Frequently Asked Questions About Los Angeles Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
California personal injury law surrounding motorcycle and bicycle accidents can be complex. Fortunately, our frequently asked questions articles can demystify some of the process.
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I know that juries are often biased against motorcycle riders, so how can I win my case?
We’ve discussed before the obstacles and challenges motorcyclists face when they go to court for their crashes. Even when they are innocent, they are still often perceived as the guilty party just because of inaccurate preconceived notions. Juries can be swayed by attorneys into thinking that bikers are thugs and are always in the wrong, and an innocent biker can lose his case as a result.
What You’ll Need to Win Your Case
Winning a motorcycle case is often challenging, but not impossible. When you do what you should do following an accident and you have the help you need, you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve. Here, we look at the key components needed to get a win.
- Evidence. You’ll need a lot of evidence to win your case, and it has to be solid and convincing. In fact, there should be so much that the jury can’t help but decide you’re innocent because of overwhelming proof. The type of evidence that juries love include tire tracks, witness and police testimony, photographs of the accident scene, and complete medical records. This evidence could be exactly what helps you win your case.
- Discretion. In this day and age, many folks take to social media to discuss everything, including how they feel, what they think, and where they are going. Discussing your accident or your condition with anyone—either in person or on the Internet—is potentially damaging to your case. Even something minor can be misconstrued and turned against you. Unfortunately, not even family members can be trusted all of the time, so it’s best to keep the details of your situation to yourself.
Having an Experienced Lawyer Is Just as Important
Do you know how to collect evidence from a crash site in such a way that it shows your innocence? Do you know how to talk to a jury and present your case in a compelling way? An experienced attorney does and is your best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. The Steinberg Injury Lawyers have helped many motorcycle accident victims in Los Angeles receive the help they needed to pay for their medical bills, time lost from work, and vehicle repairs. We would like to help you, too.
Can I sue the driver who hit me if I wasn’t wearing my motorcycle helmet when I was hit in Southern California?
California law requires riders to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, and the criminal penalty for not doing so is a fine up to $100.00. Violating this law doesn’t prevent a motorcyclist from suing the driver who hit him in Santa Monica, although it could influence the amount of compensation he receives.
How Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Could Affect Your Case
Not wearing a helmet could reduce the compensation a motorcyclist receives from the other driver. California follows the comparative fault rule in motorcycle accidents. This means that if a rider was partially at fault in causing his injuries by not wearing a helmet, his compensation from the other driver would be reduced based on the degree of the rider’s fault. For example, if a rider was 15 percent at fault in causing an accident and the other driver was 85 percent at fault, the rider could recover a maximum of 85 percent of his damages.
The type of injuries a motorcyclist suffers will also affect whether not wearing a helmet would reduce his compensation from the other driver. If the rider was not wearing a helmet but did not suffer head or neck injuries, he will probably be able to receive a full recovery from the other driver. If the rider was not wearing a helmet and did suffer head or neck injuries, the lack of a helmet is probably at least partially to blame for the injuries the rider suffered. This would most likely establish the rider’s comparable negligence, so the rider’s compensation could be reduced by the percentage that his own actions caused his injuries.
Even if you are found to be partially at fault in causing your injuries by not wearing a helmet, you still could be entitled to a substantial sum from the other driver. It is important to discuss this issue with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can advise you in more detail about how not wearing a helmet affects your case.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, check out our case results to see how we’ve helped other victims of these terrible accidents. And call us at 800-989-6385 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I sue the bar in Southern California that served the drunk driver who hit me?
If you were riding your motorcycle on a Southern California road and were hit by a drunk driver, you might be wondering if you can sue the bar the driver left before getting behind the wheel. In many vehicle accidents, a person sues only the driver who hit him. But when a person was drinking at a bar or restaurant before the accident, the victim might be able to sue the business as well under a state’s dram shop law.
A dram shop law is a statute that holds a business liable for selling alcohol to a person obviously intoxicated who drives and causes an accident. Most states have this type of law, but the rules about when a business can be liable vary.
California’s Dram Shop Law Only Covers Limited Situations
California’s dram shop law applies only to businesses, not an individual serving alcohol at his home, and severely limits when the business can be sued. Liability will be determined by the age of the driver as follows:
- The business can be sued for selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated minor under 21 years old.
- The business cannot be sued for selling alcohol to a person 21 years old or older no matter how drunk the person is.
The California Legislature also removed the strict liability provision of the law. Strict liability assumes that the business must have caused the vehicle accident by selling alcohol to the drunk driver. The reasoning behind removing the strict liability provision was that it is often hard to prove that the sale of the alcohol—rather than the consumption of it—caused the accident. A victim can still sue the business, but must prove that the selling of the alcohol was a cause of the accident.
So if the person who hit you was under 21 years old, you could sue the bar who sold him the alcohol. Under California’s dram shop law, you could seek damages for your medical bills, lost wages, future wages if you can no longer work, repair costs, and emotional distress.
If you or someone in your family was injured in a motorcycle accident where the other driver was at fault, we’re here to help. Fill out an online form or call us at (800) 989-6385 for a free consultation with a member of our friendly legal team. And don’t forget, we offer free home and hospital consultations.
What complications might I have to deal with after my pelvic fracture in a motorcycle accident?
If you were driving your motorcycle and another driver hit you, you may have suffered multiple breaks of your pelvic bones. This is not a problem to be taken lightly as it could be a life-threatening injury.
Pelvic fractures often require surgery after a motorcycle accident. This is because the injuries tend to be much more serious for motorcyclists than riders in other vehicles, as the motorcycle driver lacks the protection that a passenger vehicle provides. Sometimes, you might need more than one surgery to repair your pelvic break. This could be for a number of reasons, such as having several fractures in different parts of the pelvis, the need to first stabilize your medical condition to save your life, or your inability to tolerate more than one surgery at a time.
But there are also other potentially deadly complications you could face as a result of long-term immobility following surgery to repair a fractured pelvis. Serious problems include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that forms deep in the body)
- Pulmonary embolism (a sudden blockage of a lung artery often caused by a blood clot)
- Bowel obstruction
To try to prevent these problems, your medical treatment could include deep breathing and frequent coughing, consuming enough liquids and fiber, ankle and leg exercises and leg compresses.
Your road to recovery after a pelvic fracture could be long and challenging and it may be hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. Your medical bills could be mounting, and you won’t receive your paycheck because you can’t work. You are entitled to be compensated by the driver who hit you for these damages.
We’re here for you. Be sure to order our free 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case by clicking the link on this page.
Are bikers required to use the bike lanes in Santa Monica?
If any road has a dedicated bike lane, cyclists are required to use it. Not only does this provide a safe and visible area for the biker, it helps his assert his rights if he is struck by a passing car. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
A bicyclist may leave the bike lane and enter the traffic lane if:
- He can keep up with the pace of traffic around him
- The lane is too narrow to share by riding alongside traffic
- He is making a left-hand turn
- He needs to avoid a hazard in the bike lane or on the right side of the road
As many cyclists are aware, riding in a dedicated bike lane is no guarantee that you will not be struck by a Santa Monica driver. Many bikers have been hit as they were riding in the bike lane due to:
- Cars turning right. In order to make a right turn, a car must cross over the bike lane. Drivers may neglect to check the bike lane for oncoming cyclists, or simply turn into the rear wheel of a stopped cyclist by misjudging the distance between the vehicles.
- Opened car doors. Cyclists are legally required to ride to the extreme right of roads, placing them directly next to cars parked on city streets. Drivers should always check their rear-view and side mirrors before exiting the vehicle to make sure there are no oncoming cars or bikers in the lane.
However, not every bikeway is the same. Although the details may vary from city to city, there are basically three main types of throughways intended for cyclists in Southern California:
- Bike lanes. These are the narrow, marked lanes you may see on a number of roadways across Southern California. Bike traffic uses these lanes on the side of the roadway instead of sharing lanes with motor vehicle traffic.
- Bike routes. Cyclists share lanes with motor vehicle traffic on bike routes, but these roadways have been designated as preferred for bike traffic.
- Bike paths. Southern California has a number of bike paths available for cyclists, which are completely separate from the roadways used by motor vehicles.
Each of these types of bikeways poses different challenges and risks for riders, which is why it’s so important to know the difference when you’re planning your route for your next ride.
Unfortunately, cyclists are often blamed for traffic accidents that were in no way their fault, despite suffering much more serious injuries than the drivers. If you were struck by a car while riding your bicycle, you should read through a copy of our free guide, 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident, to find out how to protect your case.
What is the best biker gear to prevent road rash after a San Bernardino crash?
When motorcyclists go shopping for riding gear, they usually set out for a high-end helmet and clothing they can move comfortably in. After all, a good ride depends on getting there in one piece—and that means equal parts protection and comfort.
But although your riding gear may prevent a serious head injury in a collision, it may not do much for your hands and legs as they hit the ground. Make sure you are protected from road rash by examining these three items:
- Gloves. Too many motorcycles gloves look like turtles: knobby on the outside, but smooth and flexible on the inside. This may help you steer and keep your grip on the handlebars, but won’t stop you from shearing your palms on the asphalt. People almost always use their hands to stop a fall, so make sure your gloves are equipped with palm sliders to prevent road rash and broken wrists.
- Leathers. Think your overalls will protect your legs from injuries? They may keep the wind from whipping your knees, but it only takes seconds for jeans to shred on contact with the road. Proper riding pants, such as leathers, not only prevent road rash, they help keep legs and knees straight, preventing joint injuries.
- Helmets. Helmets should protect your entire head, and that includes your face. Remember, most bikers fall forward—and without a full-face helmet, you could permanently lose your nose, lips, and even ears as you skid across the road surface.
If you needed skin grafts after a bike crash in San Bernardino, you may not have to foot the bill by yourself. Make sure you don’t ruin your chances of getting maximum compensation for your accident: read the tips in our free guide, 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident, or contact us today to find out how we can help.
Why should I choose an attorney local to Santa Monica if I’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident while on vacation here?
There are lots of reasons you might want to turn to a local attorney after you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident on vacation in Santa Monica, but here are the top three:
- Intimate knowledge of the area. When you speak to a Santa Monica attorney about your accident, he or she will know exactly what you’re talking about and where it happened—in some cases, he or she may have even experienced similar dangerous conditions while driving to work or heading out for a weekend retreat. When handling your case, this little bit of extra hands-on knowledge of the area can be extremely valuable.
- Intimate knowledge of the local legal process. Laws and procedures can vary by state, but these differences from your home state don’t have to mean complications in your case. An attorney who is familiar with the state, city, and regional legal environment can be a huge benefit after you’ve been hurt away from home.
- Arrival on the scene. Maybe one of the biggest benefits of reaching out to a local attorney is how quickly they can physically go to the scene of your motorcycle accident and start collecting evidence to support your claim and document what happened.
Taking Steps to Prepare for the Ride Will Help You Avoid Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries
As you start planning your motorcycle trip in Santa Monica, make sure that you are planning to take enough time for the ride, maintain your bike beforehand, and carry appropriate gear for the conditions. You might also consider bringing a smartphone with a camera and GPS, which will come in handy for documenting an accident if something does go wrong. And, just in case, don’t forget to pack a copy of our free book, 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident, which walks victims through exactly what to do if they are hurt and how to get help.
Do I have to give the driver’s insurance company access to my medical records after a Santa Monica bike accident?
Although the insurance company may need some documentation of your medical treatment after a Santa Monica bike accident, it’s unlikely that they need free access to everything in your medical records—and, in most cases, you probably shouldn’t let them have it. However, before you make any decisions or sign any releases, take the time to make a quick call and speak with an experienced attorney about your situation and what the insurance company is requesting.
Bike accidents are common, even in relatively bike-friendly cities like Santa Monica, and our team has hands-on experience working with Southern California victims and their families. We know that insurance companies will do everything they can to reduce the amount they have to pay to victims, and they will scour any information they can get from you, hoping to find a way to minimize your claim. While some medical records may truly be necessary evidence in your injury claim, it’s important that you work with an attorney to limit the insurance company’s access to private information and medical records.
It doesn’t end with medical records, either. You should be aware that the driver’s insurance company may be taking unnecessary recorded statements with the same aim, and they may even be monitoring your social media accounts for information to use against you.
For more information about protecting your rights after you’ve been injured, contact our Santa Monica legal team today and request your free copy of our book, 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident.
Why should I contact an attorney about my Santa Monica motorcycle accident before I’m ready to make a decision?
After a Santa Monica motorcycle accident, it’s common for victims to feel like too many things are happening at once. As you juggle visits with your doctor and phone calls from work, it’s easy to put off thinking about your eventual insurance claim against the driver who hit you or what steps you will need to take to get your medical bills paid.
Unfortunately, in these first fragile days after a serious motorcycle accident, too many victims end up making devastating mistakes that prevent them from collecting the compensation they need to recover. This is part of why it’s so important to talk to an attorney about your rights as soon as possible, even if you’re not ready to make a decision or file a claim.
A Skilled Attorney Offers Guidance and Protection Even Before You’re Ready to Take Action
As soon as a Santa Monica motorcycle accident is reported, the insurance company is already working to protect its bottom line. You also need to be prepared. Before you make any decisions, meeting with a skilled personal injury attorney in your area can provide answers to important questions, such as:
- How long do I have to make a decision about filing a claim in Southern California?
- What is my claim potentially worth, and what are the chances of success?
- What are my rights, and how can I protect myself?
- What “red flags” should I watch for when dealing with the driver’s insurance company?
- What support is available to me and my family as we recover from the accident?
If you have been hit by a passenger vehicle while operating a motorcycle in the city, on the freeway, or anywhere else in California, don’t wait any longer to learn about protecting your rights. Read through our book, 7 Big Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident, which will help you avoid common tricks and traps. This guide is available for free to victims of Santa Monica motorcycle accidents and their families, and you can request your copy by calling or emailing our friendly team today. For more personalized assistance with your claim, don’t hesitate to call or email our offices today.
Can you help me decide what reflective products to use to stay safe and avoid a bicycle accident?
Like many other bicycle riders, you may be concerned with your safety while trying to compete with vehicles and trucks on the road. While Ventura Boulevard in Old Town Camarillo is pedestrian friendly, sharing the roads with cars is another concern. Often, other vehicles become a danger to cyclists, due to the fact that vehicles are not watching for them. Because of this, a cyclist can try to make himself more easily seen.
One great way for a bicyclist to become more visible to a driver of a passenger vehicle is to use reflective products. This is very useful in low-light situations, because car headlights will reflect and allow the driver to see the bicycle.
If you are looking for reflective products to use while cycling, consider these:
- Vest. A vest is a great option for bicyclist, as it is lightweight and covers a large surface area. Vests are typically made of a mesh material that allows airflow to keep the bicyclist cool while riding.
- Decals. A good quality decal will be made from an engineering-grade reflective film that contains glass beads to reflect light. They can be designed in many colors and shapes to match your style.
- Tires. Reflective tires used to be obsolete, but have recently began to become more popular. A reflective surface is applied to the sidewall of the tire, allowing the cyclist to become much more visible to vehicles on the road.
Although you may take steps to promote your safety while on your bicycle in Camarillo, you cannot always predict how drivers of passenger vehicles will behave. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal options simply fill out the contact form on this page.