Motorcycle Accidents

Fresno Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Fighting for Motorcyclists

Motorcycle Accident - Victim of Motorcycle Accident

Travel by motorcycle certainly has its advantages. These include the ability to somewhat bypass traffic, easy parking, savings on gas, and let’s face it – rolling down car windows, even in a convertible, is just not the same. But, riders are subject to very severe injuries when involved in accidents.

Even with protective gear, drivers of passenger vehicles can collide with motorcycle riders or force them off their bike at high speeds, causing irreversible injuries and often death

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If you were the victim of carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of a passenger vehicle driver, contact our firm for help by calling (559) 900-1280!

Common Motorcycle Injuries

Foot Injuries & Leg Injuries - Foot injuries, along with leg injuries, are the most common type of injury resulting from motorcycle accidents. About 3% of foot or leg injuries will require an amputation, but more commonly, the main concern is bone fractures.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) - TBIs are more common without helmet use, but any motorcyclist can get a brain injury. TBIs may not always be apparent right after an accident, which is partly why medical attention is so crucial after a motorcycle accident.

Road Rash - Road rash commonly occurs when motorcyclists are thrown off their bikes.

Spinal Cord Injury - Many types of spinal cord injuries can occur in motorcycle accidents, and around 90% of people who experience one during those accidents will survive with potentially devastating symptoms.

Breaks and Fractures - Broken or fractured bones can range from very mild to extremely serious, where the bone can shatter into many pieces.

What Victims Can Expect in Their Case

While no outcome can ever be guaranteed, and it will always depend on the certain circumstances of your case, victims of motorcycle accidents tend to suffer the most and are therefore eligible for a higher level of compensation. This of course will also depend on whether or not lives are lost in the event.

Motorcycle victims, or the family of the victim are often compensated for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of wages, present and future
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship or guidance
  • Punitive damages for reckless endangerment

Remember, motorcyclists in California, like other states, may face specific legal challenges when pursuing a motorcycle accident claim.

Here are some common legal challenges motorcyclists might encounter in California:

  • Bias and Stereotypes: Motorcyclists may face bias and stereotypes that assume they are inherently reckless or at fault in accidents. Overcoming these biases can be a challenge when presenting a case.
  • Lane Splitting: California is one of the few states where lane splitting (riding a motorcycle between lanes of traffic) is legal under certain conditions. However, even when done legally, some insurance adjusters or opposing parties may use this as an argument against the motorcyclist.
  • Helmet Use: California has a mandatory helmet law. Failure to wear a helmet may affect a motorcyclist's ability to recover damages, even if the lack of a helmet did not directly contribute to the accident.
  • Comparative Negligence: California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that if the motorcyclist is found partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. Insurance companies may try to argue that the motorcyclist was partially responsible for the accident.
  • Limited Insurance Coverage: Motorcyclists may have limited insurance coverage, and not all drivers carry sufficient coverage. In accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, motorcyclists may face challenges in recovering adequate compensation.
  • Difficulty in Establishing Liability: Proving liability can be challenging in any accident case, but it can be especially so in motorcycle accidents. Gathering evidence, witness statements, and reconstructing the accident scene may be more complex for motorcycles.
  • Injuries and Medical Costs: Motorcyclists often sustain more severe injuries compared to occupants of cars in accidents. The high medical costs associated with these injuries can be a challenge, especially if the at-fault party's insurance coverage is insufficient.
  • Time Limits (Statute of Limitations): In California, there is a time limit within which a personal injury claim must be filed, known as the statute of limitations. Motorcyclists need to be aware of these time limits to ensure their right to pursue a claim is preserved.
  • Documentation and Witnesses: Gathering evidence, taking photographs, and securing witness statements promptly after the accident are crucial. However, due to the nature of motorcycle accidents, these tasks may be more challenging compared to accidents involving only cars.

Given the complexities involved, motorcyclists involved in accidents in California should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents to navigate the legal challenges effectively.

Determining Liability in the Opposing Party

Motorists are often found liable in motorcycle accidents for various reasons, and these reasons stem from the dynamics of motorcycle-vehicle interactions, as well as some common human behaviors.

Here are some reasons why motorists may be held liable in motorcycle accidents:

  • Failure to Yield: Motorists may be at fault if they fail to yield the right of way to a motorcycle when required, such as at intersections or when merging.
  • Negligent Lane Changes: Motorists may cause accidents by not checking blind spots or signaling properly when changing lanes, leading to collisions with motorcycles.
  • Distracted Driving: Motorists who engage in activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or other distractions while driving are more likely to overlook motorcycles on the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Failure to Recognize Motorcycles: Some motorists may struggle to notice motorcycles due to their smaller size compared to other vehicles. This lack of awareness can result in collisions.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: Left-turn accidents are common, where a motorist makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, misjudging the distance and speed of the motorcycle.
  • Speeding: Motorists traveling at high speeds may not have enough time to react to motorcycles or accurately judge their speed, leading to collisions.
  • Driving Under the Influence: If a motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their impaired judgment and reaction times can significantly increase the likelihood of accidents involving motorcycles.
  • Following Too Closely: Tailgating or following a motorcycle too closely can reduce the motorist's reaction time and increase the risk of a rear-end collision.

In California, to succeed in a motorcycle accident lawsuit, an injured motorcyclist generally needs to prove the following elements to establish the liability of the at-fault party:

  1. Duty of Care: The injured motorcyclist must establish that the at-fault party (usually the other driver) owed a duty of care. This duty is the responsibility to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
  2. Breach of Duty: The motorcyclist needs to demonstrate that the at-fault party breached their duty of care. This could involve actions such as reckless driving, failure to yield, distracted driving, or other negligent behaviors that led to the accident.
  3. Causation: It must be shown that the breach of duty was a direct cause of the motorcycle accident and resulting injuries. Essentially, the motorcyclist needs to establish a clear connection between the at-fault party's actions and the harm suffered.
  4. Damages: The injured motorcyclist must provide evidence of actual damages, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other losses resulting from the accident.

Keep in mind that California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that the injured party's own negligence may be taken into account. However, as long as the injured motorcyclist is not more than 50% at fault, they may still be eligible for compensation, though their recovery may be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident


When it comes time to file a personal injury claim to recover damages for your motorcycle accident, it will be helpful to already have a number of actions completed. The following steps are important to enhance the amount of economic and non-economic damages you are able to receive from your settlement:

  • Keep record of everything pertaining to the accident. File all documents and invoices, receipts, doctor bills, etc.
  • Take notes of how you are feeling and everything pertaining to the accident. Journaling this experience with dates may seem like a tedious task right now, but it can prove invaluable when pursuing compensation.
  • Do not discuss your case with anyone but your attorney. You should even be discrete with loved ones. Absolutely do not post anything about the accident or case on social media.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means that you have two years from the accident date to file a claim in court or settle your case outside of court.

However, there are exceptions to this deadline. For instance, if the at-fault party is a government entity, you may be required to file a claim with the government agency within six months of the accident, before proceeding with a lawsuit.

Please note, waiting too long to file a claim can result in your case being dismissed and you being unable to recover compensation for your injuries.

Call (559) 900-1280 today to speak with our Fresno motorcycle accident lawyers about your accident. Once we’ve conducted your free consultation, we will fight vigorously for what you deserve.

Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, accident fatalities are around 28 times higher when a motorcycle is involved than when the accident involves automobiles only. In order to pursue a wrongful death claim for a loved one whose life was lost to a motorcycle accident, negligence must be established. In California, you will need to prove the following four elements for the accident to be classified as wrongful death:

  • Duty of care - You must be able to prove that the other driver owed your loved one a duty of care.
  • The duty of care was breached - You will also need to show that the person intentionally, recklessly, or negligently breached the duty of care.
  • This breach of duty resulted in your loved one’s death - This will require an autopsy report among other elements.
  • This death resulted in financial damages - You will need to work with a lawyer to not only prove the above elements, but that you are entitled to financial recovery for the loss of your loved one’s life
  • $750,000 Rear-End Collision

    Multiple Car Pile Up Results in $750,000 Recovery for Client.

  • $300,000 Uninsured Motorist Claim
  • Vehicle Accident

    An injured driver and passenger of a vehicle were T-boned by an uninsured driver. FHV’s clients were able to pay their hospital bills and other medical bills, while still receiving compensation for their pain and suffering.

  • $100,000 Rear-End Collision
  • $100,000 Drunk Driving Accident

    FAQs About Motorcycle Accidents

    Is the Government Responsible for My Motorcycle Accident?

    If you were involved in a single-vehicle accident as a motorcyclist, there is a chance that the state or county government may be responsible. If the cause of your accident was an unsafe road condition caused by the negligence of a government agency, it is imperative that you act quickly and speak with an attorney.

    What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

    Any momentary act of distraction on the part of a car, truck, or another motor vehicle, can result in a serious accident with a motorcyclist. Therefore, the most common cause of a motorcycle accident is distracted driving. Some other common causes, especially in the Fresno, CA area, include:

    • Speeding
    • Aggressive driving
    • Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs

    Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in California?

    In California anyone riding a motorcycle is required to wear a motorcycle helmet. It also must adhere to federal DOT safety requirements. Choosing to not wear a helmet is illegal in California. You could get a year of probation and/or a fine of up to $250. Not only that, but if you are in an accident that isn't your fault and you aren't wearing a helmet, it can be difficult to get the compensation you deserve.

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    How Will Comparative Negligence Impact My Case?

    California holds to comparative negligence standards in personal injury cases. This means that the jury can take into consideration negligence of both parties when assessing negligence.

    When a motorcycle rider is injured in an accident, the rider could possibly bear some of the blame for the collison. Even if you, as the motorcyclist, are partially responsible, under the state of California law, you can still seek financial recovery for your damages.

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