Archives for April 2020

Comparative Negligence in California Motorcycle Accidents

What Happens If You Are Partially Responsible for Causing a Crash?

Comparative Negligence in California Motorcycle AccidentsThough there are many motor vehicle accidents where the courts ultimately find only one party responsible, the reality is that many crashes are caused by carelessness or negligence by both the person seeking damages and the party being sued. For example, a motorist may make an illegal turn or fail to stop at a stop sign and you may have been speeding. If the motorist had not turned into your path, the accident would not have happened, but if you hadn’t been speeding, it wouldn’t have happened, either. What happens when you’re involved in a motorcycle accident where there’s liability attributed to both parties?

For centuries, the principle of contributory negligence applied to such a situation. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a person who contributed in any way or to any degree in causing the accident that caused his/her injuries could not recover any compensation. As the principle developed, defense attorneys adopted a strategy of looking for any evidence of carelessness or negligence on the part of the injured person (the plaintiff). That led to situations where a grossly negligent person could escape responsibility for injuries suffered by someone who was only nominally careless.

The perceived unfairness of the contributory negligence approach led lawmakers across the country to adopt a new approach. All states now use some form of “comparative negligence” to determine how liability will be allocated when both parties were at fault. The comparative negligence scheme looks at the plaintiff’s total losses, determines the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible, and reduces the total award by that percentage. For example, if the total losses were $100,000 and the plaintiff was deemed 25% responsible, the total award will be reduced to $75,000.

Two different approaches to comparative negligence have evolved: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. With pure comparative negligence, an injured party will always receive something, unless deemed to be 100% responsible. With modified comparative negligence, if the plaintiff’s negligence exceeds a certain threshold (usually 50%), there will be no recovery. California is a pure comparative negligence state.

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At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring decades of experience to personal injury victims throughout California. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Understanding California’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

When a Helmet Must Be Worn | Helmet Requirements

Understanding California's Motorcycle Helmet LawStatistics show that riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous that traveling in a passenger vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that approximately four of every five motorcycle crashes result in death or serious injury. Studies also show that the right type of helmet can significantly reduce your risk of death or serious injury if you’re involved in an accident.

Under California law, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a helmet. The operator of a bike may receive a ticket if a passenger is not wearing a legal helmet, and a helmeted passenger may be cited for riding with an un-helmeted driver. California’s statute mandates that the helmet is worn properly on the head, with all chin straps securely fastened. Furthermore, the helmet must be tight enough to reasonably limit excessive movement.

In California, a motorcycle helmet must meet these minimum legal requirements:

  • The helmet must comply with federal weight standards, which require a minimum weight of three pounds.
  • The chin straps on the helmet must be made of sturdy material and attached to the helmet with solid rivets.
  • The helmet must have an inner liner made of polystyrene foam, with a minimum thickness of one inch.
  • The helmet may not have any object or item protruding more than one-fifth of an inch from its outer shell.

All helmets that meet California safety standards should have a sticker attached indicating compliance.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Experienced Legal Counsel

At the law office of Weber & Nierenberg, we have successfully represented motorcycle accident victims in California for decades. We understand the serious nature of injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents, as well as the common causes of motorcycle wrecks. Contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

 
 
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