Motorcycle Accident Attorney in San Fransisco, California
It’s no secret to those who ride motorcycles that they have to exercise a higher degree of caution and awareness when on the road. Still, there are numerous motorcycle accidents occurring every day. In fact, in 2020, there were 525 motorcycle fatalities on California’s roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and want to know more about filing a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, reach out to our team at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C. From our office in San Francisco, California, we’re able to represent clients throughout the entire state.
Steps to Take If You Were In a Motorcycle Accident
The first priority for anyone who's been injured in a motorcycle accident is to seek medical care immediately. You should do this regardless of who you think was at fault for the accident. You can work with your insurance provider and personal injury attorney later to determine who’s responsible for paying the bills.
During this time, you should also be retaining all documentation of the accident and damages. This could include police reports, photos and videos of the scene of the accident, witness statements and contact information, your own account of the incident (which should be written down as soon as possible following the crash), medical bills, doctor’s diagnosis, repair receipts for property damage, a record of lost income if you haven’t been able to work, and a journal of how your injuries are affecting your everyday life. Thorough documentation is key to building a strong motorcycle accident claim.
Shortly after the accident, you’ll also need to contact your insurance provider as well as the other party’s provider. Along with this, you should also seriously consider hiring a motorcycle accident attorney who can walk you through the entire claims process, ensure you have adequate evidence, and negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement.
California Motorcycle Laws
Just as drivers of passenger vehicles must be aware of all the laws cars are subject to, riders also need to educate themselves about these laws and the laws governing the safe operation and handling of a motorcycle. One hotly debated topic has to do with lane splitting. California law doesn’t have any specific rules about this practice, meaning there’s nothing that says you can’t do it, and there’s nothing that says you can. That said, it’s commonly agreed upon that lane splitting can be a dangerous action and should be limited whenever possible.
State law also has helmet laws stating that all riders are required to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet and this includes any motorcycle passenger. Other required motorcycle equipment includes having both a right and left side-view mirror, working turn signals, at least one headlight, and handlebars that are no higher than six inches above the shoulder height of the rider.
Determining Fault in California
Whenever you file a personal injury claim, you’ll be tasked with proving negligence, ie. providing evidence to show who was responsible for the accident occurring. It’s important to know that in California, liability can be shared between two parties in an accident. This is known as comparative fault. For instance, a judge may determine that you held 30% of the responsibility for the crash occurring. Therefore, your final settlement will be reduced by 30% (so if the total settlement was $20,000, you’d only receive $14,000). California also follows a pure comparative negligence model, so you can theoretically file a claim even if you were found to be 99% to blame.
No one should have to go through the personal injury claims process alone. A skilled attorney who focuses on personal injury law can help you and your family navigate the system.
Filing a Claim for a Loved One
In a scenario when you have to file a motorcycle wrongful death claim, it can be incredibly helpful to work with an attorney. As the surviving spouse or immediate family member, you would have the ability to file a claim on your loved one’s behalf to sue for damages. These claims are common in cases of car or motorcycle crashes when you can prove that the death or incapacitation was due to the negligence of the other party. Possible damages include funeral and burial expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and lost current and future wages.
Motorcycle Accident Attorney in San Francisco, California
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be a traumatizing experience for both you and your family. You might face physical, emotional, and financial hardship. For help filing personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, or simply communicating back and forth with insurance adjusters, reach out to us at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C. We’re honored to help accident victims throughout the entire state from our office in San Francisco.