General Information you need to know about your California Motorcycle Accident Case
- If you have already been in a motorcycle accident in the State of California, we highly recommend that you stop reading right now, and call our law firm for a free telephone consultation at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1. We will tell you over the telephone if we think that you have a case and whether we can help you.
- If we believe we can help you, and you decide to retain us, we can then send our investigator to you with all of the legal forms necessary for you to retain our law firm.
- If you do not have medical insurance or a medical provider, we can immediately refer you to an appropriate doctor near you for medical treatment. (Yes, even if you do not have medical insurance)
- Yes, this can all be accomplished with one phone call to our law firm. We try to make the process as simple as possible for you.
California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez is a nationally recognized expert in Motorcycle Law and Motorcycle Accident Cases.
The owner and founder of our law firm, Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., is a long time rider of motorcycles, and as such has intimate knowledge of the special issues and problems related to Motorcycle Accident cases. As a rider himself, he understands from a “riders” point of view how these types of accidents normally happen and the catastrophic injuries that can result from such accidents.
You may have seen many ads from other so-called Biker or Motorcycle Lawyers in motorcycle magazines or on the Internet. You may have even seen them at motorcycle events with their booths set up, and passing out cards and gifts. We invite you to ask these so-called biker lawyers if they actually ride, and if so, what they ride! Another question to ask is when was the last time they rode? Our law firm owner and founder puts thousands of miles on his bike each year. He currently rides a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Custom Ultra. You will never see him “trailering” a custom bike to a motorcycle show to give the appearance of being a real biker lawyer like a few other attorneys out there trying to make you think they are Biker Lawyers. Mr. Fernandez really is a biker lawyer. Rather than set up booths at shows, Mr. Fernandez actually rides to the shows. Only a real biker knows the dangers related to riding motorcycles on roads and city streets. Mr. Fernandez will bring to your motorcycle accident case, real world experience not only as a fellow biker, but as a competent personal injury lawyer.
Mr. Fernandez has discussed issues related to motorcycle law and motorcycle accident cases on NBC News, the American Bar Association Journal, the Riverside Press Enterprise, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other media publications as well as in person at industry events. He is an expert in this field who actually rides.
Special problems and issues related to motorcycle accidents
Most motorcycle accidents occur for two reasons; cagers (people driving in cars, also known as cagers to the riders of motorcycles.) either fail to see the motorcyclist before the accident, or demonstrate a reckless indifference towards the right of a motorcyclist to share the same road as their car for whatever reason.
Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections on city streets. It’s usually the same old scenario, a car or other vehicle makes a left hand turn in front of the motorcyclist who has the right of way, causing the motorcyclist to either: (1)”lay it down” if he or she has time; (2) Violently swerve to avoid the impending collusion, usually resulting in the motorcycle striking another object; and/or (3)The motorcycle slams into the vehicle throwing the ride into the air.
There are many other motorcycle accident scenarios which will not be discussed here, but with which we all as riders intimately familiar.
The Cager (person in the motor vehicle) usually uses the same old excuse; I did not see the motorcycle rider. In some instances it has been reported to us that Cagers seemed to have purposefully swerved into or ran a motorcycle off the road because of road rage, or for whatever reason. In the instance of this type of conduct, we would consider the case to be an intentional act and seek punitive damages from the cager.
In California, motorcycle lane splitting is legal. Many accidents occur when cagers change lanes right into a motorcyclist, while the motorcycle is splitting lanes. Sometimes cagers will actually swerve over to cut off the motorcyclist who is splitting lanes just because they are angry that they have to wait in traffic or for whatever other reason.
Pursuant to California Law, Motorcyclist have the same rights to use public roads, as other motor vehicles. The excuses that we have heard used as defenses to cagers hitting or cutting off motorcyclist just do not cut it. “I did not see him,” is no excuse. Each motorist on the road has a duty of due care to watch out for their fellow motorist.
The biggest problem in these types of accidents is if you decide to hire some generic yellow pages or internet attorney with fancy ads, but who has never ridden a motorcycle or dealt with a motorcycle accident case. These guys have no clue how to deal with the prejudice that motorcycle riders face during all aspects of their case, the traumatic injuries involved, and the long term effects of such a traumatic injury.
Since we are familiar with these scenarios, and we will aggressively fight for you in your Motorcycle case.
TIME LIMIT TO FILE A LAWSUIT IN California Motorcycle Accident (California STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS)
The present Statute of Limitations for filing a lawsuit for personal injuries related to your motorcycle accident in the State of California is two (2) years from the date of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two (2) years, you lose your right to sue!
If any of the parties to the accident is a governmental entity such as county vans and vehicles, a claim must be filed with the entity within 6 months from the date of the accident. If the entity rejects the claim, they must then be sued within 6 months from the date of the rejection.
The only time that you should ever wait two years to file a lawsuit in a motorcycle accident, is if you are presently treating with a medical provider for injuries sustained in the accident. In such cases you damages are not fully known (ripe).
What do you do if you are in a motorcycle Accident?
Being in a motorcycle accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life, especially if you are seriously injured. Many people die each year in motorcycle accidents in the United States. Further, there is a 75% higher risk of you suffering an injury in a motorcycle accident as opposed to being in a car, and the injuries are usually greater because you have no protection other than what you are wearing.
If you are in any type of motorcycle accident, make sure you get a police report, especially if you are injured.
Many police agencies in California will not respond to what they consider to be minor motorcycle accidents. If you are in an accident and you are injured, make sure you inform the police of this fact, and insist that someone come out to investigate the accident and take a police report. This is very important for your case.
If you are able too, try to get the names and addresses of any and all witnesses.
Do not make any statements at the scene of the accident to anybody but the police.
If you are truly injured in the motorcycle accident, call the paramedics or request that someone else call the paramedics for you. It’s better to error on the side of caution, than to find out later that you are seriously injured.
If the paramedics give you the option of not being transported to a hospital, tell them that you want to be transported to a hospital. By law the paramedics must transport injured persons to a hospital upon request. Again, it is better to error on the side of caution. We have seen all types of motorcycle accident victims, and many types of motorcycle accident injuries could result in internal bleeding or hidden damage that you might be aware of at the time of the accident. After an accident, the chemical adrenaline is produced by the body which increases your heart rate. During this process the pain you are experiencing might not seem to severe.
We cannot tell you how many of our client’s have been involved in motorcycle accidents and went home thinking that the pain they were feeling would go away, only to end up not being able to move a few hours later. GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM TO GET CHECKED OUT!
NEVER LEAVE THE SCENE OF ACCIDENT, THE REQUIREMENT OF THE EXCHANGE INFORMATION
California Law requires that all persons involved in a motorcycle accident to exchange drivers license, Vehicle Registration, and insurance information with each other at the scene of an accident.
If you are physically able too, you must also provide your drivers license, vehicle registration, and insurance information to any other persons involved in the accident.
Never leave the scene of a motorcycle accident without exchanging information. You could be charged with hit and run which is a felony and a crime in the State of California.
Do not ride down the street and then stop. We highly recommend that you leave your motorcycle where it is until the police arrive so that they can observe the position of the motorcycle and do their report. Only if you have too, do we recommend moving your motorcycle out of traffic to the side of the road or medium of a freeway. ONLY MOVE YOUR MOTORCYCLE IF YOU HAVE TOO FOR SAFETY REASONS! In any case, never move your motorcycle to a location where it can be construed by someone that you fled from the scene of an accident!
Unfortunately many persons in the State of California drive illegally without automobile or motor vehicle insurance. It is for this reason that we always tell our clients to carry uninsured motorist bodily injury, and uninsured motorist property damage insurance coverage.
You may find out while exchanging information with the other motorist you had an accident with that they have some sort of excuse for not having a current proof of insurance card, or they may not even have a drivers license. If this is the case, it is more likely than not that the other driver does not have insurance or a drivers license. We do not recommend arguing with the other driver. Arguing can lead to physical violence. It’s bad enough that you just had a motorcycle accident, the last thing you need is to go to jail for fighting with the other driver, or being physically assaulted. Use your brain! Get whatever information you can from the person even if they provide proper documentation.
When provided with the things mentioned above, write everything down in detail, i.e., Full Name, Address, Drivers License Number, Date of Expiration, Date of Birth, Hair Color, Height, Weight, Restrictions, Insurance Company name, address, and telephone number, Insurance policy number, date of expiration of insurance, Year, Make, Model, License Plate, Vehicle Identification Number, and Color of all vehicles involved in the accident, Registered owner of vehicle, address, etc.
In other words, write down every piece of information from each of the items given to you by the other driver. It will only help us to prosecute your case!
Here are some things that you might try to write down aside from the required information mentioned above:
Were any of the parties involved in the accident driving a commercial vehicle, truck, van, and/or working at the time of the accident?
Any statements made by any of the persons involved in the accident.
A full description (race, height, age, weight, hair color and style, clothes, etc.) of each driver involved in the accident.
Whether any persons in the accident were wearing eye glasses or sun glasses.
Whether any persons involved in the accident appeared to be intoxicated.
Passenger information for all vehicles.
Whether the windows of any of the vehicles tinted.
Whether any persons involved in the accident talking on the cell phone at the time of the accident. (their cell phone records can be obtained by us through subpoena if we are forced to litigate)
The facts of the accident as you understand them.
All witness names, addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle types, license plate numbers, etc. (sometimes witnesses will offer to help at the scene of the accident, but then become unavailable or refuse to return phone calls or mailings after the fact. Getting detailed information from them including their vehicle information may help us to locate them if necessary or they become non-cooperative.)
If you are can, call our office at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1, from the scene of the accident, and we will try to immediately dispatch an investigator to the accident scene, depending upon where you are and the facts of the accident. If you cannot call us, try to contact level headed relatives or friends to come to the scene of the accident. They can not only help you to obtain information, but they can also act as witnesses to statements made by persons involved in the accident, property damage, and your injuries. Witnesses are always a good thing, especially if they are helpful to your case! They can also assist you in removing belongings from your vehicle if necessary, and give you a ride if you motorcycle needs to be towed.
Following our advice will in the end help us to prosecute your case.
What do you do with your motorcycle After an Accident?
You have been involved in a motorcycle accident, what do you do with your motorcycle?
Before discussing this subject, we want to discuss the subject of “Road Side Assistance Plans,” such as AAA, and/or insurance company provided plans.
We recommend that you always have a Road Side Assistance plan because it will not only help you out if your motorcycle breaks down, or run out of gas, and can also save you lot’s of grief if you do have a motorcycle accident.
There are two types of motorcycle accidents with respect to your motorcycle; (1) The type where your motorcycle is totaled and/or not ridable; and the type of motorcycle accident where you motorcycle is ridable. There is also the situation where you may be too injured to make any decisions about your motorcycle at the scene of the accident. We will not discuss that scenario right now.
If you motorcycle is obviously totaled and/or not drivable, and you are able, we first recommend if you are able, that you call your insurance company from the scene of the accident to report the accident. Your insurance company should be able to give you a list of approved motorcycle repairs shops that you can have your motorcycle towed to nearby, and you may find out that your insurance company will cover the cost of the tow. Often times your insurance company my arrange to have the motorcycle towed to the nearest approved motorcycle repair shop. Using this process will also help speed up the process of the insurance companies investigation, appraising the damage, and either having the motorcycle repaired or totalled. However, some insurance companies will not assign an adjuster to your case for 24-48 hours. Either way, try your insurance company first.
If the above is not possible, and you are in a situation where you can call your road side assistance company, call them, and inform them that you have been in an accident and ask them to send a tow truck to tow your car. With most road side assistance programs this service if free. If you allow the police to have your car towed, your car will usually be taken to a tow lot that will then charge you for the tow and storage until your car is removed from their lot. Although your insurance may pay for this, it will be harder to get your personal belongings out of the car in the short term.
If you motorcycle is SAFELY drivable, then immediately ride it home or to your motorcycle repair shop to have get an estimate of the damage. It is very important to get the estimate in writing.
The Necessity of a competent California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The above information is just a small part what you need to know when dealing with accidents.
As a California Motorcycle accident law firm that handles all types of motorcycle accidents all over the State of California, we must above all, highly recommend that you retain an attorney like us to represent you in your motorcycle accident case. Preferably within the first 24-48 hours of the time the motorcycle accident occurred.
We have dealt with many people who thought they could do it on their own without a lawyer, who in the end either by their own words or conduct unintentionally sabotaged their own motorcycle accident case, or settled their motorcycle accident case for a small fraction of what their case was actually worth.
More then anything, we dislike having to tell someone who attempted to handle this complex area of the law on their own, that there is nothing we can do for them because they already settled their motorcycle accident case, or they waited too long to file suit, etc.
Our purpose as a law firm is to provide you with aggressive, competent legal representation on your motorcycle accident case. The word competency is not just some marketing term. Competency means that you have the someone has the expertise and knowledge to handle something.
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez has the level of competency of expert status with an Avvo rating of 10, which is the highest possible attorney rating, to get you maximum results in your case.
We have what it takes to prosecute your California motorcycle accident case. Don’t be a fool, and try to represent yourself. Lawyers are here for a reason; because we know the system and how to navigate through it. We know what you are entitled too and how to get it either through settlement or litigation.
You may call us now for a free consultation on your motorcycle accident case at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1. You have nothing to lose except the money you may be entitled to in your case!