Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can be scary and terrifying, not only for the victim but also for the victim’s family members. According to the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), over the past three years, there has been an annual average of 11,979 motorcycle-related fatalities and serious injuries in California, with 574 of these incidents resulting in fatalities (2020-2023). For detailed statistical information on where the most frequent motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities occur, you can refer to the Transportation Injury Mapping System.

California Motorcycle-Injury Fatality Heat Map

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another party, you may have the right to hold the negligent party responsible under California and Nevada law.

Our attorneys are available to help every step of the way as we hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions. We have decades of experience holding vehicle drivers responsible for a motorcyclist’s injuries.

Unfortunately, many people think that whenever there is a motorcycle and vehicle accident, the one driving the motorcycle is automatically at fault. But this is usually not the case. Each motorcycle accident differs depending on the circumstances. Our attorneys will review your case in depth and investigate all the facts to make sure that we build a strong case for you.

What to do After a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents can be life-altering events, often resulting in significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial to take immediate and appropriate steps to protect your rights and well-being. Here’s a detailed guide on what to do following a motorcycle accident.

  1. Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety are paramount. Immediately after the accident, check for injuries and ensure you and others involved are out of harm’s way. If you or anyone else is injured, call emergency services right away. Even if you feel fine, it is advisable to seek medical attention as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  2. Contact Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police. An official accident report is a critical document that will be needed for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. Provide a factual account of the incident to the responding officers but avoid speculating or admitting fault.
  3. Gather Evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene. This includes taking photographs of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, road conditions, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses and parties involved in the accident. Documenting this information can be crucial for building your case.
  4. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with the necessary details but refrain from making any statements or accepting settlements without consulting a legal professional.
  5. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain detailed records of all accident-related expenses, including medical bills, repair costs, and any lost wages due to the accident. This documentation will be essential when seeking compensation for your damages.
  6. Consult a Motorcycle Accident Attorney: Given the complexities of motorcycle accident cases, it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. An attorney can provide expert guidance, protect your legal rights, and help you navigate the claims process. They will work to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other losses.
  7. Avoid Discussing the Accident: Be cautious about discussing the accident with anyone other than your attorney, law enforcement, and your insurance company. Statements made to other parties, including on social media, can potentially be used against you.
  8. Follow Through with Medical Treatment: Adhere to all medical advice and attend follow-up appointments. This not only aids in your recovery but also provides a clear record of the extent and impact of your injuries, which is vital for your legal case.

Motorcycle accidents can be overwhelming, but taking these steps can significantly impact the outcome of your case. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can advocate on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are upheld and that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to seek professional legal assistance.

What causes Motorcycle Accidents?

  • Inattentive Drivers / Other Vehicles – Motorcycles are much smaller than many other types of vehicles, so they can be harder for other drivers to spot. Many accidents are caused each year because a driver failed to see the motorcyclist in their blind spot. If a driver causes an accident because they failed to see the motorcycle around them, then they may be responsible for negligence & their insurance provider may owe the motorcycle rider compensation for the damages suffered. These types of motorcycle accident cases happen every day, and many of them are caused by speeding, drunk, or distracted drivers. Using a phone while driving is a crime in itself in many states, but hitting a motorcycle on top of this falls under the category of negligence. 
  • Road & Weather Conditions – Potholes and heavy wind create much more dangerous conditions for motorcycles than for cars. If your accident was caused by failure to maintain proper road conditions, such as in cases where debris, plant clippings, rubble, gravel, or another roadway defect are left on the road, then your local or state government may be responsible for negligence.
  • Vehicle / Mechanical Failure – Tire blowouts, electrical issues, or brake failure are mechanical issues that can lead to motorcycle accidents with devastating consequences for the rider. The motorcycle manufacturer who left the defect in the design or the mechanic who failed to ensure that the vehicle was in working order may be able to be held responsible for the damages caused by the motorcycle accident.

Other causes of motorcycle accidents can include:

  • Rider inexperience
  • Speeding
  • Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Tailgating
  • Lane splitting
  • Reckless driving such as weaving in and out of traffic
  • Distracted riding, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving

What If I Was Also at Fault for Causing My Motorcycle Accident?

California is a comparative fault state where a person could still get compensated in the event they were partially responsible for their injuries. In fact, both parties involved can be held partially liable if they are deemed to have both contributed to the accident. 

That is why having an experienced attorney look into the motorcycle accident and determine the responsible parties is a very crucial step in the lawsuit process.

Each person’s liability is determined by a percentage. This percentage determines the amount of compensation that the party could receive.

For example, if the motorcyclist was lane splitting and was responsible for his accident at 20%, the motorcyclist could still recover the compensation (the 80% of it) from the other responsible party.

Motorcycle Accident Compensation

There are different types of compensation that a motorcycle accident victim could hold the other party responsible for. Some examples include:

  • Current & future medical expenses
  • Repair costs for damage caused to the motorcycle
  • Legal fees paid for the lawsuit
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss in quality of life or loss in companionship
  • Disability-related costs, if there are any
  • Loss of income or loss of employment
  • Punitive damages
  • Rental car fees, if there are any

In general, the more severe that the injuries are resulting from the motorcycle accident, the larger settlement a motorcyclist can receive. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help to ensure that you get the full compensation that you are entitled to.

When Should I File My Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in California? 

Motorcyclists that have been involved in an accident and suffered injuries have a total of two years from the date of the collision or from the discovery of the injury(s) to file a lawsuit against the responsible party to recover compensation for the damages suffered. 

But, the sooner the lawsuit is filed, the easier it is to collect information and piece together the cause of the accident.  

Who could be held responsible for my motorcycle accident?

  • Drivers
  • Government entities
  • Pedestrians
  • Motorcycle manufacturer

Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents

Riders involved in motorcycle accidents are often met with serious, life-ending, or permanent injuries. Since motorcyclists have little to no protection, impacting the road or another vehicle at high speed can result in catastrophic injuries for the rider.

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet to Ride a Motorcycle?

Yes, at all times. Helmets offer a relatively effective form of protection against death and serious head injuries, reducing the rate at which motorcyclists encounter these types of injuries by nearly 30% according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

What Type of Evidence Do I Need for My Motorcycle Accident?

There are various different types of evidence that will help build your motorcycle lawsuit. Our attorneys will get started on collecting these key pieces of evidence as soon as possible.

  • Photos of injuries suffered during the crash, both immediately after and later down the line
  • Eyewitness statements
  • The report filed by the police after the accident
  • The motorcycle helmet was worn during the accident
  • Photos of the wrecked motorcycle after the collision
  • Cell phone records of the driver who collided with the motorcycle
  • Any available footage from nearby drivers, store cameras, or road cameras

The Role of a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

When involved in a motorcycle accident, hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is crucial. These attorneys understand the specific legal complexities associated with motorcycle accidents and how they differ from other vehicle accidents. They can help navigate through the claims process, gather necessary evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies. An attorney can also help determine all possible liable parties and construct a strong case to ensure that victims receive the full compensation they deserve. They assist with legal strategy, filing deadlines, and represent the victim in court if necessary.

Preventive Measures for Motorcyclists

To minimize the risk of accidents, motorcyclists should adhere to preventive measures including ongoing training and safety courses which teach techniques like defensive driving. Wearing appropriate gear, such as reinforced jackets, gloves, and proper footwear, provides additional protection. Regular maintenance of the motorcycle is essential to ensure mechanical components like brakes and tires are in optimal condition. Avoiding risky behaviors such as speeding, riding under the influence, and lane splitting where not permitted also significantly reduces the risk of accidents. Being proactive about safety can dramatically impact a motorcyclist’s ability to avoid accidents and injuries.

Common Asked Motorcycle Accident Questions

What key factors make other drivers liable for motorcycle accidents?

Other drivers become liable for motorcycle accidents primarily due to inattention and failing to notice motorcycles due to their smaller size. Common situations include drivers hitting motorcyclists while changing lanes or turning because they did not see the motorcycle in their blind spots. Additionally, accidents caused by drivers who are speeding, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted (such as texting while driving), could also lead them to be held accountable for negligence.

How do road and weather conditions contribute to motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to accidents caused by poor road and weather conditions. Potholes, uneven road surfaces, and loose gravel can destabilize a motorcycle more easily than a car. Bad weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog, or strong winds can also impair a motorcyclist’s ability to maintain control. Accidents occurring under such circumstances might lead to claims against entities responsible for road maintenance if they failed to maintain safe conditions.

In what circumstances might a vehicle manufacturer be responsible for a motorcycle accident?

A vehicle manufacturer might be held responsible for a motorcycle accident if the accident was caused by a defect in the motorcycle’s design or manufacturing. This could include defective brakes, tires, or electrical systems that fail during operation. If these defects directly lead to an accident, the manufacturer could be liable for damages under product liability laws.

How does California’s comparative fault rule affect compensation in motorcycle accidents?

California’s comparative fault rule allows a motorcyclist who may be partially at fault for an accident to still receive compensation. The compensation awarded is adjusted based on the motorcyclist’s percentage of fault in the accident. For instance, if a motorcyclist is determined to be 20% at fault in an accident, they can still recover 80% of the awarded damages from the other party responsible for the accident.

What types of damages can a motorcyclist seek compensation for after an accident?

After a motorcycle accident, the victim may pursue compensation for a range of damages. This includes medical expenses for both immediate and future treatments, repair or replacement costs for the motorcycle, legal fees, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of income or employment, and possibly punitive damages. Other compensatory damages might include disability-related costs and rental car fees if applicable.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit in California?

In California, a motorcyclist has two years from the date of the accident, or from the discovery of an injury, to file a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. Filing within this timeframe is crucial to pursuing legal claims and receiving compensation for injuries and other damages caused by the accident.

Who can be held responsible in a motorcycle accident scenario?

Multiple parties can be held responsible in a motorcycle accident, including the driver of the other vehicle involved, the manufacturer of the motorcycle or parts, or government entities responsible for maintaining road safety. Pedestrians or other third parties who contribute to the accident conditions can also be held accountable depending on the situation.

What common injuries occur in motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents often lead to severe injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, broken bones, road rash, serious burn injuries, internal bleeding, and even death. Motorcyclists face higher risks of significant injuries due to their exposure and lack of protective barriers compared to those in vehicles.

How important is wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle?

Wearing a helmet is crucial and legally required in many places as it significantly reduces the risk of death and head injuries in accidents. Helmets are known to decrease the severity of head injuries and are an essential element of riding safety gear.

What immediate steps should be taken following a motorcycle accident?

After a motorcycle accident, ensuring personal safety is paramount. Check immediate surroundings for ongoing risks and move to safety if needed. It’s important to keep all safety gear on until medical professionals arrive. Calling 911 and seeking medical help immediately is critical, even if the injuries seem minor. Gathering evidence such as photos, witness contacts, and maintaining the damaged gear as it was at the time of the accident can also be crucial for any subsequent legal actions.

Call Us Today

Experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to hear your case today. Grappling with the wrong law firm, during a time when you need the right counseling, can just add more stress to your plate after suffering through a life-changing motorcycle accident. Contact a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer at Heidari Law Group for a free case evaluation & get the legal representation you deserve.