Motorcycle Accidents Due to Road Hazards in California

Motorcycle Accidents Due to Road Hazards in California

AAA reports that road debris may contribute to as many as 25,000 car accidents in the United States each year. Many of the victims are motorcyclists. Riders face a variety of hazards, and when a car accident involves a motorcycle, the damage can be particularly severe. Our experienced San Bernardino motorcycle accident lawyers explain the various hazards you may encounter on the road and what to do if they cause an accident.

Common Road Hazards Faced by Motorcyclists in California

Road hazards that motorcyclists in California face include:

  • Debris falling from other vehicles
  • Construction cones and other construction equipment
  • Damaged fencing
  • Broken bridges
  • Missing signs, broken and scattered signage
  • Erosion, flooding
  • Rough pavement, potholes, sinkholes, slick surfaces
  • Trees, brush
  • Missing or damaged guardrails
  • Illegal dumping
  • Vehicle parts

Who may be responsible for road debris damage in California?

Parties who may be responsible for road debris damage in California include:

  • Government – For designing, building, and maintaining the road
  • Person, party, or trucking company – If debris falls from a vehicle because a load is not secure
  • Property owner – Responsible for fixtures or personal property by the side of the road
  • Construction or maintenance companies – Leaving materials on the road after work

Responsibility for road debris damage can be based on negligence – someone doesn’t need to have left the object there on purpose.

How To Report Hazardous Road Conditions in California

To report hazardous road conditions in California:

  • Call 1-800-TELL-CHIP – This is the non-emergency line for the California Highway Patrol.
  • Report Online – Caltrans Customer Service Request – Choose “Situation Type” and select “Litter – Trash and Debris.”
  • Call 911 – If a condition is emergency and life-threatening, call immediately.
  • Contact the local municipality.

Legal Responsibilities of Local Authorities and Road Maintenance

Did you know that the government may be legally liable for failing to maintain a safe road?

That’s right!

California Gov. Code § 835 says that a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition on its property if:

  1. The dangerous condition existed at the time of the injury.
  2. The dangerous condition proximately caused the injury.
  3. It was reasonably foreseeable that the danger would cause the harm that occurred.
  4. Either the public entity acted negligently in creating the hazard or they had actual or constructive notice of the danger with sufficient time to act.

California Gov. Code § 830(a) says that for legal liability to apply, a danger must be substantial.

It may not be insignificant. It must be a risk that exists when the property is used in a reasonably foreseeable manner. The jury decides whether a condition is dangerous.

In Zamarripa v. City of Coachella, 193 Cal. Rptr. 358 (Cal. App. 1983), the city was negligent for a wall that obstructed the view in an intersection. A driver came to the intersection, saw no oncoming traffic, and proceeded. However, a motorcyclist was coming the other way, and two people were struck.

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Road Hazards

  • If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a road hazard, the hazard may be the basis for compensation.
  • A road hazard may be the sole cause of a collision, or it may be a contributing factor.
  • You must identify the danger and prove your case.
  • Multiple parties may be responsible for a road hazard, including a person or company who dropped debris on the road or a government entity for failing to remedy the hazard in a reasonable period.

A car accident lawyer from LA Century Law can represent you in your claim.

Steps To Take Immediately After a Road Hazard Accident

If you are involved in an accident involving a road hazard, move to a safe place, if possible. Go somewhere where you are not at risk of being struck by another vehicle. Call 911 if there is a possibility that anyone is hurt. Summon law enforcement. Follow instructions for first aid to anyone injured until someone with more advanced medical training can take over.

If you can, document the scene with photos. Obtain the driver’s information and take names and contact information for witnesses. If you’re the driver, be sure to provide the required information to others involved.

How To Document Road Hazards

If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident due to a road hazard, documenting the danger is especially important. Ways you may document a road hazard include:

  • Photos of the object, with your cell phone or another camera
  • Photos of your motorcycle to show damage and impact
  • Your testimony – write down everything you remember as soon as possible
  • Witness testimony
  • Information about any construction that was happening in the area at the time
  • Weather report to show conditions on the day and time of the crash
  • Public record if there were previous complaints about the condition
  • Accident reports if other accidents involved the dangerous condition
  • Road designs, public comment, debate about the road construction and operation
  • The object, if you can preserve it
  • Experts in accident reconstruction explain how the hazard caused the accident

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Due to a Road Hazard? Contact a Lawyer

If you have been in a motorcycle accident involving a road hazard, LA Century Law can protect your rights. We fight for the rights of motorcyclists so they can get fair compensation when they have been hurt in a crash. Our team investigates, preserves evidence, and builds your case. We resolve cases through both settlements and trials.

We’ve recovered millions for our clients. You deserve the representation of a premier California motorcycle accident law firm. Contact us today for your consultation.

Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in CA?

Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in CA?

Even though there are laws that require motorists to have car insurance, many drivers still go without this coverage. Others have policies with minimum limits that are too low to cover damages in the event of an accident. If you drive in California, you need uninsured motorist coverage to ensure you are protected.

Our experienced car accident attorneys at LA Century Law explains why you need uninsured motorist insurance coverage in CA and how this insurance can protect you financially if a crash occurs.

Is It Necessary To Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California?

According to the Insurance Information Institution, as many as 17% of motorists in California are uninsured. With car accidents costing Americans $340 billion in 2019, it’s risky not to have uninsured motorist coverage.

Being the victim of a car accident with an uninsured driver can cause economic hardship in numerous ways. Medical bills resulting from injuries add up; approximately 40% of bankruptcies involve medical debt, and new car prices are at an all-time high so vehicle damage can also take a toll.

Having uninsured motorist coverage in California is a vital tool to protect your finances and your future.

Does California require uninsured motorist coverage?

While California does not require uninsured motorist coverage, unless you specifically opt out in writing, a policy must include uninsured motorist coverage. However, the insured and insurance company can agree in writing to exclude it or reduce the amount of coverage.

What is the law for California uninsured motorist coverage?

California Insurance Code § 11580.2(a)(1) states that all auto insurance policies must have uninsured motorist coverage unless both parties agree otherwise. Both parties may opt out, or they may agree to lower limits. Excluding or reducing this coverage must be agreed to in writing by both parties.

When does uninsured motorist coverage apply?

Uninsured motorist coverage applies in California when the party at fault for an accident does not have enough insurance to satisfy a claim for damages.

Example 1 – The other driver is at fault for the accident. You have $50,000 in damages. They have $100,000 in liability insurance. Their insurance pays you $50,000 for your damages. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not apply.

Example 2 – The other driver is at fault for the accident. You have $100,000 in damages. They have $50,000 in liability insurance. Their insurance pays you $50,000. You have $50,000 in damages that remain unpaid. Fortunately, you have $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured coverage. Your insurance policy pays the remaining $50,000 in damages.

Example 3 – The other driver is at fault for the accident. You have $100,000 in damages. They have $50,000 in liability insurance. Their insurance pays you $50,000. You have $50,000 in damages that remain unpaid. Unfortunately, you don’t have uninsured/underinsurance coverage. You will not receive compensation for the remaining $50,000 in damages.

Example 4 – The other driver is at fault for the accident. You have $100,000 in damages. They have $50,000 in liability insurance. Their insurance pays you $50,000.

Example 5 – You are at fault for the accident. Hopefully, you have collision insurance. It will pay damages according to the policy, up to the policy limit.

Reasons to have uninsured motorist coverage

  • UIMC can pay your medical bills, including when health insurance doesn’t pay
  • When you can’t work because of injury, uninsured motorist coverage can provide replacement funds
  • Pain and suffering compensation can give you justice for harm caused by the other driver
  • Repair or replace your vehicle with property damage coverage
  • UIMC can protect you from using your assets to cover losses
  • Hit-and-run collisions may be covered for personal injury compensation
  • Peace of mind – you don’t have to worry about uninsured drivers

How much-uninsured motorist coverage can I get in California?

By California law, the insurance company must offer uninsured motorist coverage in the same amounts offered for bodily injury. However, they are not required to offer more than $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for total injury per accident, and $3,500 for property damage.

These are minimum amounts. Insurance companies offer various policy limits and premiums so there are options for higher limits.

Note: California minimum liability auto insurance limits are set to increase in 2025.

How much-uninsured motorist coverage do I need in California?

You don’t know what your possible car accident damages might be when you purchase insurance so you need as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. It’s important to ensure you have enough to cover physical injuries, lost wages, and car repairs. How much you need depends on your net worth, health insurance, and risk tolerance. It’s common to need at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. Evaluate all options and your situation to determine the right amount for your auto insurance policy.

Uninsured/underinsured coverage pays the excess

Remember that uninsured/underinsured coverage pays the excess that the other party’s insurance doesn’t cover.

For example, if they have a $50,000 limit, their insurance may pay up to the maximum. If your uninsured/underinsured limit is also $50,000, the amount paid by the other insurance is credited towards your compensation, and you won’t receive an additional payment. That’s why it’s important to maintain uninsured motor vehicle insurance in the highest amounts you can afford – to ensure you’re fully compensated for your damages.

Talk to a Lawyer

Have you been in a car accident? Are you wondering how uninsured motorist coverage might apply to your accident claim? At LA Century Law, we help people receive the compensation they deserve for car accidents. Please contact us to discuss your case with a lawyer.

Motorcycle Accident Internal Injury Compensation

Motorcycle Accident Internal Injury Compensation

According to J.D. Power, 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury. Many of these injuries are internal and may be serious, even if you can’t see them. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may deserve compensation.

Compensation for Motorcycle Collision Internal Injuries

To file a claim and receive the compensation you deserve, you must:

  • Understand what internal injuries are
  • Identify your injuries and their impact on your life
  • Determine what compensation you deserve
  • Fight for your compensation

At LA Century Law, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys believe that motorcycle accident victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries and losses. We fight for motorcycle accident victims and their rights. To learn more and start your case, contact us today.

What are internal injuries?

Internal injuries are injuries to bones, organs, and systems in the body. These injuries are often not readily apparent.

What to do if you suspect internal injuries?

If you believe you have internal injuries from a motorcycle accident, seek prompt medical attention.

Internal injuries can be serious and life-threatening. Obtain emergency medical care right away to examine you and treat your injuries.

Types of Internal Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding is the loss of blood from damaged blood vessels, where the blood remains within the body. It is a serious medical condition that may be fatal if not treated. While internal bleeding may resolve without intervention, surgery may be required in some cases.

Serious types of internal bleeding include:

  • Hemothorax – lungs
  • Hemopericardium, cardiac tamponade – heart
  • Intracranial hemorrhage – skull and brain
  • Aorta, superior and inferior vena cava – blood vessels and their branches
  • Lacerations of the liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, intestines

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury is the disruption of normal brain function due to trauma. Brain injury may interfere with cognitive processing, brain signals to the body, emotional regulation, mental health, and consciousness.

Broken bones and fractures

Bones may break without any visible disfigurement or obvious deformity. Rib and clavicle fractures are common examples of this, but the femur, humerus, radius, ulna, tibia, and fibula can break without outwardly visible signs.

Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)

A collapsed lung occurs when air escapes from the lung. The air in the pleural space then puts pressure on the lung, preventing it from functioning normally. Without treatment, respiratory failure or heart failure may occur.

How serious is internal bleeding after a motorcycle accident?

Internal bleeding from a motorcycle accident can cause death in as little as 10 minutes to three hours or more after the accident. Organ failure, coma, and death may occur if internal bleeding is not treated promptly after a car accident, making emergency medical attention vital.

Can a motorcycle accident cause a pneumothorax?

Blunt trauma or a penetrating injury from a motorcycle accident can cause a pneumothorax. Force on the lung can tear tissues and leave room for air to escape and the lung to collapse.

Internal Injury Symptoms

Symptoms of internal injury may include:

  • Pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling cold
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Confusion, unconsciousness, fainting, dizziness
  • Mood changes, lack of alertness
  • Thirst, nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea, blood in stool
  • Numbness, weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Headache
  • Loss of memory
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Blunt Force vs. Deceleration Trauma

There are two primary causes of internal injury in a motorcycle accident – blunt force and deceleration trauma. Blunt force is when something strikes the body.

For example, when a car hits a motorcyclist, the body is subjected to blunt force from the car or ground.

Blunt trauma places force on the body beyond what it can naturally withstand, causing tears in body tissues.

Deceleration trauma is an injury that occurs when a person in motion comes to an abrupt stop. When you’re riding a motorcycle and hit another object, the body’s momentum must end. This is called deceleration, and this change in speed and resulting force may cause injury.

How serious are internal injuries?

While some may be minor and heal on their own, internal injuries can be fatal. If there is any possibility of internal injury, seek emergency medical attention.

Attorney Help for Motorcycle Accident Internal Injuries

If you have suffered internal injuries in a motorcycle accident, an attorney can assist you. Internal injuries can be serious, requiring costly medical attention, lost wages, and prolonged recovery. It’s especially important to document all indications of these injuries, as they are not always visible.

With medical care, you can create a record of the harm that resulted from the collision. Medical professionals can speak to the prognosis and how your injuries have changed your life.

Using our legal knowledge, we can build your case, calculating damages for motorcycle accident compensation and ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Talk to an Attorney

Have you suffered internal injuries in a motorcycle accident? The motorcycle accident internal injury compensation you receive can help you rebuild your life.

You can work with a prominent law firm that has collected millions for accident victims. Contact LA Century Law to talk to an attorney and obtain legal help now.

How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet

How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet

The California DMV reports that in collisions occurring at 30 miles per hour or less, a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet may reduce the risk of a head injury by 50%. Choosing the right motorcycle helmet can save your life.

For a motorcycle helmet to be effective, you need the right helmet. Not all helmets are created the same, and several factors may impact which helmet is right for you.

LA Century Law represents victims of motorcycle accidents in San Bernardino, California. Let’s talk about how to choose the right motorcycle helmet.

Considerations for Buying the Right Motorcycle Helmet

When you’re choosing a motorcycle helmet, there are two main considerations. First, you need a helmet that complies with the law. California has standards for motorcycle helmets. Your helmet must meet or exceed these standards. Second, you need a helmet that fits you correctly and comfortably.

What to Look for When Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet

Here are eight things to look for when choosing a motorcycle helmet:

1. DOT-compliant

Choose a helmet that is U.S. Department of Transportation compliant. It should be easy to find options that meet DOT standards because California law prohibits the sale of helmets that don’t comply. However, always be sure to check that the helmet you’re considering meets DOT standards.

California law adopts U.S. federal standards for motorcycle helmets. California Vehicle Code § 27802 incorporates 49 C.F.R. § 571.218 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218) as a minimum standard for helmet safety.

Helmets must be labeled as meeting federal safety standards. The label is the manufacturer’s certification of compliance. It is illegal to sell a motorcycle helmet that doesn’t comply. Beware of fake labels! Sometimes, a helmet will say that it complies with DOT when it does not. The compliance label shouldn’t be a sticker, and it shouldn’t be easy to remove.

2. A helmet you can fasten

California Vehicle Code § 27803 says that a motorcycle helmet must be fastened on your head with the helmet straps. Make sure that you can fasten the straps on your motorcycle helmet.

With the chin straps fastened, you shouldn’t be able to remove the helmet.

3. It shouldn’t be too loose

Your helmet must fit comfortably. It should be secure, without excessive movement in any direction. If a helmet is too loose, it may not protect you properly in a crash. It may come off completely, and so it’s not going to offer you any protection.

If the helmet tilts back on your head, it is too loose. It shouldn’t rock or slide. Heads come in different shapes, so you may need to try different options to find the right fit. Helmet manufacturers offer different sizes and shapes for foam liners, including round, round oval, and long oval.

4. It shouldn’t be too tight, either

If the helmet is too tight, it may create uncomfortable pressure points. The pressure could cause a headache or prevent you from rotating your head normally to observe traffic as you ride.

Remember that a helmet can be too tight, even though you need your helmet to fit securely.

5. The right position

A motorcycle helmet should fit squarely on the head. The eye ports should be no more than an inch above the eyebrows. The helmet should not tip forward or backward. It shouldn’t move when you turn your head from side to side.

6. There is no damage

You should never purchase or wear a damaged motorcycle helmet. Damage may compromise the function of the helmet. Make sure that your helmet is free of material defects like cracks and dents.

7. It works with your glasses

Whether you wear prescription eyeglasses, or you want to wear sunglasses when you ride, make sure the helmet that you choose is compatible. Some helmets are made to work with glasses, so choose the helmet that is right for you if you plan to wear glasses when you ride.

8, Make sure you can see

As you choose your helmet, check your peripheral vision. Being able to see the road is so important. Make sure that you have a clear field of vision so that you can ride safely.

What Makes a Motorcycle Helmet DOT-compliant?

49 C.F.R. § 571.218 creates standards for motorcycle helmets that are DOT-compliant. DOT regulations cover many aspects of a helmet’s materials and design. There are standards for the dimensions, size, and contour of a helmet. There are maximums for acceleration in impact attenuation testing. A helmet may not have rigid projections from its shell or protrusions more than an allowed maximum. There are minimums for peripheral vision clearance.

These are just some of the many requirements for a motorcycle helmet to be DOT-compliant.

The design and testing requirements mean that when you choose a DOT-compliant helmet, your helmet meets at least these minimum standards. When used properly, the helmet may protect you from serious head trauma in the event of a crash.

What’s wrong with a motorcycle helmet that is not DOT-compliant?

A helmet that is not DOT-compliant may have padding that is too thin. Its materials may not be strong enough to protect you in a crash. DOT helmet regulations are research-informed and targeted to reduce head trauma in motorcycle crashes. If your helmet doesn’t meet these qualifications, there is a good chance that it offers less protection in the event of a crash than an approved model.

Buying the right motorcycle helmet is the first step to protecting you from head trauma in the event of a motorcycle accident. With more than 1,800 lives saved each year because of motorcycle helmets, having the right helmet could save your life.

Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

LA Century Law represents motorcycle accident victims. We want to help you get compensated.

If you have been hurt in a collision, message us online or call to speak to a lawyer about your case.

Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents in California

Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents in California

Hit-and-run motorcycle accidents in California can result in criminal charges. However, criminal charges are inadequate to fairly compensate you for the harm that has occurred.

Today, LA Century Law discusses motorcycle hit and runs in California. Here’s what you need to know and how our San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorneys can help.

Motorcycle Hit and Run Accidents in California

All drivers – including passenger vehicle drivers and motorcyclists – must stop their vehicle when they are in an accident. This requirement allows victims to receive prompt medical care. It also allows the parties to determine liability for the accident and exchange information to allow the processing of claims.

What is considered a hit and run?

A hit and run motorcycle accident occurs when a driver fails to stop at the scene and fulfill the requirements to provide information.

If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you may receive compensation. If the driver can be found, you may seek compensation through insurance or from them directly.

Your claim may include compensation for harm that results because they fled the scene. You may pursue compensation from your own uninsured policy if the driver cannot be found.

Why do Drivers Flee the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident?

Some reasons drivers may flee the scene of a motorcycle accident are:

  • A lack of regard for motorcyclists and their rights
  • Drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • No driver’s license
  • No motor vehicle insurance
  • Concerns about immigration consequences
  • Worried about what family members or friends might think
  • Wanting to avoid traffic tickets or criminal charges relating to their actions
  • Not wanting to take the time to stop

There are many reasons why drivers choose to do the wrong thing and flee from a motorcycle accident. At LA Century Law, we represent motorcycle accident hit and run victims in compensation claims.

What to Do After Becoming the Victim of a Motorcycle Hit and Run

If you are the victim of a motorcycle hit and run, contact law enforcement right away. The sooner they can start working on your case, the greater the chance that the offender can be found.

Contact an attorney right away to protect your rights. Take photographs of the accident scene.

Save any evidence, like torn clothes and damaged property. Seek medical attention right away.

Do hit and run laws apply to accidents involving motorcycles in California?

California hit and run laws apply to accidents involving motorcycles. Hit and run laws apply to all vehicles.

California Vehicle Code § 670 defines a vehicle as any device that moves or propels people or property on a highway. The only exceptions are trains and devices moved only by human power, like bicycles. All vehicle drivers involved in a motorcycle accident must comply with hit and run laws.

There are two hit and run laws that apply to motorcycle accidents in California – one is a misdemeanor, and the other is a felony.

Property damage hit and run – Cal Veh. Code § 20002

  • The driver of a vehicle
  • In an accident
  • With property damage only (no personal injury)
  • Must stop at the scene
  • Locate and notify the owner
  • Present their driver’s license and vehicle registration, including their current address

Failing to do these things is a misdemeanor hit and run, in violation of Cal. Veh. Code § 20002. A violation is punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

The driver must stop at the nearest safe location that doesn’t obstruct traffic. If the property owner isn’t with the damaged vehicle or property, the driver may leave their information in a conspicuous place with a statement of circumstances and call the police.

Bodily injury hit and run – Cal Veh. Code § 20001

  • The driver of a vehicle
  • In an accident
  • Causing injury to a person, other than themselves, or death
  • Must stop at the scene

Failing to do these things is punishable by one year in jail, a fine of $1,000-$10,000 or both. If the accident results in permanent or serious injury, a violation is punishable by 2-4 years in prison or 90 days to 1 year in jail, a fine of $1,000-$10,000, or both. For good reasons stated on the record, the court may eliminate minimum jail times or fines.

Cal. Veh. Code § 20001 and § 20002 apply to motorcycle hit and runs.

Compensation for a Motorcycle Hit and Run If the Driver is Found

If a motorcycle hit and run driver can be found, you may pursue compensation. Both their insurance and their assets may provide compensation. Your claim for compensation doesn’t depend on whether criminal charges are filed or the outcome of the criminal case. You may claim damages as allowed by California law.

What if the driver isn’t found?

If the driver isn’t found, you may pursue compensation through your uninsured motorist policy.

The fleeing driver may or may not have insurance. If they’re not located, we don’t know.

California uninsured motorist insurance covers a hit and run motorcycle accident. If you have this insurance, it may provide compensation.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer If the Other Driver Left the Scene

Talk to a lawyer for hit and run motorcycle accidents in California. Contact LA Century Law today by phone or submit our online form.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Lane splitting is legal in California. No law prohibits a motorcyclist from driving between rows of stopped or moving vehicles. California Motor Vehicle Code § 21658.1 allows lane splitting on divided and undivided streets, roads and highways if it can be done safely.

You may also hear lane splitting referred to as white lining or filtering.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers in San Bernardino at LA Century Law explain California’s lane splitting law and what you need to know if you’re in an accident.

California Lane Splitting Law

What is lane splitting?

Lane splitting is the practice of a motorcyclist weaving in and around slower traffic. When the regular flow of traffic is slowed or stopped, the motorcyclist may drive in and around other traffic.

No law prohibits lane splitting. California Motor Vehicle Code § 21658.1 discusses lane splitting, but only by providing a definition and states that the Department of California Highway Patrol may develop education guidelines for safe practices.

A motorcyclist may engage in lane splitting only when it is safe. For example, if a motorcyclist engages in lane splitting in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, they are guilty of reckless driving under California Motor Vehicle Code § 23103.

Is lane sharing the same as lane splitting?

Lane sharing is not the same thing as lane splitting. When motorcycles share a lane, they ride two abreast in the same direction. That’s different from lane splitting, where a single motorcycle weaves past slower traffic at its own pace.

Is it legal to split lanes in California?

It is legal to split lanes in California if the motorcyclist can do so safely. Whether it is safe to lane split depends on the entirety of the circumstances. California Highway Patrol has issued guidelines stating that the driver must be mindful of overall speeds, speed differentials, road conditions and traffic flow when deciding whether to split lanes.

What speed can I lane split in California?

While there is no official speed for lane splitting in any law or current guideline in California, previous guidelines recommended lane splitting only if overall traffic is flowing at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less, with no more than a 10 mph differential between the motorcyclist and other traffic.

However, it is up to each motorcyclist to determine if they can lane split safely at speeds present on the road.

Motorcyclists Splitting Lanes in California

Lane splitting is illegal in most states. California is unique in that lane splitting is allowed, if the motorcyclist can fully comply with traffic laws.

The California Highway Patrol has issued updated guidelines for lane splitting. Their best practices allow for lane splitting if:

  • It can be done safely.
  • The motorcyclist is visible, avoiding blind spots and wearing bright or reflective clothing
  • Lanes 1 and 2 are preferred over other lanes.
  • The entire environment is safe, including the width of the lanes, vehicle sizes, roadway conditions, weather and light.
  • Drivers are reasonable, respectful, responsible and road aware.
  • The driver is competent and experienced.
  • California motor vehicle laws are always followed.
  • Motorcyclists remain conscious of crash risk.

A motorcyclist must exercise their best judgment at all times.

If you’re lane splitting, can a motor vehicle driver open their door to block you?

Motor vehicle drivers are legally forbidden from doing this. Opening a car door to intentionally block a motorcyclist is a dangerous and illegal practice. Any kind of intentional impeding of a motorcyclist is against the law and may make the driver liable for an accident and injuries.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting and Legal Liability

Lane splitting by itself doesn’t make a motorcyclist at fault for an accident. In general, the motorcyclist is fully within their rights to do it. Furthermore, anyone else who impedes the motorcyclist, by blocking traffic or opening their car door, creates an unsafe situation. A driver who impedes a motorcyclist lane splitting may be responsible for the accident and injuries that result.

In a motorcycle accident claim, the defense may allege that the motorcyclist was unsafe in lane splitting or other driving behavior. You must gather evidence to refute these allegations. In addition, you must prove that the other party acted negligently and caused the accident. The evidence you present may include accident reconstruction, evidence of weather and lighting at the time of the accident, dash cameras, general traffic and road patterns and witness testimony.

Get Help from a Lawyer

Remember, lane splitting is legal. A motorcycle accident claim is based on a motor vehicle driver or another party being at fault for an accident.

If you’re accused of being at fault for lane splitting, LA Century Law can help you defend against the allegations. We fight for the compensation that you deserve. We can work to prove fault, fight unfair claims of negligence and defend your right to participate in safe and legal lane splitting in California.

If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, contact us. We can evaluate your case, respond to any defenses raised and discuss how we can fight for justice for you. Call or message us now.

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Motorcycle Accident in California?

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Motorcycle Accident in California?

When you’re in a motorcycle accident, you need to know how long it will take to settle your claim for financial compensation. In California, it varies, depending on several factors that are specific to the case. This is why it is important to be weary of any attorney that says they have a crystal ball and know exactly how long it can take. Below we discuss the different variables that affect how long it can take to settle your dispute.

The San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorneys at LA Century Law explain how long it may take to settle a motorcycle accident, the process and what may make a case take longer.

How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Take in California?

A typical motorcycle accident settlement in California take anywhere from 4 months to a couple years. In general, the more complicated a case, the longer it takes to settle. For example, if the defendant (other driver) accepts fault for the crash and the injuries are significant, the matter can resolve in a few months. On the other hand, if the defendant driver is disputing that they caused the crash, and we need to prove them at fault, we can be forced to file a lawsuit, which extends the timeline to settle your dispute. However, diligently building your case with the help of an experienced attorney can help speed up your settlement.

Why Do Some Motorcycle Accident Claims Take So Long?

Some motorcycle accident claims may be relatively straightforward. It may be obvious who is at fault, and injuries may be mild or moderate. In these circumstances, resolving the case is a matter of establishing a medical history, valuing damages and approaching the insurance company.

There may be a minor back-and-forth settlement negotiation. However, the parties can easily agree on an approximate case value and the appropriate payment. The parties execute settlement documents, and the case ends in a few months.

Some cases take longer – that’s not necessarily a bad thing or a sign that anything is wrong.

There may be factors that require more time. It may depend on the client’s wishes and case goals.

Process for Settling a Motorcycle Accident in California

The process for settling a motorcycle accident in California always starts the same – an accident has occurred, and the victim is hurt. A claim starts with investigating who is responsible, what insurance policies may provide compensation and the amount of the victim’s damages. This is why it is so important to gather as much information at the scene of the crash, so that this information is mostly readily available.

In some cases, injuries are moderate. Economic damages can be determined in a few months, and non-economic damages can be evaluated. If injuries are straightforward, the process may stop when the insurance company makes a settlement offer. This is the fastest path to a settlement for a California motorcycle accident case. It may be the best path for some victims.

However, there may be reasons to continue the process to a formal claim.

If it’s necessary to file a legal claim or lawsuit, there is still some variation in how long a claim may take. Even among claims that are filed in court, only a small percentage will go to trial.

Most cases proceed through discovery, which can effectively narrow the issues in dispute and clarify the approximate value of the case. Then, strategic negotiations can result in a settlement.

Whether your case settles in the early or the late stages of formal litigation, or if it proceeds to trial, can greatly impact how long your case takes. A formal motorcycle accident legal claim may take as long as two years.

Factors Impacting How Long It Takes to Settle a Motorcycle Accident Claim

Let’s discuss some factors that may impact how long it takes to settle a motorcycle accident claim. In any case, a single factor may matter greatly, or it may not matter at all.

Factors that may make a motorcycle accident settlement take longer in California may include:

  • Contested fault: It may be clear that one party is at fault for the accident. Alternatively, the defense may allege comparative negligence, or there may be multiple parties involved in a case. Contested fault can make a case take longer while parties build evidence.
  • Pending charges or traffic tickets: Sometimes, a party at fault for a motorcycle accident may face criminal charges, like drunk driving or reckless driving. While a civil claim doesn’t necessarily wait, the presence of criminal charges may add time to a settlement.
  • Severe injuries: When a party has severe injuries, like paralysis, burns and brain damage, it can take time to fully value these damages. Future damages are extremely important, and you may need experts to explain long-term consequences and compensation.
  • Issues unique to motorcycle cases: There may be issues that are unique to motorcycle claims that take time to address. Road conditions, weather and even the design of the road may uniquely factor into a motorcycle crash. You may require expert medical testimony to explain how the accident resulted in certain injuries.
  • Court scheduling: The case may be scheduled for trial quickly, or there may be a long wait for other cases.

Finally, a factor that can make a motorcycle accident settlement take longer in California is failing to start or build your case. To settle your case, you must start your case. Utilizing discovery, production of documents and requests for admission can help you narrow issues in dispute and make settlement negotiations more productive. Working with experienced legal counsel can help you work efficiently and minimize delays as you pursue your motorcycle accident settlement.

Talk to a Lawyer

Do you deserve a motorcycle accident settlement? Are you wondering how long it may take to settle your motorcycle accident claim in California? Contact LA Century Law for a personalized consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney. Use our online contact form or call us today!

When Do Motorcycles Have the Right of Way?

When Do Motorcycles Have the Right of Way?

In a motorcycle accident, you’ll need to prove that someone else did something wrong that would have caused your injuries. In many cases, liability comes down to which motorist had the right-of-way and who failed to yield. In California, the burden of proof is on the Plaintiff (the one making the claim) to provide the otherside (Defendant) was negligent in causing the crash and injuries

To understand who may have been responsible for a car vs. motorcycle accident, you need to understand which person needed to yield. Then, you must prove what happened in your specific accident. Call LA Century Law today to discuss your case with a San Bernardino motorcycle accident lawyer.

Motorcyclists Must Follow All Traffic Laws

Generally, motorcycles must follow the same laws as any other motorist on the road.

Motorcycles are full participants in traffic. They have a right to their own lane. At the same time, they must also stop at traffic signs and yield the right-of-way like other drivers.

Motorcyclists have the right to their own lane in traffic. Just because they do not occupy an entire lane does not mean that a car can encroach on top of them in their lane. The driver of the car would be liable for an accident if they illegally entered the motorcyclist’s lane.

Rights-of-Way in Various Traffic Situations

Here are some rules about who has the right-of-way in various situations:

  • At a four-way stop sign: the driver who arrived at the intersection first is the one who has the right-of-way. Oftentimes, it is hard to tell who arrived at the stop sign first, given that the drivers are traveling at different speeds.
  • At a two-way stop sign: the motorist who does not have the stop sign is the one with the right of way. Motorists may need to stop for a motorcycle and vice versa.
  • When there is a yield sign: the driver who has the sign is the one who must let the other driver through. If there is no vehicle in the other lane, the driver with the yield sign does not have to slow down.
  • When there is a crosswalk: the pedestrian is the one who has the right-of-way once they have entered the crosswalk. However, the motorcyclist has the right-of-way when there is a traffic sign or signal that allows them to pass.

Lane splitting is legal in California. Motorcyclists are able to travel between two lanes of traffic to get somewhere faster. This happens in a traffic jam usually, which is quite common in the Los Angeles area.

Motorcycle Accidents That Drivers Can Cause

Drivers can cause accidents when they do not yield the right-of-way to the motorcyclist when required by law. The driver could encroach in the motorcyclist’s space, either because they did not see them or they were reckless.

Crashes that drivers can cause by failing to yield when required by law include:

  • Head-on crashes: When a reckless or careless driver ends up in the motorcyclist’s lane
  • Left turn accidents: When a driver cuts across the left lane in which the motorcyclist has established themselves
  • Blindspot crashes: When the driver fails to look into their blindspot before changing lanes
  • T-bone crashes: Where the two vehicles would strike each other at a perpendicular angle

No matter what type of crash is at issue, you are the one who has the burden of proof to show that the driver was negligent. Without meeting your burden, you will not be able to receive compensation. Your attorney’s job is to gather the proof and use it to compile your insurance claim or lawsuit.

The Insurance Company is Going to Try to Blame the Motorcyclist

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you will need to overcome the insurance company’s efforts to blame the biker first. Insurance companies do this because they know that they could be liable for a large amount of damages in a motorcycle accident case.

You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to protect your legal rights. Your attorney will both obtain evidence that shows what occurred and fight for you to get as large of a settlement check as you possibly can.

Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case

You may be entitled to the following damages after a motorcycle crash injury:

  • The complete costs of your medical care
  • Property damages
  • Lost wages for time missed from work
  • Pain and suffering to compensate you for your post-accident experience
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Embarrassment and humiliation
  • Emotional distress

If your loved one died in a motorcycle accident, your family would be entitled to be paid wrongful death damages that would compensate you for the losses that you suffered when a family member tragically died in a crash.

Call Our San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

LA Century Law will handle your motorcycle accident claim from beginning to end, battling the insurance company along the way. We know the tricks that insurance companies use to deny you full compensation, and we are always on guard for them on your behalf.

You can speak to a lawyer by calling us today or messaging us online. We will explain your case during a free initial consultation. You do not need to pay us anything unless you win your case.

Important California Motorcycle Laws to Know

Important California Motorcycle Laws to Know

California’s motorcycle laws help minimize the occurrence of collisions and their consequences.

This includes licensing, helmets, insurance and traffic laws. However, even in a state with strict regulations for owning and operating a motorcycle, accidents happen. The results can be devastating. If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident in San Bernardino, California, the attorneys at LA Century Law can help.

What Are the California Motorcycle Laws for Licensing and Insurance?

Individuals wishing to own and operate a motorcycle must adhere to motorcycle requirements in California, including licensing and equipment regulations. To obtain a motorcycle license in California, riders must possess a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement called M1. Alternatively, they can obtain a separate motorcycle-only license designated as M2.

In addition to the rider’s license, the motorcycle must have an official registration and insurance.

To combat noise pollution, all motorcycles must have a functioning muffler. As well, those who venture out during nighttime or low-visibility conditions must have properly working lights. This regulation ensures safety for the motorcycle rider and everyone on the road.

Motorcycle insurance requirements in California

California motorcycle insurance laws mandate that all riders secure insurance coverage before registering their motorcycle with the state and using it on public roads. The primary objective behind these regulations is to ensure motorcyclists are financially accountable for any damages they inflict upon others. To meet the state’s minimum requirements, riders must adhere to the following liability coverage standards:

  • Bodily injury per person protection at a minimum of $15,000
  • Total bodily injury per accident protection of at least $30,000
  • Property damage per accident coverage at a minimum of $5,000

By enforcing these stipulations, California can protect citizens from potential financial hardships resulting from motorcycle-related accidents where the rider is at fault for the crash. Failure to maintain coverage will result in penalties, including fines and possible loss of licensing.

Can Riders Lane Split Under California Law?

According to California motorcycle laws, lane splitting is legal, a unique exception among the states. The state recognizes the potential benefits of this practice but urges caution. Lane splitting, often known as lane sharing or lane filtering, refers to a motorcyclist riding between lanes of slow-moving or stationary vehicles, usually on highways or multi-lane roads. This maneuver allows riders to navigate through congested traffic more quickly, reducing the congestion.

However, lane splitting carries inherent risks. The proximity to other vehicles increases the chances of collisions. Motorists in cars may not anticipate a motorcycle moving between lanes.

Even though it is legal in California, the practice is not universally recommended due to the associated dangers. Riders should remain vigilant, and drivers of larger vehicles should always check their mirrors and blind spots, especially in congested, slow-moving traffic.

Does California Have a Helmet Law?

Under California motorcycle laws, every rider and passenger on a motorcycle must wear a safety helmet that complies with the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. The manufacturer must certify this compliance, reflecting the helmet’s adherence to established safety standards. Proper helmet usage significantly diminishes the risk of severe and fatal head injuries, which unfortunately make up the majority of serious motorcyclist injuries.

Non-compliant helmets often possess thin liners and lack adequate protective padding, rendering them less effective during collisions. Though they may have a similar appearance to compliant helmets, vendors sell them as novelty helmets or under names like rain bonnets, loophole lids or brain buckets. Always verify the U.S. DOT certification before purchasing a helmet.

Other laws for passengers

In addition to the helmet laws for passengers, California requires every motorcycle to have a seat securely fastened to the machine to carry a passenger. They must have footrests and use them while the motorcycle is in motion. Currently, there are no laws restricting the age of motorcycle passengers.

What Other Motorcycle Requirements in California Promote Safety?

Motorcyclists must adhere to the same traffic laws as everyone else. The purpose is to hold a duty of care owed to other drivers and protect themselves from potential harm. Abiding by these laws, in addition to motorcycle laws, also requires riders to drive defensively. Most motorcycle accidents are the result of blind spots in other vehicles, so constant awareness of surrounding traffic is vital.

What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Collision?

Motorcycle accidents are among the most deadly and severe types of auto accident cases. In the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident, you can take immediate steps to ensure personal safety and navigate the post-accident legal procedures more efficiently. Clarity of action is essential during these moments.

If you are physically able, in the immediate aftermath of a crash and according to the standards of California motorcycle laws, you should:

  1. Prioritize safety. Move away from the roadway to prevent further injury from oncoming traffic. If you suffer severe injuries, stay put and wait for assistance.
  2. Contact authorities. Dial emergency services immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, an official report can be valuable for insurance and potential legal claims.
  3. Seek medical attention. Always get checked by medical professionals following an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical report is critical evidence for a personal injury claim.
  4. Document the scene. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, damages and any visible injuries you sustained. Collect the contact information of any witnesses as well.
  5. Notify your insurance. Report the accident to your insurance provider promptly to initiate the claims process.

If someone else is liable for the accident, they are also responsible for any damages you sustained from the crash. If you know the other party caused the accident, consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney before filing an insurance claim. They can help you identify the appropriate steps to take and strive to maximize the recoverable damages in your case.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in San Bernardino

If you suffered an injury on a motorcycle or have questions about California motorcycle laws, the attorneys at LA Century Law can help. We are constantly reminded how motorcycle accidents can have devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences for the victims and their families. At LA Century Law in San Bernardino, we understand the severity of these accidents and the need for fast action. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule your free consultation and take the first steps in recovering your losses and rebuilding your life.

Road Rash Degrees in Motorcycle Accidents

Road Rash Degrees in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents can cause life-threatening injuries. Road rash is one of the serious injuries that motorcycle riders can experience in road accidents. It occurs when the skin gets scraped after friction on a rough surface like asphalt. The friction with the road surface rips, burns, and wears off the skin layers, exposing the nerve endings and blood vessels, which embeds dirt and grime into the wound.

If you or a loved one have suffered road rash injuries, consider contacting the skilled California motorcycle accident lawyers at LA Century Law for help.

Degrees of Road Rash Injuries

Road rash injuries vary by degree based on the burns incurred. The three types of road rash degrees are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree injuries.

First-degree road rash

A first-degree road rash injury is minor and is classified by tender red skin. It occurs due to the accident friction wearing away the outer skin layer. The victim may suffer minor injuries like bruises, slight bleeding, and small abrasions, with minimal chances of permanent scarring. While this injury is minor, the victim may experience pain and discomfort. This injury may be treated at home by cleaning the affected area and applying ointment.

Second-degree road rash

A second-degree road rash occurs when the lower skin layers suffer damage. During the accident, the debris, dirt, and pieces of glass break the skin and may get lodged in the wound. The victim may experience swollen skin, bleeding, and more pain than a first-degree road rash. This injury requires careful attention when dressing the wound. Scarring is common, but careful attention may prevent scarring of the skin. Victims of second-degree rash need to seek medical attention immediately and keep the wounds clean to avoid infection.

Third-degree road rash

Third-degree road rash is the most severe, painful, and potentially life-threatening injury. In this injury, the victim loses a significant portion of their skin, resulting in a complete abrasion of all five skin layers. The victim may suffer bone damage, nerve damage, extreme pain, and muscle damage. Other symptoms include deep wounds, shiny or milky skin appearance, swelling, and bleeding. The injuries require medical attention right away to minimize the chances of infection. There may also be a need for surgery.

Complications of Road Rash Injuries

Severe road rash injury can cause long-term complications that may require medical intervention from a specialist. Here are the health complications a victim may experience after a motorcycle accident.

  • Large, discolored scars: A foreign object lodged in the wound may sometimes fail to come out. This means the wound heals over it, causing what’s called “traumatic tattooing.” This tattoo can leave discoloration around the wounded area. The scars can cause emotional trauma to the victim depending on their location on the body.
  • Infection: When dirt, debris, and grim penetrate the wound, there will be a high chance of bacterial infection in the body. The infection can be dangerous, leading to life-threatening conditions. The infection risk remains high even after doctors remove the debris and recommend antibiotics.
  • Limited movement: A road rash victim may experience a limited range of motion in the affected body part. For instance, it can be challenging to bend properly, like before the accident. The skin tissues may also not be able to stretch well.

Road Rash Treatments and How to Take Care of Wounds

Some road rash injuries heal after a few weeks if the victim gets timely medical attention and good care of the wounds. The treatment depends on the road rash degree. First-degree injuries may not require professional medical attention. The victim can handle the situation at home with antiseptic cream.

For more severe cases of road rash, a medical professional must care for the wounds to offer the best chance for quick and effective recovery. They can monitor for infection and help avoid further complications.

Understanding different road rash degrees is important to help you understand the recovery that may be ahead. When you seek medical attention immediately following a motorcycle accident, your doctor can examine your injuries and advise you on the best possible treatment option.

Compensation for Road Rash Injuries

Some road rash injuries occur accidentally; when you or a loved one sustains road rash from a wrongful decision by one or more parties, it’s your right to seek compensation from them.

Here are the potential damages you may recover following the injuries you incurred in the accident.

  • All medical expenses related to treating your injuries. This may include therapy costs, doctor visits, medical equipment, hospitalization, and emergency care.
  • Lost income due to the inability to work in your condition. It also includes any form of disability that limits your ability to work in the future.
  • Pain and suffering may diminish your quality of life, leading to emotional suffering due to the scars you incurred from the accident.

Recovering damages for road rash injuries can be challenging and time-consuming if you lack legal expertise. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you.

Consult a Road Rash Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at LA Century Law

The consequences that may arise after a road rash following a motorcycle accident can leave you financially, physically, and emotionally drained for a long time. You’d want to do everything possible to recover maximum compensation for your damages.

If you or a loved one suffered road rash injuries, LA Century Law can help. Contact us for a free consultation.

Motorcycle Road Rash Injury FAQs

When should I contact a motorcycle injury attorney?

If you incurred severe injuries, consider contacting an attorney to guide and advise you on the appropriate steps. This can help you avoid making mistakes that may compromise your case.

How much will I receive as compensation for road rash injuries?

Compensation amount depends on various elements such as road rash degree, the insurance company, and the lawyer you hire for the job.

How long will it take for my case to settle?

Many factors determine when your road rash injury case will settle. This may include the severity of your injuries, your attorney, the expected compensation, and whether your case goes to trial.

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