As a premier motorcycle accident law firm in Los Angeles, the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group frequently receives questions from people injured in motorcycle, bicycle, scooter, and Segway accidents. We are always here to answer your questions and to provide free consultation and experienced legal representation. These are, in brief, some of the topics we address most frequently.
Q. What should I do if I am in an accident?
First, seek emergency medical treatment for yourself and for anyone else on the scene who requires medical attention. Make sure to follow up with your regular doctor as soon as possible after the accident. The full extent of some injuries cannot be immediately determined and may require further diagnostic tests. This is especially true of head injuries.
At the scene of the accident, trade personal information with the other driver, including names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle registration and insurance information. Obtain contact information from any witnesses, and take pictures of the scene from different angles, including property damage to both vehicles.
In most cases, the police will arrive at the scene and make a report of the accident based on observations and interviews with both drivers and witnesses. Motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle collisions with a larger vehicle often render the victim unconscious, however, and thus incapable of providing a report to the police at the scene. This can lead to official reports that are excessively one-sided because they are based only on the statement of the other party.
A similar risk arises where the biker or cyclist was forced off the road and into an accident by another vehicle or road hazard, but no actual collision occurred. In these cases, there may be little external evidence, aside from the victim’s own account, to prove that the accident was another person’s fault.
That is one reason why retaining a the services of an attorney is so important. A skilled and experienced trial attorney can employ accident reconstructionist or engage the services of expert witnesses to help demonstrate how the accident was caused by the negligence of another vehicle or by unsafe road conditions.
Q. If my accident was caused by a public agency, such as a collision with a city bus, or on an unsafe road or construction zone, will I be able to sue the government for my injuries?
Yes, but the procedure you must follow is different from a lawsuit involving a private party. The state’s Tort Claims Act controls how a city, county, or state government authority can be sued. This law provides for a civil lawsuit against the government for injury or wrongful death caused by the negligent acts of its employees.
Before you can sue a government entity, you must first file a claim with the appropriate government agency within six months of the injury. The government has 45 days to either accept or to reject your claim. If the claim is rejected, or if the governing board fails to act, you may then file a lawsuit. However, this lawsuit must be filed within one year of the accident, or else your claim will be forever barred. (This is a much shorter time frame than the usual two-year statute of limitations in a personal injury case against a private party.)
If your claim potentially involves a city, county, or other public authority, seek the advice of an attorney with experience handling claims against the government as soon as possible. Do not wait to contact a lawyer. Any delay can jeopardize your rights and your ability to obtain a recovery.
Q. Are laws different for motorcycle accidents than for car accidents?
Yes. Most motorcycle accidents are caused when the motorist fails to see the rider, turns in front of the motorcycle, cuts the rider off in his lane, or strikes the motorcyclist passing another car. Given the common nature of these accidents, the other driver’s liability can be assessed.
Failure to follow the rules of the road may cause or contribute to the accident, and this may also indicate liability for the other driver. Additionally, liability can be assessed if the other driver does something that a prudent driver would not do in similar circumstances. In that event, regardless of whether a road rule or statute was violated, liability may be assessed.
California is a comparative fault state, which means that each person pays only for their own fault. If a driver causes an accident and the motorcyclist did nothing to contribute to the accident, then the driver must pay 100 percent of the damages of the motorcycle rider. If the motorcycle rider was partially at fault, then the driver must pay only their portion of overall fault.
Q. What is the process a Los Angeles motorcycle accident law firm takes to pursue a claim?
First, we talk to you about the facts of your case. Then we examine the police report of the accident and try to determine a clear sense of who was at fault. We look into such factors as:
- Driver error
- Rider error
- Road defects
- Road repair and construction
With thorough analysis, we gather the facts and present our best estimate of the validity of your claim. We talk with the insurance companies involved to see the approach they are taking. When there is the opportunity for a settlement in your favor, we handle all the details of that settlement. When a settlement is not possible, we are prepared to litigate on your behalf. The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group has a strong track record of winning judgments on behalf of our motorcycle accident clients.
Q. What is the best way to choose a Los Angeles motorcycle accident law firm?
Look for experience. You want a trial attorney who has successfully litigated complex motorcycle accident cases, and has achieved judgments or settlements on behalf of his clients. The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group represents people in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California who have been seriously injured in motorcycle accidents due to the negligence of others.
Our firm has represented people injured on motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, Segways, and other motorized vehicles in a variety of accidents including those involving lane splitting, HOV lanes, and blind spots. Call us today for a free consultation about your claim.
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