Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

What You Must Show the Court to Win a Verdict

Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident ClaimIf you’re hurt while operating or riding a motorcycle in California, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Most legal claims for losses suffered in a motorcycle accident are based on a legal theory of negligence.

What Is Negligence?

The principle of negligence has been at the forefront of personal injury law for hundreds of years, originating in the English legal system. To successfully prove negligence in court, you must show three things:

  • that the defendant (the party from whom you seek damages) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances;
  • that the failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
  • that, because of the accident, you suffered “actual losses.”

The Failure to Act Reasonably

Under the legal theory of negligence, every person in society has a duty, at all times and in all actions, to behave as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. This “duty of care” applies to all the routines of daily life, such as driving a car, maintaining your property, using power tools, or manufacturing and selling a product. The law does not, however, identify exactly what constitutes reasonable behavior—that is determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis. However, to ensure some consistency in the outcome of cases, juries are bound by the principle of stare decisis, which requires that weight be given to rulings in prior cases involving similar fact situations.

The Cause of the Accident

To meet the cause requirement, you must demonstrate both actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause means that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause means that the consequences of the breach of duty were reasonably foreseeable at the time of the breach.

Actual Losses

You may recover only for losses actually incurred. Any losses covered by insurance cannot be recovered again in a lawsuit. Likewise, you cannot recover for damage to property that has no value or for injuries that cause no pain and suffering, that do not prevent you from working, or that otherwise have no negative impact on your life.

Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to men and women across California who suffer personal injury, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

California Electric Scooter Laws—An Overview

Fundamental Laws Governing Electric Scooters

California Electric Scooter Laws—An OverviewAs the use of electric scooters continues to explode, both in California and nationwide, more andmore legislatures are taking a close look at their impact, enacting regulations to protect riders, other drivers, and pedestrians. In this blog, we look as some of the basic laws governing the operation of an electric scooter in California.

  • Under the law, electric scooters are motorized vehicles—Except where there are specific laws governing electric scooters, the law governing other motor vehicles applies. For example, you can be charged with drinking and driving if you operate an electric scooter while intoxicated.
  • You must walk an electric scooter through a left-hand turn—A controversial new provision in the California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to get off their bikes on the right-hand side of the road when approaching a left-hand turn and then walk the bike through the turn.
  • The use of bike lanes—The California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to use dedicated bike lanes whenever possible. Some exceptions apply:
    • When making a left-hand turn
    • When avoiding hazards in the bike lane
    • When passing another vehicle or a pedestrian
    • When turning right
  • Prohibited activities—You may not have another passenger on an electric scooter. You may not operate an electric scooter without a valid driver’s license. You may not drive an electric scooter on a sidewalk.
  • Minors must wear helmets—Anyone under the age of 18 may drive an electric scooter only while wearing a helmet. The requirement does not apply to adults.
  • The speed limit for electric scooters is 15 miles per hour—The fines for exceeding the speed limit start at $250.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have aggressively fought for the rights of injury victims in California for more the three decades. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Motorcycle Accident Deaths Decline in California

But Roadways Still Present Increased Risks for Bikers

Motorcycle Accident Deaths Decline in CaliforniaThere are over 800,000 motorcycles registered in California. In 2018, there were just over 14,000 motorcycle accidents in the state, down from 16,505 in 2017. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of motorcycle-accident fatalities also dropped during that time, from 578 in 2017 to 488 in 2018, a decline of 15.57%. The trends in California are similar to those nationwide, although the national decrease of motorcycle fatalities in 2017 was only 5.6%.

Despite the lowering fatality rate, California roadways are still pretty dangerous for motorcyclists. Bikers remain 28 times more likely to die in a collision than someone operating or riding in a passenger vehicle (down from 34 times as likely just four years ago). Approximately three of every four motorcycle accidents are collisions between bikes and at least one car.

Safety experts say a number of factors continue to make the motorcycle-accident-fatality rate relatively high:

  • Distracted driving—In addition to handheld devices, motorcyclists are susceptible to roadside distractions.
  • Aging biker population—Most motorcyclists are now over the age of 40, with the average age of motorcycle-accident-fatality victims being 43.
  • Alcohol and drugs—One in every four fatal motorcycle accidents involves at least one driver with blood alcohol content over the legal limit. The legalization of recreational marijuana use also has led to a higher number of bikers driving under the influence.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided strong and effective representation to motorcycle accident injury victims for more than 30 years. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident

New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle AccidentEverywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances—and now your motorcycle. A number of technological innovations have hit the market recently, all designed to help you maximize the enjoyment of your motorcycle while helping you stay safer. Here are some of the more popular new technologies:

  • Airbags—Airbag technology is applied differently to motorcycles—it’s in the clothing you buy, rather than the bike. The most basic airbags are tethered to your bike and deploy when a cord is pulled. More sophisticated products have computerized systems that detect an impending crash.
  • Directional headlights—The single headlight on a motorcycle, pointed straight ahead, has always been less than adequate, particularly when you’re turning a corner at night. New adaptive headlights use sensors to pivot when you’re rounding a turn, so your headlights shine where you’re going.
  • Antilock braking—Slamming on your brakes is one of the least effective and most dangerous ways to try to stop your bike. Antilock brakes create a “feathering” effect by rapidly reducing and reapplying the brakes a number of times per second. Studies show that fatal crash rates are about one-third lower on bikes with antilock braking systems.
  • Electronic throttle control—This technology replaces the traditional accelerator cable with an electronic device that minimizes the risk of accidental and sudden acceleration.
  • Smart helmets—A number of manufacturers are incorporating Bluetooth technology into helmets, allowing riders to see GPS images and rearview cameras on helmet visors.

Another technology in development, but not yet ready for release, is “vehicle to vehicle” communication, which integrates sensors into a bike to accomplish two objectives: emit a signal to nearby vehicles, making them aware of the presence of the bike; and give motorcyclists notification of the presence of other vehicles nearby.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience to people who have suffered personal injury, including victims of motorcycle accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Bicycle-Car Accidents Spike Up in California

Injury Rate Highest in 25 Years

When You're in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a number of factors have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of automobile-bicycle collisions in California and nationwide in the last five years. NHTSA reported that the three-year period from 2016 through 2018 saw the highest rates of traffic accidents involving cyclists since the mid-1990s, as well as a higher incidence of serious and catastrophic injuries.

Authorities say the rise in motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists can be tied to four specifictrends:

  • A significant increase in the number of miles Americans are putting on the roads;
  • Increased popularity of cycling;
  • The dramatic increase in distracted driving; and
  • The popularity of SUVs and large trucks.

Americans Are Driving More

It’s no secret to why Americans dramatically increased their time behind the wheel during the years 2016-2018. In 2016, the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.14, the lowest since 2002. Studies have long shown a correlation between cheap gas and traffic accidents. As the price of gas goes down, driving becomes more affordable, and more people drive. The more they drive, the more accidents result.

There Are More Cyclists on the Roads

Studies show that more Americans are commuting to work by bicycle. Many cities have improved infrastructure to accommodate the greater number of cyclists, but many have not.

Americans Are More Distracted Behind the Wheel

As handheld devices have become almost universal, they also have become more of a distraction for drivers. NHTSA lists distracted driving as the number one cause of crashes.

Americans Are Driving Bigger Vehicles

The number of big trucks and SUVs on the roads is increasing. Those vehicles tend to have larger blind spots, making it more challenging to see a bicycle on the road.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have been successfully representing people hurt in motorcycle accidents for more than three decades. To arrange a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident-old

New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety

When You're in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardEverywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances… and now your motorcycle. A number of technological innovations have hit the market recently, all designed to help you maximize the enjoyment of your motorcycle while helping you stay safer. Here are some of the more popular new technologies:

  • Airbags—Airbag technology is applied differently to motorcycles—it’s in the clothing you buy, rather than the bike. The most basic airbags are tethered to your bike and deploy when a cord is pulled. The more sophisticated products have computerized systems that detect an impending crash.
  • Directional headlights—The single headlight on a motorcycle, pointed straight ahead, has always been less than adequate, particularly when you’re turning a corner at night. New adaptive headlights use sensors to pivot when you’re rounding a turn, so your headlights shine where you’re going.
  • Antilock braking—Slamming on your brakes is one of the least effective and most dangerous ways to try to stop your bike. Antilock brakes create a “feathering” effect by rapidly reducing and reapplying the brakes a number of times per second. Studies show that fatal crash rates are about one-third lower on bikes with antilock braking systems.
  • Electronic throttle control—This technology replaces the traditional accelerator cable with an electronic device that minimizes the risk of accidental sudden acceleration.
  • Smart helmets—A number of helmet manufacturers are incorporating Bluetooth technology into helmets, allowing riders to see GPS images and rearview cameras on thevisor of their helmet

Another technology in development, but not yet ready for release is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which integrates sensors into a bike to accomplish two objectives: emitting a signal to nearby vehicles making them aware of the presence of the bike; and giving motorcyclists notification of the presence of nearby vehicles.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have been successfully representing people hurt in motorcycle accidents for more than three decades. To arrange a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010

Identifying the Parties Responsible for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Who Can You Sue When You’re Hurt in a Bike Wreck?

When You're in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardIn the aftermath of a motorcycle accident when you’re trying to recover lost wages, medical expenses, or other damages—the most obvious responsible party is the driver whose negligence caused the accident. While the law is clear that you must prove someone was negligent in order to recover compensation, parties other than the at-fault driver may be liable for your losses.

In a motorcycle accident injury claim, as with other types of personal injury , claims the most common legal theory used to recover damages is negligence. In a negligence claim, you must show three things:

  • That another person failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances (or, in other words, “breached the duty” to act reasonably);
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident; and
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident.

Besides the at-fault driver, a number of other parties may have acted carelessly in a way that contributed to or caused the accident that led to your injuries:

  • The manufacturer or designer of a product—Designers and manufacturers of consumer products—including those who make bike and automobile parts, safety equipment, and traffic lights—have a duty to use reasonable care. You may have a product-based claim if your accident was caused by defective brakes, steering mechanisms, or other bike parts, or if your injuries were made worse by carelessly-designed safety gear, such as helmets, gloves, or clothing. Any party in the chain of distribution, including the bike dealership, can be legally responsible for this kind of “product liability” claim.
  • The at-fault party’s employer—If the accident occurred while the at-fault driver was in the normal course of his or her job, the employer may have some responsibility under the legal theory of respondeat superior.
  • A local governmental body—If roadway defects caused the accident, you may have a claim against the entity responsible for maintaining that stretch of road.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have been successfully representing people hurt in motorcycle accidents for more than three decades. To arrange a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010

Sacramento Reopens to E-Scooters

City Allows Electric Scooters Back on Roads After Pandemic-Related Suspension

When You're in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardIn April, responding to the explosion of COVID-19 cases in California and across the nation, the city of Sacramento temporarily suspended all permits allowing e-scooters and bicycles to operate on city streets. Officials say the measure was almost unnecessary, as most e-scooter companies had already removed their vehicles from the roads, expressing concerns about public health and potential liability.

On June 22, as the state of California sought to re-open, Sacramento let e-scooter companies resume operations on city streets. E-scooter company Spin has since delivered 250 of its vehicles to the city. The city is requiring, however, that all e-scooter companies employ rigorous procedures to minimize the risk of contamination by the coronavirus. Spin representatives say they are taking the following actions:

  • Every scooter is sanitized and disinfected twice daily.
  • All scooter maintenance workers are required to wear personal protective equipment, including a mask, gloves, and safety glasses.
  • All personnel who have direct interaction with the public must also wear personal protective equipment when doing so.

Public health officials say scooters and bicycles are one of the safest ways to travel during the pandemic, as they are out in the open and don’t put commuters at risk of proximity or exposure to drivers, passengers, or other commuters. They do recommend, however, that anyone choosing to travel by e-scooter or bicycle carry hand sanitizer and carefully wipe down all surfaces of the scooter before getting on the vehicle. Spin is asking all customers to wash their hands before and after using one of the e-scooters, to wear appropriate face coverings, and to follow local government guidelines.

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided comprehensive legal counsel to injured people throughout California for more than 30 years, including victims of motorcycle accidents. Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule a free initial consultation.

When You’re in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road Hazard

Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries in California

When You’re in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road HazardAccording to statistics, approximately three of every four motorcycle accidents involves a collision with another vehicle. Single vehicle crashes result from a variety of causes, including biker carelessness, excessive speed, substance abuse, and road hazards.

A study commissioned by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that about 75% of motorcycle accidents caused by roadway hazards can be prevented. Though many road hazards can cause or contribute to wrecks, the most common adverse roadway conditions tied to motorcycle crashes are the following:

  • Uneven road surfaces or potholes, often in construction areas;
  • Roadway debris, such as sand, gravel, rebar, cones, signs, or other materials;
  • Oil or water on the roads; and
  • Poor or limited traffic visibility from side roads due to trees, bushes, vegetation, or other obstructions.

Determining Who’s Responsible for Your Injuries

The first step in pursuing compensation for injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident is determining who caused the crash. If one of the at-fault parties is a private individual, you’ll likely pursue damages by filing a personal injury claim based on a theory of negligence. You’ll need to show that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, thereby causing the accident that led to your losses. But what if the accident was caused, in whole or in part, by the failure of a governmental body to maintain the roadway?

As a general rule, government entities (including the state of California) are immune from liability for personal injury claims unless explicitly authorized by statute. Under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), the state of California can be sued when someone suffers injury in a motorcycle accident as the result of the government’s failure to properly design or maintain a public roadway. Before an injured person can file a lawsuit, though, CTCA requires that the claim first be filed against the public entity within six months of the accident. The public entity then has 45 days to either accept or reject the claim before a lawsuit can be filed.

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided comprehensive legal counsel to injured people throughout California for more than 30 years, including victims of motorcycle accidents. Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Eye Injuries a Serious Risk for Scooter Operators

University Study Shows Increase in Facial Trauma

Eye Injuries a Serious Risk for Scooter OperatorsResearch at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) indicates that as the popularity of electric scooters has risen dramatically, the number of scooter injuries has skyrocketed as well, with a significant portion of them involving trauma to the head and face, particularly the eyes. The study, conducted over a 12-month period in late 2018 and early 2019, looked at injuries suffered by scooter-accident victims who sought treatment at two UCSC emergency rooms. The report found that many patients coming into the emergency room with scooter-related injuries had complex facial fractures to bones around the eyes, and many had serious eye injuries as well. Nearly all had some type of facial fracture (over 90%), with most of those being complex fractures. About 75 percent needed hospitalization, and one in four required surgery. Of those who participated in the study, two of every three underwent an eye exam. Doctors found retinal hemorrhaging and numerous lacerations involving eyelids. One patient experienced temporary blindness because of pressure inside his eye. None of those who suffered injury were wearing a helmet

Under California law, electric-scooter operators over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet. Though studies in other parts of the country indicate that the mandatory use of helmets dramatically decreases the number and severity of head injuries among scooter operators, such laws have not been enacted. Opponents say requiring helmet use would be a significant disincentive to use of electric scooters—people will choose to rideshare or walk instead

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have effectively represented personal injury victims throughout California for more than three decades, including victims of vehicle accidents. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation

 
 
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Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

What You Must Show the Court to Win a Verdict If you're hurt while operating or riding a motorcycle in California, you have a right to seek... [Read More...]