Motorcycle Laws in California

Motorcycle Laws in California

Riding a motorcycle can be a delightful experience for some people. However, it is not, without serious risks, especially from other drivers. Most motorcycle accidents occur when other people drive carelessly and irresponsibly. This irresponsible driving typically involves violating one or more traffic laws in California.

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash resulting from another driver’s road-rule violation(s), you have legal options. First,  consult  a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in Bakersfield who can review your accident  with you and  prepare a claim for the other driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can also negotiate with insurance company representatives and pursue litigation in your case if necessary.

Finally, if you must take your case to a civil jury trial, binding arbitration hearing, or other litigation proceeding, your attorney can represent you, fight for your legal interests, and introduce evidence on your behalf. Your attorney will do everything possible to help you recover the fair monetary damages you need for your motorcycle accident injuries.

Common California Motorcycle Accidents

When other drivers violate traffic laws, serious motorcycle accidents may happen, leading to debilitating and sometimes fatal injuries for motorcyclists.

Some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents include:

  • T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of a vehicle hits the side of a motorcycle, frequently causing the motorcycle to overturn
  • Rear-end or tailgate accidents, where the front of a vehicle hits the back tire of a motorcycle, usually because the at-fault driver is tailgating, speeding, or committing other road-rule violations
  • Head-on crashes, where the front of a vehicle strikes the front of a motorcycle, usually because the other driver is passing in a no-passing zone, speeding, or engaging in reckless or distracted driving
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a vehicle strikes the side of a motorcycle, usually because the other driver is not paying attention to the road or fails to use their turn signal at the appropriate time.

If you have sustained injuries in one of these motorcycle crashes, you should retain legal help as quickly as possible. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can explore your legal options with you and help you prepare a claim for filing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

After filing a claim on your behalf, your attorney can enter settlement negotiations and, if necessary, explore litigation options for your case.

Common California Laws That Other Drivers Violate with Respect to Motorcyclists

When other drivers commit serious traffic violations, they are far more likely to cause serious traffic accidents, including accidents that involve motorcyclists.

While motorcyclists must follow all California traffic laws, other drivers have a duty to respect the rights of motorcyclists, including yielding the right-of-way to them at the proper times and operating their own vehicles carefully around motorcycles.

Common traffic law violations that lead to motorcycle accidents include:

  • Failing to yield the right of way to motorcycles, especially at highway merge lanes and at traffic intersections equipped with stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights
  • Failing to use turn signals when executing a turn or switching lanes on a highway where motorcycles are present
  • Excessive speeding around motorcycles
  • Following a motorcycle too closely, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash in the event of an abrupt traffic backup
  • Failing to use their rearview mirrors, side view mirrors, and various technological devices on their vehicles, including backup cameras and lane change warnings in heavy motorcycle traffic
  • Attempting to get ahead of motorcycles by cutting them off in traffic, weaving in and out of heavy traffic, or exhibiting other reckless driving maneuvers (such as road rage).

When other drivers violate the standard traffic laws, they may cause an abrupt accident with a nearby motorcycle, leading to severe injuries. In addition to violating common traffic regulations, motorcycle accidents may also result from distracted or intoxicated driving.

Distracted driving is a major problem in every state across the U.S. Drivers are texting or engaging in other activities on nearly every road in California, so distracted drivers are difficult to avoid.

Any activity other than driving and looking straight ahead may distract a driver, causing them to divert their attention away from the road. As a result, the driver may not see a motorcycle nearby, causing a severe accident. Motorcyclists are already more difficult to see, and distractions increase the chances a driver will collide with a motorcycle.

Finally, some motorcycle accidents happen when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel. Intoxicated driving is hazardous because it brings about various physical symptoms and mental impairment.

For example, a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol may experience blurred vision, which may prevent them from noticing a motorcycle in the vicinity.

Alternatively, an intoxicated driver may experience limited depth perception, misjudging the distance between their vehicle and a nearby motorcycle.

Finally, a drunken driver may experience delayed reflexes and reaction time, preventing them braking in time to avoid crashing into a motorcyclist.

If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from one or more of these road-rule violations, you are not alone. In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after your accident and following through with your medical treatment regimen, you should contact experienced legal counsel as quickly as possible.

A motorcycle accident lawyer in California can investigate your accident circumstances, gather the necessary documents, and help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company representative. Your lawyer can then assist you during all settlement negotiations and litigation in your case.

Common Injuries in a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle crashes that result from negligence can lead to debilitating and sometimes fatal injuries. Motorcyclists are especially prone to severe injuries in accidents because they have extremely limited protection while on the road.

Unlike drivers and passengers in an enclosed car or truck, motorcyclists have little protection while on the road. Even when motorcyclists wear sturdy helmets and other protective gear, they may still sustain severe injuries in a forceful crash. This is especially true if the force of a collision knocks a motorcyclist to the ground and the motorcyclist lands on their head, neck, or back.

Common injuries that motorcyclists may suffer in an accident include traumatic head and brain damage (including a concussion or coma), spinal cord injuries, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, road rash, fractures and broken bones, rib fractures, internal organ damage, internal bleeding, soft tissue injuries, and death.

Following your medical treatment regimen is one of the most important steps after a motorcycle accident. This is especially true if you suffered severe injuries in your accident that warrant surgery or other serious medical procedure.

By following through with your medical treatment, you increase your chances of making a full recovery from your accident-related injuries. You also show the other driver’s insurance company that your injuries are severe and warrant fair and reasonable monetary compensation.

During the period when you treat your injuries, your attorney can begin gathering essential documents for your case, including police investigation reports, witness statements, and camera footage.

Your lawyer can also collect your medical treatment records and bills to date and assemble all these documents into a complete settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster to review. Your attorney can begin pursuing settlement compensation for your injuries at that point.

Filing a Claim with the Insurance Company After a Motorcycle Accident

If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, your lawyer will typically file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, if that driver did not have insurance, your lawyer can pursue an uninsured motorist claim with your own motor vehicle insurer. In either case, the claims filing process is essentially the same.

First, your attorney will submit a settlement demand package to the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. This package will include important documents like medical records, medical bills, lost income documents, and investigation documents, including police reports and camera footage of the accident.

The insurance company will then review these documents and determine whether they will accept liability for the accident. If they do accept liability, settlement negotiations may begin.

A complete and fair settlement offer should compensate you not only for your medical expenses and other out-of-pocket losses but also for your physical pain, inconvenience, and suffering.

Your attorney can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf for favorable settlement compensation. To highlight the strengths of your case, your lawyer can retain a medical expert or accident reconstructionist, point to various highlights in your medical records or bills, and present other evidence to the insurance company.

However, if the insurance company still refuses to offer you fair and reasonable monetary damages, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation and file a lawsuit in a California court on your behalf.

Successfully Proving Your Motorcycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit

To recover monetary damages in a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim, not the at-fault driver, has the legal burden of proof:

  • The injured motorcyclist must establish that the other driver violated their legal duty of care. In most situations, the other driver violated a traffic law or regulation on the books. For example, the other driver might have been speeding, recklessly passing, or texting and driving.
  • The injured motorcyclist must establish that the motorcycle accident happened as a direct and foreseeable result of the other driver’s negligence.
  • The injured motorcyclist must show that they suffered at least one physical injury as a direct and foreseeable result of their accident.

To prove these legal elements of proof, your attorney can introduce testimony from one or more experts.

For example, a treating medical provider may be willing to serve as a medical expert in your case. The medical expert can physically examine you and determine, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injury or injuries directly resulted from your accident. They can also establish that one or more of your physical injuries are permanent.

A motorcycle accident attorney can help you establish your legal burden of proof so that you can recover monetary damages for your injuries.

Monetary Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle crash victims who establish that a negligent driver caused the accident can recover monetary damages.

Specifically, motorcycle accident victims can recover financial compensation for lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, related past and future medical expenses, loss of spousal consortium, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, lifetime care costs, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of the ability to use one or more body parts.

Your attorney will work to maximize your monetary recovery, either through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or a fair litigation result in the court system. The important thing is that you find a lawyer who is willing to do what it takes to fight for fair compensation – including going to court.

Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away

Mickey Fine - Motorcycle Accident Attorney near Bakersfield, CA area

Mickey Fine, Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash that another driver caused, time is of the essence. This is because, under the California statute of limitations in personal injury cases, motorcycle crash victims have only two years from their accident date to seek the monetary recovery they deserve.

Therefore, if the accident victim does not file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of their motorcycle accident date, they will no longer be eligible to recover any monetary damages.

A motorcycle accident attorney can immediately file a lawsuit on your behalf if the statute of limitations is about to expire in your case. Your attorney can handle every step of the claims filing, settlement negotiation, and litigation processes in your case. Your attorney will do everything possible to bring your case to a favorable and efficient resolution, maximizing the compensation you receive.

Motorcycle Accident
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on