If you’re one of the more than 800,000 registered motorcycle owners in California, you’re likely aware that California is a great state to ride in. There are so many reasons why there are nearly double the number of registered riders in California than there are in any other state. The weather, the interesting scenery, and seemingly endless miles of road to travel also make California a great riding destination for motorcycle enthusiasts from out-of-state. Unfortunately, while riding in California can be a motorcycle enthusiast’s dream, it isn’t always a safe endeavor. According to a study released by the University of California at Berkeley, between 2011 and 2015 alone, just under 2,300 motorcycle riders were fatally injured in accidents occurring in California and an additional 59,700 more sustained non-fatal injuries in collisions on California freeways and surface streets.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Riverside County, know that you don’t have to navigate the legal aftermath of your crash alone. Our experienced legal team has great respect for motorcycle riders and we are proud to have developed extensive experience representing their legal interests. We believe that every accident victim has the right to understand their legal options under the law, regardless of the circumstances that caused their injuries, their economic status, their immigration status, and any other personal issue that tends to cause accident victims to shy away from speaking with an attorney when they’re in need of legal guidance. The law protects the rights of all riders, not just those who are navigating “ideal” circumstances. As a result, we offer free case evaluations to any motorcycle accident victim interested in learning more about their legal options. These consultations are risk-free, so they don’t obligate you to work with our firm moving forward. Speaking with us will simply allow you the opportunity to ask questions and to receive personalized legal guidance in turn.
Dedicated Representation for Motorcycle Accident Victims
When you arrive for your no-cost case evaluation, we’ll begin by asking you questions about your accident. Understanding the details of your situation will help us to understand which legal options may be available to you at this time and how “strong” your legal case is likely to be. In addition to addressing any concerns that you may have, we’ll also explain what you could expect from our approach to representation, should you choose to entrust your case to our legal team.
We believe in treating every client with respect and we believe in treating every case as the unique situation that it is. Too often, lawyers approach personal injury representation with a “volume mindset” leading the way. Namely, they are concerned about representing as many clients as possible, as quickly as possible, in the hopes that they’ll earn more as a result of having more clients on the books, even if every client doesn’t settle their case successfully. We don’t run our operations that way. On the contrary, we believe that every client’s case needs to be approached in a focused manner that prioritizes attention to detail over speed. That’s not to say that we don’t pride ourselves on efficiency because we do. We’re simply not going to rush through your case in an effort to “make room” for another client. We’ll take the time we need to get the job done right.
How Do I Know if I Have the Makings of a Successful Case?
Too often, accident victims fail to speak with an attorney after they’ve been injured because they are convinced that they couldn’t possibly be eligible for any compensation. If you take one piece of information from reading this page, let it be this: Do not make assumptions about the potential strengths and weaknesses of your legal situation before you’ve spoken with our legal team. Those clients who come to us expecting to be told that their eligibility for compensation is minimal at best are often surprised by just how strong their case actually is.
You likely won’t know “for sure” whether you have the foundation for a successful personal injury claim on your hands until you speak with our team because – when it comes to personal injury cases – context matters and the smallest details can change everything. With that said, generally speaking, personal injury cases cannot succeed unless they prove that a party (or parties) that owed the victim a “duty of care” directly caused that victim’s injuries by engaging in negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous conduct. Say, for example, that you were distracted while riding and hit a parked car that was parked legally. As the owner of the parked car did not park their car in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous way, it is highly unlikely that you’d be able to hold them accountable for your injuries sustained in the crash. If however, a distracted motorist hit you while you were parked legally, you’d be able to hold them accountable for their unlawful behavior via a personal injury claim.
What if I’m Partially to-Blame for My Accident?
The question of whether you have grounds to file legal action successfully becomes more complex in the event that you may have been partially at fault for the accident that caused you harm. Generally, if you are “less” responsible for the harm caused by the accident than others who contributed to the accident’s occurrence, you’ll still be able to hold them accountable for those contributions. However, your compensation award may be reduced by the percentage amount that you were deemed at-fault for the accident. For example, if you were eligible for a $100,000 compensation award but you were deemed to be 30 percent responsible for the accident, your award would be reduced to $70,000.
What if I Was Lane-Splitting at the Time of the Accident?
If you were lane-splitting during the time of your collision, that choice on your part is unlikely to reduce your compensation award or increase the percentage of fault assigned to you, provided that traffic was stopped or slow at the time of the crash. Lane splitting became legal in California as of August 19th, 2016. As a result, lane-splitting (at least, in and of itself) isn’t a behavior likely to impact your legal options.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
If, however, you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your crash, this choice is likely to impact the amount of fault assigned to you as a result of the crash, especially if you suffered head trauma that might have been prevented as a result of helmet use. California has a universal helmet law. This means that, per California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803, all motorcycle riders – without exception – are required to wear an approved safety helmet that fits snugly and is securely strapped to their head. Because a failure to wear a helmet is a safety violation and could be considered either negligent or reckless on your part, you could be found to be partially at-fault for the harm you’ve suffered as a result of the crash if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time. With that said, do not dismiss the idea that you might be entitled to compensation simply because you weren’t wearing a helmet. The overall fault for a motorcycle crash is calculated based on many factors in addition to helmet regulation compliance.
Should I Accept an Insurance Settlement Offer?
If you’ve been approached by an insurance company representative in the wake of your accident (either from the business with which you hold a policy or from a business that represents another individual involved in the accident), proceed with great caution. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid returning the representative’s call until after you’ve spoken with our team. As insurance companies understandably like to protect their profits, it is extremely rare that an initial settlement offer to an accident victim will be valued as fairly as it should be. Many accident victims choose to settle immediately so that they can receive their compensation more quickly. However, that speedy turnaround can cost victims thousands of dollars when compared to the settlements they might be offered if they allowed an attorney experienced in insurance negotiation to advocate on their behalf.
No lawyer can guarantee that “if we speak to an insurance provider on your behalf, we’ll be able to secure you a compensation award that is far larger than your original settlement offer.” However, we can say with confidence that we know the games that insurance providers play and the tricks they enlist to protect their bottom line at the expense of accident victims. If you allow us to negotiate with insurance providers on your behalf, you’ll rest easier knowing that we are negotiating to the best of our team’s experienced and knowledgeable ability.
Could the Road Have Caused My Accident?
Too often, attorneys who prioritize speed and volume over quality representation overlook the idea that the road itself may have been partially or totally to blame for a client’s accident. Attorneys who don’t take their time, investigate fully, and consider all the information available to them may be inclined to focus only on the behaviors of the motorcycle rider and any other travelers involved in the crash when seeking to determine fault. Our firm doesn’t take road conditions or road maintenance considerations for granted when evaluating our clients’ cases.
One of the reasons why there is so much discussion about “infrastructure reform” at the state and federal levels is that the nation’s roads are often an utter mess. As a result, it isn’t surprising when ill-maintained surfaces, structurally unsound bridges, missing guard rails, and a host of other safety challenges contribute to the occurrence of accidents. Our firm will seek to hold those responsible for proper road management accountable in the event that the road itself contributed to the harm you’ve suffered in the wake of your accident.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to act quickly to assess your legal options. California law (California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1) only gives accident victims a specific amount of time to file a civil claim before they’re barred from seeking compensation in this way. It’s also a good idea to act quickly as evidence related to your case may become compromised over time if it isn’t properly preserved. Please schedule a free, risk-free consultation as soon as you can. You’re likely focused on your recovery right now, which is completely understandable. However, we’d like the opportunity to seek any compensation to which you may be entitled before bills related to your accident start piling up and causing you stress. Call us today to learn more; we look forward to speaking with you.