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.

Who Is Responsible In A No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents are increasingly becoming common in California. Although many of these accidents involve a collision with other motor vehicles, sometimes the accidents can occur even when there is no collision between the two. In simpler terms, a no-contact motorcycle accident is deemed to have occurred when no actual collision happens between the other vehicle and the motorcycle in an accident.

One of the many questions that most victims of no-contact motorcycle injury grapple with is whether they can pursue compensation for such injuries, and whether the at-fault party can be held responsible for the injury. Fortunately, an experienced attorney at LA Century Law has the right skills to handle such a claim and ensure you obtain the amount of compensation you deserve.

Here’s what you need to know about no-contact motorcycle accidents in California and how you can obtain compensation for your injuries.

What Causes No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents in California?

No-contact motorcycle accidents may occur due to multiple reasons. However, one of the common causes of no-contact accidents is when a vehicle ahead of a motorcycle switches lanes without using its turn signals, which prompts the motorcyclist behind to swerve in order to avoid a collision. 

Another cause of no-contact accidents occurs when a vehicle in front of a motorcycle suddenly stops, surprising the motorcycle behind and giving them little time to stop normally. As such, the swerving motorcycle rider ends up injured despite there being no collision with the other vehicle.

Common Injuries Sustained in No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

A no-contact accident can lead to serious injuries. Some of the common injuries that a rider may sustain following such an accident include:

  • Paralysis
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Head, neck and spine injuries
  • Amputation
  • Traumatic brain injury

Who is Liable in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident in California?

The phantom driver is legally responsible for a no-contact motorcycle accident in California, whether or not they realize they caused an accident. For example, the phantom driver may have been distracted and drove off without noticing the accident. Regardless, a claim for compensation should be brought against them following an accident that leads to a serious injury.

For this reason, the motorcycle rider must notify the phantom driver immediately after the incident occurs. The rider can talk to eyewitnesses and try to obtain a description of the vehicle.

Identifying the phantom driver and holding the at-fault driver responsible are key steps to ensuring that you obtain compensation. 

How Is Liability Proven in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident in California?

In order to obtain compensation, you need to demonstrate that the driver of the other vehicle is responsible for the accident. This could be challenging, especially if there is no direct contact between the vehicle and the motorcycle. However, a competent and qualified attorney at LA Century Law can help you establish liability in such a claim.

To prove liability, your attorney will first need to prove negligence. Negligence is established when it is demonstrated that the driver failed to act in a manner consistent with what a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. For instance, if the driver swerved in front of your motorcycle while switching lanes and failed to use turn signals, you may be able to prove that they were negligent. 

However, to establish negligence fully, you will need to prove that:

  • The driver owed you a duty of care
  • The driver breached the duty
  • The driver’s actions was a substantial factor in causing the accident
  • You suffered or sustained an injury

That said, key witnesses and evidence such as police reports are important when establishing liability. As such, you will need all the help from an attorney who will gather sufficient evidence and apply the law, potentially establishing that the driver was negligent and thus liable for the accident. 

How Do Insurance Companies Handle No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents in California?

Insurance companies tend to be involved in almost all claims involving automobile accidents. Unfortunately, their involvement doesn’t guarantee you a positive outcome. 

Remember the insurance company sets out to safeguard their interests in claims. To achieve this, they will look for loopholes in your claim that ensure that the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive is lowered significantly, and in extreme cases, they may dispute your claim.

Motorcycle bias is one of the primary concerns when dealing with insurance companies. There is some debate whether insurance companies are prejudiced towards motorcycle riders who are pursuing a claim. This motorcycle bias may affect their rights and interests in the claim process. 

For this reason, it is imperative to have a personal injury attorney by your side who will safeguard your rights and interests throughout the claim process. 

Recovering Damages in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident in California

Following a no-contact accident in California, it is within your right to file a claim for compensation. However, you should speak to an attorney who will help file the claim on your behalf. However, if an amicable settlement isn’t arrived at, you can proceed to file a lawsuit in order to receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

In the event of a successful claim or suit, you be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost of time and work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Future projected medical costs

Injured in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident in California? Contact Our Attorneys 

If you or your loved one sustained an injury in a no-contact motorcycle accident in California, you might be entitled to receive compensation. However, to achieve this, you need to establish the at-fault party and hold them responsible. An attorney at LA Century Law has experience handling such claims in California and will work hard to protect your rights and interests throughout the claim process.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

California has universal helmet laws. That means all riders must wear helmets all the time. 

Here’s what you need to know about motorcycle helmet laws in California.

What is the California motorcycle helmet law?

California Vehicle Code § 27803 prohibits operating or riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. All operators and passengers must wear approved helmets. This does not mean that if you are involved in an accident and are not wearing a helmet that you cannot make a claim. You are still entitled to compensation if you have been harmed by another driver’s reckless or careless driving.

Is California a universal helmet law state?

Yes. California is a universal helmet state. All drivers are required to wear a helmet regardless of their age or experience as a rider. 

The opposite of a universal helmet state is a partial helmet law state, where only young or inexperienced riders must wear a helmet.

What helmets are required for California motorcyclists?

Motorcycle helmets in California must meet U.S. safety standards. This generally means the following:

  • A thick inner liner made of approved foam
  • Riveted chin straps that are attached to the shell of the helmet
  • Minimum weight
  • Nothing protruding more than .2 inches from the shell of the helmet

Notes:

The courts have upheld the authority of the highway patrol to determine which helmets are approved under § 27802. Biano v. California Highway Patrol, 24 Cal.App.4th 116 (1994). 

In Taggart v. Super Seer Corp., 33 Cal.App.4th (1995), the parties litigated damages where the victim’s helmet contained a foam lining that was not approved and, as a result, likely less protective.

Can you wear a motorcycle helmet on another part of your body?

You may have thought of a fun and easy way to get around California’s motorcycle helmet laws. You’ll wear the helmet – on your back, your shoulder, or your hand. But lawmakers already thought of that! They put it in the law that you must wear a helmet on your head. Chin straps must be attached, and the helmet must be secure enough not to allow too much movement of the head. (§ 27803(e).)

What’s the penalty for failing to wear a motorcycle helmet in California?

You may receive a ticket for failing to wear a motorcycle helmet in California. There are no points assessed to the driver’s license.

If you receive a citation and do not address it, you may be cited for failing to appear in court.

What are the defenses to failing to wear a motorcycle helmet?

Defenses to allegations of failing to wear a motorcycle helmet are:

  • The driver wasn’t operating or riding a motorcycle
  • An emergency prevented the person from wearing a helmet
  • The helmet met safety standards when law enforcement thought it did not
  • Law enforcement was mistaken; the person was wearing a helmet

What is the purpose of the motorcycle helmet law in California?

The California motorcycle helmet law aims to provide all motorcyclists with an additional safety benefit. (§ 27803(g).)

Helmets in Motorcycle Accidents in California

Can you get compensation if you’re not wearing a helmet in a California motorcycle accident?

What happens when a rider isn’t wearing a helmet and they’re in an accident? Can they get compensation? Do they get less compensation?

In California, a motorcycle accident victim can still receive compensation if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The amount that they receive may be reduced.

As of this writing, there has yet to be a legal case in California that clearly outlines how to handle accident claims where a motorcyclist victim wasn’t wearing a helmet. However, we still have a pretty good idea of how these cases will be handled by the court and what the victim can expect.

First, the victim may still receive some compensation. California is a pure comparative fault state. A victim is never completely barred from receiving compensation, even if they are 99% at fault. The victim may still bring a claim and expect to recover for damages to the extent that the other party is at fault.

Second, the victim’s compensation is likely to be reduced for not wearing a helmet. Failing to wear a helmet is likely to be seen as either acting negligently or failing to take measures that would have reduced the severity of injuries. How the courts handle failing to wear a seatbelt can give us some insight – failing to wear a seat belt is not automatically negligence (negligence per se), but the court may give the jury an instruction that they may consider whether damages could have been avoided or less severe if the victim had used the seat belt. The court may present the seat belt law to the jury.

It’s likely that the courts will handle failing to wear a motorcycle helmet similarly. It will be taken into account to reduce compensation, but it will not completely bar a claim. An important task in your claim is gathering the medical evidence to explain how the helmet may have – or may not have – prevented the injuries you sustained.

In a case where the injuries have nothing to do with helmet use, like a broken arm, it’s unlikely that failing to wear a helmet will reduce damages. The purpose of reducing compensation is to fairly apportion fault – not to punish the victim for failing to comply with the helmet law.

If the motorcyclist is at fault for the crash, failing to wear a helmet shouldn’t change the amount they pay in damages. It’s unlikely that the victim suffered more serious injuries because the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet. The legal liability of the motorcyclist in an at-fault accident shouldn’t change based on their failure to wear a helmet. 

Lawyers for Accidents Involving Motorcycles

California passed its motorcycle helmet law in 1992. Despite legal challenges, the law has been upheld as a valid exercise of police power.

If you have been in an accident, our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help you. Whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you may receive financial compensation.

Get help now with your motorcycle accident case. LA Century Law attorneys are committed to your recovery. Call or send us a message to begin with a free consultation.

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