If you are a motorcyclist engaged in an accident in California, you should know that you should handle the accident in a different way compared to a car driver. California is a motorcycle-friendly state with vast open roads. However, motorcycling can always be dangerous and at times the state’s legal system has been less kind to motorcyclists. So if you are injured in a motorcycle accident in this state, what should you do? How should you handle the situation?
It is a well-known fact that motorcycle riding carries much more risks compared to driving a car. The national fatality rate is 28 times higher compared to that for other types of motor vehicles.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
As a motorcycle rider, you are more vulnerable to road accidents. Your helmet is almost all the protection that you have against impact. If you get involved in an accident in California, it is recommended to take the following steps
Report to the Police
It is recommended to call the nearest police department or the California Highway Patrol. Report the accident and when the officers arrive, you should expect them to:
- Take statements of both parties
- Take measurements
- Capture photographs
Make sure to get a copy of the report. However, this is possible only if you are not injured. Most of the time motorcycle accidents are blamed on the rider. This makes it important for you to protect your interests by taking the right steps. You should also know about the ‘lane splitting’ law specific to the state to know about the bias against the legal rights of motorcyclists.
Exchange Key Information
If law enforcement officers don’t respond to the accident, you should exchange information with the other involved parties. This includes information about each other’s driver’s license and insurance numbers. It is recommended to capture photos of all the relevant documents to ease the process.
It will also be helpful if you take photos of the crashed vehicles and the crash site. You should also capture photos of any injuries. It is also recommended to note the name and contact information of any potential witnesses at the scene.
Inform Your Insurer
Next, you should call your insurer and report the accident. Provide them the details of the accident. Make sure that you don’t contact the other party’s insurer. It is best to call a motorcycle accident lawyer to handle all these aspects. You may be injured or you may not be in a situation to do all this.
While all these steps are important, they are possible only when you are in the capacity to do so. Your first priority right after a motorcycle accident is to get away from any potential harm’s way. An accident scene is a dangerous place because of potential threats like fuel spills or leaks that can cause a fire. You should also get away from all the traffic and move to the side of the road.
What is the Lane Splitting Law in California?
As already mentioned above, the California state laws are not most favorable to motorcyclists who are involved in accidents. If there is any case of lane splitting involved in an accident, things can be difficult for you. So it is best to get the help of a San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer to protect yourself. Lane splitting may not be illegal in California, but the judges and law enforcement authorities have a certain opinion about it. The law states that you should do lane splitting in a ‘safe and prudent’ manner.
Lane splitting has been known to cause accidents due to a number of reasons:
- The motorcycle moves close to multiple cars
- The motorcyclist has very little room for maneuvering due to the close proximity to cars
- Car drivers usually never find out that a motorcycle is trying to pass a slow or stopped traffic
California has comparative fault law, which means that the court can lay the liability, in a personal injury lawsuit, on both the parties. It is possible to assign a certain percentage of the fault on each side. This can affect how much the plaintiff gets awarded.
So, you should know all these points before you ride a motorcycle in California. It is best to be prepared for all kinds of situations. This can help you deal with difficult situations with ease.