Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you need more than just a lawyer. You need a passionate legal team in your corner. This is exactly the role The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP undertakes. Armed with knowledge and understanding of motorcycle accident claims, we are prepared to battle for the justice and compensation you deserve for your losses.
With over 80 years of experience, our firm has stood the test of time because of our commitment to our clients. We have helped countless Bakersfield and Kern County clients fight for the justice and compensation they deserve for their losses. Our extensive legal knowledge and understanding of the local community give us a distinct edge in and out of the courtroom.
When you choose The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP, you can trust that your case will be treated with the care and attention it deserves. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer. Allow us to demonstrate why we are the trusted choice for individuals and families in Bakersfield facing life’s toughest challenges.
What Are the California Motorcycle Laws?
If you own or ride a motorcycle in California, here are some key state laws you should know and follow:
Under California law, it is illegal for any motorcycle rider or passenger to ride a motorcycle without a helmet that complies with U.S. Department of Transportation standards.
Lane Splitting Laws
California is the only state that explicitly permits lane splitting. This allows motorcycles to pass other vehicles proceeding in the same direction by riding between lanes. However, riders are still expected to maneuver responsibly and safely when they lane split.
Motorcycle Equipment Requirements
In California, motorcycles must have proper lights, brakes, mirrors, and horns. In addition, handlebars must be positioned so riders raise their hands no more than six inches above their shoulders when sitting on their bikes.
Training and Licensing Laws
To legally operate a motorcycle in California, riders must obtain M1 motorcycle licenses. This requires passing a written test and a skills test. Riders under 21 must also complete a state-approved motorcycle rider training course.
How a California Motorcycle Accident Differs from a Car Accident
A motorcycle crash is different from a car accident in several significant ways due to the inherent dissimilarities between these two types of vehicles.
Motorcycles are far less stable than cars. Because motorcycles are two-wheeled, motorcyclists can easily lose control of their vehicles, particularly on less-than-ideal road conditions such as wet or uneven surfaces. Operating a motorcycle involves more manual coordination than driving a car, and many vehicle drivers don’t understand the nuances of riding. This lack of stability and lack of widespread understanding both contribute to a greater risk of motorcycle accidents.
Another key difference lies in the level of protection for the operator. Cars are enclosed structures with seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones, providing substantial protection to occupants during a collision. On the other hand, motorcyclists are more directly exposed in the event of an impact, with only their helmets and protective gear to shield them from the worst of the crash. This often results in more severe injuries for motorcyclists, even in minor accidents.
Visibility is another crucial factor. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult for other road users to see, though this is no excuse when drivers fail or refuse to share the road properly. Still, poor visibility can contribute to accidents if other drivers fail to notice motorcyclists, especially at intersections, on multi-lane roads, or when changing lanes.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Bakersfield Motorcycle Wreck
In the aftermath of a motorcycle wreck, your actions can significantly affect your well-being and your right to file a claim. Here’s a list of steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Seek Medical Attention – Always get a checkup immediately, as some crash injuries don’t display immediate symptoms. Medical records provide key evidence in most accident claims.
- Document Your Recovery – Start a “pain journal” to record regular observations about your injuries, pain levels, limitations, and healing progress in your own words.
- Document the Scene – Take photos of the accident scene, visible injuries, and damage to your bike or any other property resulting from the motorcycle accident.
- Gather Information – Get contact and insurance details from all involved parties. If any witnesses saw the accident, ask them for statements and contact information as well.
- Don’t Admit Fault – Even if you’re unsure what caused the wreck or you think you might have caused it yourself, avoid apologizing or making statements that could be construed as admitting fault.
- Contact an Attorney – A knowledgeable lawyer from The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP can protect your interests and guide you through the process of claiming compensation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Several factors can contribute to motorcycle accidents, including the following:
- Distracted Driving – Drivers who don’t focus on the road pose significant risks to motorcyclists.
- Speeding – Excessive speed means less reaction time and can easily lead to loss of control.
- Impaired Driving – Drugs or alcohol can severely impair a driver’s judgment and coordination.
- Failing to Yield – Negligent drivers often overlook motorcyclists when traveling through intersections, merging into moving traffic, or changing lanes.
- Poor Road Conditions – Potholes, debris, and wet roads increase the odds of riders losing control.
- Mechanical Defects – Defective vehicle parts could contribute to loss-of-control accidents.
Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Crash
Unlike drivers of cars and trucks, motorcyclists lack the protective shell of a vehicle, leaving them vulnerable to severe injuries even in comparatively minor accidents. These are some common injuries we see in the motorcycle accident cases we handle:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
- “Road rash” and other burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Emotional injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Damages Can I Expect to Recover from a Motorcycle Collision Claim?
In the wake of a motorcycle collision, you might find yourself facing seemingly endless medical bills and losing income due to your inability to work, all while grappling with the overwhelming emotional toll of your experience. Understanding how much compensation you could recover is vital in challenging times like these.
Depending on your situation, you could claim damages (money) for a range of losses, including the following:
- Medical Expenses – This covers both past and future medical bills associated with the accident.
- Lost Wages – If you are forced to miss work, you could claim money to replace lost income.
- Loss of Earning Capacity – If your lifetime earning potential decreases, you could get compensation to replace projected losses in future income.
- Pain and Suffering – You could seek compensation for physical and emotional distress caused by your injuries.
- Property Damage – The costs of repairing or replacing your bike and other damaged items are compensable.
Why You Need a Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Case
Why choose The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP for your motorcycle accident injury claim? The answer lies in our firm’s combination of experience, dedication, and local knowledge. We understand that you need more than just legal representation in the wake of a motorcycle accident. You need an advocate who truly cares about your recovery and your future.
Motorcycle accident claims are complex matters that require skilled negotiation and sometimes even litigation. That’s where our considerable experience comes in. We’ve been serving the Bakersfield community since 1939, and our attorneys know what it takes to navigate the legal landscape effectively. We work diligently to hold at-fault parties accountable and demand fair compensation for your motorcycle accident.
Unlike larger, impersonal law firms, we take a client-first approach, so you never feel like just another case number. We’ll give your motorcycle accident case the individualized attention it merits, keeping you informed and making ourselves available to answer your questions every step of the way.
Our track record of achieving excellent results reflects our unwavering commitment to our clients. We’re dedicated to fighting for you, whether that means tough negotiations with insurance companies or taking your case to trial.
You’re not just hiring a motorcycle accident law firm with The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP. You’re selecting a team that’s part of your community, committed to your recovery, and dedicated to achieving justice for you.