Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for everyone involved—especially the rider. Knowing when to seek help from a lawyer with dedicated experience in these cases can go a long way toward getting compensation and simplifying the legal process.

According to the California Highway Patrol’s annual report on traffic collisions, nearly 13,000 motorcyclists were injured in a crash. While that is a slight decrease from previous years, it still means that motorcyclists are at a high risk of injury or even wrongful death when driving on California roads.

The reasons for those crashes are plentiful. But in nearly every case, involving a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you with anything from achieving peace of mind to getting the compensation you deserve.

Should You Work With a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident in San Diego?

Working with a motorcycle lawyer after an accident can make all the difference in your injury claim. A legal expert can provide peace of mind while navigating the complicated work that follows the crash. Having a legal professional’s assistance also helps you focus on your physical and mental recovery from the accident.

Studies show that mental health matters nearly as much as physical health in recovering from motorcycle accidents. Especially in the initial weeks after the crash, you might feel increased anxiety and stress that could impact your quality of life. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, shock, fear, anger, and disbelief are common emotions after any traffic accident.

Your physical and mental recovery will take time and demand attention. Concerns with insurance companies and potential legal issues can become distracting and add to the stress. Hiring a lawyer with experience in motorcycle accidents helps you focus on that recovery, knowing that the legal piece of the equation is in good hands.

5 Ways a Motorcycle Lawyer Can Help You After an Accident

Of course, working with a lawyer will gain you more than simple peace of mind. More specifically, a motorcycle lawyer can help you in five distinct areas as you manage the impact of the crash for yourself and those around you.

Initial Legal Advice

When you’re in an accident, legal advice might not be first on your mind. After all, you have to tend after the immediate fallout. But before you know it, that advice will become essential as you try to manage the many nuances of the situation you find yourself in.

You might be familiar with the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Handbook, which explains many legal issues in plain language. While helpful, this information is not enough to determine what laws apply to your situation, who is culpable, and what steps to take next. This makes the initial legal advice that a lawyer in the field can provide essential. Their experience will benefit you as you learn what laws do and don’t apply, how insurance companies play into the equation, and how to engage with the authorities.

Navigating California Motorcycle Laws

Soon after a motorcycle accident, the nuances and details of California’s traffic accident laws will enter the picture. Between all of the jargon and legal terminology, it can become challenging to understand what happened from a legal perspective and what has to happen next.

You need to know these laws:

  • The requirement to wear a helmet while on California roads
  • The need for a motorcycle to be set up correctly, like the handlebar not being more than six inches above shoulder height when sitting
  • The requirement of working turn signals visible from both in front of and behind the motorcycle
  • The need for tail lights that remain on for at least 15 minutes after you shut off the motorcycle’s engine
  • The legality of lane splitting includes driving your motorcycle between two rows of stopped or moving vehicles. California is the only state in the United States currently allowing lane splitting.

And, of course, other traffic laws may not be specifically for motorcycles but can apply to your accident nonetheless. Questions of who has the right of way majorly impact which party will be legally liable. After all, 70 percent of motorcycle accidents in the United States occur at intersections.

No motorcyclist can remember and understand every law that could enter the equation after an accident. Working with a lawyer means you can rest easy knowing the legal process is well underway.

An Intermediary With Insurers and Other Parties

If you’re a party to a motorcycle crash, chances are you will not remain in isolation for long.

You’ll get plenty of others wanting to speak with you or get your information:

  • Your insurance company
  • Other parties involved in the accident
  • The insurance company of other parties involved in the accident
  • Local police authorities

The problem is that interacting with these parties can pose many risks. For example, it’s vital to avoid admitting any fault in the accident, even inadvertently. Insurance companies will look for any reason to deny you compensation or reduce your claim if they can.

A lawyer takes that weight off your shoulders. They’ll become your representative with insurers and any other parties wanting to be involved in the claims process. They’ll know what to say and—just as importantly—what not to say. As your intermediary, a motorcycle lawyer can manage these nuanced conversations while you focus on your recovery.

Investigating and Building a Legal Case

In an ideal world, everything after the accident goes smoothly. The other party admits fault, and the insurance company pays without complaints. But unfortunately, that ideal world is rarely a reality.

Instead, nobody wants to “own” fault for the accident. And even if they do, insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying for compensation. After all, their goal is to make a profit, not to be as fair as possible and pay out injury claims to all involved parties.

That means you need a lawyer to start gathering evidence to support your claim’s assertion of fault and value.

That evidence, in turn, will need to cover areas like:

  • The treatments you’ve needed for your injuries
  • The fact that the accident caused the injuries to begin with
  • Negligence from other parties caused the accident
  • Any damages you’ve suffered from the accidents that need compensation

It’s about creating a full and accurate picture of the accident. Reports, medical records, witness statements, and more may all play into the equation. It’s the only way you can build a legal claim that’s not just built on pointed fingers but the facts of the accident.

Your lawyer won’t just know what evidence to collect but also how to tell a compelling and accurate story based on that evidence. They’ll also know when to file a claim based on the amount of evidence they can gather.

Legal Representation in Court

Most motorcycle accidents don’t end up in court. Instead, they resolve in pre-trial settlements that, hopefully, treat all parties fairly. But in some instances no settlement is possible, and the case goes to court.

In that instance, a lawyer becomes an essential partner in your fight for justice after the accident.

Lawsuits are complicated. And they’re complicated even further by the ability to negotiate and re-negotiate a settlement at any time in the process before going to trial. Representing yourself is only good if you know exactly what procedural rules and laws to follow. If you don’t, seeking legal representation from a motorcycle lawyer is vital.

Insurance companies may refuse to negotiate a claim or settlement and will do everything they can to win a lawsuit. They’ll only settle when the risk of losing the suit becomes higher than the settlement would cost them.

An experienced lawyer can ensure that you won’t have to stand on your own against a major corporation with extensive legal representation.

How a Motorcycle Lawyer Can Help You Establish Legal Liability?

California is an at-fault state, so the party at fault for a motorcycle accident must compensate the others involved. That compensation can include economic and noneconomic costs, including medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and more.

This environment, in turn, means that after the accident, everything revolves around establishing who is legally liable for the accident. Insurance agents will try to do just that by building a case in favor of their clients to avoid paying damages. A motorcycle lawyer can help you do the same on your end, establishing who you can hold liable for the accident so you receive fair compensation.

Working with a lawyer means not having to navigate those situations alone, instead relying on established expertise to establish legal liability and pursue just compensation.

What to Do If the Insurance Company Claims You’re at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?

Through their investigation, the insurance company you believe owes you compensation for a motorcycle accident may refuse to give it to you because they believe you’re at fault. Crucially, this is not the end but the beginning of the conversation about liability in the accident.

If you haven’t already, involve a lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll know what to do next, while you avoid dealing directly with the insurance company.

Your lawyer might:

  • Notifying the insurance company in writing that you and your legal representation disagree with their findings and plan to dispute them.
  • Engage in the insurance company’s formal dispute process, which may entail further forms, interviews, and statements.
  • Contact local authorities to review the police report and potentially request an amendment if its findings don’t line up with the evidence your lawyer has gathered.

None of these steps are easy to take. In fact, you can easily, inadvertently make a statement that might later prevent you from getting compensation, especially when interacting with insurance companies. Letting a lawyer take these steps increases your chances of successfully disputing the insurance claim and receiving just compensation.

Find the Right Motorcycle Lawyer to Help You After a Crash

The time after a motorcycle accident can be both stressful and exhausting. You’ll need to recover from physical injuries and tend to your mental health. Adding insurance and legal issues to the equation can make the situation overly difficult and stressful.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be on your own. Finding a lawyer experienced in motorcycle accidents can go a long way toward reducing your stress levels and getting you the justice you need and deserve.

An attorney with the right expertise will become a legal extension of your interests. They’ll be able to provide advice and interact with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf.

Of course, they’ll need to know the environment in and around San Diego and all relevant California motorcycle laws. This familiarity is the only way to ensure that their legal advice will pertain to your situation, improving your chances of a successful claim.

Contact an attorney with extensive experience with motorcycle accidents and other traffic-related legal issues. A San Diego personal injury lawyer will explain your case’s nuances and take the necessary steps to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.

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