Since motorcycle collision cases in California are unique, a good defense lawyer will exploit the uniqueness (whenever possible) to flip the narrative that you may have been partly at fault for your motorcycle injury case! Yes, it is true! First, lets explore why these cases are "unique:"
The Uniqueness of California Motorcycle Cases
1. First, just under one million residents in California are registered, motorcyclists. When you compare that to the overall California state population of more than 40 million people, there is not a lot of people who are active motorcycle riders in comparison with the population in general. So, if your case goes to trial, there are not that many potential jurors who have riding experience. There are way more people on the jury with regular drivers license than motorcycle licenses.
2. California allows "lane-splitting" to be legal which means a motorcyclist is allowed to safely pass traffic between cars on a freeway or road to help alleviate traffic. It is recommended under the California Vehicle Code to only do it in the number 1 or 2 lanes, never when traffic around you is going more than 30 mph, and you, the motorcyclist, is never going more than 10 mph faster than the traffic around you.
3. There is more at stake in terms of injury in a motorcycle crash, making the at-fault insurance company more at risk with higher payouts. As a result, there is a lot of pressure on defense lawyers and insurance claims adjusters to defend these types of cases more harshly.
All of the above, sets up a storm of defense focus on you, as the motorcyclist, and your motorcycle. Anything that can be defended on these cases will be explored by the defense attorney on your case.
The Defense Lawyer Focus During Motorcycle Accident Claims
As mentioned above, the defense lawyer will focus on you, as the motorcyclist and your motorcycle. For example, how much riding experience do you have? Do you have more motorcycle safety certifications above and beyond what the minimum standards of the California DMV allow? Were you in a position where you "might" have been lane-splitting just before the collision? What are your riding habits? Do your ride in both day and night? Every day? Every week? What kind of motorcycle were you riding? Was it a cruiser? A chopper? or Speed Rocket aka "Crotch Rocket?" Did you have any decals or stickers on your motorcycle that may look unsafe? Like a skull and bones, etc.
You get where I am going, right? Because lane-splitting is legal, and we all remember the few "bad apples" on the roadway that do it unsafely at like 90 MPH or faster, it is quite possible that there may be inherent biases against you if your case goes to a jury trial.
The Plaintiff Lawyer Focus During Motorcycle Accident Claims
Any good California injury trial lawyer is going to know that combating the defense focus is key. I do these types of cases all the time. One of the first things I do is investigate how safe of a motorcyclist my client was - I interview co-workers, friends and families. I find out what safety qualifications my client has above the DMV requirements. I find out about his or her riding habits, and I take a hard look at the type of motorcycle. I anticipate what the defense is going to do to try to make it possible that there may be some blame sharing involved, even though it is completely unfounded. As you know from reading the above, there is usually a lot at stake in a motorcycle crash case for the defense to minimize value. My job is to put the focus on the rule breaker, as opposed to my client, who usually was not doing anything wrong, and following the safe driving rules on the day of the crash.
If you would like to have more information on California motorcycle crash cases, I have written a great book on the subject entitled "The California Motorcycle Collision Legal Survival Book." It is a FREE Ebook download, and you can grab it anytime. If you need to speak to me, you can contact me at 619.813.7955, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.