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.

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.

Contact Our Offices

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.

Lane Splitting in California—It’s Legal, But Is It Safe?

Lane Splitting in California

It’s Legal… But Is It Safe?

Lane Splitting in California—It's Legal, But Is It Safe?It’s a fairly common occurrence on many of California’s busy roads. Cars are backed up at an intersection or light, or even on the freeway, and a motorcycle will navigate between them to move forward. It’s common because it’s legal. It’s called lane splitting (or occasionally “lane sharing) and has been permitted under California law since 2016. Though it may be legal, there’s no consensus on whether the practice is safe.

In 2015, the University of California at Berkeley conducted a study on the practice. The data gathered indicates that lane splitting is relatively safe, but only under certain conditions. The two most important factors affecting safety are the speed at which the bike is traveling and the speed at which surrounding traffic is moving. Lane splitting becomes unsafe when the motorcyclist exceeds 50 miles per hour or exceeds the flow of traffic by more than 15 miles per hour.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated that lane splitting may reduce congestion and increase safety. Citing the fact that lane splitting is legal in many foreign countries, NHTSA would like to see further safety studies on the practice.

The American Motorcyclist Association, a national group that lobbies for bikers, says lane splitting is generally safe, provided the biker is traveling at a reasonable speed and paying attention to other motorists.

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have successfully represented personal injury victims in California for more than 30 years, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. We’ll take the time to learn what happened to you, and what your injuries are, so we can tailor our counsel to get the outcome you want. Contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Importance of Having Motorcycle Insurance in California

How Proposition 213 Affects Your Right to Compensation After an Injury

The Importance of Having Motorcycle Insurance in CaliforniaIn California, as in other states, all motorists (including motorcycle operators) must carry a minimum amount of insurance. Nonetheless, many drivers, including bikers, either fail to obtain the necessary coverage or carelessly let their policy lapse. Obviously, if you have no valid insurance policy in place, you can’t look to an insurer to cover your losses after an accident. In California, Prop 213 also may prevent you from recovering damages in a lawsuit, even if another party was at fault.

The Effect of Prop 213 on a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim in California

Prop 213, known as the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, bars uninsured drivers from recovering a general damages award in certain circumstances. General damages typically include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Prop 213 states the following:

  • An uninsured motorist can never collect general damages, regardless of fault.
  • An uninsured motorist may be able to collect compensation from an at-fault party’s insurer for medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses.
  • Passengers on or in a vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist may collect general damages in a lawsuit.

Exceptions to the Rule

The driver of an uninsured vehicle may still be eligible for general damages when the accident occurs under the following circumstances:

  • The uninsured vehicle is owned by the driver’s employer.
  • The accident occurs on a private road.
  • The vehicle involved in the accident is uninsured, but the driver has insurance on another vehicle.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience successfully handling a wide range of personal injury claims, including injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. We will takethe time to learn the details of your accident, as well as what you need to be fully compensated for your losses. Contact us online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

The MIPS Technology and Motorcycle Safety

The MIPS Technology and Motorcycle SafetyWhen you get on a motorcycle, you assume an inherent risk. In fact, for many motorcycle enthusiasts, that’s part of the allure. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to take reasonable measures to maximize your safety.

There’s a technology for helmets called MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) that allows the helmet to slide relative to your head. MIPS technology has been scientifically proven to add more protection when your head is violently rotated, as can happen in a motorcycle accident. First used in helmets for horseback riders, MIPS replicates the movement of your brain’s cerebrospinal fluid, which your body employs as a natural defense against similar types of impact.

Accident statistics indicate that the bulk of head injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents result from the skull’s angled impact, usually with the ground. The MIPS technology was specifically designed to mimic and enhance the protection your body offers in response to such blows. The technology comes in the form of an insert that can be installed between the interior padding of your helmet and the EPS liner. To know whether a helmet has the technology, look for a yellow decal about the size of a dime.

Manufacturers of MIPS technology say helmet companies initially were reluctant to include it due to fearing that motorcyclists would not want to pay extra for the increased safety. They liken MIPS to the early days of airbag vests and jackets, which initially were dismissed by many riders who either failed to see their value or questioned their effectiveness. Those airbags are now becoming mandatory in some forms of motorcycle racing.

Contact the Experienced Lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring decades of experience to injured people in California, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. We understand that every case is unique, and we will take the time to get the details of your accident so that we can employ the appropriate strategy to achieve the results you seek. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter Injuries

Many Mishaps Tied to Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter InjuriesData gathered from three Southern California trauma centers indicates that, as electric scooters have escalated in popularity over the past couple years, so have the number of injuries sustained by operators and riders. In a study published in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open, researchers found that most of the victims were male and that more than half tested positive for blood alcohol or other controlled substances, including THC and methamphetamines. Officials say 79% of the victims in the study were tested for blood alcohol, with 48% showing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08 percent, the legal limit in most states. Approximately 60 percent of the injured scooter users were tested for drugs, with 52% found to have controlled substances in their bloodstream.

The most common types of injuries suffered were broken bones and head trauma. Of those victims included in the study, 98% were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. The average hospital stay for the scooter injury victims was three days and about one in three required some type of surgical procedure. Though no one died, eight patients spent time in intensive care and six required long-term acute care.

Police and prosecutors in some California cities have started applying the DWI/DUI laws to electric scooter operators. As early as September, 2018, a man in Los Angeles was convicted for driving a scooter while under the influence. The 28-year-old man apparently knocked down a pedestrian while drunk and fled to a nearby apartment building without giving aid. When officers arrested him, the defendant had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit. He was convicted of a misdemeanor.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have aggressively protected the rights of injured people in California for more than 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle and scooter accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

Electric Moped Usage Expected to Increase

Rental Programs Being Expanded Nationwide

Electric Moped Usage Expected to IncreaseIt may seem like electric scooters have taken over many American cities—companies such as Bird and Lime have seen phenomenal growth over the past few years. There’s another wave coming, though, say industry watchers and experts, as electric moped rental programs are becoming more available and more popular across the country. From Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, it’s becoming easier and easier to rent, ride and drop off an electric moped. Users say they are often comparable to public transportation and typically cheaper than ride-share options such as Lyft and Uber.

The Difference between a Scooter and a Moped

One of the fundamental differences between a scooter and a moped involves the function of the motor. On a scooter, the motor is intended to provide all locomotion, whereas a moped acts more like a hybrid between a bicycle and a motorcycle. With a moped, the rider can still pedal and the motor augments pedaling. The laws governing (and even defining) electric mopeds vary from state to state. In California, for example, scooters and motorized bicycles don’t require a motorcycle-specific operating license and can be driven without being registered with the DMV. A moped, conversely, requires a specific motorcycle license (M1 or M2) and must be registered.

Thus far, electric moped sharing programs have not involved as much controversy as electric scooters. Advocates say that while scooters tend to be left just about anywhere, the mopeds typically must be left in designated motorcycle spots or street parking.

Contact the Proven Personal Injury Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have helped injured people in California for over three decades, including people who have suffered needless injury in motorcycle and scooter mishaps. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

Scooter Backlash—Increased Use Leads to Increased Complaints

Fatalities and Serious Injury Lead to Public Outcry

Modern eco electric city scooters for rent outdoors on the sidewalk. Alternative tourism, transportation around the city, bike replacement service.If you’ve been in just about any major city in the last year, you’ve seen the onslaught of e-scooters, the new darlings of the “micro-mobility” industry. Experts estimate that as many as 85,000 such scooters are used every day across the United States. They can offer an easy way to get from one place to another, but they have been governed by a patchwork quilt of local regulations thus far. As injury and death tolls mount—a 2017 study found more than 1,500 injuries and 8 fatalities, a number that has increased dramatically in the last year—there’s been a bit of a backlash from consumers, who are asking government officials to take steps to protect public safety. In Oregon, some have even dumped the vehicles in the local river!

The e-scooters have many positive attributes:

  • They don’t use gasoline or carbon-based fuels
  • Payment is easy—typically done through an app on your phone
  • They travel four times as fast as you can travel on foot

Unfortunately, because of the way they are rented, it’s difficult to enforce measures that would improve the safety of both riders and others. For example, as a general rule, an e-scooter operator is supposed to be at least 18, wear a helmet, have a valid driver’s license and travel alone. There’s really no one to monitor these requirements, though, so the scooters are frequently taken by unlicensed individuals or by minors, and the operators often ride without any protective gear. In addition, many try to put more than one person on the scooter, which can make it extremely difficult to control. They have also been used like skateboards by some riders, who try to take them over curbs and do other stunts.

Another significant problem—many e-scooter riders don’t want to be on the roads (they can’t go more than 15 mph), so they ride on the sidewalks. That can constitute a hazard for the scooter operator and the pedestrian.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have helped injured people in California for more than 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle and scooter accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

New Technology Means Lighter Weight Jackets

New Fabric Still Provides Effective Protection

Guy on motorcycle

If you’ve ridden a motorcycle for any length of time, and you’ve been concerned about the risk of injury, you’re familiar with the old-style motorcycle jacket. Traditionally, those coats have been heavy-duty, constructed from leather, cordura or Kevlar. While they protected you, they added a lot of weight and could be constricting.

Dainese, the world-famous Italian designer and manufacturer of protective gear for motorcyclists, has introduced a new product that combines lighter weight premium leather with removable Pro-Armor protection pads for the shoulders and elbows, as well as insert pockets for the back of the jacket, which enhance protection.

BMW has also entered the motorcycle jacket industry with a space-age jacket that includes built-in airbags. Built in conjunction with Alpinestars (known for its airbag technology), the Motorrad Street Air uses a built-in algorithm to determine when to employ the airbags. The airbags are strategically placed within the jacket so that, upon impact or in a crash, your entire upper body will be cushioned from the full blow. It also offers airbags that protect your back and kidneys. The airbags are built to fully inflate in 25 milliseconds. The jacket is not synced to your bike, so it will work with any ride—no need to add sensors or buy a specific motorcycle. In fact, it’s just as effective on an off-road vehicle, an ATV, a scooter or even a bicycle. It’s also water-resistant.

Of course, technology like this comes at a price. A new Motorrad Street Air sells for about $1,500, but many owners say it’s well worth the price.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 35 years of experience successfully handling personal injury claims to people throughout the state of California. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

What to Look for in a Motorcycle Helmet

What-to-Look-for-in-a-Motorcycle-Helmet2

California has one of the strictest helmet laws in the country. The statute not only requires that all motorcycle operators wear a helmet, but mandates that passengers do as well. In fact, a passenger wearing a helmet can be ticketed for riding on a bike with an unhelmeted driver.

Because it’s a piece of gear that you need to have, you want a good understanding of what’s available and what you want to see in a motorcycle helmet.

Helmet Style

The first decision you’ll have to make has to do with the style of helmet. There are five different types available:

  • Full face—On the full face helmets, there’s a face guard that’s permanently fixed in place
  • Modular—On the modular helmet, there’s a hinge that allows you to flip the face guard up, so that you can have an open-faced helmet
  • ADV dual sport—Dual sport helmets can be full face, modular or open face, but have a peak or visor built in to shield the sun
  • Open face—An open face helmet has no face guard
  • Half shell—Half shell motorcycle helmets typically just cover the top of the head, leaving ears exposed

Helmet Features

You need to evaluate three different components of the helmet:

  • Shell material—You can get carbon fiber (the most expensive) or polycarbonate (cheaper). Both will absorb and distribute energy, but carbon fiber does a better job. A good compromise can be a fiberglass composite.
  • Helmet weight—You don’t want a helmet that weighs more than 1800 grams. Make certain the center of gravity is where it’s supposed to be or you may experience neck and shoulder pain.
  • Comfort features—There’s a whole range of additional features that can enhance your riding, from wind noise reduction systems to communications and Bluetooth stereo.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experienced to injured motorcyclists in California. For a confidential consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident injury lawyer, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There’s no charge for your first meeting.

At Weber & Nierenberg, we emphasize personal service and attention. We’ll take the time to learn exactly what happened, so that we take the right steps to get the outcome you want. When you hire us to protect your rights after a motorcycle accident injury, you’ll have access to one of our partners at all times.

 
 
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