In this blog post, we talk about motorcycle accident law. Once understood, we will be able to appreciate why it is often wrong to blame the motorcyclist when they are involved in an injury accident and how even when the motorcyclist is partly to blame, the payouts can be substantial.
Why do people always want to blame the motorcyclist?
Is it because of lane splitting by the motorcyclist?
Lane splitting is the practice of motorcycles traveling between lanes in order to get ahead of traffic. No doubt we have all seen this happen on Interstate 80 in Roseville and Sacramento, Interstate 50 in El Dorado Hills and Placerville, and even Highway 49 in Auburn, Grass Valley, and Nevada City.
While this may make a car driver uncomfortable and even angry, motorcycle accident law teaches that this practice is not illegal and it does not mean the motorcycle is to blame. Operators of all motor vehicles must use reasonable care.
Take the case of a passenger who opened her car door in traffic striking a lane spitting motorcyclist. The lane-splitting motorcyclist was not to blame and recovered 100% of his damages from the car and passenger’s insurance companies as a result of their negligence.
Is it because the motorcyclist may be speeding?
Motorcycle accident law protects the motorcyclist just as much as any other vehicle. Just because a motorcycle is shown to be traveling in excess of the posted speed limit does not mean that the motorcyclist recovers nothing if struck by a car that negligently changes lanes. Sometimes the operators of both vehicles may be at fault. In these cases, the law of comparative negligence applies.
The law of comparative negligence reduces the amount of the motorcyclist’s claim by the percentage of his own negligence that is shown to have contributed to the occurrence of the accident.
Since a motorcyclist is extremely vulnerable to injury, even a finding of comparative negligence on his part may still lead to a substantial settlement or verdict. Personal injury motorcycle accidents often lead to medical and wage losses in the hundreds of thousands.
Even in a case of comparative fault, the value of the motorcyclists’ case can be in excess of six figures. For this reason, motorcycle riders should carry the highest underinsured motorist limits they can afford.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you in case the other driver has insufficient insurance to cover your injuries, medical bills, and wage losses. Underinsured motorist coverage also protects you if the at-fault driver has no insurance.
Is it because of the image of motorcycle riders?
The image of a motorcyclist as an outlaw is unfair. Consumers in the United States bought some 472,000 motorcycles in 2017. Most motorcycle fans reside in California. Over 842,000 motorcycles are registered in California. Motorcycle riders can be professionals and hard-working Americans. Indeed, Harley Davidson has been making motorcycles in America since 1903 and still has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The gross sales of United States motorcycles, bicycles and parts manufacturing in 2017 was 7.8 billion dollars.
In July 2018, actor George Clooney was in a near life-threatening accident in Italy when a vehicle abruptly pulled in front of his scooter, catapulting him over the car, hitting its windshield and cracking his helmet in the process.
The stereotype of a motorcyclist injured in an accident being a reckless thug is obviously unfair. If it can happen to George Clooney, it can happen to anyone.
What does the future of motorcycles look like in California?
Transportation sharing is on the rise. In 2016, there were 55 bike-share systems across the country with a total of over 40,000 bicycles. In 2017, Citi Bike in New York City added 2,000 bikes, increasing its fleet to a total of 12,000. San Francisco just recently expanded its system from just 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes. Sacramento has launched JUMP electric bikes and electric scooters and the region has rapidly become one of the most popular markets in the world.
I predict ride-sharing will likely also become part of the motorcycle culture. One thousand electric mopeds are now available in Brooklyn and Queens, New York with expansion planned to other cities. Soon rentals of motorcycles will become common, as people find it an efficient and inexpensive means of transportation.
I am your motorcycle law expert.
The law of negligence and comparative negligence applies with equal force to motorcycles, cars, trucks, bikes, mopeds, and any other electric or motorized vehicle. That means that even if you are partly at fault, you can still receive a substantial settlement. I have obtained 6 figure settlements for some of my motorcycle accident clients.
If you are injured and have a motorcycle accident personal injury claim, you need some who knows motorcycle accident law inside and out. I have been practicing it since 1987. The Law Offices of Barry Zimmerman has helped thousands of motorcyclists recover millions of dollars in motorcycle accident payouts.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you need an attorney experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. For a free consultation call 530-823-0705. If you need immediate assistance try my cell, 530-305-7396. Yes, that’s right. You can reach me on my cell phone. I’m here for you.