting refers to riding a motorcycle in-between two traffic lanes. It is particularly hazardous for an unskilled motorcyclist.
— A sudden stop by a motorcyclist or another motorist could cause an accident. The motorcycle rider could get rear-ended by another motorist after a sudden stop. Also, the driver who stops suddenly could get rear-ended by a motorcyclist following closely.
— Inexperienced drivers/ motorcyclists are another leading cause of California motorcycle accidents. In California, any motorcyclist aged twenty-one years or above must:
- Pass a motorcycle riding test at the local DMV or complete a Motorcyclist Safety Program
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Pay an application fee of $33
- Fill a DL 44 identification form
- Submit a photograph and give a thumbprint for the motorcycle permit
- Pass a written and vision test
A motorcyclist must meet these requirements before getting a permit to ride in California. However, these requirements do not mean that the motorcyclist has the experience required to ride safely. Usually, inexperienced or new motorcycle riders are more prone to accidents than expert riders. You should practice motorcycle riding in a secure location like a sparsely traveled roadway or on a closed course until you are comfortable and experienced enough to navigate traffic.
— Most motorcycle collisions happen when a motorcyclist misjudges the speed or distance of an oncoming car or makes a right-of-way mistake. A vehicle that’s turning left is one of the most hazardous situations for any motorcycle rider. Almost half of the entire car/motorcycle accidents occur in cases like this at an intersection. Usually, this is because of the motorcyclist:
- Tries to overtake or pass the car
- Rides straight through the intersection
— Maintenance or manufacturing flaw in motorcycles could cause catastrophic motorcycle accidents but not as frequent as car accidents.
Dangerous road conditions
— Poor traffic signals or road signs, pavement holes or cracks, debris, or other hazardous conditions could cause a motorcycle collision.
— When motorists are distracted by electronic devices, phone calls, passengers, or texting while driving, they may hit motorcyclists, causing severe injuries.
— Strangely enough, accidents involving high-performance motorcycles include a small portion of all yearly motorcycle-related accidents. Supersport and sport motorcycles are capable of traveling at higher speeds, usually higher than 140mph. The death rate of riders involved in a crash on supersport motorcycles is four times higher than those riding conventional motorcycles like a cruiser, standard, or touring bike.
Establishing the cause of a motorcycle collision can help identify liable parties and offer you an opportunity to fight for compensation. We recommend that you work with skilled attorneys and experts who could help establish the motorcycle accident cause.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover from a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Based on the facts surrounding the crash, injured motorcyclists are eligible for damages like:
- Property damage
- Medical costs
- Pain & suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Who Can File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The following people can file a motorcycle accident personal injury claim or lawsuit.
- The motorcyclist, if another party is to blame
- The surviving family members of the motorcyclist in the case of a wrongful death claim if another party is responsible for the accident
- The passenger on the motorcycle involved in the accident can file a claim if the motorcyclist or another party is liable for injuries and losses incurred
- Any party hurt by a motorcycle rider. For instance, a pedestrian could recover compensation against the motorcyclist and any other liable party
Who Is Held Accountable for Death or Injuries that Motorcycle Riders and Passengers Incur?
An individual or entity that causes a motorcycle crash through their actions is deemed to be at fault and is held liable for the death or injury. Possible defendants include drivers of other vehicles, repair shop owners, owners of hazardous public or private property, product manufacturers, and any given entity or person whose actions could have caused the accident.
What if I’m Partly to Blame for Contributing to the Collision?
California state is a comparative fault state. An individual can file a claim for severe personal injuries even if they’re partly at fault provided they can show that a single or several other parties are at fault. However, a plaintiff’s compensation amount is lowered to the exact extent of their guilt. Therefore, if a person is awarded $500,000 in a personal injury claim, but are proven to be 40% to blame, the total compensation amount they recover is $300,000. Comparative fault law also applies to wrongful death claims, whereby the percentage of deceased fault lowers the compensation.
As a motorcyclist, you should know that there’s a general public prejudice against motorcycle riders that could affect the degree of fault allocated to you. It’s critical to hire a lawyer and expert experienced in motorcycle accidents. The duo could help divert and challenge the bias against motorcycle operators.
I was Hurt During a Motorcycle Crash, but I Was Not Wearing a Helmet. Will I Receive Compensation From Another At-fault Party?
As mentioned earlier, California has a compulsory helmet law. Motorcyclists must wear helmets when riding irrespective of their ages. However, failure to adhere to this law cannot prevent you from being compensated for your losses and injuries if another party caused the collision. Not wearing a helmet may only affect the recovery amount you receive. For instance, the compensation amount could be reduced if it’s proven that failure to put on a helmet contributed to your injuries.
How Much Time Do I Have After a Motorcycle Accident to File an Injury Claim?
Generally, you have only two years to file a lawsuit. This timeframe starts running from the date the accident happened. However, the period could be extended for specific reasons like you did not discover your injuries or why the injuries occurred after the crash.
If you are filing a lawsuit against a government entity, you must do so within six months from the accident date. If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations begins to run after they turn eighteen years old.
Is Insurance Coverage a Critical Issue?
Insurance coverage is one of the essential issues in your motorcycle accident case. If you’re a motorcyclist and didn’t carry liability insurance, you cannot recover compensation for your pain and suffering after a motorcycle accident. Therefore, you have a limited ability to recover damages for wage loss and medical expenses. However, the passenger on a motorcycle doesn’t have to have insurance to recover all their damages.
Additionally, because motorcycle collisions often cause death or severe injuries, the responsible party ought to have adequate insurance coverage to cover all your damages. If you’ve purchased an underinsured insurance policy, it could help you get compensated when the liable parties are underinsured or uninsured.
Thorough investigations after a motorcycle crash are crucial to ensure at-fault parties are held liable. This increases the chances of getting compensated fully for your losses and injuries.
What’s the Difference Between Underinsured Driver Coverage and Uninsured Driver Coverage?
Uninsured driver coverage is the insurance policy that compensates you for injuries when an uninsured motorist harms you in an accident. On the other hand, underinsured driver coverage compensates you for injuries when the liable motorist’s insurance coverage is limited to a certain compensation level. You could use any of the coverages to receive full compensation for injuries incurred.
What Steps Should I Take If I Get Involved in a Motorcycle Crash?
If you sustain severe damages or injuries following a motorcycle-related accident, call 911 immediately for assistance. Your health should be the top priority. If your injuries are not severe, consider visiting a physician after leaving the accident scene. Your doctor will check if there are any hidden injuries like internal bleeding, a soft tissue injury, or concussion.
Your medical record is an essential proof should you decide to file an injury claim. The report assists you in proving that you sought medical care quickly to avoid the worsening of any hidden injuries. Also, the medical record shows how severe your injuries are and that the motorcycle accident caused them.
Taking these steps is essential since insurance providers usually try to reduce or avoid payment for injury claims by alleging that the victims’ injuries are not severe. The insurers could also argue that other causes led to the injuries and not the motorcycle crash, for instance, an existing medical condition. Usually, you can only defend against the insurance provider’s false claims if you have reliable proof.
Further steps you should take after a motorcycle accident include:
Move your motorcycle to a secure location
— Doing this prevents you from getting knocked over again by the other vehicles.
— Take photos of your injuries and those of your passenger, all traffic signs and signals, road markings like skid marks, and damages on your motorcycle. Also, take photographs of road and weather conditions, including hazards like loose gravel, poorly marked or unmarked work zones, potholes, and other obstructions.
Obtain official police reports
— If law enforcement officers are called to the accident scene, ask them to give you an official copy of the accident report. Don’t admit guilt to the officers or any other person present at the scene or else you incriminate yourself. If you admit guilt, you could lose the case and receive no compensation.
Gather contact details
— Obtain the accident witnesses’ names and contact information. Write down the other motorists’ names, insurance information, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers.
Keep all records related to the accident
— Record names of everybody you talk to concerning the crash, the time, dates, and the specifics of conversations. Include details of all the medical appointments linked to the accident, the time and day of the appointments, receipts, the name of the medical expert you visited, the particular reason for your appointment (medical condition or injury) and any suggested treatment and follow up.
Documenting these details could not only protect your rights but also strengthen the lawsuit. However, it is not always sufficient to satisfy insurance providers, who will attempt to reduce your settlement amount. Our motorcycle accident lawyers could develop a solid case and fight for your compensation. Our team could gather all the required evidence to prove why you should receive compensation for injuries and losses. We could also handle all the negotiations with the insurer for you and argue your case before the court.
What Happens if I’m Involved in a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident?
In case of a hit and run crash, you should try to remember and record any of the collision details immediately, including the make, model, and color of the car that fled the scene, and any descriptive information about the motorist. Also, filing a report with law enforcement is a good idea since it can help quicken the claim filing process. Finally, if you have enough insurance coverage, you will have to deal with your insurer to recover medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages.
What’s the Average Settlement Amount in a Motorcycle Crash?
The average settlement for a motorcycle collision depends on the degree of injuries and the available insurance coverage or the property of the at-fault party. These items will elevate your claim’s worth if your injuries are severe, you have undergone medical treatment and need future medical treatment or suffered lost future wages due to the collision. We recommend that you seek the services of an attorney to assist you in determining the amount of the insurance coverage available to compensate you for your injuries and losses. The attorney will also help you determine a just value for the injuries and the pain and suffering you might have experienced due to the accident.
Will My Paid Sick Leave from Work or Health Insurance Limit my Compensation After a Motorcycle Collision?
If you get injured in a motorcycle crash, it doesn’t matter whether you pay for your medical treatment out of your pocket or using your health insurance coverage. The time you lost out of work and was covered by vacation allowance or sick leave doesn’t count. However, your health insurance provider may require you to reimburse it, from your award or settlement, for all or some of the amounts it paid to have your injuries treated.
Must I Hire an Attorney After Getting Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
You need to have an attorney by your side when solving a motorcycle accident personal injury case. Don’t ever underestimate how complicated your case could be. Also, it is critical to know that you usually have only one chance to obtain all the money you’ll need to cover all the expenses related to your accident. That is why you should hire and meet with a lawyer that understands how the California legal system works and know how they can obtain the best possible results on your behalf. The lawyer will be able to:
- Organize your bills and medical records
- Obtain the required proof regarding liability for the accident
- Negotiate with the insurer of the at-fault party
- Communicate with your medical care providers to get missing records
- Work closely with your physicians to ensure they give the medical details you require to prove damages recovery in your case.
- Arrange and present evidence to prove responsibility and damages
Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Injuries you sustain in a motorcycle accident could ruin your life and that of your loved ones. It’s common for accident victims to ask multiple questions concerning what they should do to obtain compensation and justice they deserve. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand how difficult it is to get answers for questions you might have after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle collision. Therefore, we have answered most of the FAQs that will help you understand how to handle your case. If your question is not answered, or want to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orange County concerning your situation, contact us at 714-876-1959.