Do I Need a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?

motorcycle rider on freeway

California is one of the best places in the US to ride a motorcycle due to the long straightaways and scenic routes along the coast or through the mountains. Unfortunately, California sees a lot of motorcycle accidents each year and is one of the top 3 states with the most motorcycle deaths.

Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be a traumatic experience, and it’s natural to wonder whether you need a lawyer for a motorcycle accident. While not every personal injury case requires an attorney, having one can significantly benefit in several ways. Read on to learn how a motorcycle accident attorney can help your case. 


What Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?

Motorcycle accident lawyers will fight to protect their clients’ rights and ensure they receive fair compensation for their injuries and damages. Here’s what a motorcycle accident lawyer typically does:

  • Motorcycle accident attorneys will meticulously assess the details of the accident and gather evidence to support their clients’ claims, including witness statements, accident reports, medical records, and expert testimony.
  • A motorcycle accident attorney will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement that adequately compensates their client for their losses.
  • Most motorcycle accident lawyers offer free initial consultations to discuss your case and provide personalized legal advice.
  • Many California motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay legal fees if they successfully recover compensation for you. 
  • The majority of motorcycle accident cases are settled outside of court, but a personal injury lawyer will prepare your case for court to help you recover the compensation you deserve.


Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Not only is California one of the top US states with the highest number of motorcycle registrations, it is the second-highest state with the most motorcyclist fatalities. In 2021, there were 565 motorcycle deaths in California. The leading causes of motorcycle crashes include the following:

Distracted Driving

Drivers who are distracted by their phones, passengers, or other activities are less likely to notice motorcycles sharing the road with them, increasing the risk of a crash.


Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to react to unexpected situations, increasing the likelihood of collisions with motorcycles.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is legal in California but can be hazardous if not done safely. Drivers may not expect motorcycles to be passing them in stopped or slow-moving traffic.

Failure to Yield

Drivers may fail to yield the right of way to motorcycles, especially when turning left or merging into traffic.

Driver Inattention

Motorists may overlook motorcycles in their blind spots or fail to check their mirrors before changing lanes which can lead to a dangerous accident.

Driving Under the Influence

Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s judgment and coordination, putting all motorists on the road at great risk.


Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

motorcycle crash

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries, some of which can be severe or life-threatening. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Road rash
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Soft Tissue injuries
  • Emotional trauma


Types of Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit

In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, victims may be entitled to various types of damages to compensate them for their injuries, losses, and other harm suffered as a result of the accident.

Medical expenses: Damages may include compensation for past and future medical bills related to the treatment of injuries sustained in the accident, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.

Lost income: If the accident caused you to miss work or rendered you unable to work temporarily or permanently, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.

Pain and suffering damages: Motorcycle accident victims may seek compensation for physical pain, mental distress, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Property damage: You may be compensated for the repair or replacement of your motorcycle and any other property damaged in the accident, such as protective gear or personal belongings.

Disability and disfigurement: If the accident resulted in permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement, you may be entitled to damages to compensate for the impact on your quality of life and future opportunities.

Loss of consortium: Spouses or family members may pursue damages for the loss of companionship, support, and services resulting from the victim’s injuries or death.


How Do I Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident?

lawyer for motorcycle accident

Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident case is essential for establishing liability and recovering compensation for your injuries and damages. To establish negligence, you must demonstrate the following elements:

Duty of Care

The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and adhere to traffic laws to prevent harm to others, including motorcyclists.

Breach of Duty

The at-fault party did not uphold their duty of care because they engaged in negligent or reckless conduct, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failing to yield the right of way.


The at-fault party’s breach of duty directly caused the accident and your injuries. You must establish a causal link between their actions or omissions and the harm you suffered.


You suffered actual damages as a result of the accident, including physical injuries, financial losses, and other harm compensable under the law.

To prove negligence, you may gather evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, photographs, video footage, medical records, and expert testimony. A California motorcycle accident attorney can help you build a compelling case by collecting and presenting evidence to demonstrate the at-fault party’s liability and your entitlement to compensation.


Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents While Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is legal in California under certain conditions, but it can increase the risk of accidents if not done safely. In motorcycle crashes involving lane splitting, liability for the crash may vary depending on the circumstances.

If the motorcyclist’s actions while lane splitting were reckless or unsafe, they may be held liable for the accident. Examples of unsafe lane splitting include excessive speed, or weaving between lanes unpredictably.

Drivers of other vehicles may be liable for a motorcycle accident while lane splitting if they violated traffic laws or failed to exercise reasonable care. Common examples include sudden lane changes without signaling, opening car doors without checking for approaching motorcycles, or making unsafe turns.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and help you establish liability to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.


Insurance Tactics Used on Motorcycle Accident Victims

Insurance companies often employ various tactics to minimize payouts or deny motorcycle accident claims. Understanding these tactics can help you protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Here are some common insurance tactics used on motorcycle accident victims:

Blaming the motorcycle accident victim: Insurance adjusters may attempt to shift blame onto the motorcycle rider by arguing that they were speeding, lane splitting unsafely, or otherwise engaging in reckless behavior at the time of the accident.

Questioning the severity of injuries: Insurers may dispute the extent of your injuries or argue that they were pre-existing or unrelated to the accident in an attempt to reduce the value of your claim.

Downplaying property damage: Insurance companies may undervalue the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and other damaged property, offering settlements that fail to fully compensate you for your losses.

Pressuring for quick settlements: Insurers may pressure you to accept a quick settlement offer before you have had a chance to fully assess the extent of your injuries and losses. These initial offers are often low and may not adequately cover your future medical expenses and other damages.

Surveillance and investigation: Insurance companies may conduct surveillance or investigate your social media accounts to gather evidence to dispute your claim, such as photos or videos that contradict your reported injuries or activities.

Consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and advocacy throughout the claims process, ensuring you receive fair treatment and compensation.


How Much Is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth in California?

The value of a motorcycle accident claim in California depends on various factors, including the severity of injuries, the extent of property damage, the impact on your life and livelihood, and liability issues.

To determine the potential value of your motorcycle accident claim, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.


What Is the Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit is generally two years from the date the injury was sustained. If you fail to file a claim within this time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your losses.

It’s crucial to act promptly and seek legal advice as soon as possible after the accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights, preserve evidence, evaluate your legal options, and ensure that your claim is filed within the allotted timeframe.


Contact a Pasadena Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

pasadena, los angeles county

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, don’t wait to seek legal help. A California motorcycle accident law firm can handle the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being. At Rose Accident Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping injured motorcyclists get the compensation they deserve.

Contact our California motorcycle accident lawyers today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights and legal options.