September 25th, 2023|
According to California Highway Patrol data, there were 596 motorcyclist fatalities in 2022, with 19 in Alameda County and 20 in Sacramento County. These staggering statistics make it critical for everyone on the road to ensure rider safety. As a rider, complying with California’s helmet laws is a big part of safeguarding your well-being when riding your motorcycle.
But what happens if you were injured in a crash and weren’t wearing your helmet? Can non-compliance affect your motorcycle accident claim?
While not wearing a helmet does not prohibit you from seeking compensation, the insurance company may try to hold you partially responsible for your injuries. Our California motorcycle accident attorneys can help you understand your rights after a motorcycle crash and determine the impact of the state’s helmet laws on your settlement.
Under California law (Statute 27803), all drivers and passengers must wear helmets when riding or operating a motorcycle. Head injuries are the leading cause of serious and fatal motorcyclist injuries, accounting for approximately 37% of the more than 4,500 motorcycle crash fatalities annually in the U.S.
Wearing a certified helmet can reduce the risk of these injuries. Under Statute 27802, helmets in California must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218, which typically means the helmet must be U.S. DOT certified and comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
California uses pure comparative negligence to determine settlement awards. This allows compensation to be adjusted based on the degree of fault of each party in an accident.
This means that even if you’re partly responsible for the crash, you can still seek compensation; however, the amount you receive is reduced according to your contribution to the accident.
Although they may be primarily at fault for the accident, the other party can submit evidence to prove you were partially responsible due to not wearing a helmet. If they can show your failure to wear a helmet exacerbated or directly caused your injuries, it can lower their liability percentage and affect your potential compensation.
Helmet usage can have major implications on your potential settlement or damage award. The other party’s insurer and your motorcycle accident attorney will consider several elements to determine the impact that not wearing a helmet may have on your settlement, such as:
- Duty to mitigate: All California drivers have a duty to mitigate or lower the risk of potential harm when on the road. Not wearing your helmet may indicate that you acted negligently in this duty, potentially reducing your damage award.
- Adherence to state law: Riders are expected to follow all traffic laws on the state’s roads and highways. If you ignore the law by not wearing a helmet, it can be used against you, lowering the compensation you receive from the at-fault party.
- Direct contribution to injuries: Your award may depend on how much of a direct impact not wearing your helmet had on your injuries. For example, if you suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, the insurer may offer less money because your actions directly contributed to your damages.
If you ride a motorcycle in the Golden State, complying with applicable helmet laws for your personal safety is essential. It also protects your interests if you’re involved in a crash.
Consult a motorcycle crash attorney at our law firm for guidance on your claim. Our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve by providing the following:
- Expert legal guidance: We help you understand your rights, potential liabilities, and the impact of not wearing a helmet on your claim.
- Skilled claims navigation: We manage paperwork, deadlines, and communications with insurance companies, ensuring you have a well-supported claim.
- Optimal outcome strategies: We create a strategic plan to secure the most favorable outcome for your motorcycle accident claim. This includes determining fault, evaluating your injuries, and fighting for fair compensation.
- Negotiate comparative negligence: Weskillfully negotiate the concept of comparative negligence while advocating for your interests.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. Our experienced team has over 40 years of experience serving motorcycle accident victims in California and will use our understanding of helmet and motorcycle insurance law to get you a fair settlement.
Contact our California motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation today. We can guide you through the legal process and fight for the restitution you deserve for your injuries.
June 5th, 2023|
Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences, resulting in physical injuries, emotional trauma, and significant financial losses. Even the most experienced and cautious riders can be injured due to another’s negligence. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, seeking legal representation is crucial to protecting your interests and pursuing compensation.
A California motorcycle accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the legal system, investigate the accident, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court. Seeking fair compensation for your injuries can help you pay for necessary medical treatment and offer financial support after a crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, motorcyclists were roughly 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than occupants of passenger vehicles per mile traveled. This increased risk for severe injuries and fatalities is due to factors such as the lack of protection offered by motorcycles and their smaller size, which makes them more challenging to see.
In addition to the physical risks, motorcyclists in California may face bias from insurance companies, jurors, and law enforcement officials who may assume that the motorcyclist was at fault in an accident. This bias can make it difficult for injured riders to receive fair compensation for injuries and damages.
California law also recognizes the concept of pure comparative negligence, which means that both parties involved in an accident can be assigned a degree of fault based on their actions leading up to the accident. Biased insurers may try to assign a higher percentage of fault to motorcycle riders who don’t have skilled legal representation to fight on their behalf, reducing your payout.
Our motorcycle attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can provide invaluable assistance to motorcycle accident victims. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources to help maximize your compensation in a motorcycle injury case with the following actions:
- Determine fault: Your motorcycle accident lawyer will investigate the accident, gather evidence like photos and witness statements, and analyze the police report to determine who is at fault. We will use our experience to build a strong argument for your case, including sending spoliation letters to preserve evidence and using reconstructionists to recreate the accident scene.
- Evaluate current injuries: Our attorneys will work with medical professionals to fully evaluate your injuries and the extent of your damages. We use this information to advocate for fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Review past medical history: We will review your medical history for conditions that may have been aggravated or worsened by the accident. This information will be used to help strengthen your case and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Fight for fair compensation: Our lawyers will fight for fair compensation even if your treatment exceeds the standard length of treatment accepted by the insurance company.
- Check your insurance policy: Your legal team will check your insurance policy to see if we can find coverage to pay for your damages if the person who hit you doesn’t carry insurance. For example, you may have a UMC/UIM policy covering your accident-related costs, such as medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also have elected for MedPay coverage under your plan, which will pay for medical expenses. We will ensure you receive the maximum compensation available through all possible avenues.
- Advocate for your interests: At Berg Injury Lawyers, your attorney will advocate for your interests throughout the legal process, providing guidance and support every step of the way.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our team has over 35 years of experience representing injured motorcyclists in California. Let us use our legal expertise and knowledge of the law to protect your rights, investigate and gather evidence, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and maximize your compensation. We know what a fair settlement offer looks like, and our experience will prevent you from being lowballed by the insurance company.
With our no fee guarantee, you can get the legal representation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you get the financial compensation you are owed.
April 10th, 2023|
California is a prime destination for motorcyclists due to its pleasant weather and open roads. Unfortunately, it’s also a leading state in motorcycle accidents, with numerous life-altering injuries and fatalities each year.
Understanding the dangers of motorcycle riding and common accident causes can help you stay safe on the road. Contact the California motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers if you are involved in a motorcycle crash. We have the resources and experience to help you maximize your compensation for your injuries.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 952,977 motorcycles registered in California in 2021. This means the Golden State has the highest number of registered motorcycles in the county.
Unfortunately, California also has the second-highest annual motorcycle fatalities in the nation, with 539 deaths in 2020. This is a 58% increase over 2010 fatalities and 20% over those in 2015. The state also saw 10,122 motorcyclist injuries in 2021.
Motorcycle accidents occur for several reasons, including lane splitting, driving under the influence, and speeding. In California, these accidents can lead to devastating injuries for motorcycle riders and passengers.
Lane splitting has been legal in California since 2017; however, it puts motorcycle riders at an increased risk of an accident. The most recent study on lane splitting in California found that 17% of motorcycle collisions between 2012 and 2013 involved lane splitting.
Lane splitting can be dangerous for motorcyclists because it reduces space for maneuvering a motorcycle. It also puts riders at risk of aggressive or negligent behavior from other motorists.
For example, drivers may intentionally try to push a lane-splitting motorcyclist off the road. They may also forget to check their blind spot when switching lanes on the highway, hitting the motorcyclist when changing lanes.
Speeding is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents nationwide. The NHTSA reports that speeding resulted in 11,258 fatalities in 2020.
California saw 1,228 speeding fatalities in 2020, reflecting a worrying trend of increased speeding deaths. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (CA-OTS) numbers, speeding fatalities have increased by 16.3% since 2016 and 28.7% since 2012.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to speed-related accidents due to their lack of protection. Speeding in wet or rainy conditions can further increase the risk of accidents as it reduces visibility, decreases traction, and increases braking distance. This makes it crucial for motorcyclists to practice safe riding habits, especially in adverse weather.
In California, it is illegal for adults over 21 to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over 0.08%. However, a BAC as low as 0.02% can begin impairing a rider’s driving skills.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol significantly increases the risk of motorcycle accidents. Alcohol impairs drivers’ judgment, vision, and reaction time, making it more difficult to avoid hazards on the road. This applies to both motorcycle riders and vehicle drivers.
A motorcycle crash is devastating to its victims. From medical bills and lost wages to the significant emotional and psychological toll on riders and their families, dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be challenging.
Seek legal representation from expert motorcycle attorneys today so you have the support you need to win a fair settlement for your injuries.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team stands up for the rights of motorcycle riders in the Golden State and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve after an accident.
March 20th, 2023|
Motorcycle accidents can have a devastating impact on the lives of riders and their families. The physical, emotional, and financial consequences of a motorcycle accident can be overwhelming, making it essential to understand the process of calculating damages to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses.
The California motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can provide a comprehensive overview of how damages are calculated in a motorcycle accident. From economic to non-economic damages, we will cover the various factors used to calculate your compensation so you get a fair settlement for your losses.
Motorcyclists face unique risks on the road, such as being hit by larger vehicles and not being seen by other drivers due to poor visibility, inattention, or carelessness.
There is little protection besides a helmet or riding gear between motorcycle riders, the pavement, or other vehicles. This makes them more likely to suffer serious and life-altering injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, road rash, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries.
Potholes, gravel, and other road hazards also pose a risk to motorcyclists, and distracted drivers often don’t see motorcyclists and collide with them when changing lanes or turning. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that one-third of all multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes result from other drivers turning into the motorcycle’s path.
Calculating damages in a motorcycle accident is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the various factors involved.
Economic damages, such as medical expenses and property damage, can be easily quantified, while non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are more subjective and require a formula or multiplier to calculate.
Additionally, exemplary damages may also be awarded to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior in the future. California Civil Code 3294 states that a negligent party that acts with malice, fraud, or oppression may be liable for these damages. In a motorcycle accident, this could refer to an aggressive driver who tried to run you off the road or someone who drove under the influence and caused the crash.
- Economic Damages
Economic damages refer to quantifiable financial losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, future earnings, and property damage.
We can use documents like medical receipts, pay stubs, and mechanic repair bills to calculate your economic damages. These figures provide the total financial losses for your case and set a baseline for determining non-economic damages using the multiplier or per diem calculation method.
- Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are more subjective and relate to intangible harm such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
Hiring an attorney with Berg Injury Lawyers after a motorcycle crash can help ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. Our skilled legal team will use our knowledge of motorcycle injuries and California insurance laws to calculate your total damages, including economic and non-economic losses.
We can help you prove the seriousness of your injuries with evidence such as photographs and expert testimony and negotiate with the insurer to get you the highest possible settlement to pay for your current and future losses.
- Prove the Seriousness of Your Injuries
Serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries, disfigurements, or spinal cord injuries often result in a longer recovery time and ongoing medical treatment or rehabilitation services.
For example, the estimated lifetime cost of paraplegia at 25 years old is about $2,524,270; if you sustain an injury that results in paraplegia, we’re able to calculate current and future medical costs.
We use medical records, treatment logs, and X-ray or MRI diagnostic test results to prove your damages and show why you deserve a maximum settlement.
- Maximize Your Compensation
The nature of your injuries, length of recovery time, and impact on your daily life influence your compensation award. We use these factors to negotiate with the insurance company for an appropriate payout.
We will demonstrate how your injuries affect your ability to enjoy your daily life and maintain relationships. Journal entries, mental health assessments, and witness testimony from family and friends are excellent ways to establish how your injury has impacted your life.
We will seek maximum compensation for your pain and suffering by negotiating with the insurer and taking legal action if necessary.
When your life has been turned upside down, you need help. Seek the assistance of a motorcycle accident attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers to ensure that your damages are properly calculated and that you are fully compensated for your losses.
By having a qualified and experienced law firm on your side, you can focus on healing while we recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case review to learn your legal options and start the claims process.
February 24th, 2023|
For many Californians, riding a motorcycle can be liberating. Unfortunately, that freedom can sometimes come at the price of safety since there is less protection between them, the road, and other drivers.
Statistics show that if you are a motorcyclist who is involved in an accident with another vehicle, you are more likely to suffer severe injury or death than the passengers in the other vehicle. The question is: how much more?
The odds of surviving a motorcycle crash are hard to pinpoint since they depend on many factors such as speed, road conditions, the number and type of vehicles involved, the manner of collision, and the safety gear worn by the riders.
However, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows that the odds of surviving a motorcycle accident nationwide range from 90-95 percent.
Motorcycle Fatalities Compared to Passenger Car Fatalities
While these seem like good odds, motorcycle fatalities are still relatively high compared with car accident fatalities. For instance, according to the NHTSA, in 2020, there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed, which accounted for 14 percent of all crash fatalities in the U.S. that year.
This means that in that same year, a motorcyclist was 28 times more likely to die and 4 times more likely to be injured in a crash than a passenger in a car.
What Are the Odds of an Injury on a Motorcycle?
Although the survival rate in a motorcycle crash is high, it doesn’t account for any injuries, which can often be quite severe. In fact, based on NHTSA data, only 1 in 4 motorcyclists walk away from an accident unscathed. In other words, about 80% of motorcycle-involved accidents result in some form of injury and most of those injured were on a motorcycle. Compare that with car accidents, in which 80% of those involved walk away without injury.
What You Can Expect When Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re ever involved in an accident in California, the first step is always to seek immediate medical attention. Once everyone at the scene is safe, the next step is to call the police to fill out an accident report and collect the contact information of everyone involved. It’s also a good idea to take photos with your phone of any injuries and/or damage to the vehicles involved before anything is moved. Also, keep careful records of all your medical and motorcycle repair expenses.
No matter the circumstances, never speak with the insurance companies or sign any documents without legal representation. Insurance companies, including your own, are looking out for their bottom line and will do whatever it takes to place the blame on you or pressure you to accept an offer that is lower than you deserve.
Therefore, it’s crucial to find the right motorcycle injury lawyer in Sacramento who understands the complex laws and circumstances related to motorcycle riding in California. They will have the expertise to build a strong case, find all the parties at fault, and negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement with the insurance companies.
Tips to Avoid or Survive a Motorcycle Accident
While we never want or expect to be involved in a motorcycle accident, it can happen to the best of us. Therefore, if you want to be as safe as possible while riding on a motorcycle, here are some tips to protect yourself:
Wear a Helmet
While it’s good to be protected from head to toe, the #1 best line of defense is to wear a helmet.
In California, it’s the law for all motorcycle riders to always wear a helmet. This is because according to the CDC, wearing a helmet can help prevent serious head injury by 69 percent and death by 37 percent. When shopping for a standard-grade helmet, make sure that it has a DOT-approved safety rating and fits your head correctly.
While a few states are more lenient with their helmet laws, wearing one can save your life and even lower your insurance premiums. On the contrary, if it is found that not wearing a helmet contributed to your injuries, you may recover a smaller settlement award.
Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
Riding a motorcycle safely takes more skill, knowledge and practice than driving a car. In fact, riders who have never taken a safety course are at 30 times greater risk of being involved in an accident. The only way to gain knowledge without experience is through a safety course.
Some states require a safety course to get a motorcycle license; however, even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to take one to learn about the specific laws and realities that motorcyclists may face on the road. Not only that, taking a course may result in a discount on insurance.
Make Safe Choices
Although you can never be 100 percent protected from factors outside of your control, making safer choices and following laws can reduce the risk of the most serious result. Here are some small things that can have a big impact:
Slow Down: Speeding is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents. By reducing your speed on the road, you give yourself more time to react and brake as well as increase your visibility and reduce the force of impact in the event of a collision.
Perform Regular Bike Checks: Before every ride, check your tire pressure, brakes, and fluid levels and look around for any leaks or problems. Always stay up to date on routine vehicle maintenance.
Stay alert: Above all, it’s a good idea to stay off the roads when bad weather is predicted or when you’re under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. These precautions will help you to be better prepared in case of emergency.
How a Sacramento Motorcycle Injury Lawyer Can Help
No matter how safe you are, accidents still happen as the result of other drivers’ bad decisions or other unforeseen circumstances.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident at no fault of your own in the Sacramento area, our motorcycle injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help. In fact, for more than 40 years, we have been the motorcycle injury lawyers Sacramento residents have come to depend on, and insurance companies have come to know and fear.
January 24th, 2023|
Stormy, rainy, and icy weather increase the risk of accidents, especially for motorcycle riders. Roads become slippery, and the rain obstructs visibility, making it easy to lose control. If a motorcyclist has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Sacramento, they should get in touch with a motorcycle injury lawyer in Sacramento. At Berg Injury Lawyers we offer a free consultation, where we assess the merits of your case and advise of your legal options.
This article discusses safety tips that can help you avoid motorcycle accidents when riding in the rain.
Use Rain Gear
When thinking about rain gear, you must consider more than simply clothing that will keep you warm and dry. You must consider safety as well.
So, in addition to warm clothing, you should invest in a pair of gloves with grips to prevent your hands from slipping off the handlebars. You should also have a full-face helmet or shield to protect your eyes from the rain. Consider a helmet visor that does not get foggy or that is designed to improve visibility when it rains.
Another important thing in your rain gear arsenal is a pair of high-traction tires. These types of tires may need replacing more often, but it is better to spend a few dollars now and then than risk severe or fatal injuries.
Motorcyclists should stand out in low visibility and low light conditions. Candlepower bulbs have a higher light output than traditional headlamp bulbs, so you should consider them to increase visibility from the front. You should also install a brake light modulator to increase visibility from behind. Finally, be sure to wear bright and reflective gear to make yourself more visible.
Check Your Tires
Worn-out tires can cause the air pressure in your tires to go low or lead to dangerous blowouts. Under-inflated tires increase your chances of having an accident, even when riding in dry conditions. They also cause poor braking performance, poor handling, and reduced riding precision. These effects are enhanced in rainy or snowy weather.
You can avoid unnecessary accidents by inspecting your tires beforehand to ensure they are not worn out and that they have enough pressure.
Give Yourself More Time to Brake
Braking too fast can cause your motorcycle’s wheels to spin out. To avoid this, you should give yourself extra time to brake, and stop if the need arises. If you need to stop or reduce speed, you must brake earlier than you usually would, then ease into it.
Also, you might need to focus harder to see things in the rain. Going slower and keeping extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you will give more time to notice and react to hazards on the road.
Slow Down and Ride Safely
The faster you go, the higher the risk of hydroplaning. Riding fast also increases your lean angle, which is dangerous in slippery conditions. To avoid an accident, you must ride slower in the rain than you normally would. If you need to be somewhere by a particular time, you should leave earlier than usual to give yourself time to slow down and drive safely
Another safety measure when riding in the rain is standing up from time to time as you ride to remove the water that pools on your laps. If left for too long, water could seep past the zipper of your riding gear, making you uncomfortable and reducing your attention.
When traveling at highway speeds in normal weather conditions, you should always maintain 275 ft. between you and the vehicle ahead of you. This distance should be doubled when it is raining because you need that much more time to stop safely.
Be aware of “Black Ice”
Black ice is a glaze that forms on the roadway when light rain mixes with oil and grime and freezes over. It often blends in with the rest of the roadway but is actually translucent and very slippery.
Black ice is dangerous because it is hard to detect. Be wary of areas on the road ahead that look smoother and shinier than other parts of the road, especially at night and in the early morning.
Also, take note of any car ahead of you that suddenly swerves for no apparent reason. It probably hit a patch of black ice that you want to avoid. If you find yourself riding over black ice, slow down and avoid accelerating or braking until you have passed over it.
It can be hard to know what is inside a puddle and how deep it is. What may seem shallow can damage or stop your wheels and throw you off your motorcycle. A puddle can also contain sharp objects that can puncture your tires. Riding over a puddle also increases the risk of hydroplaning. For these reasons, you should avoid puddles completely.
Look Out for Manhole Covers
You should avoid manhole covers and other metal surfaces because they could be raised, loose, or slippery. If you must ride over them, you should cross them in a straight line slowly without accelerating or braking.
Use Extra Caution at Intersections
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 70% of all car vs. motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. Some causes of accidents in intersections include left-turning cars and rear-end accidents. Therefore, you should pay extra attention to every vehicle and motorcycle in an intersection and determine who has the right of way.
If you get involved in an accident at an intersection, speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately. With the help of a Motorcycle injury lawyer, Sacramento motorcyclists who are involved in accidents can hold the at fault party financially accountable for their injuries, the damage to their bikes, and other related losses.
Ride the Dry Line
If there is a dry area on the road or pavement, use it. If not, try riding in the tire tracks of other motorcycles and cars ahead of you, as their tires may have pushed water off the road briefly. But be sure to keep your eyes on the road as you ride the dry line.
Know When Not to Get Out on the Road
If your tires and rain gear are not fit for riding in the rain, do not go riding. Likewise, you should avoid getting out on the road if the rain is too heavy or if there are reports of flooding.
Know When to Get Off the Road
After all the safety measures mentioned above, riding a motorcycle in the rain is still dangerous, and your safety is still not guaranteed. Therefore, if you decide to ride in the rain, it is important that you recognize when it is time to get off. For instance, there is no point in risking your life by continuing to ride after a slight downpour has turned into a storm. Simply find a safe place to pull over and wait until the storm has passed.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Sacramento?
The tips above can help you reduce the risk of having a motorcycle accident if you are forced to ride in the rain. If possible, you should keep rain gear strapped to your bike or stored in your saddlebags in case you need them when riding.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Sacramento, a motorcycle injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you. Our dedicated, compassionate, and determined lawyers protect the rights of injury victims throughout Northern California.
Contact us today for a free case assessment.
January 18th, 2023|
This blog was originally published on May 11, 2020.
You’ve made up your mind: you want a motorcycle. California’s scenic roads and highways are calling your name! Once you purchase or borrow a motorcycle and (hopefully) a helmet, all that’s left to do is to start up your bike and take off, right?
Not so fast, rider. Before you get on that chopper, you’ll first need to get a special license to legally ride a motorcycle in our state. An M1 or M2 license is a requirement for motorcyclists in California. If you want to ride a motorcycle and are interested in learning which license is best for you, we have you covered.
What Is an M1 License in California?
When you have an M1 license in California, you can legally operate any two- or three-wheeled vehicle equipped with a motor and no pedals, such as motorcycles and sit-down scooters, as well as any motorized vehicle in Class M2, which includes mopeds and motorized bicycles.
What Is an M2 License in California?
When you have an M2 license in California, you can legally operate motorized bicycles, mopeds, and any bicycle with an attached motor, as long as they go no faster than 30 MPH on level ground and are equipped with fully operational pedals. You cannot legally drive a motorcycle or any two- or three-wheeled vehicle without operational pedals with an M2 license.
Which License Do You Need to Operate a Motorized Scooter in California?
If you want to legally operate a motorized scooter, you only need a standard driver license and not an M1 or M2 license. California defines a motorized scooter as a “two-wheeled ‘device’ powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding.” Sit-down scooters do not fall into this category.
Should You Apply for an M1 or an M2 License?
An M1 license will cover many bases, so most applicants will likely be best served by applying for it. If you only have need to ride a motorized bicycle, then an M2 license might be enough. As of January 1, 2020, California no longer requires an M2 license for mopeds.
How to Get an M1 License
If you’re over 18, you’ll need to take a vision, knowledge, and driving test. However, if you complete a motorcycle basic rider course, you can have the driving test requirement waived. If you’re under 18, you’ll be required to pass vision and knowledge tests. You’ll also need to complete a motorcycle basic rider course approved by the California Highway Patrol. Lastly, you’ll be asked to provide a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training. The steps provided by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles are as follows:
- Complete a driver license or ID card application.
- Pay the application fee.
- Pass a vision test and a knowledge test.
- Give a thumb print.
- Have your picture taken.
If you’d like to know what to expect on the knowledge test, the California DMV provides a practice exam. Once you take the real deal, you’ll have three chances to pass it. To study up, check out California’s Motorcycle Guide. Find your local DMV office to identify the office you’ll need to visit to get your license.
If you don’t already have a California driver license, you’ll be required to take a few extra steps in addition to the ones listed above. You’ll be asked to present an identity document or a residency document if you’ve never had a driver license or ID card in California. Just like you would with any other driver license, you’ll also provide your Social Security Number and full legal name.
What Else Do You Need to Legally Operate a Motorcycle in California?
In addition to obtaining an M1 license, you’ll need to buy insurance. Like all motorists, motorcycle operators are legally required to carry liability insurance in the event of a crash. Your policy will be specific to your motorcycle, as your existing auto insurance policy for other vehicles won’t automatically include coverage for your motorcycle.
California’s required motorcycle insurance coverage is known as “15/30/5 coverage.” This means you’ll need $15,000 worth of coverage for injuries suffered by another person, $30,000 of coverage for injuries to all others involved in the accident, and $5,000 of coverage for property damage caused by a collision.
You can learn more about riding a motorcycle in California by checking out the following resources:
- What to Do Before, During, and After Riding a Motorcycle
- What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?
- The Leading Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California
If You Need Help After a Motorcycle Accident in California, Call Us Today
Berg Injury Lawyers handles motorcycle accident cases across Northern California. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers have years of experience dealing with insurance companies on our clients’ behalf, and having an attorney can make a huge difference in the amount of money you’re offered after a crash.
Motorcyclists face a stigma that can affect the amount offered to them by insurance companies. It’s unfair, but it doesn’t need to be that way. When you work with Berg Injury Lawyers, we make sure you’re treated fairly by insurance companies. If you’ve been involved in a crash, call the Northern California motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers. We offer free consultations, and you’ll never see a bill from us unless we win your case.
January 9th, 2023|
When you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may want to seek compensation for your medical bills and other financial losses. The events leading to the accident, the insurance policies, and whether an at-fault driver can pay for the damages can all affect your compensation.
Read on to learn what factors into a settlement in a motorcycle case and how our professional California motorcycle accident attorneys can help you determine what your case is worth and advocate for maximum compensation.
What Is a Settlement in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
A settlement is when two parties agree on an amount the plaintiff receives for the case without going to trial. Both parties give up their right to a future court case when they agree on a settlement amount.
For instance, say you sustain severe injuries after an accident with a car while riding your motorcycle. You required months of physical therapy after the accident and lost wages due to your inability to work. You want $50,000 as compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. The case would settle if both sides were willing to compromise and agree to the compensation.
How Much Are Most Motorcycle Accident Settlements?
The average motorcycle settlement depends on the severity of your injuries. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that motorcycle crashes resulted in a total $16 billion in direct costs nationally. Around 18% of direct motorcycle accident costs are medical expenses, second to 44% in lost wages.
Those who ride motorcycles are at a greater risk of sustaining severe injuries than passengers in other vehicles, with older riders suffering more serious injuries than younger riders. On average, the cost of nonfatal crashes ranged from $2,500 for minor injuries to $1.4 million for severe injuries. Motorcycle accident victims who suffer severe brain injuries may not be able to work and may require ongoing care, increasing their medical expenses.
Motorcycle Accidents and California Law
Since California is a fault-based auto insurance state, the state considers the at-fault party responsible for damages incurred to the rider. The state also considers comparative negligence when more than one party is liable for the motorcycle crash.
According to California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 406, there must be a 100% allocation of liability among all parties involved in the motorcycle collision. You may face liability in the collision if your actions partially caused your injuries. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet per California law.
If your lawyer persuades the jury that the other driver was also negligent, you will receive compensation, although the award damages are reduced according to your own percentage of fault. Your lawyer can use evidence from the accident to help prove the other driver’s negligence and calculate a fair settlement amount.
Major Factors in Motorcycle Accident Settlements
Many factors affect how much you can receive in your motorcycle accident case. When you file a compensation claim with the other driver’s insurance, the company will examine all aspects of the case to determine a settlement amount. These factors include the following:
Specific financial damages form the basis of your settlement, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. The value of your compensation also includes intangible losses, such as emotional pain and suffering that you and your family members suffer due to your changed quality of life.
The Driver’s Actions
Photos, dashcam videos, and smartphone footage can demonstrate whether the driver of the other vehicle was negligent in causing the motorcycle accident. These negligent actions can include:
- Speeding and racing
- Aggressive driving, such as illegal passing and running red lights
- Distracted driving, like texting and eating snacks
These may prove the driver violated traffic laws and caused the crash. Lawyers can also use your medical bills and records to connect your injuries to the crash.
Availability of Witnesses
If you have witnesses who saw your accident, they can provide details about what transpired before, during, and after it. This information can help determine fault and provide insight into what took place.
Other Things to Consider
A driver’s auto liability insurance policy may limit what they pay for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. The minimum auto insurance limits are $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.
If your medical expenses exceed $15,000, you may not receive the full compensation for your injuries. You may instead need to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit to recover the full extent of your damages.
The party’s ability to pay also factors into your motorcycle accident settlement. For example, if the other driver doesn’t carry the required minimum liability insurance or any insurance, you may have trouble obtaining compensation. You can file for compensation against your own insurance if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.
If you don’t have this coverage, you can seek damages from the driver in a personal injury lawsuit; however, damages would come from their personal assets, which means you may not see compensation.
Is it Better to Settle Your Motorcycle Accident Claim or Go to Trial?
You and your lawyer can accept or reject any settlement offer during the settlement process. You can also negotiate a better deal for future medical expenses and motorcycle replacement parts.
You can take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to negotiate further. You may feel more satisfied with justice when the negligent parties are found guilty of causing the accident, and the jury may award you the maximum amount.
It is best to explore your legal options with the motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, who can help you maximize your compensation in a motorcycle accident case.
Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
An experienced personal injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can determine whether a settlement offer is fair based on the factors that apply to your accident. Our attorneys can discuss your options if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
Contact our law office today to discuss your case with a skilled lawyer in a free, no-obligation consultation.
September 20th, 2022|
Motorcycle accidents are one of the most dreadful accidents you can suffer, especially if you’re not wearing a helmet. Cruising through open roads brings a freedom that many riders enjoy. Unfortunately, that sense of freedom comes with a risk. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Consequently, all motorcyclists need to wear helmets on the road. Although it is not a legal requirement in all states, wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of suffering from a severe brain injury in an accident. If a car driver or another motorcyclist was in the accident, you may need a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento.
In 2016, there were 5,286 motorcycle riders killed in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), where 94% were riders, while 6% percent were passengers. Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself while riding a motorcycle. If you’re a motorcycle rider in Sacramento, failing to wear a helmet could affect your injury case if you’re involved in an accident. However, Berg Injury Lawyers can help handle your motorcycle accident case in Sacramento and throughout Northern California.
California’s Helmet Law
California’s helmet law protects riders of all ages from severe head injuries. Under the law, all riders must wear a helmet that meets Department of Transportation standards. In fact, according to California Code Section 27803, “a person operating a motorcycle shall wear a safety helmet meeting standards established by the department.” This means the helmet must have a hard outer shell, a padded lining, and straps that secure the helmet in place. Additionally, the law requires that riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet at all times when riding, regardless of whether they are on a public road or private property. The fine for riders who violate the law is up to $250 for the first offense, and for repeat offenders it’s up to $1,000. f
The Case for Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet
California’s helmet law is one of the most critical and practical laws. The law requires that all motorcycle riders and passengers wear a DOT-approved helmet while riding. This simple law effectively reduces severe injuries and fatalities in motorcycle accidents. This is true even if you are an experienced rider or only riding for a short distance. While some riders may view helmets as a nuisance, the truth is that they can make a difference in life and death outcomes. In Sacramento alone, there were about 116 traffic accidents involving motorcycles, according to a 2019 report by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Therefore, make the wise choice and wear a helmet to avoid suffering a brain injury.
How Do Motorcycle Helmets Protect You?
Motorcycle helmets protect riders from severe head injuries during a crash. The critical part of a helmet is the outer shell, usually made of rigid polycarbonate plastic. This material can spread the force of an impact over a larger area, helping to prevent penetration. The inner lining of a helmet is typically made of soft foam that helps to cushion the head and absorb energy. In addition, helmets often have a chin strap that helps to keep them securely in place in the event of a collision. By wearing a properly fitting helmet, riders can significantly reduce their risk of suffering a serious head injury in an accident. When choosing a motorcycle helmet, select one that is sized correctly and meets current safety standards.
What Happens If You Are Injured When Not Wearing a Helmet?
First, insurance companies often view riders who do not wear helmets as more reckless than those who do, especially since it’s illegal in California. Thus, they may be less willing to offer a fair settlement. Additionally, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, the jury may view you as partially at fault for your injuries since you were not wearing a helmet. This could result in a reduction in your damages.
Nevertheless, California follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that you can still recover compensation despite being partially at fault during an accident. As a result, an experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf and help you recover fair compensation. But, of course, every case is different, and many factors will affect the outcome of your claim.
Things You Can Receive Compensation for Whether You Wear a Helmet or Not
Some of the things you may receive compensation for whether you wear a helmet or not include:
- Medical expenses: You can receive compensation for all your costs related to the accident, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and more.
- Pain and suffering: With proper representation by a personal injury lawyer, Sacramento residents may get compensation for the physical pain and emotional damage you endured due to your accident.
- Lost wages: If you can’t work because of your injuries, you can receive compensation for the wages you have lost.
- Loss of earning capacity: If the accident resulted in a permanent disability that has prevented you from returning to work or achieving the same amount of money as you did before the accident, you could recover compensation for your lost earning capacity.
- Property damage: You can receive compensation for the damage to your motorcycle and any other property damaged in the accident.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
To say the least, the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be tedious. To some extent, it can be more costly than you can imagine. We recommend contacting a personal injury lawyer in case of the following:
- The other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
- You were not wearing a helmet at the accident.
- You suffered severe injuries in the accident.
- The insurance claim offer is too low.
- You are unsure of how to handle your claim.
Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one has injuries from a motorcycle accident, Berg Injury Lawyers is here to help. With more than three decades of experience advocating for the rights of personal injury victims, our attorneys know how to get results. We’re not afraid to take on big insurance providers and will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. We conveniently have offices in Sacramento and other Northern California cities, and we offer a no-fee guarantee.
September 10th, 2021Each state has its own motorcycle laws. Some states allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, while others don’t. Some have extensive requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license, while other states are less stringent. One popular—and controversial—motorcycling technique that is also regulated by states is lane-splitting. Though most states have laws forbidding lane-splitting, California is a little different. First, let’s establish what we mean when we say lane-splitting. |
What’s Considered Lane-Splitting in California?Lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist travels in between lanes to navigate traffic. For example, if there’s a traffic jam on Interstate 280 and a motorcyclist travels between lanes of traffic, riding down the white lane divider line, they’re lane-splitting.
What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?Obviously, motorcyclists are still required to follow all the rules of the road. But unlike many other states, California does not have a law forbidding lane-splitting. California even issued lane-splitting safety tips for motorcyclists in 2018. Some of the tips include:
- Understanding that lane-splitting is more dangerous when done at higher speeds.
- It’s safest to split between the lanes that are furthest to the left on roads with three lanes or more.
- Avoid lane-splitting near large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and buses.
- Stay visible and avoid lingering in other vehicles’ blind spots.
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and using high beams in the daytime.