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Orange County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Southern California is a sought-after state for motorcyclists around the country. With famous routes, scenic coastline drives, and year-round temperate climates, SoCal is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Unfortunately, thousands of accidents involving motorcycles happen within the state every year. They frequently occur on the busy freeways in the OC, like the I-5, the 405 or the 55 for example, but a lot of them occur on surface streets as well.

Some will never fully recover from these horrific crashes. After a motorcycle accident in Newport Beach, Irvine, or anywhere in Orange County, come to our legal team for trustworthy advice.

Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Accidents in California

California has been in the news in the last year for being the first state to legalize motorcycle lane splitting. Although law enforcement has allowed the practice to go on in Irvine, throughout California, and many other states for decades, California was the first state to recognize it as officially legal. Since the bill passed in August 2016, lawmakers and researchers have heavily debated the safety of lane splitting and the potential effects of its legalization on the safety of the state’s motorcyclists.

Supporters of lane splitting say that it gives more control to riders and reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. The opposition believes it’s dangerous for motorcyclists and other drivers, as it puts motorbikes too near other vehicles. Despite the tension between groups, lane splitting is now legal. However, riding between lanes in California comes with rules. There is a maximum speed that motorcyclists can go while lane splitting, and riders must do so in a “safe and prudent manner.” The exact rules of lane splitting are still fuzzy according to CA law.

If a driver tries to blame you for a motorcycle accident that occurred while you were lane splitting, the law is most likely on your side. If you were obeying the new lane-splitting law at the time of the accident, the driver cannot blame you just for the practice itself. An Irvine motorcycle accident attorney can help you fight against at-fault drivers and other parties, even if they allege your comparative negligence for the collision. Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP has experience with lane-splitting accidents, and can help you protect your rights as a California motorcyclist.

Get Help After an Orange County Motorcycle Accident

A motorbike accident can leave you with broken bones, traumatic tattooing, a head or brain injury, and many other harms – not to mention the cost of damage to your motorcycle. If you’re dealing with these damages in Orange County, speak to an attorney right away about the potential for financial recovery. There may be someone liable for your damages, such as another driver, the city, or the manufacturer of a vehicle product. We can help you seek compensation through the most appropriate civil action.

Top Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Orange County

Motorcycle accidents in Orange County are almost always preventable. They occur when someone makes a mistake, such as a careless motor vehicle driver who cuts off a motorcyclist on the freeway. A single moment of driver inattention can be enough to cause a dangerous or even deadly motorcycle collision.

Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Driver error
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Texting and driving
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Making illegal turns or U-turns
  • Red-light running
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Motorcycle defects and part breakdowns
  • Dangerous road conditions

Common types of motorcycle accidents include rear-end collisions, left-turn accidents, single-vehicle collisions and lane-splitting accidents. If you or a loved one gets into any type of motorcycle accident, you must determine the cause of the crash before you can file an insurance claim. In California, the person or party at fault for the accident is responsible for paying.

What to Do if You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident

Getting involved in a motorcycle accident is a frightening experience. However, it is important to try to take certain steps while you are still at the scene of the accident and immediately after to protect your legal rights. You need to receive medical care, for example, even if you feel fine. You may have injuries with hidden or delayed symptoms. An insurance company will check to see how quickly you received medical attention to determine if you are eligible for coverage.

If you can, take the following steps after a motorcycle accident:

  1. Limit your movements until help arrives. If you suffered a neck or back injury, sudden movements could make your injury worse. Move to a safe place, out of the road, but then limit your movements until paramedics arrive.
  2. Call 911. Always report a motorcycle accident to law enforcement in Orange County, even if the crash appears minor. The police can come to the scene and collect information for an accident report. Ask for your report number before they leave.
  3. Exchange information. Exchange names, contact information, drivers’ licenses and insurance information with the other parties involved. Gather the information of any eyewitnesses or vehicle passengers, as well.
  4. Take photographs of the crash site. If possible, take pictures of all involved vehicles and the scene as a whole before you leave. Make note of any nearby traffic or surveillance cameras that may have caught the accident on film.
  5. Notify your insurance company. Call your own auto insurance provider to report the motorcycle crash. Do not admit fault or give a recorded statement. Your insurance company will communicate with the other driver’s insurer and investigate to determine fault.

Never accept the first settlement offer. Insurance companies often underestimate a claimant’s losses and initially offer inadequate amounts. Instead, contact an attorney at Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP to discuss your case. While you focus on your physical and emotional well-being, we can take over insurance claim negotiations on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Motorcycle Accident?

Damages refer to the financial compensation that may be available to cover a motorcycle crash victim’s economic and noneconomic losses. Damages can be paid for by an insurance claim with an auto insurance provider or a jury verdict if the case goes to trial. Each case is unique, with different damages being appropriate for different crash victims.

Your compensable losses may include:

  • Past and future medical bills: all medical expenses and hospital bills associated with your crash, including any necessary medical transportation, hospital stays, tests, x-rays, surgeries, therapies, rehabilitation, medications and medical devices.
  • Disability or disfigurement: compensation for long-lasting or permanent injuries, including disfiguring scars, traumatic tattooing, spinal cord injuries, brain damage or internal organ damage.
  • Lost wages: losses of income while you were recovering from the motorcycle accident, as well as lost capacity to earn if you sustained a short-term or long-term disability that interfered with your ability to earn a living.
  • Pain and suffering: the intangible effects of being involved in a motorcycle accident, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.
  • Property damage: the costs of repairing your damaged motorcycle or replacing a totaled motorbike. This may also cover the repair or replacement costs of any damaged motorcycle gear and other personal property.

If your motorcycle accident lawyer can prove that the other driver or a third party is at fault for your crash, that party’s insurance company will be responsible for covering your related losses. Although most motor vehicle accident claims reach settlements, our attorneys are prepared to go to trial, if necessary, to secure maximum compensation for you.

Motorcycle Laws in California

You may not always be able to prevent a motorcycle accident since you cannot control the actions and behaviors of the drivers around you. However, you can reduce your risk of getting into a collision by obeying applicable laws and roadway rules. Obeying the motorcycling laws in California can keep your actions more predictable to surrounding drivers. It can also keep you out of legal trouble and prevent liability for an accident if a crash occurs.

California’s motorcycle laws include:

  • Motorcycle license: riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license before operating a motorcycle in California. This requires special training and tests, including a riding test. Motorcycle riders must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Roadway rules: motorcyclists have all of the same rights to the road as typical motor vehicle drivers. Other motorists must maintain a safe following distance and yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists, when necessary.
  • Lane-splitting law: lane splitting, or riding on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic, is no longer against the law in California. Motorcyclists are permitted to lane split as long as they do so safely and prudently.
  • Motorcycle helmets: all motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear motorcycle safety helmets while riding, regardless of age, under California Vehicle Code Section 27803. This law requires safety helmets that are compliant with the Department of Transportation’s regulations.
  • Required equipment: the motorcycle itself must possess all required equipment in proper operating condition. This includes working brakes, a headlamp, a taillight, a windscreen or eye protection, and a seat and footrests for each passenger.
  • Statute of limitations: if a motorcycle crash occurs, the statute of limitations in California gives a victim no more than two years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury claim. It is important to act quickly; if you wait too long and miss the deadline, the courts will bar you from making a financial recovery.

Operating a motorcycle in California requires you to obey applicable laws, be familiar with your bike, wear the required safety gear and be a responsible rider. Remain vigilant on your motorcycle at all times. Be on the lookout for drivers violating the laws or failing to see you. Be constantly prepared to act to avoid a collision. If an accident does occur, discuss your legal rights with an attorney at Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP.

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Orange County Can Help

It is important to protect yourself by hiring an attorney if you or a loved one suffers a serious injury in a motorcycle accident in Orange County. Dealing with an insurance company during this difficult and vulnerable time is not easy. An insurance company may try to take advantage of you to protect its own profitability. An attorney can help you negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster to work toward a fair case outcome.

You can trust your attorney to handle many difficult tasks on your behalf while you focus on healing, such as:

  • Revisiting the scene of your accident and investigating the cause of the crash.
  • Preserving and collecting evidence of the other party’s fault and your losses.
  • Discovering and interviewing witnesses.
  • Hiring highly qualified experts to testify during the case.
  • Accurately evaluating the value of your personal injury claim.
  • Protecting your rights and best interests during claim negotiations.
  • Using aggressive settlement negotiation tactics with an insurance claims adjuster.
  • Bringing your motorcycle accident case to trial in Orange County, if necessary.

Our lawyers will build your motorcycle accident case from the ground up, collecting proof and evidence to demonstrate the at-fault party’s liability and collecting medical records to establish your damages. Most importantly, our lawyers will stand by your side throughout the entire claims process. We will make sure you have everything you need to get through this difficult time.

Experienced Newport Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyers – Free Consultations!

Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP has a thorough understanding of California’s many motorcycle laws. We can help you sort through a recent accident, telling you what roadways laws the other driver may have broken, as well as your opportunities for legal action moving forward. We can also help you understand your own rights in terms of motorcycle helmet use, vehicle equipment, roadway usage, lane splitting, and more. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have about a potential motorcycle accident claim in Irvine, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Contact us at our Orange County office to schedule your free consultation today!

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If you have a legal matter you would like to discuss with an attorney from our firm, please call us at (310) 477-1700 or complete and submit the e-mail form below, and we will get back to you.

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