Experienced Representation for Fontana Motorcycle Accident Victims
Fontana and its surrounding communities are excellent places to ride a motorcycle. Those who like to ride in the city have plenty of opportunities to do so but so do those motorcycle enthusiasts inclined to ride up into the rural Southern California mountains. Unfortunately, while riding in San Bernardino County and nearby communities can be thrilling, empowering, and even relaxing, it isn’t always safe.
According to the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California Berkeley, there are more than 800,000 registered motorcycles in California. Of the riders who travel on these bikes, approximately 13,000 of them are injured badly enough in accidents annually to require medical treatment. Of those 13,000 riders injured annually in California motorcycle accidents, approximately 500 die as a result of their injuries. If you’ve recently been injured in a motorcycle accident in or near Fontana, know that you can speak with knowledgeable legal professionals with extensive experience representing the interests of motorcycle accident victims and that you can do so at no cost. Our firm believes that every single one of the 13,000 Californians injured as a result of motorcycle accidents each year deserves to understand their rights under state law and deserves to understand how to exercise their rights effectively. As a result, we offer no-risk, confidential consultations to all accident injury victims free of charge. Connect today to allow our respected legal team to clarify your rights and options after learning more about the unique circumstances surrounding your accident.
Passionate Advocacy for Motorcycle Accident Victims
Too often, those who travel on four wheels do not treat those who travel on two wheels with the respect and consideration that they deserve. And even though trucks and cars are far more massive than motorcycles are, it is often motorcycle riders who are unreasonably perceived as dangerous. Our firm takes great pride in representing the interests of motorcycle riders, in no small part, because they do not always receive the respect to which they are entitled on the road. When others are responsible for the harm that motorcycle riders suffer, those responsible need to be held to account. Speaking up for the rights of motorcycle accident victims not only helps to ensure that those individual accident victims are not unreasonably burdened with the costs that result from their injuries, speaking up helps to ensure that other motorcycle riders are respected and made safer on the roads moving forward. When you work with our firm, whether it be in a consultation setting or as a client, you will benefit from having knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate motorcycle riding advocates on your side.
Fault and Comparative Negligence
Some motorcyclists refrain from seeking legal advice in the wake of an accident because they are concerned that they may have caused or partially caused the accident in question. Do not make any assumptions about the relative strengths and weaknesses of your case until our knowledgeable legal team has had an opportunity to evaluate your situation. California is a comparative negligence state. This is good news for every accident victim. In contributory negligence states, injury victims may be barred from seeking compensation if they contributed in any way to the cause of their accident or otherwise injurious circumstances. By contrast, California allows victims to see compensation from those responsible for causing their harm even if they, in part, also contributed to the cause of that harm.
If you are considered to be partially at fault for your accident, you will simply not be able to seek as much compensation from others responsible for your harm as you would be able to if their choices had been the sole reason why your accident occurred. The percentage of fault assigned to you will also serve as the percentage that your compensation will decrease. For example, if the value of your harm is set at $40,000 and you are considered to be 25 percent at fault for your accident, you will still be able to pursue up to $30,000 from those responsible for the remainder of the harm that was caused.
How Do I Know if Others May Be Held Liable for My Harm?
Generally speaking, others may be held legally responsible for an injury victim’s harm if three primary criteria are met. First, it must be established that the defendant owed you a duty of care under the law. This is usually the easiest criterion to meet in a motorcycle accident case because the manufacturers of vehicle parts, those responsible for maintaining the safety of California roads, and other motorists are all responsible for behaving in ways that prioritize the safety of anyone traveling on the Golden State’s freeways and surface streets.
Second, it must be established that the defendant breached their duty of care to you by acting in ways deemed negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous under the law. Finally, it must be established that your injuries occurred as the direct result of their breach. Essentially, if any individual or legal entity acted negligently, recklessly, or dangerously with intention and you were hurt as a result, you may have strong grounds to hold them legally liable for the harm you have suffered.
When the Road Itself Is a Hazard
Because motorcycle riders operate vehicles that are not stabilized by four or more wheels and enclosed driving space, they are uniquely at risk for accidents involving road conditions and road maintenance failures. For example, if a truck or passenger vehicle hits a pothole, chances are that an accident will not result directly from that impact. The structure of larger vehicles makes it so that most road conditions do not serve as a catalyst for an accident. However, if a motorcycle rider hits a pothole, they may be sent skidding, flying over their handlebars, or careening into a ditch. As a result, motorcycle riders are more likely to be in a position to hold municipalities and other government agencies responsible for road maintenance accountable for contributing to the harm they have suffered. Therefore, if the road itself contributed to the cause of your accident, please let us know so that we may explore the possibility of holding those responsible for safe maintenance of the roads accountable for your injuries.
If I Was Lane-Splitting, Will that Affect My Case?
California is unique in that it permits motorcycle riders to “lane split.” No other state has explicitly legalized this practice. California Vehicle Code § 21658.1 defines lane splitting as “driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane including on both divided and undivided streets, roads and highways.” Therefore, your case should not be impacted negatively if you were lane sharing, provided that you weren’t doing so in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous way. For example, motorcyclists are not supposed to lane split with particularly large vehicles such as 18 wheelers and motorhomes. They are also generally not allowed to operate at a speed that exceeds a rate 10 miles per hour faster than the flow of traffic and are ill-advised to lane split when traffic is flowing faster than 30 miles per hour. You are legally permitted to lane split in California but if you did so dangerously, you may be assigned some fault for the accident in question if your dangerous lane sharing behavior contributed to the cause of your injuries.
Do I Have Legal Options if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
All motorcycle and motorized cycle riders are required to wear an approved and snug-fitting helmet that is strapped while operating two-wheeled motorized vehicles. If you were not wearing a helmet, as required by law, at the time of your accident, you may be assigned a relative percentage of fault for your injuries, provided that any of your injuries could have potentially been prevented or mitigated, had you been wearing a helmet. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t hold others legally responsible for their contributions to the cause(s) of your crash. It simply means that you may be assigned some of the faults for your injuries, which will reduce your eligibility for compensation by the percentage of fault assigned.
Do I Need Legal Guidance if I Don’t Want to File a Lawsuit?
If you aren’t interested in pursuing legal action against others who were partially or totally responsible for the harm you have suffered, it is still wise to speak with an attorney in the wake of a motorcycle accident. Even if you are not going to file a personal injury suit, you will likely be dealing with at least one insurance company in the wake of your accident. Insurance company representatives are trained to pay injury victims a minimal amount or to reject their claims when possible. Devaluation and rejection of claims isn’t usually a malicious business practice. Most of the time, insurance companies simply look for loopholes that they can take advantage of in order to better protect their bottom line. Therefore, it can be very helpful to speak with an attorney so that they can efficiently and effectively negotiate with insurance claims adjusters and representatives on your behalf. Our firm has extensive experience negotiating successfully with insurance representatives on behalf of our clients. Our efforts can help to prevent the devaluation or rejection of a legitimate claim, undue delays, and administrative headaches.
Being Proactive About Your Free Consultation Time
The best way to ensure that you’re making informed decisions about your legal rights and options is to ask an experienced legal professional as many questions as you may have about your situation. Once you’ve asked these questions, you will better understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of each legal opportunity available to you at this time. Therefore, it is important to spend some time writing down all of your questions so that you can reference them easily and take notes accordingly during your consultation.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that we will be empowered to give you legal guidance that is particularly personalized if you can provide us with detailed information concerning your situation. If you have a copy of the accident report filed at the scene, discharge instructions from any medical visits related to your injury, the contact information and names of any witnesses to your accident, photos and videos taken at the scene, or other relevant information that will give us a better understanding of how your accident unfolded, please bring this information to your consultation as well. The more we know, the more we can help you.
Our firm offers free consultations to all accident injury victims with “no strings attached” to these appointments. We believe that if you’ve been hurt and someone else may be legally responsible for causing that harm, you deserve to understand your rights and how to hold those responsible accountable for causing you harm. You have nothing to lose by speaking with our experienced legal team but you may have much to gain by investing an hour or two of your time doing so. Please connect today to schedule your free case evaluation. We look forward to speaking with you.