Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers San Diego, CA (2024) – Forbes

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Although cars and motorcycles both get you from place to place, a motorcycle accident is different from an automobile accident. There are specific rules that apply only to motorcycles in addition to the rules that everyone on the road needs to follow.

California Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the period of time you have to bring a lawsuit. It’s important to note that the case does not need to be resolved within the timeframe of the statute of limitations; it just needs to be initiated.

The statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of injury or one year from the date that the injury was discovered. For example, if an accident causes an internal injury that is not identified until more than two years after an accident, you may still be able to bring a case. Consult with an attorney for specifics about your case.

California Laws for Motorcycle Drivers

  • Motorcycle license. To operate a motorcycle in California, you need a specific license. This requires you to pass a written test and a skills (or driving) test.
  • Helmets are required. All drivers and passengers must wear a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding.
  • Lane splitting is allowed. California allows lane splitting for motorcycles, which is the act of driving between two rows of moving or stopped vehicles. It does not allow motorcycles to ride on the shoulder of the road. This gives motorcyclists the freedom to move more agilely than cars, but it can increase the risk of injury. It should only be performed by skilled drivers.
  • Passenger requirements. Passengers are allowed, but the seat must be large enough to accommodate both rider and driver without being crowded, there must be passenger footrests in place and the passenger must be tall enough to put their feet on the footrests.
  • Minimum insurance requirements. Motorcyclists are required to have motorcycle insurance. The minimum amounts are as follows:

• $5000 in property damage

• $15,000 in bodily injury per person

• $30,000 in bodily injury per accident

Identifying Fault for a Motorcycle Crash

California is a pure comparative negligence state. Negligence refers to who is responsible for an accident. It is often the case that one party is not 100% responsible for any given accident. The other party may have contributed to the accident but not caused it. Each party is assigned a percentage of the damages, and the amount they can collect is reduced based on that percentage.

Let’s look at an example. Motorcyclist A is lane splitting, and a car pulls out in front of him without signaling, causing Motorcyclist A to hit Motorist B. However, Motorcyclist A was lane splitting at a high rate of speed, which isn’t allowed.

Therefore, the court determines that Motorist B is 70% responsible for the accident and Motorcyclist A was 30% responsible. Each is entitled to damages minus their percent of responsibility. Therefore, Motorcyclist A can collect 30% of their damages. Motorcyclist B can collect 70% of their damages.
Pure comparative negligence means that, even if someone was 99% responsible for an accident, they could potentially still collect 1% of their damages.

How Can An Attorney Help You?

One of the biggest advantages to hiring an attorney is that they know how the legal system works and can guide you through it. Some of the things your lawyer can assist you with include:

  • Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney will know what to say to the insurance company to ensure they’re giving you the best possible settlement.
  • Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company won’t pay out what they should, the next step might be to file a lawsuit. Your attorney will be familiar with the paperwork and process involved in filing a lawsuit.
  • Investigation. Your attorney may interview witnesses, look for video or otherwise investigate your case. Sometimes, the evidence that they find can make a huge difference in the settlement amount.
  • Taking the case to court. If the other party still won’t settle, you may have to take them to court. Your attorney will be familiar with this process as well, and will know how to argue your case in court.

Remember, motorcycle accident lawyers typically only get paid if they win your case for you. If you lose, you won’t owe anything. So, you can spend months trying to navigate the legal system on your own, or you can hire counsel who will take a huge amount of stress off your plate and only get paid if you do.

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