Motorcycle accidents often have extremely serious consequences. In 2019, there were 474 motorcycle fatalities in California, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. Too many lives are lost and too many people are injured in these accidents. Everyone who uses the road needs to drive with caution and pay attention to their surroundings. These accidents leave motorcyclists with injuries, medical bills, lost income, and other expenses.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help the victim of a motorcycle accident argue their case. My firm, Fitzgerald Law, specializes in plaintiff injury matters, and I've resolved civil cases within the court system for over 15 years. Using my 30 years of legal experience, I represent clients in Glendale, California, and neighboring areas who have suffered a personal injury and are looking for compensation.
When a vehicle collides with a motorcycle, the consequences can be serious. Follow these steps if you were in a motorcycle accident.
Seek Medical Help
First, if you or the vehicle's driver are injured, immediately call 911. After the accident, you should see a doctor to be certain that you're physically fine and to have a medical record of the accident.
At the scene of the accident, collect all the important information that you can.
- Names of everyone involved
- Driver's license numbers
- Phone numbers
- Vehicle registrations
- License plate numbers
You may also want to take pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles. However, if you were injured, do not cause yourself extra stress by attempting to document everything.
Contact the police so that there is an official record of the accident. Lastly, if possible, gather statements from witnesses who saw what happened in the accident. If you cannot get witness statements, write down their names and phone numbers.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance agent as soon as you can. Let them know how the accident happened to the best of your ability. Your insurance company will work with the other driver's insurance company to settle the claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
After a motorcycle accident, you may not be compensated for everything that you've lost, including the motorcycle, lost income, and medical expenses. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim with the goal of recovering compensation for these losses.
As a motorcyclist in California, you should be aware of the laws that rule the road:
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides in between two lanes of traffic to pass vehicles. In California, lane splitting is not specifically illegal.
- Helmets: Under California law, motorcyclists must wear a helmet.
- Passengers: Passengers must also wear a helmet, and it is advised that only experienced riders carry passengers.
- Equipment: A motorcycle that is carrying passengers should be equipped properly with a large enough seat and footrests.
Unfortunately, there are biases towards motorcyclists. Some believe motorcyclists are reckless by nature, but that stereotype is usually untrue. Determining fault in a motorcycle accident requires putting aside biases against motorcyclists first and then examining the cause of the accident.
Some accidents are caused by the negligence of a driver who did not perform their duty of care. For example, a driver who did not look in their rearview mirror before changing lanes was negligent. To prove negligence, you must show that the driver neglected to do something that they legally should have done.
Comparative fault states, including California, do not take an "all or nothing" approach to damages in a case. For example, if the driver of the vehicle is found to be 80% at fault for the accident and the motorcyclist is found to be 20% at fault, then the motorcyclist's damage awards will be reduced by 20%.
Motorcycle accidents are one of the most dangerous types of collisions. Because of how serious these accidents are, some do result in death. If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, your life will be changed forever. You must have time to grieve and feel the shock of their passing. There are also practical matters that must be handled.
When It's Possible to File a Claim
There are certain scenarios when a spouse or family member can file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person who was in the accident. If your loved one was so hurt that they are incapacitated, you can file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Determining the Basis for the Claim
To determine the basis for the claim, it's important to gather as much information as possible about the accident itself. If the driver of the vehicle that struck your loved one was acting with negligence, for example, that negligence is the basis of the claim. If there was another vehicle involved that caused the accident, then the driver of that vehicle would be the subject of the claim.
A motorcycle accident can have devastating results. I can help you understand what your options are after the accident. I'll argue your case to help protect your rights and offer the legal guidance you need. My firm, Fitzgerald Law, proudly represents clients throughout Glendale, Burbank, Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and the San Gabriel Valley. Contact me today to schedule your free consultation.