California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer & Laws

Great weather, beautiful scenery and excitement are part of the motorcycle riding experience in California. It is no surprise that this largest state in population also leads the nation with the largest number of registered motorcycles, over 830,000. According to a recent press release from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) office, there are over 1.4 million motorcycle riders statewide.

Unfortunately, increasing rates of accidents and fatalities are the down side of riding motorcycles in California. For too many people, their motorcycle accident is the end of the road of life. For other victims or survivors, hiring a Personal Injury Attorney is necessary to win fair compensation for motorcycle accidents that involve some aspect of negligent behavior by another person, company or government agency.

California Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney

If you are injured or a loved one was killed in a California motorcycle accident, you may have legal rights to recover fair monetary compensation for accident expenses, income losses and other financial costs that are related to the accident injuries or fatality. Before making any claim decisions, it is best to immediately contact a California Personal Injury attorney who has a winning record and extensive experience representing people who have been injured in motorcycle accidents.

In addition to their personal knowledge of state and local court systems and procedures, this legal professional has additional resources, including expert witnesses, ready to call upon to support your case. When you work with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney, you have better chances of winning your case and getting higher compensation awards paid quickly. Most attorneys accept this type of case on a consignment fee basis, with no payments due until after your case is won and you receive a settlement or court award.

Motorcycle Accidents & Negligence

An experienced California Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney works hard to prove that whenever there is negligent behavior that results in an accident, an innocent victim was harmed physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically or financially. This is the key to winning your Personal Injury case.

Accidents caused by negligent behavior would be preventable if not for the mistake, errors or omissions made by someone else. There may or may not be actually bodily harm; other aspects of the event can be damaging as well. On top of all that, the victim most likely will have suffered damage to their motorcycle or other vehicle.

California Motorcycle Accidents

Despite all efforts to reduce the number of vehicle accidents that involve motorcycles, the rate has been increasing. During 2013, 475 motorcyclists were killed in California, and 13, 143 were injured. The total is up slightly from the 2012 totals of 467 fatalities and 12,617 motorcycle rider injuries. This is similar to a rise in nationwide statistics that show 14 percent of vehicle-related fatalities in 2013 involved motorcyclists, up from 9 percent in 2004.

Survive the Ride” is a special program sponsored by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) that highlights May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in California. CHP is mandated by statute to implement motorcycle safety training, and by March 2015, more than 950,000 riders have been trained. They have created Motorcyclist Training Courses (MTC) for new and experienced motorcycle riders. Completion of MTC is a mandatory requirement for riders under 21, and recommended for older riders. Each year, about 65,000 people are trained in a 15 hour safety program available at authorized CMSP training sites. (For information, visit: www.californiamotorcyclist.com).

Personal Injury Accidents – Motorcycles

Personal Injury accidents involving motorcycles happen daily in California, especially around the largest city regions of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno. The state has 15,181 traversable roads, according to California Highways Organization. An injury accident not only creates personal pain and suffering, it also is a source of great financial stress. The extreme financial burden is too much for some married couples to bear, and they end up getting divorced. When a spouse is killed in a motorcycle accident, the entire family suffers pain and financial losses, including funeral and burial expenses and other problems.

Motorcycle Accident Causes & Injuries

Vehicle crashes and accidents involving motorcycles happen frequently each day in California, and injuries are almost always a result. A motorcycle is no match for a car, truck, bus or bridge. A collision is highly likely to result in physical injuries, amputations, paralysis or, in the worst cases, death. Unlike when you are transported in a car, truck, bus or other larger vehicle, there is little protection when you ride a motorcycle. You are totally exposed to secondary collisions if you are thrown off the bike. A highway sign can easily cut off an arm or leg, while trees, poles and bridges are equally dangerous objects for a rider to hit.

Many hazards can disrupt a peaceful ride, and create a raft of injuries ranging from simple bruising to severe injuries or death. Even when riders wear proper gear, such as a helmet and leather jacket, boots and long pants, they can suffer life-altering injuries. There are many types of expenses your Personal Injury Attorney may include as damage claims in settlement negotiations or a lawsuit over a motorcycle accident.

  • Common Causes – failure to see the motorcyclist or motorcycle, speeding, DWI from alcohol or drugs, road hazards (marked/unmarked), distracted driving, lane splitting while passing, riding in another vehicle’s blind spot, improper turns, road debris, bad weather
  • Typical Injuries – Bruises, scrapes, cuts, broken bones, head/neck/spine injuries, brain injuries, amputations, wrongful death
  • Personal Injury Claims – medical expenses, doctor/nurse/surgical bills, rehabilitation and recovery costs, work loss due to temporary/permanent disability, loss of companionship, loss of guardianship, future costs for medical care, retraining expenses, funeral and burial costs

California Motorcycle Regulations & Licensing

There are strict regulations motorcyclists must meet prior to enjoying this activity in the Golden State, along with general safety tips all motorcyclists should understand and follow. There are many elements to an accident, and your Personal Injury Attorney will investigate all potential contributing factors to an accident.

Failure to meet California motorcycle regulations and licensing could be actions that constitute negligent behavior.

  • A valid automobile driver’s license and completion of an approved driver education course is required for all operators of motorcycles to obtain their instruction permit.
  • Those who have an instruction permit cannot ride after dark, on the freeway or carry passengers.
  • Riders under age 18 must have written parental or legal guardian permission and those under age 21 must successfully complete the CHP MTC course.

To ride motorcycles legally in California, operators must obtain M1 and M2 endorsements on their driver’s license. This involves passing a written exam and riding test from an approved training program.

  • M1 – for operation of a motorcycle, moped or motor-driven cycle
  • M2 – for operation only of a moped or motorized bicycle

Motorcycle Safety

  • Helmets – required in California
  • Equipment in good operating condition – brakes, tires, horn, rear view mirror, tail light, license plate light, passenger footrests, front and rear turn signals
  • Keep headlights on at all times
  • Avoid blind spots – stay where you are most visible in lanes
  • Assume you are not seen; be extra cautious before changing lanes or passing
  • Do not speed; maintain control
  • Protective gear – helmet, glasses, jacket, boots, gloves, reflective materials
  • Ride sober and drug free
  • Do not make sudden moves, turns or stops
  • Watch the road ahead for hazards, construction, debris, spills, potholes
  • Look all ways before entering an intersection
  • Be weather aware

Motorcyclists in California need to know about potential hazards and comply with all state laws. If an accident does occur, contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney immediately; a motorcycle accident attorney will help you obtain the justice you deserve.