Attorney Portrait Bike Accidents

Do You Need a Helmet in California?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

If you ride a motorcycle in California, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the applicable California helmet law and obey all of the rules that apply to you. You also have the right to stand up for yourself in the event you are following applicable rules and you are in an accident that was not your fault. California Helmet Laws California motorcycle helmet law is covered under Vehicle Code Section 27803. California is one of a handful of states that requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. All drivers and passengers must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards, regardless of age. This law applies to riders on highways as well as rural roads. The helmet law in California does not apply to anyone on a fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicle that is over seven feet long and four feet wide. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS), helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing death and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Purchasing a Helmet that Meets Federal Standards When purchasing a helmet, you must get one that meets federal standards, and it should fit snugly on your head. One helpful tip is to look for a DOT, Department of Transportation, sticker, which is a sign that the helmet manufacturer followed federal safety standards. Having someone help fit you in a helmet is good because they can ensure the helmet doesn’t move excessively and is properly fastened with the straps. Approved helmets meet minimum requirements such as: Inner liner at least one inch thick and made of polystyrene foam Nothing protruding more than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet shell Sturdy chin straps that are attached to the helmet shell with solid rivets Approved helmets typically weigh around three pounds or more. Penalties for Not Wearing a Helmet Both motorcyclists and their passengers can be subject to fines and other penalties if they fail to wear a DOT approved helmet in California. Law enforcement officers are entitled to charge an offender with an equipment violation or something greater. Equipment violations carry a minimal fine per the California Vehicle Code, but the California Highway Patrol states any violation of the helmet law is not just an equipment violation as it is an immediate safety hazard. If a California Highway Patrol (CHP) stops you, it could be a $250 fine and a year of probation, versus the $10 equipment violation. The courts tend to side with the CHP position, so it’s best you always wear your helmet as it will likely save you money in addition to potentially saving your life in the case of an accident. If you sustained a head injury in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, there may be comparative negligence of your actions.  This means you may be somewhat at fault for your injuries. Retaining a California Motorcycle Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, a California motorcycle attorney can assist in answering any questions and addressing your concerns. Depending on the facts surrounding the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. Call the Beliz Law Firm at 562-452-3772 to schedule a consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Motorcycle Accidents

California Motorcycle Laws Every Rider Should Know

| Read Time: 2 minutes

You finally decided to buy that Harley-Davidson you’ve had your eye on for months. Now that you can enjoy the open roads in the California sun, you need to follow the rules so you can stay safe. Every state is different when it comes to motorcycle riding laws, however, so don’t assume you know what is and what is not legal in California. Read on to become more acquainted with laws in the state before you head out on your bike. Wear a Helmet Not all states have helmet laws, but California does. When riding on California roads, you must wear a helmet at all times. And not just any helmet—it must be one approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The helmet of your choice should have a DOT sticker on it, meaning that it meets the minimum safety requirements. Use Your Turn Signals California law requires that motorcycles have working front and rear turn signals. The state excepts bikes first built and registered before 1973, though. Follow Handlebar Height Limits Your handlebars cannot be more than six inches above your shoulders. Follow Laws for Passengers There are no age restrictions for passengers, so even the youngest or smallest child can ride with you. However, the motorcycle must have a seat that is securely fastened behind the driver. In addition, there must be footrests placed at the appropriate height. This is so the passenger can place his or her feet safely on them while the motorcycle is in motion. Special seats with built-in footrests may be required to accommodate small children. Ride at the Appropriate Age California law requires that you be at least 16 years old before obtaining a motorcycle license. Other motorists must complete a driver’s training course, but motorcyclists must also complete a motorcycle training course. Don’t Tamper With Your Exhaust Many motorcyclists want to make their exhaust louder, so they invest in aftermarket systems. However, you can get a ticket for having a non-compliant exhaust. In 2010, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act came into effect and this applies to bikes purchased after January 1, 2013. Share the Lane Safely California is the only state that allows lane sharing. Lane sharing means that you can drive between cars in adjacent lanes. However, you must do so in a safe manner. This means traveling at a speed no higher than 35 mph. Motorists may find this law a bit insane but they must abide by it and not attempt to open their car doors or try to impede the motorcycle in any way. Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? We Can Help! Even if you follow the laws, motorcycle accidents can still happen. If you’re a victim, make sure you take the proper steps so you can get damages. Recovering compensation can help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The Long Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at The Beliz Law Firm can assess your case and help you file a claim against the liable party. Contact us and schedule a consultation by calling (562) 452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accident Insurance Settlements – What You Can Expect After Filing a Claim

| Read Time: 3 minutes

After a motorcycle accident in California, you need to file a claim for damages. You do this with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Notify your insurance company and the insurance company of the at-fault party of the crash. This will begin the claims process. Don’t assume that because the other driver caused the accident injured you that your claim will settle quickly. In many instances, it will take months if not a year or two before your case resolves. Here’s what you can expect after filing a claim:         1. The At-Fault Insurance Company Will Contact You After you file your initial claim, the at-fault person’s insurance company will contact you. They are seeking more detailed information about the facts of the accident. They want to know the facts of the crash, your injuries, and your treatment. Many times, the other person’s insurance company may ask you to give a recorded statement. Before giving any information you should NEVER do without speaking to an attorney first. 2. Investigation to Assess Liability and Damages The next step in the process is to gather all information to assess liability and damages. Liability is who is at fault for the accident. This is the time to get the traffic collision report and read the officer’s opinion on the crash. In addition, gather photos of the scene and vehicles are important to determine fault. Finally, investigators and experts may write an analysis on the facts of the crash. Both property damage to your motorcycle and bodily injuries need to be addressed during this step. Your motorcycle may need extensive repair. Or, if it is badly damaged it may the company may total it and you pay off. For your injuries, you may need to visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. 3. You’ll Make a Demand Depending upon the extent of the injuries you have suffered, it is a smart idea to work with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney. They can assist you in constructing and sending a demand package. A demand package consists of a letter or brief, and exhibits. The letter or brief is a detailed writing to the insurance company. It addresses negligence and the extent of injuries you have suffered. It also requests an amount of money to compensate you for your losses. Exhibits included are your medical records, bills, loss of earnings verification, photos, and police report. 4. Negotiations Begin After you make your demand, it is possible that the insurance adjuster will contact you with a settlement offer that meets your demand. Usually, this is the case where your injuries and demand is greater than the at-fault insurance company policy limits. More likely than not, however, they will offer an amount less than what you requested. In response to the settlement offer, you will reject the offer and make a counter offer. This can go back and forth until parties agree on a fair settlement. 5. Settlement Is Not Reached – Going to Court In the event that a settlement is out of reach, you have the option to file a lawsuit and take the case to court. Filing a lawsuit will help flesh out the facts and damages of the case. However, it will increase your involvement, costs and time before you may receive your compensation. Do not take the filing of a lawsuit lightly. It may be the right decision for the at-fault insurance company to take your case seriously. Contact Us Today for Assistance During the Motorcycle Claims Process If another driver causes motorcycle accident in Long Beach while you’re riding, our law firm wants to help. We will navigate the claims process and recover your maximum settlement amount. For a free consultation where you can learn more about the settlement process and what to expect, contact our Long Beach motorcycle accident law firm online today. You can also call our offices at (562) 452-3772.

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