• Julianne

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles

Updated: Apr 26

Find a motorcycle accident attorney for personal injuries from motorcycle accidents


The excitement of a motorcycle ride is unrivaled for motorcycle enthusiasts. Many riders feel that nothing compares to being out on California's sun-drenched highways. Others ride motorcycles for practical purposes, such as navigating Southern California's infamous traffic.


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Motorcycling, on the other hand, is not without dangers. Riders who are moving at high speeds and exposed can be extremely dangerous. When a motorcycle collides with another vehicle, the rider is almost always the one who suffers the most serious or fatal injuries.


Although motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets, they are still extremely vulnerable on the roads. Motorcycles move rapidly, are difficult to see, and are exposed to the elements. When they collide with larger vehicles like cars, trucks, and buses, the consequences can be disastrous.


When another person's negligence causes a motorcycle accident, the injured victim has the right to claim compensation for their injury, costs, and losses. Working with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney in California would ensure that the client has the best chance of winning their case.

Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents

  • Motorcycle injury rates in California and the rest of the country are sobering, demonstrating how dangerous a collision can be for riders.

  • More than 8.7 million motorcycles are registered in the United States, which is an all-time record.

  • In 2016, more than 104,000 bikers were injured in crashes.

  • In 2017, there were over 5,000 deaths in the United States.

  • Motorcycle fatality rates are more than 25 times higher than car fatality rates, rendering it the most dangerous transportation mode.

  • In 2016, 566 motorcyclists were killed, and 14,400 were injured in accidents across California.

  • According to data from the California Highway Patrol, about 65 percent of motorcycle deaths involve some degree of rider error.

What's the Difference Between a Motorcycle and Car Accident?


Motorcycle accidents are similar to other types of car accidents in many ways—any personal injury allegation whose results will be dealt with under California's comparative negligence rules. An at-fault defendant — most commonly a driver, though other parties can also be held legally responsible for the victim's losses — can be held legally liable for the victim's losses.

Plaintiffs require competent legal counsel in all motorcycle and automobile traffic accidents to perform a thorough investigation, locate all liable parties and sources of insurance, assess losses, and battle for full compensation.

There are, however, several significant distinctions between motorcycle and automobile accidents. Motorcyclists, in particular, are much more likely to sustain serious injuries. In a motorcycle accident event, there is usually a lot more at stake.

Motorcyclists are often subjected to unfair and misleading discrimination by insurance firms. In certain cases, insurers tend to blame the motorcyclist by using false myths about them. Bikers, on the other hand, are among the most vigilant and alert drivers.


Finally, motorcycle accidents are often caused by unique factors. Motorcycle accidents often occur due to other drivers failing to recognize the existence of a motorcycle or as a result of a highway hazard that is particularly dangerous to riders.

Motorcycle Safety Laws in California

The following laws apply to motorcycle riders' safety:


1. Helmets. Some states do not have regulations requiring riders to wear helmets. Both motorcyclists in California, as well as 19 other states, are required to wear helmets. According to California Vehicle Code 27803, all motorcycle riders and passengers must wear a helmet that the manufacturer has approved as meeting the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.

The majority of catastrophic and fatal motorcycle crashes include head injuries, and a significant number of these severe injuries and deaths could be avoided if riders wore helmets properly.

Motorcyclists and their passengers who do not wear an authorized helmet can face fines and other penalties. According to the statute, any police officer has the authority to charge a violator with a simple equipment violation or a more serious penalty. With proof of correction, an equipment infringement charge will result in a fine. The California Highway Patrol, on the other hand, claims that breaking the helmet rule is an immediate safety threat that cannot be corrected. A violation of CHP guidelines could result in a fine and a year of probation.

2. Headlights. Motorcycles that were manufactured after 1978 are required to have an automatic headlight that turns on and stays on for as long as the engine is running. This is to improve visibility day or night. 25650.5)


3. Handlebars. All motorcycles built and sold after January 1, 1973, must have working turn signals on both the motorcycle's front and rear.


4. System of Exhaust. The Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act requires all motorcycles and exhaust systems made after 2013 to be compliant.

5. Splitting lanes. A two-wheeled vehicle can share a lane with stopped or moving vehicles when driving in the same direction. The state of California is the only one that permits lane splitting. (CVC 21658.1)

6. Course on Safety. Riders who are under the age of 21 must complete the Basic Rider Course offered by the California Highway Patrol. Riders aged 21 and up are exempt from taking the safety course if they pass the skills test. (CVC 2930-2935)


7. Regulations for Passengers. Both riders must have proper seating in the back or in an attached sidecar designed for passengers, as well as footrests. (CVC 27800)

Motorcycle Accidents in California: Common Causes

A serious motorcycle accident may have far-reaching implications for all parties involved. In California, the following are some of the most common road hazards and causes of motorcycle accidents:

Left-turn collisions. The other car turning left through traffic causes more than 40% of all incidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle. This occurs when a turning driver fails to notice or misjudges the approaching motorcycle's speed at intersections, side streets, driveways, and parking lots.

Head-on collisions. More than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles. Nearly 75% of the time, the car collides head-on with the motorcycle. The rider and/or passenger are often killed in these forms of collisions.

Speeding. When cars are driving at high speeds, and the drivers or passengers have little time to respond, a crash is more likely to occur. Regardless of who is speeding, this is the case. Owing to the lack of safety that motorcyclists have on the roads, high-speed crashes can be fatal.


Lane Merging. When larger vehicles change lanes without looking, motorcyclists are put in danger. If a biker is riding alongside a car that merges lanes without warning, the motorcyclist can be knocked off their bike and suffer serious injuries.

Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of car accidents in the state of California. Texting, setting your GPS, fiddling with your audio choices, or eating while driving are all examples of this. A distracted driver may easily miss a motorcycle and fail to see or respond to it or drift carelessly across lanes.


Driving while inebriated. Driving while inebriated with alcohol or drugs can be particularly dangerous. This refers to all motorcyclists and car or truck drivers who are under the influence.

Hazards and road debris. Loose objects in the road, as well as roadway defects like potholes and uneven surfaces, can cause motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are inherently riskier than bigger, more robust vehicles with four or more wheels.


Lane splitting. When a motorcycle rides between two lanes to squeeze through traffic, lane splitting can cause an accident. While this is legal, other drivers can fail to see bikers riding between lanes.


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California's law on Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is a practice on which everybody has an opinion. As a result, recovering damages after a lane splitting accident can be difficult. Except in states where it is legal, such as California, a police officer or judge may have an opinion about whether it is right or wrong, and that opinion can influence the outcome of a case.


Because of the following reasons, lane splitting can result in an accident:

  • Two or more vehicles are in near proximity to the motorcycle.

  • Since the motorcycle is so close to the vehicle, the rider has little maneuverability.

  • Car drivers often fail to notice that a motorcycle is approaching them in slowed or stopped traffic.

  • According to the regulation, if you're going to do lane splitting in California, you must do so in a "clean and cautious" manner.

Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe when lane splitting:

  • Always be careful of the cars on both sides.

  • If traffic speeds up to more than 30 miles per hour, return to your correct lane.

  • Suppose both lanes are moving at the same speed, just lane-split. When one lane moves faster than the other, cars in the slow lane are more likely to attempt to merge into the faster lane, increasing your chances of being struck.

  • If you're riding after dark, make sure your headlights are turned on, and you're wearing reflective clothing.

  • If you're in a car's blind spot, be cautious.

  • Do not rush past slow or stopped vehicles; instead, drive slightly higher than the rest of the traffic.

  • Passing between cars that are too close together is not a good idea.

Where Do Motorcycle Accidents Usually Happen?

Motorcycle accidents can happen at any time while a rider is on the road. However, some places are more dangerous for motorcyclists than others. The following are some of the most common locations where these mishaps occur:


Intersections. Intersections are one of the most popular sites for motorcycle accidents. A motorcycle rider can be killed in an intersection collision. At an intersection, a motorcyclist may be injured in a variety of ways.


Left-hand turns. These are the riskiest situation for motorcycle riders, accounting for 42% of all motorcycle crashes. When a driver fails to see an oncoming motorcycle and makes a sharp left turn, the motorcycle is likely to collide with the car.

Rear-end collisions. A motorcycle rider is vulnerable to rear-end collisions while approaching stop signs or stoplights. If a passenger vehicle collides with a motorcyclist, the average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds and can cause serious damage and injuries.

Interstates and freeways. Due to increased traffic and high-speed rates, motorcycle accidents are also frequent on interstates and freeways. Motorists sometimes change lanes abruptly on interstates, putting them in the path of a motorcycle. Increased speed is a significant factor in the severity of motorcycle accidents.


Roads with two lanes. Oncoming traffic makes two-lane roads and highways hazardous. A distracted or disabled driver can veer into a motorcyclist's lane as they travel around a curve in the road. A head-on collision with vehicles running at high speeds can be fatal for a motorcyclist because there is no way to avoid an oncoming vehicle's course.

Examples of Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries. Our pre-screened motorcycle accident lawyers often see motorcycle riders suffer from the following severe injuries:

  • Broken bones

  • Severe back injuries

  • Lacerations and puncture wounds

  • Various types of traumatic brain injury

  • Injuries to the spinal cord

  • Wrongful death

Aside from physical injuries, the trauma of a motorcycle accident may result in mental anguish. Your journey to recovery should not begin with a trip to the emergency room. Furthermore, the expense of existing and future medical bills may be exorbitant. Let us fight for you to recoup your medical expenses and secure the highest possible settlement for your losses.

What To Do Next


Here are a few things you might want to do after the accident:

Get the medical attention you need.

Accidents involving motorcycles have the potential to cause serious injury. If you or your loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, seek medical help as soon as possible, even if an injury isn't immediately apparent.

Speak with the Police.

After you've ensured that adequate medical care has been given, call the cops and file a complaint. Motorcycle riders are also falsely blamed for incidents that were actually caused by inattentive and reckless driving on the part of other drivers. Don't let yourself or someone you care for is falsely accused. Explain the accident to the cops as thoroughly as possible.

Keep reckless and negligent drivers accountable.

A motorcycle may be knocked down by an unobservant driver of a larger vehicle making a hasty lane change. Your motorcycle accident attorney will help hold negligent drivers accountable.

Fight your way through paperwork.


Motorcycle incidents are frequently complicated by the serious injuries that are likely to occur and the tragic figures of a much higher death rate than other types of collisions. Your personal injury lawyer can handle all of the complicated paperwork, such as medical expenses, police reports, and insurance filings. They will also assist you with coroner's reports and funeral cost reviews in the tragic event of a fatality. At a time like this, it's important to have skilled assistance.


Your personal injury lawyer can do the following:

  • Work with insurance firms and other lawyers in a professional manner.

  • Insurance firms are in the business of making profits, which they do by avoiding paying every amount of money that they can.

  • Ensure that you receive adequate compensation from all parties who might be liable.

There may be a number of parties responsible for a crash. Incorrectly marked lanes have gone uncorrected by government employees. Vehicle manufacturers have permitted defective vehicles to be driven on our roads. Employers also permitted inexperienced drivers to operate their vehicles.

Liability of Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcycle accident case will go after the responsible party, suing those who are to blame for the accident. This has the double benefit of making the victim financially whole while still keeping those responsible for their acts accountable.


If a reckless action causes an accident, personal injury liability applies. The following are examples of at-fault parties:

  • The person who operates a car or truck. For example, if a driver was texting while driving, made a reckless or unsafe maneuver, or caused an accident by speeding, they may be held responsible.

  • An individual who works for someone else. If the driver considered liable for the accident was working at the time of the collision, their employer could be held responsible as well. An employer or corporation may be identified as a defendant in a lawsuit in this situation. People, including delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and bus drivers, can be affected.

  • The manufacturer of the vehicle or maintenance personnel. There could be an argument for manufacturer liability if an accident was caused by a vehicle design or construction flaw. In some cases, poor maintenance is to blame.

  • A municipality or transportation authority. A case may be filed against the city government if a roadway fault or unsafe street design causes an accident.

A motorcycle accident attorney can provide guidance on how to proceed with civil proceedings against a negligent party. They have a lot of experience campaigning for the interests of those who have been in car accidents.

Comparative Fault in California Law

Motorcycle accident victims should also be mindful that California's most personal injury cases are decided on a comparative fault basis. A motorcycle accident can result in several parties being held legally liable. Each party would be given a percentage of the fault in a mutual liability situation.


Injured victims of motorcycle accidents may be entitled to file a lawsuit against multiple defendants in some cases. However, in certain cases, an insurance provider can attempt to shift some of the blame back to the plaintiff. If they get away with it, the amount of money available for punishment will be reduced.

For example, if you were found to be 25% at fault for the motorcycle accident, your settlement will be decreased by 25%. You'll need a personal injury lawyer to defend you from being wrongly accused.

Bias against motorcyclists and liability


Some people believe that motorcyclists are less responsible drivers than other drivers. Have you ever been subjected to this kind of prejudice? While everybody has the right to their own opinion, they can hurt your chances in court.


Sure, there are drivers who pace, weave, and drive irresponsibly on motorcycles, just like there are drivers who do the same on automobiles. On the other hand, the majority of motorcyclists are skilled drivers who simply want to enjoy the trip and arrive at their destination safely.


What impact would prejudice or bias toward motorcyclists have on your personal injury case?

Liability is presumed. Because of stereotypes that motorcyclists are more reckless, police officers, insurance adjusters, and even a judge or jury may presume a motorcyclist is at fault for an accident.


A low settlement bid. An insurance adjuster can offer a low settlement that does not fully compensate a motorcyclist's injury for the same reasons that one would assume liability.


Payable damages reduced. Jurors are human. They have biases and subjective views. Everyone will have unique experiences that predispose them to certain opinions. Lawyers and judges strive to seat jury members who do not have unconscious prejudices in particular cases, but since jurors are human, and everyone has experiences that predispose them to certain opinions. Unfortunately, in some cases, this results in lower damages payments in arbitration.

Requirements for disclosing accidents in California

In California, you must report any motor vehicle accident, including a motorcycle accident, to the police if:

  • Anyone was hurt

  • The cost of the loss is at least $1,000.

  • There are aggravating situations, such as any involved driver's DUI.

You must call 911 to report an accident if someone was hurt or if there is a possibility of a DUI. You should call the police non-emergency number if there are no accidents or aggravating circumstances.


In addition, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It's also crucial to notify the insurance provider about the accident. To settle your lawsuit, the insurer will negotiate with the other driver's insurer.

Proving Negligence in Personal Injury Claims

When someone's acts, or in some cases, inactions, fall short of the fair expectations set to protect another from injury, this is known as negligence. In California, for example, drivers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of those on the lane.


As a result, a driver who wishes to get behind the wheel when inebriated is irresponsible regarding other drivers' protection. To win a personal injury lawsuit in California, the claimant, also known as a plaintiff, must show that the defendant is responsible for the accident that caused his or her injuries.


In order to show that the guilty party behaved negligently in a personal injury lawsuit, there are usually four conditions that must be demonstrated:

Reasonable Duty of Care. Proving that the accused party has a legal responsibility to follow or have a reasonable standard of care is critical. This may be simple to illustrate in some cases. For example, all drivers in the state have a legal responsibility to protect those with whom they share the lane. As a result, drivers in California are required to drive in a relatively safe manner.

Breach of Duty of Care. Once the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care, it is important to show that the defendant refused to behave in a reasonably safe manner. A breach of duty in a drunk driving car accident situation will be the driver's decision to drive while inebriated.

The Negligence Directly Caused the Injuries. Next, the plaintiff must show that the personal injury lawsuit is being pursued as a result of injuries suffered as a result of the breach of duty.

Establishing a Monetary Loss. In order to justify the restitution requested, a plaintiff must show the magnitude of his or her grievances. The most effective way to do this is to have a documented medical report that shows the injuries and the cost of medical care. You and your personal injury lawyer may also give other proof of bills, expenditures, or income loss.

What Is Wrongful Death and How Is It Defined?

When an individual dies as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, or organization, wrongful death claims are filed. You can pursue wrongful death lawsuits regardless of whether the at-fault party intended to injure or destroy the deceased.

It is critical to note that wrongful death civil cases are distinct from criminal charges, such as murder, that a person can face after causing another person's death. While there are occasions where civil wrongful death cases and criminal proceedings emerge from the same incident, a civil wrongful death suit does not include criminal charges or a guilty conviction in order to proceed.

What Causes Wrongful Death?

The following are some of the most common causes of wrongful death:

  • Airplane Accident

  • Back Injury

  • Burn injury

  • Bus Accident

  • Car Accident

  • Defective Products

  • Dog Bite Injury

  • Drunk Driving Accident

  • Motorcycle Accidents

  • Pedestrian Accident

  • Swimming Pool Accident

  • Train Accident

  • Truck Accident

  • Uninsured Motorist


Who is Eligible to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?

Only such individuals are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. This is usually the decedent's surviving family, which includes:

  • A spouse or domestic partner who has survived

  • Survivors of the deceased person's children

  • Survivors from the family (including parents and siblings)

  • An individual's personal representative

What Is Wrongful Death and How Can It Be Prevented?

The first thing you should know about wrongful death lawsuits is how the courts interpret the word. Wrongful death is described by California law as "the death of an individual as a result of another's wrongful act or negligence."


Consider a wrongful death lawsuit to be similar to a personal injury claim, with the exception that the reckless actions resulted in death. Both cases are based on the same legal concept of negligence. Three factors must be proven in a wrongful death claim:

  • A duty of care was owed by the defendant to the deceased person. A distracted driver, incompetent doctor, negligent caregiver, product maker, property owner, or any other party who contributed to the death may be named as the defendant. The defendant's duty of care can differ depending on his or her involvement in the incident.

  • The defendant failed to uphold his or her duty of treatment. Something that a fairly responsible party would not have done in the same or similar circumstances is considered a violation. If it can be shown that an individual or agency could have done something differently to avoid the decedent's death, the courts can label them "negligent."

  • The person died as a result of the violation of duty of care. Only because a loved one died does not automatically make a party liable. You must demonstrate that the defendant's lack of care caused your loved one's death. Eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, and a full-scale investigation may all be used to prove this aspect.


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You must also prove that you were harmed in any way as a result of the incident. This is usually simple to prove in a wrongful death case. You may have experienced emotional distress, mental anguish, or a lack of consortium.


All of these intangible losses, as well as concrete damages, including funeral and burial expenses or the decedent's accident-related medical treatment up to the time of death, can be compensated by the courts. A wrongful death suit may be a significant source of financial relief for the decedent's loved ones.


The Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in California

In California, a wrongful death suit has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the loved one's death. However, in certain circumstances, this time period might be different:

  • The statute of limitations is extended to three years if wrongful death is caused by medical negligence or malpractice.

  • If the wrongful death was caused by a government body, such as a Los Angeles city car, the lawsuit must be made within six months of the incident.

Although the dates mentioned above are deadlines, the sooner you apply, the sooner you can get back on your feet.

Who Can File for A Wrongful Death Suit in California?


In California, not only anybody can file a wrongful death suit. Only the surviving spouse, intimate partner, or children of the deceased person are eligible to file a lawsuit.


If none of these persons exist, the claim can be filed by someone who is "entitled to the decedent's land." It's possible that this includes the person's parents or siblings. The courts may allow the decedent's parents, stepchildren, or putative spouse to file a claim if they can show that they were financially dependent on the deceased.

Payable Damages for Wrongful Death

There are several types of damages/losses that can be recovered in a California wrongful death suit. Plaintiffs may be entitled to a wrongful death settlement or verdict, depending on the type and circumstances of the case, which may provide financial compensation for any or more of the following:

  • Costs of funerals and burials

  • Hospital expenses incurred prior to death

  • Loss of the deceased's potential earnings and benefits

  • Damages caused by pain and distress

  • Household utilities that were lost

  • Damages for loss of consortium or companionship

  • Punitive damages against the liable company or individual are a possibility.

There is no set standard for non-economic damages.


According to the California state jury guidelines, there is no single, fully empirical method for determining non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit (CACI No. 3921). Instead, each jury member is instructed to "decide a fair amount based on the facts and your common sense." Since the norm includes individual judgment, it emphasizes the value of making a well-structured, convincing, and well-supported wrongful death argument. A motorcycle accident attorney will help you document and prove the full extent of the failure in a wrongful death case.

Insurance companies try to settle erroneous claims at a lower price.


Large insurance firms manage and prosecute the majority of wrongful death lawsuits. Unfortunately, even though the family has suffered a horrific and heartbreaking tragedy, these businesses will want to pay out the smallest amount possible.


Defendants and insurers must be held accountable. You can work with an experienced legal practitioner before settling a wrongful death lawsuit. A motorcycle accident attorney would have the skills and expertise necessary to assist you in determining the true equivalent costs of your wrongful death claim. Your family needs justice as well as financial assistance. Allow no less than what you are legally entitled to under California law.

Survival Actions


A survival action is for the benefit of the deceased's estate, and it requires that the individual did not die from his injuries right away. In other words, while a wrongful death suit seeks to compensate surviving family members for their losses, a survival action seeks to protect whatever claim the decedent may have had against the defendant. As a result, rather than the spouse or children, the decedent's estate representative is the one who files a survival suit.


The damages that the plaintiff may seek in a survival suit are those that the decedent would have been entitled to obtain if he had survived the injuries he suffered, including any punitive damages that may have occurred before his death, but pain and suffering damages are not recoverable in this situation under California law.


Find A Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

Whether you're dealing with severe injuries or have recently lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, it is best to seek legal guidance in your time of confusion. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who can manage, investigate, and push for claims you are entitled to, can alleviate some difficulties.


1000Attorneys.com can refer you to a motorcycle accident attorney that best fits the unique characteristics of your case. You can complete our submission form or reach us through our 24/7 live chat for a free initial consultation.


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