Answers to Frequency Asked Questions Concerning Motorcycle Accidents

San Francisco Oakland Marin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Attorney Top Rated

What should I do if I am involved in an accident on my motorcycle?

First, take care of your health and safety. Call 9-1-1 if you suffered an injury and need medical care. Get out of the roadway and to a safe place.It is important that you do not admit any fault or sign anything (i.e. any forms from an insurer) in order to preserve your rights.If possible, you should take photos of the scene of the collision, your  injuries, and the damage to your motorcycle.

Keep copies of any medical records or bills, repair receipts, wage loss, and make records of any related expenses.

Obtain a copy of the Traffic Collision Report from the relevant law enforcement agency as soon as you can, even if the report’s conclusions are not favorable to you. One issue our firm deals with frequently is confronting a Traffic Collision Report which concludes that our client was at fault when, in fact, they were not at fault. Often, there can be a bias against motorcyclists on the part of the reporting officer (who typically does not witness the subject collision) and our firm works very hard for our clients to overcome such obstacles and ensure their financial recovery.

Then call us toll free at 888-452-4752 or contact us through our website. We will review your claim for free and with no obligation on your part.

Must I tell the DMV if I am involved in a traffic accident?

If you are involved in a vehicle accident that occurred in California, you must report it to DMV using Form SR-1 if:

  • There was property damage of more than $750 or
  • Anyone was injured (no matter how minor) or
  • Anyone was killed.

Each driver must make a report to DMV within 10 days, whether you caused the accident or not and even if the accident occurred on private property. Mail the completed report form to the address on the form.

I was involved in a collision when a car traveling in the opposite direction turned left in front of me while I was riding my motorcycle. Who is at fault?

This is one of the most common types of crashes involving motorcyclists that we encounter at The Dolan Law Firm.  The driver of an oncoming car making a left turn into your path is almost always liable for a collision with a motorcycle traveling straight through an intersection. Exceptions to this near-automatic rule can apply if the vehicle going straight was going well over the speed limit, or ran a red light.

What does “comparative negligence” mean when determining who is liable for a motorcycle  accident?

Comparative negligence apportions fault among the drivers involved in a collision based on their degree of negligence or carelessness that contributed to the accident. In more basic terms, did you do anything that helped cause the collision? Did you do anything that led to injuries you suffered from the collision?Where a motorcycle is concerned, a common example of comparative negligence might be excessive speed, or if the motorcycle’s headlamp, brake light, or tail light is inoperable, especially if the collision happened at night.Frequently, we see juries apportion a percentage of comparative fault to motorcyclists simply because they were riding a motorcycle, albeit legally and safely. We know that some persons feel that riding a motorcycle, even if the rider has done nothing wrong, is itself a dangerous act. Our firm fights hard every day to educate the public, and juries, to negate this unjustified bias and preserve our clients’ rights.

Will my health insurance coverage or paid sick leave from work limit my recovery for my motorcycle accident?

If you were injured in a motorcycle collision, whether you paid for medical care out of your own pocket or your health insurance covered it is not relevant to any potential financial recovery; neither is whether your lost time at work was covered by sick leave or vacation pay. Keep in mind, however, that your own health insurance carrier may require that you reimburse them, out of your settlement or award, for some or all of the amounts they have paid to treat your injuries resulting from the collision.

I was injured in a motorcycle accident, but I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still recover damages from the other driver?

Even if your state has a mandatory helmet law, your failure to comply with that law will probably not prevent you from recovering for your injuries if someone else caused the accident. Depending on where you live, the issue may be relevant to the amount of damages you will recover, if it is shown that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries or made your injuries worse than they would have been had you been wearing a helmet.  (See earlier section on comparative fault.)Note that in California, Vehicle Code Section 27803 requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle, motorized bicycle or motor-driven cycle.

How do I know if a motorcycle helmet is acceptable under my state’s helmet law?

When shopping for a helmet, or if you have one already, look for a Department of Transportation label on the helmet (it will read “DOT”), which is the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to federal safety standards.

I ride a motorcycle and I don’t understand how the state can legally tell me I have to wear a helmet. Is that really something they can do?

Helmet laws have been deemed valid in many courts as a reasonable exercise of state power, justified by the state’s public policy interest in protecting the safety of motorcycle riders and other motorists, and in keeping insurance and health care costs low. It is similar to the state imposing seat belt requirements or speed limits, both of which have been held to be constitutional.

If I get into an accident on my motorcycle, should I get a lawyer to help me?

You should definitely enlist an experienced lawyer’s help to determine whether you have a legal claim for damages. Issues in your potential case, including compliance with traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, overcoming an unfavorable Traffic Collision Report, medical treatment issues, and liability, all require analysis by an attorney who is experienced in the area of motorcycle and motor vehicle accident liability.

Contact Top Rated Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm

For a free case evaluation by an experienced motorcycle crash attorney at The Dolan Law Firm call us toll free at 888-452-4752 or complete our contact form. We will review your claim for free and with no obligation on your part. We apply our extensive knowledge of the law and trial skills, as well as the firm’s substantial financial resources and access to experts, to provide each client with superior legal representation.