San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

A motorcycle accident can be a frightening, painful, and confusing experience that happens in seconds. As you struggle to get the medical treatment you need, you may be facing an extended period of time without income, and your life may be forever changed. Meanwhile, you may be left fighting with an insurance company to get the compensation you need to move on with your life and recover as best you are able. If your accident was caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you deserve compensation to help you rebuild your life.

Berman & Riedel, LLP is a motorcycle accident law firm in San Diego that represents motorcycle accident victims. We aggressively seek full compensation for our clients and take the fight to court when insurance companies will not agree to a fair settlement. Berman & Riedel, LLP has recovered more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients including $3.3 million and $1.7 million verdicts against negligent drivers.

How Our San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help You with Your Case

Motorcycle accidents can lead to catastrophic and life-changing injuries and the insurance company is not on your side. If you have faced serious injuries due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness, the San Diego motorcycle accident injury lawyers at Berman & Riedel, LLP will work as your advocates to aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the at-fault party accountable. We will do whatever it takes to build and support your case by:

  • Investigating your accident. We will uncover evidence and facts that support your case and establish not only liability but the scope of your damages.
  • Handling paperwork and communications in your personal injury claim. We will handle all communications to avoid the risk that you will inadvertently devalue your claim when speaking with an adjuster.
  • Negotiating on your behalf. We will work diligently to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company that fully compensates you for the value of your damages.
  • Litigating your case through a motorcycle accident lawsuit. If a settlement can’t be reached, your San Diego motorcycle accident attorney will take the fight to court to give you a better chance to recover compensation.

Our law firm is dedicated to fighting for injury victims who have suffered severe injuries.

How Common Are Accidents Involving Motorcycles? | San Diego Motorcycle Accident Statistics

California has more registered motorcycles than any other state and Southern California is particularly popular for riders. Of the 840,000 registered motorcycles in the state, 86,000 are in San Diego County alone!

Unfortunately, a higher number of motorcycles on the roads also means a higher number of motorcycle accidents. San Diego motorcycle riders should be aware that San Diego County has one of the state’s highest rates of motorcycle crashes and the state’s 4th highest rate of motorcycle accident fatalities.

  • There were 488 motorcycle fatalities in California in 2018. 30 of these deaths were from not wearing a helmet.
  • Men are most likely to die in motorcycle collisions in San Diego County. The two largest groups of victims are 19 to 25-year-old men (many of whom are inexperienced sports bike riders) and men who are over 45 (many of whom finally bought a motorcycle after wanting one for years). According to one CHP officer, the two primary groups involved in accidents are returning military members who buy fast motorcycles and older men who usually start on a Harley Davidson.
  • Super-sport motorcycle riders are 4x more likely to be killed in an accident than any other type of motorcycle rider.
  • Most fatal motorcycle accidents occur after sunset. 24% of fatal motorcycle accidents occur between 3pm and 6pm and 19% happen between 6pm and 9pm.
  • In 2017, 29% of motorcyclists in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08. 36% had at least some alcohol in their system.

Our San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Understand the Many Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Just like a truck or car accident, a motorcycle collision can have many causes. In most cases, motorcycle accidents in San Diego are caused by negligent drivers. Our motorcycle accident law firm in San Diego sees the following as some of the most common causes of crashes.

  • Lane splitting. California is the only state that allows lane splitting or passing between cars in slow and stopped traffic. While legal, lane splitting is very dangerous because motorcyclists are very close to cars, have little space to maneuver, and cars do not expect anything between lanes.
  • Speeding. Nearly 33% of motorcyclist fatalities involve speeding. Speed is a factor in even more accidents involving sports bikes.
  • Left turning vehicles. Over 40% of motorcycle accidents with a car happen when the car is turning left, usually while the motorcyclist is going straight into an intersection or trying to pass the car.
  • Driving under the influence. Unfortunately, 27% of motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol. That’s more than other types of vehicles and increases to 47% in single-vehicle motorcycle accidents.
  • Unsafe lane changes. Many motorcycle crashes happen when a vehicle driver merges into the motorcycle.
  • Distracted driving. One of the most common causes of traffic collisions today is distracted driving. Thousands of motorcyclists are hurt every year when other drivers are distracted by their phone, radio, or conversation in the car.
  • Dangerous road conditions. Many crashes are caused by potholes, crumbling asphalt, and other dangerous road conditions.
  • Motorcycle defects. While less common than driver or rider negligence, sometimes accidents are caused by defects in the motorcycle parts such as the tires, frame, fuel tank, engine, or brakes.

A phenomenon called scotoma can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. This phenomenon causes drivers to unintentionally ignore motorcycles because the brain has trouble recognizing what it isn’t actively looking for. Most passenger vehicles are watching for other cars and may not see motorcycles approaching. This does not mean the drivers are not responsible for their behavior, however, and this phenomenon can be overcome by drivers who train themselves to specifically look for motorcycles while they drive.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Cars and trucks offer good protection in an accident. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, have almost no protection in a crash and are often thrown from their bike. Motorcycle operators face a high risk of serious injury in a crash, including head injuries, permanent disability, or death. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than people in passenger cars to be killed in an accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 89,000 motorcyclists hurt in crashes in 2017 alone. That’s more than 1,000 injuries for every 100,000 registered motorcycles in the country.

Our San Diego motorcycle accident injury lawyers represent accident victims with all types of injuries, including:

Some motorcyclists are lucky and make a full and quick recovery from an accident. For many, an accident means months or even years of painful physical therapy and surgery. Victims who sustain serious injuries may need prosthetics, pain management, multiple surgical procedures, and other treatments. Many face life-long consequences and reduced quality of life in addition to chronic pain and permanent or disfiguring injuries.

What Compensation Can Motorcycle Accident Victims Recover?

Motorcycle accident victims are often left with injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives. You may be left unable to work or enjoy your hobbies or with disfiguring injuries or chronic pain. California law offers you recourse when someone else is at fault for the injuries you suffer. You have the right to seek fair compensation that makes you as whole as possible.

How much you will recover in a motorcycle accident settlement in San Diego depends on the severity and type of injuries you suffer, your non-economic and economic damages, the nature of the accident, and what your life was like before you were hurt. A San Diego motorcycle accident injury attorney will fight to recover compensation for your:

  • Medical expenses. This including future medical bills, prescriptions, medical devices, surgery, counseling, physical therapy and any other anticipated medical costs.
  • Lost wages and lost future income if you are unable to work.
  • Non-economic or general damages, which include damages that don’t have a fixed dollar amount. You may recover damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other harm you have suffered.

In some cases that go to court, you may receive punitive damages as well. Punitive damages in a motorcycle accident case are meant to punish the person who is at fault if their behavior was egregious such as driving under the influence.

It’s important to understand that the damages awarded to you will be reduced if you are found partially liable for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can collect damages even if you are found 99% at fault for the collision, but your damages will be reduced based on your share of fault. If you are found 30% at fault and the court awards damages of $100,000, your recovery will be reduced to $70,000.

It’s also crucial to understand another factor that can limit your damages in an accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy plays a big role in your claim’s value, as it can be very challenging to recover damages beyond the driver’s policy limits.

Wrongful Death Claims After a Fatal Motorcycle Crash

Personal injury claims involving wrongful death are unique, with different damages than those available in normal motorcycle accident cases filed by the accident victim. A wrongful death claim is brought by surviving family members when a loved one dies due to another person’s negligence. California law does not allow survivors to recover compensation for their loved one’s pain and suffering in a wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are also barred.

You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Financial support, inheritances, and gifts your loved one would have provided, including future lost wages
  • Household services the decedent would have provided
  • Non-economic damages such as loss of companionship, guidance, and support

A survival action may be brought along with a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one survived their injuries even briefly. This claim doesn’t compensate surviving family members but the decedent’s estate for the injuries they suffered. Punitive damages can be recovered through this type of claim.

The Insurance Claims Process & Why You Shouldn't Handle a Personal Injury Claim Alone

If you have been offered a settlement by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, make sure you seek legal counsel from an experienced San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer before accepting the settlement. Insurance companies are often quick to make settlement offers when they know their policyholder was at fault or the victim suffered serious (and expensive) injuries. This is an attempt to limit the payout and avoid court-awarded damages.

It’s best to avoid communicating with the insurance company directly on your own. Insurance adjusters will use your statements against you to devalue your claim. An experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney in San Diego will fight for the compensation you deserve and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company after building evidence to support your claim.

Berman & Riedel, LLP | San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney

How Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Determine Liability & Prove Fault

To recover compensation for your injuries, it’s necessary to establish who was at fault for the accident. In many accidents, both parties share at least some amount of fault. California allows you to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault, but your damages will be reduced based on your share of negligence. This is why establishing fault is so crucial.

Your San Diego motorcycle accident injury lawyer will investigate your accident to uncover evidence that supports your claim. This may include:

  • Crash reports, police reports, and witness statements
  • Testimony from accident scene investigators and expert witnesses
  • Medical evidence of your injuries, as well as photos
  • Video and photos of the accident and/or crash scene and relevant conditions
  • Damage to both vehicles
  • The other driver’s phone records through a subpoena if distracted driving is suspected

This investigation can provide invaluable information. Damage to vehicles and the accident scene, for example, can show how the accident occurred, how fast the other driver was traveling, and the severity of the impact.

Our motorcycle accident attorneys in San Diego leave no stone unturned to uncover evidence to build your claim and prove fault. We may even review the other driver’s social media to provide potential evidence that supports they caused the accident.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

Contact Berman & Riedel, LLP today to schedule a free consultation with our San Diego motorcycle accident law firm to discuss your legal options and begin building your claim. You do not pay anything unless we recover for you!

San Diego Motorcycle Crash FAQs

How much does it cost to hire a San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer?

You do not pay anything out of pocket to get experienced legal counsel after your accident! Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and receive a percentage of what they recover. If we don’t recover anything, you pay nothing.

How much is my motorcycle accident injury case worth?

Our motorcycle accident attorneys will review your case and estimate its value. How much your case is worth depends on too many factors, including the severity of your injuries, how the accident happened, and your special and general damages.

How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident claim in California?

You have just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in California. Active military members are exempt from this statute of limitations during their service.

Do I need a lawyer after a motorcycle accident?

Many cases involving fairly minor injuries with clear fault do not require an attorney. If you have suffered severe injuries or your case is complicated, a motorcycle accident attorney is always recommended to fight for the full compensation you deserve.

Important California Motorcycle Laws

Under California traffic law, motorcyclists must obey the same traffic laws as other drivers. California also has several laws specific to motorcycles. California motorcycle laws are meant to protect riders and others on the road. The most important laws California riders should know include:

  • Legal requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license. Riders must obtain a learner’s permit before applying for a license. Those under 21 must take a California Motorcyclist Safety Program administered by CHP.
  • Motorcycle riders (including passengers) must always wear a helmet according to California Vehicle Code 27803.
  • Lane splitting is legal on California roadways but there are laws to protect riders. Motorcyclists should not ride at more than 10mph than surrounding traffic or in speeds greater than 30mph. Riders can’t ride in the shoulder lane. Motorists cannot open vehicle doors to impede a motorcyclist or move their vehicle to block riders who are lane splitting.
  • Motorcyclists must carry minimum liability insurance.

What Damages Am I Entitled to Recover?

Assuming that you were not responsible for the occurrence of the accident, you have the right to seek damages for all losses that you have suffered. Recoverable damages in a motorcycle accident claim or a lawsuit may include:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Future medical expenses and treatment;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain; and
  • Suffering.

You can also recover compensation for the value of damages to your motorcycle.

If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet, Will My Claim Be Affected?

All motorcycle drivers and their passengers are required under law to wear a helmet while operating or riding upon a motorcycle in California – this law is found in section 27803 of California vehicle code. If you were not wearing your helmet at the time of your crash, then, you were in violation of a statute, and may face consequences (such as a ticket) as a result.

If you sustained head injuries in the accident that may have been prevented had a helmet been worn, then you may be considered partially at fault for your injuries, and your damages amount will be reduced proportionately. If the injuries that you incurred were not to the head, and the use of a helmet would not have prevented the injuries from being sustained, then it is unlikely that your compensation amount will be reduced.


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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions people have about personal injury cases and working with a lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to answer questions that are particular to your case.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP, accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This type of agreement means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees out-of-pocket for legal representation. Attorneys’ fees are also contingent on the outcome of your case.

You benefit from legal representation in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of a settlement or jury award. We will only recover a fee if you recover compensation.

Can You Tell Me How Much My Case Is Worth?

There is no way to determine the exact value of a personal injury case, especially early in your case. However, an experienced attorney can give you an estimated range based on their experience with similar cases.

There are many factors that may influence the value of your case, such as:

  • Your total financial or economic damages
  • The severity of your injuries
  • The impact of your injuries on your daily life
  • The strength of your case
  • Whether you share fault for your accident
  • Insurance policy limits 

Some damages are easy to calculate, such as lost wages and medical bills. Calculating the value of diminished earnings for the rest of your life or future medical needs; however, may require the help of experts. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering have no intrinsic financial value. These damages are challenging to calculate. 

If your case goes before a jury, you may potentially be able to recover more than you could through a settlement. However, this introduces a new element of risk: the jury. The circumstances of your accident and even how sympathetic you or the defendant are can influence the outcome.

During your consultation, and throughout your case, we will help you understand how these factors influence your case. We will also work tirelessly to document the value of all your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

The vast majority of cases are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement outside of court. Very few personal injury cases actually go to trial, but it is more likely if the facts in your case are in dispute, a legal issue is being contested, or you have a high-value case.

An experienced lawyer will build your case as if it will go to trial from the beginning. The stronger your case and evidence, the more likely a fair settlement will be reached.

How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If your case involves mostly property damage or minor injuries, you likely do not need a lawyer to handle a claim with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries, or the more complex your case, the more important it becomes to seek experienced legal counsel.

Remember that the insurance company is not on your side, even if the insurance adjuster seems sympathetic and you receive a settlement offer. If you are being blamed for your accident or sustained serious injury, a lawyer will help you protect your rights and build the strongest case possible. This includes calculating the full value of your current and future losses.

Legal representation is also vital if your case involves a complex area of law such as elder abuse or neglect, premises liability, commercial vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or serious work-related accidents. Determining liability, navigating decades of legal precedence, and interpreting specific statutes in these cases is best done with years of relevant legal experience.

Do You Accept Cases Outside of San Diego?

While our law office is located in San Diego, Berman & Riedel, LLP, accepts cases throughout the state of California.

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