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Motorcycle Accident Victims: What Are Their Rights?

With a warm and sunny climate and seemingly endless miles of winding roads, it is no surprise that California leads the nation in motorcycle registrations at more than 900,000 registrations in the state. The sizeable number of motorcycles means a large number of accidents involving motorcycles in California. In 2019, 437 motorcyclists were killed while riding their motorcycles according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And countless others suffered serious injuries in motorcycle accidents in California. When these devastating accidents occur, what rights do motorcycle victims have regarding compensation for injuries, time lost from work, and pain and suffering? If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is to your benefit to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer who can explain your rights, answer your questions, and assist you in filing an accident claim.

Common Types Of Injuries In A Motorcycle Accident

According to NHTSA, fatalities in traffic accidents for motorcyclists is significantly than other traffic related deaths. Because there is no protection to a rider or driver of a motorcycle other than a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing, injuries from a motorcycle accident can be severe and even deadly. It is not uncommon to see broken bones, lacerations, road rash, head injuries including traumatic brain injuries, as well as neck and back injuries in motorcycle accidents.

California Motorcycle Laws

A number of laws in the California Vehicle Code specifically govern the operation of motorcycles in the state in addition to the regulations that apply to everyone driving on the roads. The ability to drive a motorcycle is limited for those at least 16 years of age who obtain a motorcycle operator's license and have a valid automobile driver's license, and also complete an approved motorcycle safety course. Additional limitations apply to individuals who have instruction permits being prohibited from driving at night, on the freeway, or from carrying a passenger. Riders under 18 must have written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Riders under 21 must complete the California Highway Patrol Motorcyclist Training Course.

Approved helmets are mandated for all drivers and passengers and must meet the specifications as defined by Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Other laws regulate the height of motorcycle handlebars, the placement of turn signal lamps on the bike, and riding with headlights turned on at all times. Side mirrors are required on the left and right sides of the motorcycle providing a view at least 200 feet behind the motorcycle.

Lane splitting is not specifically banned in California as it is in other states. It happens when a motorcycle travels between two lanes of traffic. While other states may not allow lane splitting, it is permitted in California if done in a safe manner.

Aftermath Of A Motorcycle Accident

In the event of an accident involving a motorcycle, California laws allow for the motorcyclist to seek compensation when injured because of the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another party. The injured person may seek damages for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost income.

With California's statute of limitations, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed before the two-year anniversary of the accident that resulted in the injuries. When a government entity is involved in the motorcycle accident, the time limit to notify the agency of a claim is much shorter. An administrative claim must be filed with the government agency within six months of the date of the accident. It is wise to consult with a motorcycle injury claims lawyer in Vista, California as soon as possible to ensure that the appropriate legal claim is filed before the deadline.

In spite of the complex laws governing the operation of motorcycles in California, it is possible to successfully file a claim to recover for compensatory damages with the assistance of an experienced motorcycle injury claims lawyer.

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