Motorcycles are very popular in California. Whether you ride on two or three wheels, you must be aware of specific laws and road rules while operating a motorcycle. No matter how well you pay attention, vehicle drivers may still cause accidents.
If someone’s negligence caused your motorcycle accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Our California motorcycle accident lawyers at Greenberg Gross can help. We begin with a free case evaluation, so there is no risk to you. Discover your options for compensation with our motorcycle accident team.
California Motorcycle Accidents Have Many Causes
One cause of motorcycle accidents can be an inexperienced motorcycle rider or driver hitting the roads without adequate training. California does require specific licensing, but not all riders have the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. Some other common causes include motorcycle riders and passenger vehicle operators doing the following:
- Driving impaired due to drugs or alcohol
- Improper turns into traffic lanes
- Unsafe speeds
- Distracted driving due to cell phones, text messages, and GPS devices
- Following too closely
- Impacting a stationary object
- Dangerous road conditions
- Car doors on parked vehicles opening unexpectedly
- Defective parts on motorcycles
Understanding California’s Motorcycle Safety Laws
California takes a proactive approach to motorcycle safety and licensing. Riders need a class M1 license, which requires the following:
- Vision exam
- Knowledge and skills test
Applicants under 21 must complete motorcycle training and operate under a permit for at least six months. Applicants from 15 to 17 also need a class C driver’s license or completion of driver education, including behind-the-wheel time.
California Helmet Law
Once properly licensed to operate a motorcycle, you must conform to the helmet law outlined in CVC §27803. The law states that riders and passengers must wear an approved safety helmet.
The helmet law makes an exception for fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicles that are longer than seven feet, more than four feet wide, and weigh over 900 pounds without a load. This vehicle must also meet or exceed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in 49 CFR § 571.
California’s Lane-Splitting Law
California adopted a lane-splitting law on August 19, 2016, with CVC § 21658.1. The basis of the law is to allow motorcycles to utilize the center line between traffic lanes to navigate out of heavy traffic congestion. While legal, lane-splitting can be dangerous if you do not follow the rules designated to keep this practice safe.
What Compensation Is Available After a Motorcycle Accident?
When you have injuries from a motorcycle accident, they can be severe. Motorcycles have less protection than enclosed motor vehicles, creating a recipe for more significant injuries. While trying to recover, the last things you should worry about are the hospital bills and other associated expenses. A California motorcycle accident attorney may help ease some of that burden as they will fight for compensation for your damages, including:
Medical expenses, cost of the ambulance, hospital stays, surgical procedures, follow-up care, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. You also deserve coverage for medical treatment received after the accident and future necessary treatment to continue your path to recovery. Occupational and physical therapy are also compensable.
Lost wages while you are absent from work during recovery. This section can include lost commissions, bonuses, promotions, and raises you may miss while unable to work. In the event of permanent disability, you can seek compensation to offset the complete loss of your wages. Suppose you cannot physically or intellectually perform your previous job. In that case, you can receive compensation for retraining in a field you can perform in after an accident.
Property damage includes repairing or replacing your motorcycle and anything you carried during the accident.
Pain and suffering compensation covers things that money cannot buy. It accounts for the ongoing issues of severe injuries and their impact on your life. Mental anguish, depression, loss of relationships, and the inability to experience life’s joys can affect you and deserve compensation.
Compensation in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Finding a driver responsible for a hit-and-run motorcycle accident can be challenging. The steps you take as a rider or passenger can significantly affect the investigation. Try to gather information immediately following the accident. Try to identify the type of vehicle, color, and license plate number if you can. If your injuries prevent you from collecting this information, don’t despair.
A California motorcycle accident attorney may be able to access local video footage of the accident. Our team can also request dashcam footage from witnesses when available. We will try to locate the driver for you during our investigation.
We can obtain compensation for your injuries if you have uninsured/underinsured coverage on your insurance policy. We will pursue all available avenues to get you the compensation you deserve.
What To Do After a Crash
In severe crashes, you may be unable to move. If you suspect a spinal cord, head, or neck injury, please do not move until medical personnel arrives on the scene. If the accident was minor, taking the following steps could assist our motorcycle accident team in reconstructing your accident:
- Get to a safe location off the roadway, out of the path of traffic
- Check for injuries
- Notify the local law enforcement agency
- Look around the scene, taking a mental picture
- If you can, take photographs of the scene with a cell phone
- Collect contact information from witnesses
- Accept medical attention at the location and pursue follow-up care
- Notify your insurance company of the accident
You might feel overwhelmed after a motorcycle accident, even if your injuries seem minor. Adrenaline following an accident can act as a pain reliever and hide early signs of injury, so following up with a doctor after that is crucial.
Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, it might benefit you to seek legal counsel with a California motorcycle accident attorney. Don’t allow the medical bills to pile up. The initial case evaluation is free and will offer you peace of mind.
Our California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
A California motorcycle accident lawyer from Greenberg Gross will listen to your case and evaluate the circumstances. Our team will offer an honest assessment of the compensation you could receive. Our team understands the laws, and we know our way around personal injury and vehicle accident cases. Contact our team for your free case evaluation.