Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle

Can You Recover Compensation When Someone Else Causes You Injury but You’re Not Wearing a Helmet?

Wearing a Helmet While Riding a MotorcycleCalifornia, like many other states, requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet while operating a bike on the road. You can receive a ticket for failure to do so. But what happens if you’re on a motorcycle and another motorist causes an accident that leaves you injured? Are you precluded from seeking damages because you weren’t wearing a helmet?

The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Personal Injury Claim

Fortunately, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet does not automatically prevent you from filing a lawsuit for your injuries. It may, however, limit the amount that you’re able to recover.

Here’s how it works. Like all other states, California applies the concept of comparative negligence to cases where there is negligence on the part of both parties to a personal injury claim. Under California’s “pure comparative negligence” approach, the jury first determines the full extent of losses suffered by the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit) and then determines the extent to which the plaintiff’s own carelessness or negligence contributed to the injuries suffered. The total damage award is reduced by that percentage.

If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, it’s likely that the jury will consider your failure to do so evidence of carelessness or negligence. Accordingly, if you suffer head injuries—cuts, bruises, or traumatic brain injury (TBI)—and the jury determines you wouldn’t have sustained those injuries had you been wearing a helmet, then you may not be able to fully recover for those losses. Under the California pure comparative negligence statute, though, you will always be able to recover something, unless the jury finds you to be 100% responsible for your injuries.

Contact Our Offices

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

No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

Can You Recover Damages If There’s No Collision?

No-Contact-Motorcycle-AccidentsIt’s an all too common occurrence—you’re out on the road on your motorcycle and a distracted or careless motorist turns into your path. To avoid a collision, you lay the bike down or veer and lose control. You suffer injuries when you hit the pavement, and your bike is damaged, but there was no contact with the motor vehicle. Can you still pursue compensation for your injuries and losses? The answer is generally yes.

The Legal Basis for a Personal Injury Claim

There’s no requirement that there be impact between your bike and another vehicle for you to have a valid claim for damages. Most personal injury claims are based on the legal principle of negligence. Under this rule, everyone in society is deemed to have a duty to act reasonably at all times, including while operating a motor vehicle.

To establish liability for negligence, you must prove three things in court:

  • That the defendant (the person from whom you are seeking compensation) failed to meet the standard of care reasonably expected—Another way of saying this is that the defendant “breached the duty of care.”
  • That the breach of duty caused an accident—You must show that the accident would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably and also that your injuries or losses were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the breach of duty
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident—If your losses are covered by insurance, you cannot recover them from the defendant. In addition, if you have property loss, but the property has no value, you cannot recover damages for it.

In a no-contact accident, then, the court will look at the facts of the case and apply these standards. Did the motorist carelessly turn into your path or cause you to take evasive action? Did that carelessness cause you to lay down the bike or lose control? Did you suffer actual losses as a result?

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims throughout California for more than 30 years, including victims of motorcycle accidents. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation.

Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident in 2020

Measures You Can Take to Reduce the Likelihood of Injury

Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident in 2020If you’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast for any length of time, you know it’s a two-edged sword. There’s nothing quite like the feel of the open road, wind in your face, taking in California’s spectacular scenery. But motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other types of vehicles. Statistics indicate that bikers are 28 times more likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury in a crash than travelers in passenger vehicles. You can, however, take measures to minimize the risk of a motorcycle accident:

  • Drive defensively—The evidence is pretty conclusive—other drivers generally don’t look out for bikers on the road. That means you have to take concrete measures to protect yourself. Keep an eye on the motorists around you. Look for signs that they might be turning without giving a signal. Keep a safe distance behind the motorist in front of you in order to maximize your reaction time. Watch out for potholes, loose gravel, or debris on the road.
  • Improve your skills—Take a safety course or learn new techniques for handling your bike. Go to a vacant parking lot and practice and practice for a while.
  • Make certain other drivers can see you—Wear bright clothing. Keep out of blind spots. Always use turn signals and hand signals. Consider driving with your headlights on at all times.
  • Make certain your bike is road-ready—Check the brakes, throttle, horn, and turn signals before you get on the road. Make certain your tire pressure is good and that you have plenty of fuel.

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle-Accident Lawyers

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided aggressive legal counsel to personal injury victims in California for more than three decades. We will listen carefully to learn the specific details of your claim, as well as what you need to compensate you fully for all your losses. Contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Tips for Maximizing Your Safety on a Motorcycle—Part One

Things You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Injury

Tips for Maximizing Your Safety on a MotorcycleFor many, riding a motorcycle can be a two-edged sword. There’s exhilaration and freedom you can’t get from anything else when you hit the open road with the wind in your face. But it’s an inherently dangerous venture, too. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate that bikers are 28 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash than someone in a passenger vehicle. In many instances, too, the causes of an accident are beyond your control. There are, however, some specific things you can do to reduce the risk of injury on a bike. Here’s our first installment:

  • Make sure your skills are finely tuned—Don’t be afraid to take a motorcycle safety course. In California, you may even be required to take a safety class or pass a driving skills test. Even if it’s not mandatory, it’s a good idea.
  • Take advantage of safety gear—A helmet, leather pants and jacket, good boots and gloves are essential. You also might look into new airbag technologies available for motorcycles.
  • Keep your bike in top condition—Keep a checklist to go through every time you get on your bike, so you know that brakes, lights, tires, steering and other mechanical conditions are satisfactory.
  • Make certain other drivers can see you—The most common response by other motorists after a collision? I didn’t see the motorcycle. Minimize that risk with brightly colored clothing or reflective tape. Make certain you always use mechanical and hand signals, and ride with your headlights on in the daytime.
  • Give yourself some room—Always allow yourself adequate space and time to stop in the event of an emergency without hitting the vehicle in front of you.

ContactWeber & Nierenberg

At the law office of Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of injured people in California for more than three decades, including those hurt in motorcycle accidents. We will take the time to listen carefully in order to learn the details of your case, and we will help you seek full and fair compensation. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

California Jury Awards $21.5 Million in Motorcycle Injury Claim

Improper Lane Change Determined as Cause of Accident

A California jury returned a verdict in a motorcycle accident claim determining that the injured biker’s losses totaled $21.5 million. The man was injured in 2017 on the 405 Freeway in southern California. According to trial testimony, the defendant, who worked for a car dealership in Irvine, changed lands without signaling and hit the plaintiff, who was traveling northbound. The impact of the collision threw the plaintiff off his bike and into the path of another vehicle.

According to his attorneys, the plaintiff suffered serious and permanent injuries as a result of the accident. The parties could not agree on a reasonable amount of compensation for the injuries, so the case went to trial.

Witnesses testified at trial that the defendant suddenly shifted from the high occupancy vehicle lane and sideswiped the motorcycle. In addition to the driver of the motor vehicle, the plaintiff sued the car dealership that employed him, alleging that the driver was “unfit and incompetent” to perform the work he was hired to do and that the dealership was negligent in hiring and training him. Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer can be liable for injuries caused by an employee, provided the employee was performing duties that were part of his job at the time of the accident. The driver was delivering a car for his employee at the time of the crash.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Proven Representation

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have successfully protected the rights of personal injury victims in California for decades, including those of people injured in motorcycle accidents. We take an individualized approach to every claim, learning the details of your accident and tailoring our counsel to get the outcome you want. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

The Smart Helmet—The Next Step in Motorcycle Safety

The Power of Technology Applied to Your Motorcycle Helmet

The Smart Helmet—The Next Step in Motorcycle SafetyWe all know about smartphones, and most of us are becoming familiar with the applications of smart technology to appliances, security systems and other aspects of our lives. Now smart technology has been integrated with a motorcycle helmet. The result is a helmet that provides instant access to data and lets you effectively track critical information about your rides.

The cutting edge smart helmets are fully integrated with Bluetooth® as well as a technology known as Mesh Intercom™. These systems make a number of functions relatively easy:

  • You can make hands-free phone calls, provided you have coverage.
  • You can listen to music, changing tunes with voice commands.
  • You can get GPS instructions piped in through your helmet.

The Mesh Intercom system lets you communicate with other riders through intercom, rather than phone. It has two settings—open mesh, which allows essentially limitless communications with riders within a mile of you; and closed mesh, where you can speak live with up to 16 other participants within a range of five miles.

Most of the high-end smart helmets include HUD (head-up display), a technology that projects information on the inside of a windshield or helmet visor. With the fully integrated systems, you can see everything you need to know, from speed to temperature gauges, by looking straight ahead. It’s all on the inside of your visor.

There’s also a prototype of a smart helmet that connects to Amazon’s Alexa and has both front- and rear-facing 2K cameras. The helmet also includes an anti-fog visor, a waterproof design and wireless charging. Product developers expect this helmet to be on the market within a year.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience successfully protecting the rights of personal injury victims in California. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 1-866-288-6010.

The Motorcycle Airbag Jacket/Vest—Does It Really Work?

Will an Airbag Jacket/Vest Actually Protect You from Injury?

The Motorcycle Airbag Jacket/Vest—Does It Really Work?It may surprise you to learn that the first patent application for a motorcycle airbag vest/jacket was filed in Europe in 1976. The concept is pretty straightforward—the airbag is contained in a vest or jacket that you put on over your other riding clothes. At the most basic level, the jacket/vest has a lanyard or cable that is tethered to your bike. If you fall off, the lanyard pulls a pin, which punctures a CO2 tube and inflates the jacket/vest, typically in less than 1/4 of a second. On the other end of the spectrum, there are airbag jackets that don’t need to be attached to the bike, but which have built in sensors to detect an accident.

Do Airbag Vest/Jackets Actually Minimize the Risk of Injury?

A number of studies have shown significant promise for the motorcycle vest/jacket airbag systems:

  • Car and Bike conducted a two-year study of one of the basic models that attaches to the bike with a lanyard. They reported no incidents of accidental deployment. They also had a rider who lost control of his bike on a wet road. The vest immediately deployed, and the rider walked away without as much as a bruise. He was even able to reuse the jacket.
  • Honda ran tests that found the airbag reduced forward momentum by more than 60%, which reduced head trauma by more than 80%. Honda concluded that the airbag systems wouldn’t make it completely safe to ride a motorcycle, but could mean the difference between minor injuries and a serious, catastrophic or even fatal accident.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Experienced Legal Representation

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have spent decades fighting for the rights of injured people in California, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. We understand that every case is unique, and we will take the time to learn what happened to you, so we can take the right steps to get the outcome you want. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

The Benefits of Joining a Motorcycle Club

Reasons for Looking into a Local Motorcycle Group

The Benefits of Joining a Motorcycle ClubThough motorcycle groups have a bad reputation, it’s like most things—it’s the exception to the rule that gets most of the publicity. Most authorities believe that the criminal motorcycle gangs account for about 1% of all organized biker groups. Far more common are clubs that bring diverse members of a community together for organized rides, events and interaction.

Here are some of the benefits you can get from a motorcycle club:

  • Increased skills on your bike—It’s like anything…when you hang around with people whoare good at what they do, it can rub off on you. If you’re a bit of a novice, you can quickly develop skills tagging along with veteran riders. Many clubs have regular skills training and workshops. At a minimum, you’ll probably put more time in on your bike, and that almost always makes you a better rider.
  • Share your passion in a structured environment—It’s pretty much a given that most motorcyclists are rugged individualists. That can often make it difficult to find a sense of community when you need it. In addition, that “lone rider” mentality can make it hard tomake a difference in your community and the world. With a bike club, you get the structure you need to create opportunities for harmonious gatherings, a place where you can really feel like you belong.
  • Camaraderie—All those values that mean a lot to you—trust, respect, loyalty, community—they’re at the heart of a motorcycle club. Your fellow club members will be like family.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we offer decades of experience to people in California who have suffered any type of personal injury, including motorcycle accident victims. We’ll learn the details of your accident, as well as your needs and concerns, so that we can take the right steps to get the outcome you need. Contact our office online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Los Angeles Police See Dramatic Increase in Scooter Citations

Number of Tickets Up Nearly 2000%

Los Angeles Police See Dramatic Increase in Scooter CitationsMotorized scooters have become a part of life across California, and police officers in most cities, including Los Angeles, are taking a more aggressive approach to protect the safety of citizens. L.A. officials say that, during the first six months of 2019, officers have issued more than 800 citations to scooter operators, ticketing them for more than 900 different infractions. Officers wrote 249 tickets in June alone, compared to just 13 during the same time period last year. In fact, more than 500 tickets have been given since May 1, 2019.

City officials note that about two of every three citations were for illegally operating a scooter on a sidewalk. Paul Koretz, a Los Angeles city councilman, acknowledged that the city government has been concerned about the safety of citizens. He called riding on sidewalks “the most dangerous violation” committed by scooter operators and said, “If you are riding a scooter on a sidewalk, you will get a ticket.”

According to California law, scooter operators may not be on sidewalks under any circumstances. They may ride in the street if the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or slower, and can always use the bicycle lanes.

The city cited data collected by the Los Angeles Fire Department showing that, in accidents involving scooter riders, the scooter operator was at fault more than half of the time. The LAFD has reported more than 160 accidents thus far in 2019 involving electric scooters, including approximately 60 incidents where at least one person was taken to the hospital.

If you are cited for riding on the sidewalk, you can expect to fine of $197, in addition to court costs and other processing fees.

Officials say the major scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, have put stickers on all their vehicles advising riders not to ride on sidewalks, but the measure has done little to change actual practices.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to injured people in California, including persons hurt in scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll learn what happened to you, as well as your needs and concerns, so that we can take the right steps to get the solution you need. Contact our office online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

California Legislature Still Debating E-Scooter Regulations

New Law Not Expected until 2020

E-Scooter Regulations The California Assembly has put two different bills aimed at regulating the so-called “micro-mobility” industry on hold until at least next January, as legislators gather more information about potential concerns and options. Assembly Bill 1112 and Assembly Bill 1286 are both “in a holding pattern,” according to one of the authors of AB 1112, assembly-woman Laura Friedman.

AB 1112 gives California municipalities the authority to prohibit the use of e-scooters if they can demonstrate legitimate concerns about potential violation of the California Environmental Quality Act. As recently as two months ago, an earlier version of the same bill would have banned cities from taking such action. The current version of the bill gives cities the right to establish maximum numbers of e-scooters, charge and collect fees from vendors, and even mandate that operators make scooters available in certain neighborhoods.

Acknowledging that there’s not enough information to make a good decision now, the California Senate Government and Finance Committee has called for at least two “informational” hearings this fall, where more can be learned about issues such as liability, data collection, and shared mobility.

Currently, the use of e-scooters is governed on a municipal level, with a wide array of regulatory measures in place. Many such regulations already contain provisions similar to those in the proposed state-wide legislation, including caps on fleet sizes, access in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and data collection.

Much of the debate in the California legislature has centered on the data issues. Most municipalities that already have e-scooter regulations require real-time sharing of data about scooter locations, maintenance and other issues. E-scooter companies say some of those requirements pose potential legal concerns about right to privacy.

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to injured people in California, including people hurt in scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll listen carefully to learn exactly what happened to you, including your needs and concerns, so that we can customize our counsel to get the outcome you seek. Contact us online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

 
 
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Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle

Can You Recover Compensation When Someone Else Causes You Injury but You're Not Wearing a Helmet? California, like many other states, requi... [Read More...]