Do I Need A Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, immediately contact The Sterling Firm to speak with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer! The Sterling Firm will get you the maximum compensation for your injuries! We can help! Call Now! 24/7 Telephone: (310) 498-2750
California has one of the most strict motorcycle laws out of all 50 states. Motorcycle laws are a lot more complicated than other motor vehicle laws. If you or someone you know is injured in a motorcycle accident, we strongly suggest you consult with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer.
Motorcycle laws only apply to all two-wheel motor vehicles on the road. Not only does this mean traditional motorcycles, but also two-wheeled motorized vehicles in a nontraditional sense as well. This includes motorized bicycles and scooters.
What Are Motorized Two-Wheeled Vehicles?
A motorcycle is a two-wheel vehicle. A motorcycle can also have three wheels with a seat or a saddle. A motorcycle is the more traditional and widely known two-wheel motor vehicle.
A motor-driven cycle is similar to a motorcycle. However, the engine power of a motor-driven cycle is 149cc or less. Motor-driven cycles are motor vehicles that are typically not allowed on the freeways.
Motorized bicycles are also referred to as a moped. Motorized bicycles are a two or three-wheeled motorized vehicle that are capable of driving no greater than the speed of 30 mph. Motorized bicycles have fully operable pedals and a motor with an automatic transmission.
Motorized scooters are two-wheeled vehicles with a floorboard that must be powered by human propulsion.
What Are The Motorcycle Laws?
Headlight: All motorcycles must have a functional headlight for riding.
Front And Rear Brakes: All motorcycles are required to have working front and rear brakes.
Handlebar Height: The height of the handlebar on motorcycles should be no more than 6 inches above the shoulder when seated.
Lane Splitting: Motorcycles may split lanes in California pursuant to legislation known as Assembly Bill 51 passed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. Lane splitting is the practice of motorcycles passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane.
Passengers: Passengers on motorcycles must be seated and wear protective helmets. There are no age restrictions for these passenger requirements.
Muffler: Motorcycles are required to have mufflers. Motorcycles must not have a cutout, bypass, or any analogous device.
Eye Protection: In California, motorcyclists are not required to wear eye protection equipment.
Mirrors: Motorcycles are required to have mirrors on the left and right of the vehicle.
Helmets: California Vehicle Code section 27803 requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle
How Are Motorcycle Accidents Caused?
There are a number of reasons as to why motorcycle accidents happen. Typical reasons include the following:
- Reckless drivers
- Dangerous road conditions
- Faulty parts on the motorcycle
- Unsafe lane changes
- Cars making left hand turns
- Inexperienced drivers
- Road hazards
- Loose gravel
- Vehicles moving in front of a motorcycle
- Collisions with objects such as a light curb, sign, or lamppost.
What Is Lane Splitting?
California is the only state that allows “lane splitting.” Lane splitting is when motorcyclists are allowed to move between lanes of traffic going in the same direction.
What Are The Insurance Requirements For Motorcycles?
There are very specific insurance requirements for motorcyclists. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in the denial of the motorcycle’s registration and possible license suspension.
The minimum insurance requirements for motorcyclists are:
- $15,000 liability coverage for bodily injury/death to one person;
- $30,000 liability coverage for bodily injury/death to more than one person; and
- $5,000 liability coverage for property damage.
California law requires all drivers, this includes motorcycle drivers, to maintain proof of financial responsibility at all times while driving. This can be established by:
- Making a cash deposit of $35,000 with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);
- Obtaining a $35,000 surety bond from a licensed company; or
- Obtaining a self-insurance certificate from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
What To Do If You Are In A Motorcycle Accident?
Here are some helpful tips on what to do if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in California:
- Call 911 if medical assistance is needed immediately.
- Never leave the scene of an accident and always make sure everyone is safe.
- Do not speak to the other party regarding whose fault it was. Any statements made to the other party can be used by the insurance company to deny or limit liability.
- Contact the police. It is important to make sure law enforcement respond to the scene of the accident and also make a police report.
- Get the proper information from the other driver. It is important to take a picture of the information to ensure its accuracy. This includes: driver’s license, car registration, contact information, and insurance information.
- Take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and also the scene of the accident. The photographs are critical evidence.
- Ask for contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident even if the other party admits fault. Take photographs of the witnesses’ identification card or driver’s license.
- Do not make any statements to the other party’s insurance company. Insurance companies will try to trick you into making a wrongful statement!
- Go to the emergency room, urgent care, hospital, or your general physician immediately!
- If you are in need of long-term medical treatment do not accept a settlement offer until after your treatment is finished. If you accept any type of settlement, you are no longer entitled to compensation even if you are still suffering from severe injuries.
- Do not wait if you are injured in an accident. Consult with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer right away so you know your legal rights!
When Is The Deadline To File A Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for motorcycle accidents is 2 years. The “statute of limitations” is the amount of time a person must file a lawsuit.
How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents?
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are very common. Motorcycles lack protection. Specifically, motorcycles are not an enclosed passenger vehicle. This makes motorcycle riders more susceptible to an accident or even death. In addition, motorcycles are less visible, have high performance capabilities, and are less stable than passenger vehicles. The risk of death for a motorcyclist is 30 times higher than passenger vehicles! It is important to be safe and follow the laws when riding a motorcycle.
What Are The Injuries Caused By Motorcycle Accidents?
There are several types of injuries that can result due to a motorcycle accident. The most common injuries include the following:
- Road Rash
- Joint breakage
- Broken bones
- Head injuries (especially if you are not wearing a helmet!)
- Nerve damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Loss of limbs
- Internal bleeding
- Hearing impairment
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Do Motorcyclists Have To Wear a Helmet in California?
Yes! Motorcyclists must wear a helmet! Protective head equipment prevents brain and head injuries. Helmets can also save your life!
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 27803, all motorcyclists in California must wear a safety helmet. This law applies to any passengers who are riding on the motorcycle as well. Violations of California Vehicle Code Section 27803 may result in a monetary fine.
Moreover, California follows comparative fault laws when a motorcycle accident occurs and the injured motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet. This means that the injured motorcyclist could diminish any recoverable compensation from a personal injury lawsuit because the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet. Comparative fault means that if the motorcyclist is partially at fault in causing injuries due to not wearing a helmet, any damages that would be rewarded will be reduced based on the motorcyclist’s measure of fault in terms of a percentage.
What Are The Recoverable Damages In A Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Damages that could be awarded as compensation in the event of a motorcycle accident lawsuit include the following:
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Medication and medical supplies
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Disfigurement or loss of limb
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of Consortium- which compensates for the loss of a spouse, domestic partner, and intimate relationship
What Are Critical Questions To Ask Potential Jurors In A Motorcycle Accident Trial?
There are certain questions that must be asked to potential jurors during the voir dire (jury selection) process. These questions are aimed at excluding potential jurors who may be unfavorable to the plaintiff’s case. Some jurors may be biased or have prejudice. The types of questions that are critical include the following:
- Do you or anyone close to you ride a motorcycle?
- Who thinks motorcycle riders are entitled to same protections as any other person or vehicle on the road?
- Who thinks motorcycle riders are NOT entitled to the same protections and assume the risk of being hurt or killed because they have decided to ride one ?
- Who believes most motorcyclists are not cautious or careful? Why do you say that?
- Who believes people who ride motorcycles are generally thrill-seekers and reckless ?
- Have you or someone close to you ever been involved in a motorcycle incident ?
- Who believes motorcyclists are more prone to getting into accidents?
- Who is familiar with the practice of lane splitting? If so, do you think lane splitting should be illegal? Why or why not?
- If you haven’t already, would you be willing to ride a motorcycle? Why or why not?
- What kind of people tend to ride motorcycles? Why do you say that?
- Would you be happy with yourself as a juror in deciding a case involving a motorcyclist?
LOS ANGELES MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, contact The Sterling Firm. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at The Sterling Firm. We can help!