Who Is At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

Proving fault in motorcycle accidents

Compared to car accidents, motorcycle accidents are much more likely to result in an injury or fatality. This is an unfortunate reality that motorcycle riders face, especially in California. Most motorcycle accidents happen when a driver of a larger vehicle does not see a motorcyclist. If you or a loved one was hurt in a collision because of a negligent driver, you may be facing mounting medical bills, emotional and physical pain, and lost income from work. 

The Anaheim motorcycle accident lawyers at Katella Injury Attorneys can help you obtain compensation from the other driver. Call our experienced team to schedule a free consultation today.


Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Anaheim

Most motorcycle accidents in California are a result of driver negligence or driver error. Both car drivers and motorcyclists have a legal duty of care to drive safely and avoid causing harm to others. If one or both parties fail to respect their duty, their actions could lead to a dangerous or even deadly collision.

While each accident is different, there are common denominators that lead to crashes. These are some of the top causes of motorcycle accidents in Anaheim: 

  • Speeding, either by the motorcyclist or a driver
  • Left hand turns or unsafe lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Inexperienced riders or car drivers 
  • Lane splitting 
  • Unsafe road conditions
  • Bad weather


Lane Splitting in California

California motorcycle accident lane splitting

California is currently the only state to allow motorcycle riders to lane split, which is riding in between two traffic lanes. While legal, lane splitting can be dangerous if not done safely. Under the guidelines issued by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), motorcyclists should not:

  • Exceed speeds more than 10 mph above the surrounding traffic
  • Lane split when the traffic speed exceeds 30 mph
  • Lane splitting near intersections, ramps, or curves

Motorcycle riders must abide by the same traffic rules and regulations as passenger vehicles. If they engage in reckless behavior while lane splitting, they could be held responsible for a crash. 


How Is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident? 

Pure comparative negligence standards California law

Determining fault in any type of motor vehicle accident is often the most challenging aspect of a case. There could be multiple liable parties, such as drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, or even manufacturers of defective vehicles or parts. 

Fault in a California motorcycle accident is based on the legal theory of negligence, or carelessness. Whoever acted negligently or recklessly and caused the accident will be found at fault and therefore liable for all damages. Negligence could take the form of speeding, running a red light, or texting while driving. 

California follows pure comparative fault laws, which allow the plaintiff to recover damages even if they are 99% at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is 20% at fault and the defendant is 80% at fault, the plaintiff can recover 80% of the damages. 


What Damages Can You Recover in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

If you were injured in a motorcycle crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The damages you can recover depend on the severity of your injuries, the impact on your life, and the extent of the other party’s liability. Some of the common types of damages you can claim are:

  • Medical expenses: Emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and any future medical needs related to your injury.
  • Lost income: Lost wages due to your injury and inability to work. It also includes the loss of earning capacity if your injury affects your future career prospects.
  • Pain and suffering: Physical and emotional distress you endured as a result of your injury. It may include factors such as chronic pain, scarring, disfigurement, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Property damage: Repair or replacement of your motorcycle and any other personal property that was damaged in the accident.
  • Punitive damages: This is a rare type of damage that is awarded to punish the defendant for their egregious or malicious conduct. It is meant to deter them and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.


How to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident 

Most non-fatal and fatal motorcycle accidents are preventable. Follow these safety tips so you can avoid a serious motorcycle accident in California. 

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

Motorcycle crashes injured person partially responsible

As a motorcycle rider, you have to take certain precautions to protect yourself and other motorcycle drivers from an accident. Here are essential motorcycle safety tips: 

  • Lane split safely
  • Make yourself visible 
  • Wear a helmet and protective gear
  • Take a motorcycle safety course
  • Avoid riding in bad weather

Safety Tips for Drivers

Motorists must share the road with motorcyclists. Here are safety tips to avoid an accident with a motorcyclist: 

  • Signal your intentions 
  • Follow posted speed limits 
  • Do not tailgate a motorcycle rider 
  • Check your blind spots 
  • Be careful at intersections 
  • Don’t be a distracted driver 


Talk to an Anaheim Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today 

Fault determined in accident liability cases

Motorcycle accident victims face an uphill battle long after the crash. The insurance company won’t sympathize with you, however. They are focused on their bottom line – not your recovery. At Katella Injury Attorneys, we care deeply about our clients’ well-being. 

When you hire an experienced lawyer, you will be taken care of, from your medical appointments to the repair of your vehicle. Our personal injury law firm works on behalf of injured clients, and never the at-fault party or insurance company. Call us at (714) 395-5514 or contact us online for a free legal consultation. 

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