Motorcyclists and their passengers have less protection than the occupants of other types of motor vehicles. As a result, many motorcycle accidents have a greater probability of resulting in serious and life-threatening injuries such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, amputation or even death.
Are There Any Rules of the Road that Differ Between Motorcycles and Automobiles?
Motorcycles are more maneuverable than most passenger vehicles due to their smaller size and lower profile. California law recognizes that motorcycles and larger vehicles are handled differently and require different amounts of room to operate, so California law allows motorcyclists to drive in ways that other drivers do not get to do, namely:
- Lane sharing – two vehicles are in the same lane at the same time; can be two motorcycles or a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle
- Lane splitting – a motorcycle is allowed to travel in the middle of two lanes of traffic at a higher speed than surrounding vehicles
What Are Fault and No-Fault States? How Are They Applicable to My Motorcycle Accident In California?
“No-fault” laws — currently in effect in about a dozen states — severely limit potential sources of financial recovery after an auto accident. The guiding principle of no-fault law is that all drivers are required by law to insure themselves against potential injuries and damages caused by an auto accident. As a result, if you have been injured in an auto accident in a no-fault state, your first and legally preferred source of recovery is your own insurance company. Only if certain statutorily specified conditions are met, may you file suit against another party in an attempt to recover damages.
California drivers don’t need to worry about these no-fault rules, because California follows a “fault” system when it comes to car insurance and the kinds of remedies available after a car accident. Basically, there are very few restrictions on the options of anyone injured in an accident, when it comes to pursuing an insurance claim or lawsuit against those who are legally at fault. After a car accident in California, if you’ve suffered an injury as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you are usually free to take one or more of the following actions in trying to get compensation for your losses (medical bills, lost income, property damage, etc.):
- file a claim under your own insurance policy,
- pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
- file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver directly.
Is My Motorcycle Accident Case Doomed if I’m adjudged to be at Fault?
Situations like this require that you sit down with an experienced attorney to look over your particular situation. There may be reasons why an insurance company is looking at the case and finding you at fault, perhaps that’s because of their own interest, perhaps it’s in defending or rather refusing to pay out on a claim that they are saying that you are at fault for the accident. There will be times that people who are involved in the investigation are inexperienced. In those situations especially, you need to have an attorney who can perhaps consult with a reconstruction expert to get a clear picture as to how the accident happened.
Would it be Favorable to my Case if I took Pictures of the Accident?
The photographs that you take of the accident can be useful. In some cases, they’re going to paint a very good picture of what happened and we would be looking to use that information to our advantage.
Why Would Someone Need an Attorney for a Collision? Wouldn’t Insurance Handle Everything?
The insurance agents involved in the investigation of the accident will look to determine what happened. Their job is not to advocate on behalf of the victim so that the victim can be compensated for the injuries. The reason why you want to have an attorney is to make sure that you may maximize your compensation, otherwise the insurance companies will certainly try and take advantage of the situation and pay out as little as possible on your claim.
How do Attorneys Get Paid for Motorcycle Accident Case?
Attorney fees for motorcycle accidents are usually treated in the same manner as other personal injury cases. For the majority of attorney that take on these cases, they’re going to be paid as a contingency. This means that the attorney’s fees are paid only if there is recovery in the case. Of course, the benefit is that the victim doesn’t have to pay anything out of pocket and may have representation that they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
Should I Delay Seeking Medical Attention After being Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
Right after a motorcycle accident or any motor vehicle accident, you should have a thorough check-up and visit the hospital, especially if you’re seriously injured. Also, even if you’re feeling uncertain as to whether you’re injured and think that you are doing fine, it is very likely that symptoms will show up in the days following an accident. If in doubt have it checked out. This will give you peace of mind that you will be fine, so it’s a good idea to go see a doctor and get checked up as soon as possible following an accident. Further, having your accident documented by a doctor will provide greater credibility to the claim that your injuries were caused by the accident. If you allow days or weeks to pass before you see a doctor, it’s going to call into question the credibility of your claim.
For more information on Common Motorcycle Accident Scenario, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (714) 697-8600 today.