San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
While we can’t undo the accident, our San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys can help ease your financial stress. Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable drivers on the road- and there’s no shortage of them in California. This vulnerability, unfortunately, can lead to devastating and life-altering injuries if involved in a crash.
As a San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer, Scott Liljegren recently helped an injured motorcyclist recover a total of $675,000 after a negligent driver cut him off, resulting in a fractured spinal injury for the biker.
Motorcycle riders must be aware of their legal rights and remedies if they are involved in a traffic accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle wreck it is important to consult with a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney.
Why Hire a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced with motorcycle injury cases. The San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys at the Liljegren Law Group have experience in litigating serious injury cases associated with motorcycle accident cases. Contact one of our attorneys today at (619) 312- 6703. Our offices are located throughout California and our attorneys have years of success in motorcycle accident cases.
The Liljegren Law Group has been recognized as one of the top motorcycle accident law firms in California. We represent motorcycle victims throughout Southern California. If you are wondering if you need a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney, chances are that you do. Let the Liljegren Law Group offer you legal advice and guidance to make an informed decision. Call us today at(619) 312- 6703. Our San Diego motorcycle accident lawyers will help you and your family get the monetary compensation you deserve.
Do You Have the Right License?
California law stipulates that anyone who owns or operates a motorcycle in the state must have a special license. California has two types of motorcycle licenses: an M1 and an M2. An M1 gives you the authority to ride a scooter or a moped, while an M2 allows you to ride any motorcycle. If you want to ride a motorcycle, you can obtain your M2 by taking a written test and passing a road exam. Upon passing the road test and written examination, you’ll receive a permanent M2 motorcycle license.
Are You Properly Insured?
California sets certain minimum insurance requirements in case of an accident. Motorcycle coverage is like other vehicle coverage in California – you must carry at least $15,000 in coverage for death or injury to one person and $30,000 in coverage to two or more people. Additionally, you must carry at least $5,000 in property damage. While these are the minimums required by state law, it’s also a good idea to obtain additional and optional coverage if you can afford it. This shields you from liability in an accident and will prevent you from paying out of pocket for your own medical bills. An uninsured and underinsured policy is an essential part of any insurance plan. This coverage kicks in when an at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to pay for the full extent of your injuries (which is certainly possible in a serious motorcycle accident).
How to File an Insurance Claim After a Motorcycle Accident
It’s crucial to remember that insurance companies are not your friends, and they are in business to make money. They lose money when they pay out on claims, so insurance companies send investigators and claim adjusters to ensure a claim’s validity before offering a settlement. It’s a very good idea to contact an experienced San Diego motorcycle accident attorney before talking to any insurance companies, including your own or an at-fault driver’s. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to file a strong initial claim and minimize the potential for pushback from the insurance company.
If the insurance company notices any inconsistencies with your story or between your story and the investigation’s findings, it may deny your claim or reduce your settlement amount. An attorney can handle correspondence with insurance companies and prepare you for interviews and questions about your claim. If you suspect any type of bad faith, misrepresentations, or other unethical behavior from an insurance company or one of its agents, your attorney can help you draft a letter to the insurer notifying them that you suspect bad faith.
How Does California’s Lane Splitting Law Work?
California is one of the only states to allow a controversial practice called “lane splitting.” This practice occurs when you go in between two cars in separate lanes – in other words, you drive your motorcycle between two lanes. This practice makes many drivers nervous, but the state does not specifically outlaw it.
However, lane splitters must practice safety and prudence when lane splitting. It would not be advisable, for example, to lane split when highway traffic is moving at a 70 mph. However, lane splitting might be reasonable and allowed when moving at slow speeds (which is common in rush hour in the San Diego area).
Lane splitting laws continuously evolve and can be the subject of controversy in California. If you were acting recklessly while lane splitting, you could be partially at fault for an accident. Use caution and common sense while splitting lanes.
Knowing the basic motorcycle laws and regulations in California can help you avoid liability and maximize your safety while operating these vehicles on San Diego roadways. If you have further questions about your rights as a motorcyclist, contact a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, Motorcycle riders are 4 times more likely than other motorists to be seriously injured or killed in a traffic related accident. Even further, per mile driven, they are 16 times more likely to be killed that a driver of an automobile is. Motorcyclists are at an increased risk for serious or even fatal injuries because of the lack of protection when traveling. There is rarely any protection between the rider and the road. Riders enjoy their freedom on the road, but with that freedom comes the exposure of increased danger.
Some added risks San Diego motorcyclists face include:
- Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.
- About half of all motorcycles involved in a fatal crash collided with another vehicle.
- A little over one third of motorcycle riders that died in a crash were speeding, approximately twice the rate for drivers of passenger vehicles or light trucks.
- More than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.
- Each year, more than 2,200 people are killed and 55,000 injured in motorcycle accidents.
- In 2011, 35 percent of motorcycle fatalities were a direct result of the rider speeding.
- That same year, 42 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities involved 2 or more vehicles. A large portion of those crashes (38 percent) were a direct result of another vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle that was either going straight, passing or overtaking another vehicle.
San Diego County Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
Motorcycle accidents result in more injuries than auto accidents. The motorcycle itself provides no head injury protection to the rider or passenger. Only a helmet worn by the rider can help protect the head from injury. In fact, in a study of motorcycle accidents between 1984 and 1995, helmets use saved the lives of 7,400 riders. However, had all riders involved in crashes been wearing helmets, an additional 6,300 fatalities could have been prevented. Ejection often occurs in motorcycle accidents and is a common injury pathway. If a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop and the rider is ejected from the motorcycle, the rider will forcibly strike objects in the path as well as the ground.
California has strict laws in place requiring drivers and passengers on motorcycles to wear a helmet at all times while moving. It’s also illegal for a helmeted passenger to ride along with a driver not wearing a helmet. In the above graph, all deceased riders were wearing helmets; however, helmets also saved many lives in other accidents. Head over to our San Diego car accident page for detailed directions on what to do if you’re involved in or witness a motorcycle-involved crash.
Motorcycle Accident Claims Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I File a Claim If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?
Motorcycle helmet laws vary by state. California law requires that all motorcycle drivers and passengers wear a helmet. Due to the requirement, some defense attorneys in motorcycle accident cases try to argue that if the victim was not wearing a helmet, he or she is responsible for the injuries. Most courts will consider not wearing a helmet a form of negligence.The court clearly defines a discrepancy between the lack of helmet contributing to the accident and contributing to the injuries. If the accident would not have occurred had the victim been wearing a helmet, the court is more likely to find him or her responsible. However, if the lack of helmet only added to or increased the extent of the injuries, the defendant could bear greater fault.
Can I File a Claim If I Do Not Have Motorcycle Insurance?
Like most states, California requires all motorcyclists to carry motorcycle insurance. Unlike most states, however, California follows the “No Pay, No Play” rule. Motorcyclists who get into accidents and do not have insurance can only get compensation for certain things. California courts enforce the rule with the idea that if you do not have what’s required to fully compensate another person then you should not be able to receive full compensation either.If you do not have motorcycle insurance, you can only recover compensation for general damages. The court can award you compensation for medical expenses, wages you lost because you needed days off work, and the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle. The court will not award you compensation for special damages such as pain and suffering, or for disability or future medical expenses.Even if the court awards you compensation for general damages, it may also fine you for not having insurance. The state may also suspend your motorcycle license for at least one year.
Why Should I Hire an Accident Attorney If I Have Proper Insurance?
If you have the proper motorcycle insurance when you get in an accident, it may seem unnecessary to hire an attorney for your claim. However, it is still a good idea to hire an accident attorney. First and foremost, an experienced accident attorney can tell you how much you deserve in damages. He or she will understand the complexities of California motorcycle accident laws and be able to explain them to you when things are confusing.An attorney will also understand how to collect and compile effective evidence. He or she will know how to obtain police reports, talk to witnesses, gather medical records, and collect a variety of other important pieces of information.Insurance companies have a long list of tactics they often employ to trick people into accepting less money than they deserve. An experienced attorney can tell when an insurance company is trying to trick you, and prevent it from taking advantage of you and damaging your case.If negotiations fail and your case needs to go to court, an attorney is especially important. He or she will know how to deal with hearings and how to represent you to the court in a way that is most likely to win you full compensation.
Could My Health Insurance Limit My Lawsuit Compensation?
Many people worry that health insurance will limit the amount the court will award them in a motorcycle accident claim. In California, your health insurance will not influence how much you can receive in compensation. Additionally, even if your work covered your time off with vacation pay or sick leave, the court can still award you compensation for lost wages. However, specific health insurance carriers have varying rules. They may require you to partially or completely reimburse them with the money you get from the claim.
Contact a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer | Liljegren Law Group
We offer free consultations to help you answer any additional questions you may have regarding your motorcycle accident.