Motorcyclists, more than any other on the road, are especially vulnerable to injury in California. Unfortunately, the safety of motorcyclists is often compromised by a number factors, including lack of protection from the elements and other vehicles/objects, and the inability for drivers to readily see them. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions by our clients in the hopes that it will help you determine whether filing a motorcycle accident claim is right for you. Consider the following:
1. I wasn’t wearing a motorcycle helmet. Does that mean I cannot file a lawsuit against the person who hit me?
No. Not wearing a helmet does not bear any weight on whether you can file a suit against a negligent party. Meaning, if another person is at fault for your accident, not wearing a helmet will not bar your ability to recover. Keep in mind however, that it may reduce the total amount of damages you can receive if not wearing a helmet caused your injuries. While the State of California has a mandatory helmet law for all motorcyclists, it does not prevent people from bringing forth successful lawsuits against others who caused or contributed to their accident.
2. What is the filing deadline for personal injury cases?
In California, victims of motorcycle accidents typically have two years from the date of their accident to file their lawsuit against responsible parties. Also known as the statute of limitations, if you miss the applicable deadline, you may be unable to seek legal redress for your injuries. Should you be involved in an accident with a government entity, the time period is 180 days from the date of the accident. Speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand the scope of your rights and ensure your compliance with all applicable time frames and filing deadlines.
3. What documents do I need to give my attorney when we meet?
No matter what, you should provide your lawyer any and all information that pertains to your case. These include police reports, which often contain key eye witness statements regarding the cause of your accident. Additional documentation such as medical reports, medical bills, the opposing party’s insurance information, and any photographs or video footage of your accident and/or injuries may be extremely helpful in proving your case.
4. What damages can I seek against the person who caused my injuries?
Intended to restore you to your pre-injury condition, motorcycle accident victims in California may generally seek three types of damages: pain and suffering, medical expenses, and loss wages. If a motorcyclist is hit by an impaired or reckless driver, he or she may pursue punitive damages against the wrongdoer. These are rare however, in certain limited circumstances such as the aforementioned, they can be recoverable.
- 5. Can I still collect damages for my motorcycle accident if my medical insurance paid for them?
Generally, yes. Under the Collateral Source Rule in California, you can still collect money for your medical expenses, even if they were covered by your health insurance or MEDPAY. The same goes for loss time at work. You can be compensated for this time even if your work despite being paid for it.
6. Do I need an attorney to represent me, even if the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants to settle?
While there is no law requiring you to hire a lawyer, it is highly recommended that you do. Not only are motorcycle accident attorneys especially qualified to handle motorcycle accident cases (which are often very complex), they also know how much you should be entitled to receive. Specifically, insurance companies are well equipped with lawyers and accident investigators who will do everything and anything to reduce, if not deny, the amount of money you deserve for your damages. As such, we recommend that you wait to accept a settlement offer until you speak with an attorney first.
Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for Superior Personal Injury Representation!
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, it is crucial that you hire an accident attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. At the Skolnick Law Group we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve. We will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case. We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us. For the personal attention and aggressive representation you need, contact us today.