What Happens if a Motorcyclist Is in an Accident in CA?

In many instances, even though a motorcyclist is abiding by the law, it is possible for an operator and or passenger to be injured while lane sharing, lane splitting or simply riding down the street.  It is also common knowledge that motorcycle accidents (especially those occurring a high rate of speed) have great potential to cause severe injuries.  Unfortunately, the worse the injury, the steeper the medical bills become for those injured.  Additionally, the longer the injured is out of work, lost wages prove to be a more significant factor.    

In the state of California, the law recognizes both economic and non-economic damages associated with a motorcycle accident.  As a result, injured cyclists are allowed to bring personal injury lawsuits to recover compensation. More specifically, sections 1431-1431.5 of the California Civil Code provide guidance on comparative fault principles (which are used to apportion liability for accidental injuries) and state that parties will be responsible for paying for the portion of damages that they caused.

For example, if both parties are at fault in some way, the fact finder will assign a percentage of fault to both the motorcyclist and the driver.  Additionally, if, after the percentages of fault are apportioned, the driver is more than 50 percent at fault the motorcyclist will recover compensation.  The amount of recovery, however, will be discounted by the percentage of fault that is assigned to the motorcyclist.

Although numerous courts everyday apply these principles, it is important to remember that the facts of each case one brings to trial are exceptional.  Furthermore, juries are often unpredictable especially if either side is portrayed as particularly sympathetic.  In sum, if questions arise about safety and or if you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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