Regardless of how safe a rider you are, there is always a chance that you will be injured in a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, many motorists simply don’t look for motorcycles, and when an accident occurs the rider often suffers serious injuries. If you are a victim of another’s negligence it is very important that you have an attorney representing you who will fight for you. The following are among the more frequently asked questions we at Nadrich & Cohen, LLP as asked by motorcycle injury clients.
Q: If I only ride my motorcycle for recreation, do I need to wear a helmet?
A: California law requires any driver or passenger on a motorcycle to wear a safety helmet. The standards for the helmet are detailed in Section 27802, which explains that the helmet must fit the wearer’s head securely and be fastened with straps in such a way that the helmet does not move excessively.
Q: Can I still collect damages from a negligent party if I am not wearing a helmet when injured in a motorcycle accident?
A: Your failure to abide by the helmet law will not likely affect your ability to collect compensation from the other party. However, if your injuries are in part due to the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet, this can negatively affect the amount of compensation you are awarded.
Q: Why is it the state’s business if I wear a helmet? I’m not hurting anyone else if I choose not to wear one.
A: The helmet law was enacted not only for your protection, but also for the sake of insurance companies that might have to pay out damages that otherwise could be avoided. In other words, the law is not only for your benefit, but for society’s as a whole.
Q: What should I do immediately after getting into a motorcycle accident?
A: The first thing you need to do is tend to your own health. If you are hurt and have a cell phone, call 911. Do this as well if anyone else who is involved in the accident appears to have suffered injury. Following this, make sure that you don’t admit fault, even if you think you may have caused the accident. You need to consult with an attorney before making any statements of this sort. Don’t sign anything to this effect, either. If you are able, take photographs of the accident scene with your cell phone camera. Make sure to keep records of all medical bills and other expenses related to your accident, such as the cost of repairing your bike.
Q: When do I need to report a motorcycle accident to law enforcement?
A: You are required to report an accident to the police if any of the following applies: a death occurred, someone was injured, or property was damaged. The officer will make a written report and you will need to obtain a copy of this for your case.
Q: I have heard that motorcycle accidents are more dangerous than car accidents. This makes sense, but how much more dangerous are they?
A: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that as a rider you are as much as 18 times more likely to die, and three times more likely to be injured in an accident.
Q: I was injured in a motorcycle accident and I think I have a case. Do I have to go to court, or can the case be resolved without doing so?
A: In the majority of cases the defendant’s insurance company will agree to pay compensation without litigating the matter. This is not uniformly true, however. Some companies are philosophically opposed to settling without a fight. Also, sometimes there is a question of comparative negligence, in which case you may have to go to court if you hope to be compensated.
Q: If the insurance adjuster contacts me and requests that I provide copies of my medical records, do I need to comply?
A: Absolutely not! Giving the adjuster this information might damage your case.
Q: What happens if I am in a motorcycle accident and the defendant doesn’t have insurance? Can I still receive compensation?
A: It depends. If you have uninsured motorist protection you are fine. If not, you may be able to have a lien placed on the defendant’s assets, provided you win your case, of course.
Q: While riding my motorcycle I was hit by a car when it turned left in front of me at an intersection. Am I at fault?
A: Probably not. In the vast majority of cases the car turning left will be held liable. However, if you were speeding or were in the act of breaking the law in another way at the time, you may well be deemed at least partially liable.
Q: Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?
A: While you are not legally required to do so, you most definitely should work with an attorney. This individual will tell you whether you likely have a claim against the defendant and have the potential to collect damages. Your attorney also understands the process of negotiating personal injury cases thoroughly, and if your case needs to go to trial has the knowledge and grit to help you win on your day in court.
Q: I don’t have much money, and with the accident I can’t work for a while. How can I pay for a personal injury attorney?
A: We at Nadrich & Cohen, LLP will only get paid if you win your case. Our fees will be paid out of your settlement, so you don’t need to worry about not having the money to pay for quality legal representation. For this reason there is no good reason NOT to work with us if you have a viable claim. You have nothing to lose, and you may potentially gain compensation for all of your medical costs, lost work time, damage to your motorcycle, pain, suffering and more.
We Are Here to Help You
Call the Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP today if you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident and believe that the other motorist was at least in part to blame.