Motorcycle accidents are notorious for their grim outcomes and high fatality rates.
The metal frame of a car provides considerable protection when the operator is involved in a crash. Without similar protection, motorcyclists are at higher risk of serious injury during a collision.
However, obtaining compensation following an injury is one of the many challenges survivors face after a motorcycle accident.
Proving fault, negative stereotypes about motorcyclists, and insurance companies intent on protecting their own interests all stand in the way of a motorcyclist’s ability to obtain fair compensation after a Los Angeles motorcycle accident.
Fortunately, California’s motorcycle and traffic laws are designed to give riders as much safety as possible on the road and afford legal protection for riders involved in a crash.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand these laws, and explain how they can work in your favor.
Why choose MAJK Law
At MAJK Law, we are committed to providing exceptional legal counsel to victims of motorcycle accidents.
Our experienced injury lawyers have recovered substantial compensation for our clients, ensuring that they receive the justice and medical treatment they deserve. We will negotiate with the insurance companies, refer you to reputable medical specialists, and represent you in court if necessary.
If you have been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve by:
Investigating the incident and determining fault
Collecting and analyzing the police report
Communicating and negotiating with insurance companies and other involved parties
Drafting an insurance demand letter
Representing your interests in court
Ensuring that you have access to the maximum compensation to which you are entitled
Following an accident, there are many competing interests.
The insurance company wants to save money, and its representatives are notorious for encouraging injury victims to accept the lowest settlement possible. Additionally, any other individuals involved in the crash will want a favorable outcome for themselves.
Having a motorcycle accident attorney by your side allows you to advocate effectively for your own interests.
Been involved in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles County?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, our lawyers at MAJK Law are available 24/7 to help! Book a free online consultation to get started today.
Adhering to traffic laws not only helps you stay safe but also decreases the likelihood that insurance companies or courts will find you at fault in a motorcycle accident. Laws for motorcycle riders include the following:
All motorcyclists must have a Class M1 license to ride in California. Riders younger than 21 must pass the California Basic Rider Course, in conjunction with the knowledge and skills tests that are mandatory for all riders.
Operators and passengers must wear DOT-standard helmets when riding.
All motorcyclists must carry liability insurance.
Motorcycles built in or after 1978 must have working headlights. Riders must use their headlights at all times, including daytime.
Motorcycles must be equipped with mufflers, mirrors, and, if carrying a passenger, passenger footrests.
Motorcycles must be registered with the California DMV.
Motorcycle handlebars cannot raise a seated biker’s hands more than six inches past the shoulders.
Perhaps the most important traffic law for California motorcyclists is the state’s lane-splitting law. California is the only state in which lane splitting is a recognized, legal practice. The law defines lane splitting as driving a motorcycle between two rows of vehicles in the same lane.
Lane splitting can be dangerous, as few motorists realize that it is a legally protected practice in California, and therefore do not expect a motorcycle to navigate between lanes. If a driver doesn’t check their blind spot before switching lanes, they might collide with a lane-splitting rider and push them into an adjacent car or oncoming traffic.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) strongly discourages inexperienced riders from lane splitting and advises motorcyclists who do choose to lane split to proceed with extreme caution.
Nevertheless, the lane splitting law offers new protection for victims of motorcycle accidents. Before the law went into effect in 2017, the legal gray area that lane splitting occupied made it difficult for these motorcyclists to obtain the compensation they deserved after an accident.
Determining fault depended largely on the judge’s opinion of lane splitting as a safe driving maneuver. This caused undue hardship for motorcyclists who were simply trying to get the compensation they needed.
Under the new law, motorcyclists can feel more secure when engaging in this practice and, if they are involved in an accident while lane splitting, they have a firmer legal ground to stand on when making their case to an insurance company or court.
Common motorcycle accidents
Each day, the high volume of vehicles traveling through Los Angeles County creates unique and challenging driving conditions for motorcyclists. Familiarizing yourself with the most prevalent types of motorcycle accidents may help you to recognize potential dangers when next on the road.
Motorcyclists often find themselves the victim of left-hand turn collisions in intersections, when a left-turning car crashes into a motorcyclist passing on the same side.
Motorcycle crashes involving stationary objects occur with shocking frequency, and approximately a quarter of these accidents are fatal. A motorcyclist traveling at even relatively low speeds can be seriously injured upon impact with an object.
Road hazards such as inclement weather, loose debris, and poor road infrastructure pose serious risks for a motorcyclist, due to vehicle size and relative instability.
Head-on collisions occur when a motorcyclist crashes head-on with a stationary object or an oncoming vehicle. These collisions are often deadly for the rider.
Common motorcycle accident injuries
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than those involving car accidents. In addition, some injuries occur more frequently in motorcycle accidents, such as:
Spinal cord injuries – When a rider is hit by an oncoming vehicle or thrown from their bike, their spine may absorb the force of impact. This extreme force can crush or dislocate vertebrae, which may then injure the surrounding nerves.
Spinal cord injuries typically fall into two categories of severity: incomplete (resulting in partial paralysis) or complete (resulting in full paralysis).
Broken bones – Common breaks include the collarbone, skull, ribs, and appendages.
Road rash – One of the most ubiquitous motorcycle accident injuries, road rash occurs when part of a rider’s body makes contact with the pavement during a collision. As the body slides across the ground, layers of the skin may be stripped away. Medical professionals categorize road rash severity using a degree system, similar to burns.
First-degree road rash, the mildest form, affects only the topmost layer of skin and can present as a rash-like patch that gives the injury its name.
Third-degree road rash, on the other hand, is much more severe, peeling away layers of skin to expose fat, muscle, or even bone.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – These head injuries range from mild concussions to permanent impairment. Regardless of what type you sustain, TBIs can have a long-lasting impact on your ability to concentrate, perform activities of daily living, or return to work.
Soft tissue injuries or damage to muscle and skin – Soft tissue injuries can manifest externally, such as road rash, or internally, such as puncture wounds from broken bones.
Wearing proper protective gear while riding significantly decreases the likelihood of serious injury in the event of a crash. Pants, jackets, boots, and gloves made of heavy-duty material can protect the body from severe road rash.
However, even the most careful rider with the best quality gear can suffer a severe injury at the hands of another driver. Spinal cord injuries and TBIs often require expensive medical treatment, including surgery and occupational or physical therapy.
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If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in California, our lawyers at MAJK Law are available 24/7 to help! Book a free online consultation to get started today.
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If you have been injured in Los Angeles County due to the negligent or reckless actions of another, the skilled legal team at MAJK Law can help. With over 2,500 cases served, our attorneys have a deep understanding of the local courts and procedures, and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation— and justice—you deserve.
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