The California Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Maison Law represent the victims of motorcycle accidents and make sure they receive the support they need to recover. We want every rider to get the best medical care available so they can heal and get back on their motorcycles again.
Contact Maison Law for a free and confidential case consultation. Contact us today to find out what your injuries are worth and how to keep a car insurance company for an at-fault driver from getting away with blaming you for what happened.
If you decide we can help you secure more for your injury claim, you won’t need any upfront money. Maison Law doesn’t get paid unless we win your motorcycle accident case for you. Then our fee comes out of the settlement money you receive.
California Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims Process
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Free Consultation for Motorcycle Accident Victims
Mr. Gasparian spent years working for major corporations and the oldest law firm in Los Angeles and gained valuable insider knowledge of how insurance firms treat accident victims. He founded his own law firm to work for everyday people to make sure they’re treated fairly and their rights are respected after a serious accident.
Contact Maison Law for an evaluation of your case. This consultation comes at no charge to you and you’ll be under no obligation. Tell us what happened so that we can quickly figure out which legal options are in your best interest.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California
The mountains, the coast, the sunshine, and the long straightaways make California one of the best places to ride a motorcycle in the world. Unfortunately, as most riders have experienced firsthand, other motorists aren’t always doing their best to look for people on motorcycles. That inattention can lead to frightening collisions for riders.
When drivers put motorcyclists in dangerous spots they are usually making common mistakes that play out on California roads every day. Motorists often hide behind the excuse that they never saw a motorcycle coming. Of course, this is no excuse when a longer look, and avoiding attention grabbers like a cellphone, would have allowed the driver enough time to easily spot the rider.
Sadly, many drivers ignore this basic duty to show extra care for motorcyclists who travel unprotected and defenseless when compared to passengers in sturdy cars and trucks.
These are just a few of the situations that commonly put riders in danger:
- Lane Splitting – This is a legal maneuver in California but many drivers are either ignorant of the law or ignore it. Lane splitting is when a rider moves up between slow-moving or stopped traffic, commonly at traffic lights. They share the lane with other vehicles. Motorists not paying proper attention can strike a motorcyclist beside them.
- Vehicle Turning Left – Drivers can be preparing to pull across a roadway and give a quick look without noticing the smaller profile of a motorcycle coming directly at them. Their turn can leave the full length of their vehicle in front of the rider and provide little room to avoid a crash.
- Unsafe Lane Changes – Motorists in bigger vehicles can forget to check their blind spots and their side mirrors and suddenly come over on the rider beside them. Merging drivers can also think the coast is clear and suddenly sideswipe someone on a motorcycle.
- Rear-End Collisions – This one involves a very visible brake light, but drivers can still miss seeing that red taillight or misjudge the distance and crash into the back of a motorcycle. The rider can be thrown from his or her bike and suffer severe injuries.
What Our Clients Say
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The amount of compensation that you receive in an accident claim can make all the difference in your life now and in the future. The injuries can be so severe that medical care may be needed in the months and years down the road.
Injuries can result in disabilities or disfigurement for victims and any settlement offered needs to factor in the medical equipment, surgeries, and physical therapy that may still be needed in the future.
These are just a few of the frightening injuries that can require more than just an emergency room visit:
- Blunt Force Trauma – Motorcyclists travel with no walls or a roof and that lack of protection can subject riders to extreme forces. Multiple injuries can occur as the rider may be the victim of more than one impact with the vehicle and with the road surface. This trauma can lead to a rupture of internal organs and damage the soft tissue that holds organs and other body parts in place.
- Chest Injuries – Ribs and other bones can break and cause breathing issues. The heart and esophagus can suffer damage. A blow to the back can even injure kidneys.
- Concussion/Brain Injury – Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to headaches, seizures, and vomiting. A more serious injury can rob victims of their memories.
- Bone Fractures – The neck, skull, and face may also take severe damage and see broken bones and damaged teeth. Any one of these injuries can result in permanent disfigurement. When a motorcyclist is thrown from a bike they can extend their hands and arms as a natural reflex to protect themselves. The fingers, wrists, and elbows can be left broken.
- Road Rash – Severe abrasions can damage skin and make skin grafts necessary. This is another injury that can leave permanent disfigurement.
Insurance Tactics Used on Motorcycle Accident Victims
Riders travel without the protection of airbags and seatbelts in a collision. Motorcyclists can suffer traumatic injuries that require weeks or months of expensive medical care. When hospital bills start to grow, car insurance companies begin to worry about their profits. They look for ways to get out of taking the blame for their policyholder’s mistake.
Insurance adjusters are trained to find ways to limit what an injured rider is paid in compensation. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer watches out for some common tactics and makes sure clients don’t get cheated out of the support they need to recover:
- Shifting Blame to the Motorcyclist: Insurance companies have always tried to blame motorcyclists for every accident. They use stereotypes about riders being unsafe and reckless. They try to paint the rider as a daredevil, even when a CHP collision report clearly points to the at-fault driver. It’s a weak argument, but without someone monitoring the actions of an insurance company for you, this tactic can reduce or eliminate your settlement money.
- Slow to Respond: Insurance adjusters can purposely take a long time to respond to your claim. They hope you’ll become desperate as more and more hospital bills arrive. You could also be falling behind on normal monthly bills like mortgage payments, motorcycle and car payments, and credit card bills.
- Lowball Settlement Offer: After you’ve been made to wait, insurance agents take the opportunity to make you a very low settlement offer. They hope you’ll be so afraid of going bankrupt that you jump at the first offer you get. A skilled California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer knows exactly what a lowball offer looks like and helps you demand more. Your attorney knows how to negotiate to get the maximum in benefits available for you and your family.
What Should I Do Immediately After a California Motorcycle Accident?
The moments after an accident may be the only chance you get to preserve some very important evidence of who was at fault so that insurance companies can’t twist the facts.
Accident scenes will be cleaned up and damaged vehicles will be towed away, and this evidence can quickly disappear.
If you are left physically able, you should try to collect proof of what happened once the scene is secure. Try to gather these and other details:
- Dial 911 and get examined by paramedics. Go to the emergency room if necessary. If you can’t remain on the scene, ask someone with you or a witness to gather evidence for you.
- Tell the local police or the California Highway Patrol about everything you observed before the accident. Let them know if the at-fault driver was behaving carelessly or recklessly.
- Get cell phone pictures. Show the car that hit you, the damage to your motorcycle, and any visible injuries. Take photos of any traffic signs and lane markings that are related to what happened. Show yourself with a helmet if you were wearing one. Take pictures of any visible injuries.
- Get contact information from witnesses. Your California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer will be calling on them to provide important testimony.
- Exchange information with everyone involved if officers don’t provide this information to you.
- Try not to say “I’m okay” or discuss who was at fault in the accident with the drivers involved. Insurance companies can twist these statements to try to use them as evidence that you weren’t hurt at all and that you admitted fault.
- Get checked out by your own doctor. Follow recommendations the doctor advises including going to physical therapy and visiting specialists.
- Hang on to your damaged motorcycle. Keep any damaged clothing and personal items, including your helmet. Don’t wash bloody clothing. Preserve it.
How Much Is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth in California?
Every traffic accident is different and it’s hard to put a number on the award you could receive in an insurance settlement or judgment in court. However, motorcycle accidents often involve more serious consequences for victims and those major injuries can lead to higher settlements. Extra financial support is often necessary to pay for extended medical care and the loss of the ability to work and support yourself and your family.
A permanent disability suffered in a motorcycle crash will prompt your personal injury lawyer to demand whatever is a fair amount for your hardships factored over a lifetime. A general guideline to follow is that the more an accident changes your normal life routine and the longer your injury persists, the more compensation you may be due.
These are a few other factors that will determine how much you receive in an insurance claim:
- Physical and Emotional Suffering. Pain and mental trauma are considered non-economic damages. You can’t always put a price tag on these types of consequences, but they are very real and can be debilitating. Victims could experience years of pain from an injury. Victims may also suffer anxiety and depression as they find they can’t do the things they love anymore. These activities can include traveling, hobbies, intimacy, and even riding a motorcycle. These difficulties can be grounds to ask for more in a settlement.
- Lost Wages. The paychecks you miss while away from work as you recover. A major injury could make it impossible to ever return to your previous career. Career training and job search help can be part of compensation. If you can’t return to work, a settlement must include support to replace your lost earnings capacity over years or perhaps for the rest of your life.
- Driver’s Insurance Limits. The at-fault driver’s chosen insurance provider and level of coverage can also affect your final award. Basic insurance coverage has cap limits that may run out before all of your hospital bills are paid.
- The Skill Of Your Personal Injury Lawyer. The expertise of the lawyer you choose to represent your case can have a big impact on the compensation you should expect. Lawyers with a successful record and experience at the negotiating table and in the courtroom will generally be able to secure much more in support for you. They will accurately estimate the costs of recovery you face and make sure you have what you need to pay those bills. They can also determine who else may be liable for your accident and seek compensation from multiple sources to make sure you have everything you need now and years down the road.
Common Complications with Motorcycle Insurance
Motorcycle accident insurance coverage in California differs from car accident coverage in several important ways. You may not realize these differences until you are injured in an accident and in need of help with hospital bills and with your missed paychecks at work.
For starters, the minimum coverage you may carry in California while riding a motorcycle is $15,000 for the death or injury of one person and a total of $30,000 for the death or injury of multiple victims. You must also carry $5,000 to cover a victim’s property damage.
The trouble with these limits is that they might not be enough to cover even half of any victim’s expenses. This coverage also doesn’t cover you or a passenger if you were to be hurt in an accident.
You can opt for higher coverage and add-on comprehensive and collision policies to cover your motorcycle damage. Adding on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) helps to cover medical costs for you or a passenger when someone gets hurt. Including uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage can also protect you if you are struck by a motorist without insurance or with inadequate coverage to pay for all of your medical expenses.
You may be struck by another driver and trust that the at-fault motorist’s insurance company will accept the blame and compensate you. This can be dangerous because insurance companies like to shift blame to motorcyclists when they can get away with it, even when the evidence points to their driver’s fault.
Having a personal injury lawyer keeping a watch on the behavior of insurance adjusters can protect you from getting stuck paying for your own medical expenses out-of-pocket. Your lawyer will also be fighting to make sure every damage you suffer is covered in full by the responsible driver’s insurance provider.
Do You Really Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in California?
While having a lawyer represent your motorcycle accident claim in California isn’t required, motorcyclists must be especially cautious when they are depend on insurance adjusters to get the financial support they need. Insurance companies like to call upon old “reckless motorcyclist” stereotypes and will often try to shift blame to the rider, no matter what a police accident report states.
A personal injury lawyer does lengthy investigative work on behalf of a client to make sure insurance companies are held accountable. If not, an insurance company can leave motorcycle accident victims to pay for half or more of their medical costs out of their own pockets.
Someone on a motorcycle also stands a much higher chance of suffering a major injury than someone in a better-protected car, SUV, or truck. The costs of medical care are often much higher and may even be necessary over a lifetime.
It is vital that insurance companies are held accountable for every recovery cost and lost paycheck a victim endures. A personal injury lawyer monitors all communication with insurance companies to make sure you get a fair settlement to protect your finances now and in the future.
A personal injury lawyer is also a powerful reminder to the insurance company that they could face a court date if they are unwilling to extend a fair settlement offer. This can mean thousands of extra dollars in a settlement award as insurance adjusters seek to avoid getting dragged before a judge and jury.
Frequently Asked Questions About California Motorcycle Accidents
Yes. Families are allowed to file a wrongful death claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance provider to protect themselves from financial harm. A claim can seek support to help pay for burial costs, ambulance fees, and also to make up for the emotional and economic support the victim provided.
Yes. If you weren’t wearing a helmet when a driver hit you, you can still demand compensation for your recovery. Your lack of a helmet doesn’t take away the liability of the careless driver.
California allows injury victims up to two years to file a claim for damages. In most cases, you’ll want to file as soon as you can because the evidence will be easier to collect and witnesses will be easier to locate shortly after a crash.
Motorcycle accident victims can be partially at fault in an accident and still ask for injury and property damage support from another motorist. California operates under the legal concept of comparative negligence. It means that you and another driver can share in the blame for an accident.
For example, a motorcycle rider may be assigned 25% of the blame in a collision for excessive speed while a driver involved is assigned 75% of the liability for making a careless lane change. In this case, the injured rider could be awarded compensation to help with bills during recovery. However, the support earned would be reduced by the 25% of the fault the rider carried.
Comparative negligence can come into play in motorcycle accidents involving lane-splitting where a rider and driver could be at fault for a collision. Shared blame may also apply to a rider hurt while traveling without a helmet. When a head injury would have been less severe if a helmet had been used, the other motorist may face a smaller portion of the liability.
Lane splitting is a motorcycle maneuver that is perfectly legal in California and riders are also legally protected when accidents occur. In our state, a motorcyclist may proceed and travel between cars when traffic is moving slowly or stopped. Lane splitting often occurs at a traffic light when drivers are halted or in a traffic jam.
After an accident involving lane splitting, insurance companies often attempt to blame motorcyclists for their collisions. This is “bad faith” behavior by insurance adjusters and often a driver in a vehicle can bear a share of the liability or all of the responsibility when motorcyclists are struck during a lane splitting situation.
A victim’s personal injury lawyer would demonstrate that the driver’s actions contributed to the motorcyclist’s injury and property damage. This can be accomplished by showing the driver involved was distracted at the time of the collision, perhaps by a cellphone. The driver may also have been proceeding recklessly and weaving or drifting between lanes without checking mirrors and blind spots.
As long as riders perform a lane splitting maneuver in a safe manner, a driver involved can often share in the costs of medical bills and motorcycle repairs the motorcyclist suffers.
A “dooring” collision is just one potentially devastating type of accident motorcyclists must face in California. They usually occur when a rider is proceeding down a street with parked cars alongside. Someone inside a parked vehicle doesn’t take a proper look behind at approaching traffic. A car door swings open and is suddenly a large obstacle in front of someone on a motorcycle.
Riders can suffer serious injuries and require weeks or months of hospital care. It’s not a normal sort of crash with two vehicles in motion, but that doesn’t mean the driver or passenger in the car can’t be held responsible. Even though the car is parked, the driver is still liable for the damage and injuries inflicted while stopped.
A backseat passenger may be to blame for a “dooring” collision but in most cases, the driver or owner of the vehicle still bears liability. An injured motorcyclist is encouraged to file a claim for damages against the driver’s insurance company and perhaps a passenger’s policy as well. This claim would seek full compensation for medical bills and any lost wages the victim absorbs while out of work.
Yes. If a hit-and-run driver isn’t found and arrested, injured motorcyclists could still file a claim against their own uninsured motorist coverage. This policy would help with medical bills.
Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one are seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident you should contact a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney like Martin Gasparian with Maison Law. The insurance company for the at-fault driver isn’t required to inform you of all of your options after a devastating crash. As a victim, you have rights that are in place to protect you from the bad faith practices of insurance companies.
To make sure you’re not being taken advantage of talk over your case with Maison Law. To make sure you are getting the compensation you’ll need to pay for a full recovery and see you through until you’re back on your bike again please reach out to us.