Santa Rosa Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Santa Rosa, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California is just two years from the date of injury, so acting immediately is essential.
Cutter Law P.C. frequently serves those involved in motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in Santa Rosa and often result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and even death. Motorcyclists are statistically overrepresented when it comes to personal injury or death due to vehicular accidents. In 2019, the California Office of Traffic Safety logged 31 victims killed or injured in motorcycle crashes just in Santa Rosa.
It’s no secret that other drivers often do not exercise proper caution when motorcyclists are nearby. The result can be tragic when drivers and riders ignore California motorcycle laws. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is just two years from the date of injury, so acting immediately is essential.
Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
In the United States, those with the highest risk of fatal injury among motor-vehicle users are motorcycle riders and their passengers. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, motorcycle fatalities occur nearly 28 times more frequently per mile traveled than accidents involving passenger vehicles. Contributing factors that may increase rider risk include lack of helmet use, weather, impaired riding, speed, and riding without an endorsement or a license.
Another cause of motorcycle injuries and fatalities in California is lane splitting. Driving between vehicles is very dangerous if nearby passenger-vehicle drivers are not paying attention.
What if the rider was lane splitting?
California is the only state where lane splitting is legal per Assembly Bill #51. Lane splitting can be a cause of motorcycle injuries or fatalities if nearby drivers are not checking mirrors, properly signaling, being alert, or are driving impaired. When a rider is nearby, drivers of passenger vehicles have an obligation to be aware and courteous.
Lane splitting is defined by the California Vehicle Code as driving a motorcycle “that has two wheels on the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways.”
Because lane splitting is legal in California, if the driver of the other vehicle caused an accident while the motorcyclist was lane splitting, the other driver is at fault.
Who is liable in a Santa Rosa motorcycle accident?
California is a comparative negligence state. This means that both drivers are examined for negligence in the case of an accident. The California comparative negligence law states that when two or more parties share liability for an accident, even a party that is partially responsible for the incident can file a claim.
If a defendant with civil liability caused non-economic damages for another party, they can be assessed for negligence. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to pain, suffering, mental suffering, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, injury to reputation, inconvenience, and humiliation.
Statutes of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in California
As mentioned previously, claims for injury, negligence, and wrongful death have a two-year statute of limitations in California (property damage has a three-year statute of limitations). In both cases, it is important to start your claim as soon as possible
Settlement in Motorcycle Crashes in California
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration analyzed the average hospital charges per case by helmet status and place of treatment. Cost estimates for non-helmet users are as high as $29,905 for admittance to a trauma center and as low as $7,208 for an emergency-department visit. The average cost after a crash without a helmet (based on multiple studies and all treatment options) is $18,233.
Treatment after accidents in which a helmet is worn can be far less expensive due to fewer traumatic brain injuries, averaging at $12,179. The state of California does have a helmet law.
The California civil code states that the maximum settlement for an accident or death is limited to $15,000 per person or $30,000 total if two or more people are involved. For property damage, the maximum settlement is $5,000.
It is important to note that California law allows for a bailee (someone temporarily in possession of the car) to be liable as well. This means that if the vehicle was being driven by a person other than the owner, and the owner was also in the car, both parties are liable.
Who do I contact about filing an injury claim after a motorcycle accident?
If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Sonoma County, it is important to review your options and rights under the law with an experienced Santa Rosa personal injury attorney right away. The team at Cutter Law P.C. is knowledgeable, caring, and tireless in their pursuit of justice for their clients.
Contact a specialist in personal injury cases from Cutter Law P.C. today for a free consultation.