Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorneys: Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® has been fighting for motorcyclists’ rights for decades. Los Angeles is the city where Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® was founded almost 50 years ago. We are experts in motorcycle accidents.
We handle more Los Angeles motorcycle accident claims than any other firm. It’s imperative that you have a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer that understands the full particulars of the unique motorcycle laws in California such as lane splitting and helmet laws. Russ Brown, Chuck Koro and Jim Romag are dedicated members of the rider community they represent. Their support goes far beyond the courtroom, and can be seen at rallies, local club events, and bike nights all over Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area.
We at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® only focus on motorcycle accident law and have for longer than anyone else. Beyond the physical damage to your bike, we know how to help you recover for lost wages, vehicle costs, pain, and suffering and more. You want our years of experience fighting insurance companies and unfavorable police reports on your side.
Our team of Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers do not back away from difficult cases and often see potential that less experienced attorneys cannot. We will fight the police report, we will fight the insurance company—we have fought them all. Riding a motorcycle has a lot to do with freedom. Taking off on your bike with nothing but open highway ahead feels powerful and keeps us connected to nature in all her glory.
Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney FAQ
What is the process for a lawsuit when someone has been involved in a traffic collision?
While in some instances we file suit right away we generally try to resolve the case informally with the insurance company. Once our firm is retained, we order the traffic collision report and notify the insurance companies that our firm represents the injured party. We also send preservation of evidence letters to the other driver to preserve all vehicle data from recording devices and videos. Depending on where the accident happened, we may send a private investigator to the site to canvas for witnesses and surveillance footage. In some circumstances we send our accident reconstructionist to the site. We also order the CAD log from the CHP which may contain witness information. We follow the client’s medical treatment and once finished treating we order the records as well as work related documents if the client missed work. We then send a demand package with all the pertinent documents to the insurance company to get the negotiations started. If we cannot resolve it with the insurance company, we file a lawsuit, which begins the “discovery” process – depositions and written discovery. Most of the time after this process, the case goes to mediation which generally gets the case settled. If not, we proceed to trial.
In Los Angeles how long does the Motorcycle Accident Attorney process take from start to finish?
It varies widely for a variety of reasons – such as the fault issue, the extent of the injuries and recovery, whether a lawsuit is filed.
When should someone call a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a traffic collision?
Make the first call to us immediately after speaking with 911.
Can a motorcycle accident victim collect from the violent victim’s fund if they were involved in a hit and run?
The website sets forth who is eligible – There also is the California Victims Compensation Fund that generally provides up to $7,500 to the family of someone who was fatally injured for funeral and burial expenses. If there is a recovery from the at fault driver, It is usually reimbursable. They may reduce depending on the circumstances.
What is a Tort Claim, and why are most motorcycle accident Tort Claims?
A tort is an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which liability (fault) is imposed. All personal injury claims, including injuries and damages sustained in a motorcycle accident, are torts resulting from the negligence of the at-fault party.
Why does California use a pure comparative negligence law? How does that effect Los Angeles motorcycle accident victims?
For years many states followed the contributory negligence doctrine which holds that if the injured party is found more than 50% at fault for the accident, the party could not collect anything for injuries or damages. Eventually this changed in most states to comparative negligence, which is a fairer and more practical approach. If the injured party is found to be partially at fault, say 55%, the injured party can still collect 45% of the case value.
What Is the Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations in Los Angeles?
For the entire state of California the Statute of Limitations is Two years, with some rare exceptions, but government claims have a much shorter statute. The injured motorcyclist has six months to file a claim with the proper government entity. The forms generally can be found online. A late claim can be filed up to one year after the accident but there’s no guarantee it will be granted. This would be a claim when a driver, while working for a State, County or City injured the motorcyclist, such as a parole officer, Caltrans worker, etc. This also applies to hazardous road condition cases, such as potholes, deficient warning signage, confusing intersections, deficient lighting conditions, etc. Once the claim is denied, which is almost always, the motorcyclist has six months to file a lawsuit. Claims against the federal government such as the Postal Service and other Federal agencies have a separate statute with a lot of moving parts. A motorcycle attorney should always be consulted to ensure the statute of limitations is protected for all parties.
What are the most common motorcycle accident injuries in Los Angeles?
In our opinion the shoulder, knee, ankle, femur, wrist, tibia and road rash are the most common injuries from motorcycle accidents. Other common injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, lower extremity injuries, internal injuries, Lacerations, and disfigurement.
What effect does the California helmet law have on non-DOT helmet wearers after they become the victim of a motorcycle accident?
If the motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation DOT and sustains a head injury, he’s likely to be comparatively at fault for his head injury resulting in the recovery being reduced by the percentage of negligence found on the motorcyclist. However, by consulting with a helmet expert our Los Angeles motorcycle attorneys can determine if the head injury would have been prevented if a proper helmet was worn. If not, the motorcyclist may be able to recover full value.
Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents While Lane Splitting?
That depends on the facts. If the motorcyclist is splitting with due caution, the driver changing lanes is at fault. The guidelines for safe splitting are a motorcycle should not split if the flow of traffic is 40 mph or more and should not split more than 10 miles an hour over the flow of traffic. There can be a finding of comparative fault on the lane changing vehicle and the motorcycle.
How is Compensation calculated for Motorcycle Accident victims in Los Angeles?
The injured motorcyclist is entitled to compensation for property damage, including loss of use, past and future medical bills, past and future loss of earnings and past and future non-economic damages (pain and suffering). However, California has a law that prevents recovering for pain and suffering (generally the largest portion of the settlement) if the motorcycle rider did not have liability insurance on the bike. There are a few exceptions, such as when the adverse driver is convicted of a DUI and when the injured motorcyclist was driving an employer’s vehicle that wasn’t insured. Also, it doesn’t apply to wrongful death claimants — heirs of someone who sustained fatal injuries. This is a very harsh law because if another person caused the accident and injuries, it should not matter whether the motorcycle rider had liability insurance.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents with liable defendants?
The opposing left turning vehicle is by far the most common motorcycle accident. This is when the vehicles are coming toward one another the other vehicle turns left in front of the motorcycle. This is because at this angle the motorcycle is least visible, and its speed is hard to judge. The other most common accident is when someone changes lanes into the motorcycle rider.
Define AT FAULT in California and how it effects motorcycle accident cases
This is just another term for negligence. Legally speaking negligence is owing a duty, breaching that duty and the breach is the proximate cause of the other person’s injuries and damages. For example, all drivers owe a duty to the motoring public to drive prudently and with caution, obeying the rules of the road. If they don’t, and injure somebody, they have breached the duty, and are at fault.
What happens if someone Hit and Runs? Is there any way for me to collect? What can an accident victim do to help the investigation?
It is critical that motorcycle riders have good uninsured motorist coverage when an at fault party either flees the scene or does not have any or insufficient liability insurance. We recommend at least $250,000 in coverage or, if that’s not affordable, at least $100,000. A dash cam or go-pro could help to identify the hit-and-run-driver. Also, the rider can canvass the area for surveillance footage and witnesses.
Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident while two Motorcycles are lane sharing in Los Angeles?
There is no definitive answer. This is fact specific as to who did what; both could be comparatively at fault depending on the facts.
Why should a motorcycle accident victim contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney before speaking to an insurance company?
Insurance companies know how to ask the questions and the adverse driver’s insurance company will do its best to illicit incriminating responses. The motorcycle rider, even while being honest, can sabotage his case. Also, we’ve had motorcycle riders come to us late and by then they have hurt their case, for example by not getting the proper medical treatment to document injuries, by not canvassing the area for surveillance footage and witnesses, by failing to take photos of the injuries while they are prominent, failing to make a desk report if the police didn’t come to the scene, failing to get the motorcycle out of the tow yard, running up a huge bill that the insurance company won’t pay and the list goes on. Most people don’t know what to do immediately after an accident and need legal guidance from a reputable motorcycle accident attorney.
Why should a motorcycle accident victim never admit fault at the scene of an accident?
Because the motorcycle rider does not have the legal background to make that determination. We had a client who thought he was at fault because he broadsided the passenger side of a vehicle that turned left in front of him. He thought he was at fault because he hit the other vehicle. In that case, the opposite is true; the left turning vehicle violated the motorcycles rider’s right-of-way. Also, the motorcycle riders might not have the facts straight because of the trauma they sustained and the speed at which accidents occur. There may be witnesses who have a different more favorable version than the motorcyclist’s recollection. Never admit fault.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, there are a few things you should do immediately if you’re able to. If you’re uninjured and your bike has been moved out of traffic, complete the following checklist before to ensure you obtain all the information you need.
The information obtained from the accident checklist will be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim or experience any injuries.
Assess the Situation
Get off the Road
Seek Medical Treatment
Get as much Information as Possible
Contact your Insurance Company
Call Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® for a Free Consultation
Motorcycle Insurance requirements vary from state to state so the best person to give you insurance advice is your insurance broker (we do not sell insurance) but here are some insurance basics:
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
Additional Collision Coverage
Property Damage Limits
Contrary to popular belief, almost all accidents involving a motorcycle are NOT the result of carelessness by the motorcyclist. Most of the individuals involved in these accidents sustain severe injuries and the cases could take many years to reach a judgment. It can be impossible for someone who had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident to support themselves financially during the lengthy process of the lawsuit. Bottom line is get the best coverage you can afford; your future comfort and livelihood may depend on it.
Aside from the most obvious injuries that can occur without the proper gear, road rash can be extremely painful. Suit up every time. No exceptions.
D.O.T. Helmet– certified by the Department of Transportation
- Novelty helmets don’t do a thing, and brain injuries are life-changing.
- Wearing a non-DOT helmet is a huge risk, not only to your head but it can also reduce your recovery.
- Most importantly, if you wear the right helmet, you are 3 times more likely to survive a head injury
- Keep it securely fastened or it may come off your head before it gets a chance to protect you
Face or Eye Protection
- In most states, eye protection is required unless your motorcycle is equipped with a protective windscreen
- Leather or Kevlar, protective body armor for entire body.
- Motorcycle gloves
- Steel toed boots that come up over your ankle are best.
- Heels should be short so they do not catch on rough surfaces
- Tuck in your laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle
Know your Motorcycle
Tools & Emergency supplies
- Jumper cables, mini battery charger
- BAM card for when you are riding alone
- Accident checklist, pen, & camera
Ride extra careful while splitting lanes in Malibu, Los Angeles County, California. There are grooves cut in the pavement in between the dotted white lines. You will likely hit them when you are splitting lanes, and they will cause some unexpected movement to your motorcycle if you are not expecting them.
The Public Works Superintendent for the City of Malibu told us:
“Recessed pavement markings are primarily used to protect reflective pavement markings from maintenance division plows or damage. Recess markings are proven to be especially useful protecting investments made in “wet-night” reflective technology products. Typically used in high altitude, mountain and canyon roads.”
If you want to suggest additional Local Accident-Avoidance Tips, please Contact Us
As it is true with most things in life, the key to preventing motorcycle accidents is to be knowledgeable and prepare for emergencies before they occur. We recommend every rider take motorcycle safety classes and stay up-to-date on your state and federal motorcycle laws. Another way to prevent accidents from happening is to be aware of the common types of accidents that occur to bikers across the country. Read our accident scenarios below and watch out for these instances while on the road.
No matter how careful and prepared a rider you may be, there are a lot of drivers on the road now who are not paying attention to their surroundings. They’re texting, eating, navigating and in general, taking their eyes off the road. A resulting collision can mean serious injuries to motorcyclists and damage to your bike. It is very rare that an injured motorcyclist is able to get his bills paid, get reimbursed for lost wages and otherwise be made whole for his injuries when the automobile driver only has $15,000 in liability insurance. When you get minimum coverage you’re taking a huge gamble and putting your ability to recover after an accident in a complete stranger’s hands. A surprising number of drivers have no insurance. We as riders, need to depend on ourselves and protect ourselves accordingly.
All these tips combine with our accident checklist to help you enjoy fun, stress-free rides.
BEST PRACTICES FOR MOTORCYCLISTS
- Ride defensively
- Ride to your abilities
- Avoid freeway and canyon riding until you are experienced enough to do so
- Avoid riding in inclement weather
- Be visible with the proper clothing and a working headlight
- See our Gear List
- Communicate your intentions with proper signals, brake light, horn, and lane position
- Never pass a slow moving vehicle in any situation with out signaling with your horn.
- Maintain an adequate space cushion
- Scan your path of travel
- Identify and avoid hazards such as:
- Erratic drivers
- Potholes and road erosion
- Roads slick from rain or ice
- Wet leaves and other debris
- Be prepared to act
- Don’t drink and ride
- Even if justified don’t provoke someone in a vehicle, report them instead
COMMON ACCIDENT SCENARIOS
- Watch for motorists making sudden left hand turns. This is the most likely scenario for a motorcycle accident to occur.
- Lane Changes
- Coming in and out of driveways
- Excessive speed
- Lane sharing
MOTORCYCLE SAFETY COURSE
Even experienced riders can benefit from taking a professional Motorcycle Safety class. Instructors share a multitude of practical tips to improve your riding skills and the latest bike handling tricks. It’s never a bad idea to have a refresher class and increase your knowledge and awareness on the road. Most courses provide both classroom style instruction as well as hands-on riding courses in off-road, controlled environments.
You learn and refine the following skills:
- Using the clutch friction zone for control
- Progressive brake pressure to stop without skidding
- Counterweight techniques
- Low-speed maneuvering
- Limited space maneuvers
- Techniques for crossing over obstacles
- Proper curve judgement
- Leverage for lifting heavy bike techniques
Whether your motorcycle accident involves significant injuries or is a minor no-contact accident involving scrapes and property damage only, it’s worth your time to call Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® hotline. We consistently take on difficult cases; we will provide free advice, even if the circumstances do not look favorable. We have the experience, the resources and the highly qualified staff necessary to deal with motorcycle accident cases that other Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident lawyers can’t handle.
Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® have the experience to successfully battle denial of liability claims by insurance companies. We see through veiled attempts to minimize your injuries and/or monetary recovery and are skilled at dealing with the delay tactics and/or character assassination used by insurance companies to frustrate and wear you down. Our firm, aggressive approach to unreasonable arguments involves specialized knowledge of the law and relentless attention to detail. We take uncommon care to investigate all aspects of your motorcycle accident case, including the availability of additional coverage. We don’t back down and will always extend our best possible effort to maximize your recovery.
Bad Police Report
While a bad or unfavorable police report may seem like the end of your motorcycle accident claim, it is in fact one of the more common obstacles we face at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®. Unfavorable police reports do not faze us; they come with the territory of being a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident lawyer and we know how to pick them apart. We understand how frustrating it can be when your side of the story is not portrayed correctly or acknowledged by witnesses or police. Whether due to bias, inexperience or simple error, even the best police officers do make mistakes and witnesses can be misquoted or even downright lie. Their accounts do not necessarily end your case– do not give up without calling us. Here are some smaller case examples to illustrate how proper investigation and insight can turn a case around.
Told “No Case”
Many personal injury attorneys out there are known to sift Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases, taking on only the straight forward, “slam-dunk” cases. At Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®, we take the tough Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases and fight the good fight. Our motorcycle injury lawyers have had many successful outcomes to Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases that other attorneys turned down. Injuries, medical treatment & repairs can be undervalued and case strategy overlooked due to ignorance or lack of experience. Some personal injury attorneys do not have the experience necessary to recognize a winning Motorcycle Accident Injury Case or may be hesitant to file a lawsuit. They may not understand the culture of motorcycle riders or be so unfamiliar with standard motorcycling practices that they misunderstand a rider’s actions on the road. Not only do we leave no stone unturned, our reputation for fearlessly litigating Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases sometimes helps to resolve cases more quickly.
At-Fault Issues such as Excessive Speed, Failing to Yield, No License, No Insurance, No Contact Crashes, Intoxication, etc. do require effort to investigate and overcome, but they are a regular, everyday challenge at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®. We are used to tough circumstances and have plenty of experience turning the tables on our adversaries. Knowing the common scenarios for motorcycle accidents inside and out, we work to prove your version of the facts and rely on hard work, superb legal skill and solid investigation to get the job done. Even if you do bear some responsibility for your Motorcycle Accident, there is a good chance we can assist you just like we have thousands upon thousands of other riders. Don’t accept a rejection or low offer without getting professional
Above and Beyond
One of the many benefits in working with a law firm that has been in business as long as we have is that we have cultivated relationships across the board. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® know respected doctors and top specialists who are willing to provide medical care on a lien basis, so you can get the best medical attention for your Motorcycle Accident Injuries that you deserve at no immediate out of pocket expense.
- Injury (Severe)
- Injury (Other Visible)
- Injury (Complaint of Pain)
Alcohol-related accidents continue to be a severe problem for motorcycle riders. Riders and people in cars continue to drink and drive/ride. Alcohol-related accidents are starting to go down again, which could be due to education/training, other ways of getting home (i.e., Lyft, Uber, and taxi cabs), and law enforcement actions.
Accidents were on a steady rise for years and are now going down again, which could be for numerous reasons, including education, training, and motorcycles with better, safer technology.
During the week, cars and motorcycles are usually in a rush to run errands and get to work. Monday seems to be the safest day to ride, which could be due to people having the weekend to rest and prep for Monday. Friday seems to be the worst day for motorcycle accidents, probably due to everyone wanting to get home from the long days at work. The weekends are not much safer, which could be due to riders wanting to go out and rip through the canyons.
This graph should help you realize how motorcycle gear can save you from minor to severe injuries. Almost every motorcycle accident will have some injury to the rider. Wearing proper gear could significantly reduce many injuries and shrink these categories significantly. The old saying still rings true “dress for the slide and not the ride.”
In 2020, there were approximately 2900 motorcycle accidents in just Los Angeles. There were 127 alcohol-involved motorcycle crashes which came out to a little over 4% of all crashes. That doesn’t sound bad, but these accidents could have been easily avoided.
An intersection is considered where any two types of roads connect. Intersections continue to be one of the most common scenarios where motorcycle riders get seriously hurt or killed. Anytime you come to an intersection, you want to make sure you slow down a little and check both ways. Whether we have the right of way or not going through the intersection, we will be the ones with injuries if we collide with a vehicle.
This graph may surprise you because January and February are the most dangerous months to ride a motorcycle. That could be due to people in cars not expecting to see motorcycles because the weather is usually colder. The summer months are the second most dangerous time to ride, probably due to more motorcycles on the road.
Most people involved in a crash stop and wait for law enforcement or at least exchange information with the other party. When motorcycles are involved in motorcycle accidents, we usually have some injuries. If someone has injuries and the other party flees the scene, it’s considered a felony hit and run. There are very few times where a motorcycle accident doesn’t include injuries, which is why the misdemeanor hit and run portion is so small.
Most motorcycle accidents were in dry conditions, meaning the rider had the best possible road traction and was still involved in a motorcycle accident. Few motorcycle accidents were in less than ideal conditions. The importance of training and practice of emergency braking in different conditions could significantly reduce motorcycle accidents. Click here for tips about riding in the rain.
Road conditions did not play a role in most of the motorcycle accidents. Most motorcycle accidents happen under normal road conditions. Construction zones were the second biggest area where riders were involved in motorcycle accidents. Even when the road conditions look perfect, there are always small things that can cause motorcycle tires to lose traction long enough to cause a crash.
During most of the motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles, it was daylight which meant that the rider and the other vehicle had the best visibility. The second area of lighting conditions where motorcycle riders were involved in motorcycle accidents was when it was dark, and there were street lights. Even though it was dark, there were street lights to help the rider and other vehicles on the road to have better visibility.
For the most part, as the day goes on, your chances of getting involved in a motorcycle accident will go up. This is due mainly to more vehicles on the road.
Looking for the best California Motorcycle
Attorneys near you?
Since 1975, Russ Brown and Chuck Koro have won millions throughout the Greater Los Angeles area for injured motorcyclists.
Representing motorcycle riders in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, Orange County & Imperial County, Russ Brown Motorcycle Lawyers giant footprint is as The Original Attorneys Who Ride®. In addition to the legal assistance they give to individual motorcyclists, they are also known for their generous support of clubs, charities, and businesses in the Southern California motorcycle community and for their funding of the BAM program, a giant buddy system of volunteer bikers offering free breakdown and legal assistance to fellow riders should they need emergency roadside help.
In addition to the legal assistance they give to individual motorcyclists, they are also known for their generous support of clubs, charities and businesses in the Southern.
From Antelope Valley cities Lancaster and Palmdale, to Ventura, Oxnard & Simi to Santa Clarita & Valencia, to Victorville, San Bernardino County, Riverside, Ontario, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, Temecula & Fallbrook, from San Clemente to Newport, Irvine to Anaheim, Long Beach to Hollywood to East Los Angeles, El Monte, Downey, Compton and Inglewood, all the way up to San Fernando Valley cities like Canoga Park, Studio City, Pasadena, and Chatsworth… there is virtually no city in Southern California they have overlooked. Riders across the Los Angeles area have benefitted from Russ Brown & Chuck Koro’s dedication to providing tough legal support when they need it most.
Greater Los Angeles Locations