Steps to Take Following
a Motorcycle Accident
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, there are steps you need to take to move forward. While some of these steps must be completed at the time of the accident, some can be done now.
The first step is to seek medical help as soon as you can. There are certain injuries that may not present themselves right away. Seeking professional medical help can ensure your safety and mitigate long-term health issues. Documenting that you sought medical attention is important for your personal injury claim.
The second step is to document and obtain documents regarding the accident. This can include photographs of the accident, eyewitness reports, insurance information from the other driver, and anything that will showcase what happened.
The third step is to contact your insurance company. You want to know whether they cover your accident and what your rights are concerning your insurance.
The fourth step is to hire a personal injury attorney to help you through the case. You want to make sure you are moving forward in your case properly. Working with a personal injury attorney will help you make the right decisions along the way.
California Motorcycle Laws
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, it is important to understand the laws that govern motorcycles in the state.
- Lane splitting: In most states, lane splitting — or riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic — is illegal, but it is not illegal in California. However, if not done safely in the state of California, a judge can have an opinion on the matter that can alter the lawsuit.
- Helmet laws: In the State of California, it is the law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
- Passengers: As long as the passenger’s seat is securely in place behind the driver, there is no age restriction for the passenger in question.
- Liability Coverage: In the State of California, the driver of a motorcycle is required by law to have insurance.
Understanding these laws will help you understand your situation. For example, if no helmet was worn during the accident, then the motorcycle driver can be considered at least partially liable for their part in the accident.
It can be difficult to determine fault regardless of the situation. California is a “comparative fault” state, which means the plaintiff can be found at least partially at fault.
California is also considered an “at fault” state, which means the person responsible for the accident is found “at fault.” However, it is possible that both parties can be found at fault. For example, if the motorcyclist was lane splitting in a way that was deemed “unsafe,” then they could be found partially at fault for the accident.
What does this mean? It means the percentage the court finds the person at fault will be deducted from the overall damages. So, if a person was found partially at fault for 30%, then 30% would be deducted from the overall damages.
A judge will look at all aspects of a case before determining fault, even if it is a wrongful death case.
Filing a Claim for a Loved One
There are certain situations where you may file a claim for a loved one. For example, say your loved one was seriously injured, became incapacitated, and could not file a claim. If your loved one died in an accident, this would also be grounds for you to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
You must determine the basis for your claim, such as the negligence of the opposing party. Negligence of the opposing party means the other party did not do something they could have done to avoid the accident.