Throughout the years our personal injury law firm has represented 100s of people just like you that were injured in a motorcycle accident in the San Francisco Bay Area and needed the best San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer they could find to help. They wanted to avoid making costly mistakes with their claim and they had questions—some had a million, some only had a few, and others admitted that they had no idea what they needed to know. Regardless which you camp you fall into, below you will find our past client’s most common questions—with answers.
We organized our motorcycle accident page this way so that you can choose how much information you want to consume and can get to the information you want as efficiently as possible. If you have a question that is not addressed here or would like to talk to us about representing you, please call us at (415) 345-4282or submit an Online Inquiry.
Exactly what we do for our clients in a short, animated video:
Does your law firm specialize in motorcycle accident cases?
Yes, we handle a lot of motorcycle accident, injury cases. It is one of the most common typse of cases we handle in our office. We have seen it all, but here are three motorcycle accident cases we recently resolved for our clients.
Motorcycle Accident: $550,000 settlement Our client, B.C. suffered severe injuries after a car being driven by a lab technician pulled out in front of him at a two-way stop sign in Davis, CA as he left work for the day. Liability was clear and undisputed, however the driver had minimal insurance limits. As a result, we sued the driver’s employer alleging that his commute was covered by the company’s insurance policy despite the fact that employees are not typically covered during their commutes – citing Lobo v. Tamco, (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 297, we alleged an exception existed because the company had come to rely upon the use of the driver’s personal vehicle. The case was vigorously defend by the employer throughout litigation, but after we defeated a summary judgment motion and trial approached, the employer relented and settled the case for a reasonable value.
Motorcycle Accident: $100,000 settlement Our client, V.D. collided with an automobile while traveling down Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco after a car turned left in front of him, thereby causing him to tear his PCL in his knee, which required surgery. Making the case difficult, the police report found our client to be at fault due to him speeding, and included a statement from our client in the report that he admitted he was going twice the speed limit – our client denied he ever said that to the officer. Despite the problematic police report and alleged negative statement against our client, we recovered the insurance policy limits for our client from the driver of the car.
Motorcycle Accident: $50,000 settlement Our client, J.P. was traveling east down Bush Street in the far right lane with the timed lights when a car suddenly ran the red light and pulled into his lane. The driver, a 20-year old Starbuck’s employee, was leaving work and was distracted by her phone looking for directions when she unknowingly rolled into the intersection and clipped our client’s bike, forcing him to lay it down at 40mph. She was driving daddy’s car. Client suffered an injured ankle and other minor injuries, but made a speedy recovery.
I was injured in a motorcycle accident. Do I need a San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer?
We’re sorry to learn that you were injured in a motorcycle accident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the you need to hire a San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer. Now, most of the calls we get from people that have been involved in motorcycle accidents suffered serious injuries, but if you suffered only minor injuries (soft tissue) and it is clear that the other person was at fault, you may be able to handle your claim with the other person’s insurance company yourself and we will tell you if you fit into that category – we never allow a client to retain us unless we can add value to the process. Feel free to give us a call at (415) 345-4282 or submit an online inquiry for a free consultation to discuss whether you fall into this category. If you do, we will happily give you some free advice/tips to handling your claim without a lawyer. That said, if you suffered serious injuries or fault isn’t crystal clear, you need to hire an injury lawyer or else you will likely be costing yourself a lot of money; the California DMV agrees.
What will you be doing for me when I hire you?
When you hire us, you hand off all of your problems, work and stress associated with your accident to an experienced personal injury lawyer who has handled hundreds of cases like yours. This allows you to focus on your recovery, while we handle everything else. Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of pitfalls out there for a personal injury claimant that has never dealt with a situation like this before. Insurance companies and their adjusters have the goal of saving as much money as possible and that means denying your claim, underpaying your claim and/or attempting to get you to do and say things that permanently harm the value of your claim. We won’t allow for any of that.
We will serve as the point of contact for anyone wanting to contact you about your accident or injuries. We will advise you about all the tricks that insurance companies and their agents play so that your claim, when presented, has no issues associated with it that might limit it’s value. Additionally, by hiring us you will swing the leverage of your injury claim back to your side, as the insurance company will be forced to accept the fact that you won’t be one of the claimants they can take financial advantage of—every major insurance company knows us and has dealt with us many times; we have a reputation of getting every dollar available.
Sounds great, but what does that exactly mean? Here are the specifics:
Investigate your Claim
- Find all sources for recovery (insurance policies and deep pockets).
- Order and review your medical records and bills.
- Hire medical professionals to review your medical records, if necessary.
- Order any police/incident reports.
- Talk with any witnesses.
- Advance any upfront costs needed to establish your claim.
Present your Claim to the Insurance Company
- Handle all communication with the insurance company (they’ll stop calling you).
- Identify any problem areas with your case and address (and remedy if possible) them early on.
- Prepare and submit a detailed and comprehensive settlement demand package that includes legal arguments, a persuasive presentation of your claim and supporting documentation.
Maximize Your Settlement Amount
- Use our leverage of being able to file a lawsuit to put pressure on adjusters.
- Use our experience in handling 100s of cases like yours to ensure you are paid top dollar.
- Negotiate & reduce your health insurance claims, which nets you more.
Occasionally, the at-fault party’s insurance refuses to accept responsibility, wants to place an unfair amount of blame on you, or doesn’t respect the extent of your injuries and damages. When that happens, we file a lawsuit on your behalf and utilize the court system to create pressure on them. You see, the insurance company knows that if they don’t treat you fairly, a jury of 12 of your peers will ultimately decide what you are entitled to. This pressure causes them to reassess their position on your case and almost always causes them to offer you a good settlement before trial.
File a Lawsuit
- Prepare a formal complaint.
- Advance any upfront court costs (filing fees, service fees, etc.)
- Track down and personally serve the defendant(s).
Litigate your Case
- Explain and walk you through the entire process.
- Prepare you for when your participation is needed.
- Obtain all documents from the defendants to establish your case.
- Advance upfront costs for hiring any needed experts.
- Negotiate with opposing attorney to settle your case without the need for trial.
- If necessary, present your case at trial to a jury of your peers.
How long will the process take after I hire you?
We understand that your goal is to get your motorcycle accident claim resolved as quickly as possible so that you can get on with your life. However, the circumstances of your accident and injury will determine how long the process will take to achieve a settlement. We have found that the two windows most ripe for settlement are 2 months after your medical treatment is completed (pre-litigation settlement) and 6 months after filing a lawsuit (post-litigation settlement).
Of course, every case is different and opportunities to settle your case can be frequent. If we are required to file a complaint on your behalf because the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, we typically will do that right away. However, you should know that California law gives you two years from the date of your accident to either settle your case or file a complaint to protect your claim (Note: if the defendant is a governmental entity, you have six months from the date of your accident to file a formal governmental claim, not two years).
2 months after medical treatment is completed
The majority of our cases are settled in this window. Cases that settle in this window often have the following characteristics:
- You have been diagnosed with an identifiable injury.
- You do not have substantial permanent injury or long-lasting symptoms.
- You do not require future medical treatment for your injuries.
- You did not have a pre-existing injury in the same part of your body.
- You have private health insurance (not Medi-cal, Medicare, etc.)
- The other party accepts responsibly and you bear no fault (comparative negligence)
- The person who injured you was not a government employee.
6 months after filing a lawsuit
Sometimes insurance companies refuse to accept responsibility or don’t respect the value of our client’s damages and we must file a lawsuit to create sufficient pressure on the other side. A common misconception about filing a lawsuit is that it means that a trial will occur. That’s not true, at least not with us. We have a reputation for working up our clients’ cases in the litigation process so well that approximately 95% of all cases that require us to litigate result in a settlement for our clients without the need for trial. The reason that our post-litigation settlements typically occur about 6 months after filing the complaint is because formal, written discovery needs to be done and depositions need to be taken of the parties (including you) and key witnesses. These things typically take about six months to complete.
If your case is one of the few that does requires a trial, we are experienced trial attorneys and will present your case to a jury. Personal injury jury trials in Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Napa and Sonoma) typically take place about 12–18 months after filing a lawsuit.
I need motorcycle accident lawyer, how are you paid?
We are only paid if we win you case. Our agreements call for a contingency fee of either 33% or 40% of the settlement, award or verdict. If we are required to litigate your case (file a lawsuit) our fee slides from 33% to 40% to account for the increased financial risk we are taking on. We never bill our clients by the hour and we spend as much time as is necessary with you and working on your case. Additionally, we will advance all costs necessary to pursue your case and will never ask you for money to finance your own case. If we are successful, we are entitled to be reimbursed for our out-of-pocket, advanced costs in addition to our contingency fee. If we don’t receive a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you never owe us for the time or money we have spent pursuing your case. This arrangement allows everyone to be able to afford the best San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer.
What is process of hiring you to represent me?
We’re sorry to learn you were involved in a motorcycle accident and need a great San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer. Motorcycle accidents are some of the worst accidents we see. We are guessing that you are like most motorcyclists and are always hyper-vigilant when riding and far more aware of your surroundings than the drivers of the cars that you are sharing the road with. Thanks to our experience with motorcycle cases and history of great settlements and verdicts, we are widely recognized as one of the top personal injury law firms for people injured in motorcycle accidents.
For many of you, this is your first encounter with a personal injury lawyer and you are not too sure how the process works, what to do next, or what you’re entitled to. We understand.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident you should first seek out appropriate medical treatment and then contact us by submitting an online inquiry or calling us at (415) 345-4282 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and for us to answer all of your questions. Or if you’d prefer, we’d love to sit down with you face-to-face. Our law office is conveniently located in the Marina District of San Francisco, away from the hustle and bustle of the Financial District. We have free private and street parking available for your convenience.
Once we connect and discuss your situation and decide that we are a good fit for one another, there are three documents that we need you to sign: (1) Employment Agreement, (2) Letter of Representation, (3) Medical Records Release Form. You can either come into the office and sign them in person or we can email them to you and handle it electronically if you prefer.
How much is my motorcycle accident case worth?
This is one of the first and most frequently asked questions we get when meeting motorcyclists who have been injured in a motorcycle accident. The short answer is: it depends. Any SF motorcycle accident lawyer who tells you otherwise or guarantees a huge payday is likely someone that shouldn’t be trusted. There are too many factors that need to be evaluated before a “fair value” can be placed on a case. Working up your case and positively influencing those factors is part of our professional service and something we excel at. Once we have a handle of what we think your case can be worth, we will share that figure with you and then go after more! Speaking generally, California law entitles those injured in motorcycle accidents to recover the following damages:
– Pain and Suffering
– Past “Paid” Medical Bills
– Cost of Future Medical Treatment
– Past and Future Lost Wages
– Loss of Earning Capacity
– Cost to Repair/Replace Motorcycle/Equipment/Clothing
To learn more about how a case is evaluated by an insurance company and how we go about getting you that compensation click here: coming soon.
What are some common types of motorcycle accidents you handle?
(1) Cars Turning Left
This is the most common cause of all motorcycle accidents (42% of all motorcycle vs. car accidents). This happens most frequently when cars make a left-hand turn across a lane in which a motorcycle is proceeding straight, resulting in a T-bone accident. These types of accidents can also occur when a motorcycle is passing the car on the left. These accident happen because the driver of the car fails to see the motorcycle. Beyond wearing visible clothing, using appropriate lights and driving responsibly, there is very little a motorcyclist can do to avoid these dangerous accidents. Almost always, the driver of the car is found to be at fault for these accidents unless the motorcyclist is deemed to have been speeding or driving recklessly.
(2) Road Hazards
Due to the less stable nature of motorcycles, they are at a higher risk of danger when encountering unexpected objects on the road or irregular surfaces, such as potholes and slick pavement. When motorcyclists are injured by road hazards, someone is typically to blame. Did the hazard fall from a truck? If so, we will track it’s origin and hold the company responsible that failed to safely and properly secure their load. (Tip: make sure to save and photograph the hazard on the roadway. It is critical evidence.) Was the roadway in a state of disrepair? If so, we will go after the governmental agency responsible for maintaining it.
(3) Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is perfectly legal in California when done safely. That said, ~17% of all motorcycle vs. car accidents involve lane-splitting, so it can be a dangerous maneuver. Ironically, accidents involving lane-splitting tended to leave the motorcyclists less injured than other types of motorcycle vs. car collisions – perhaps due to the reduced speed present when lane-splitting occurs ( think: rush hour traffic). Studies have shown that motorcyclists are not subject to increased likelihood of injury if their lane-splitting speeds are 15 mph slower than the flow of traffic. Perhaps not coincidentally, California Highway Patrol typically will cite lane-splitters if they are traveling more than 15mph faster than the flow of traffic (CVC 22350: Unsafe Speed For Conditions). Still, motorcyclists should use extra caution when lane-splitting. In a 2012 study conducted by the California Office for Traffic Safety, almost half of all drivers said they thought lane-splitting was illegal, two-thirds said they disapproved of it, and 7% admitted they had swerved to block a motorcycle trying to lane-split (<– unbelievable!).
Even though lane splitting is legal in California, you should know that when accidents happen, motorcyclist usually are found to be at fault despite the fact that CVC 21658 states that drivers can only change lanes when it is reasonably safe to do so (that includes ensuring a motorcycle isn’t legally lane-splitting). Again, this is one place where the public bias against motorcycles makes things more difficult for motorcyclists. However, often times after we thoroughly investigate these types of cases, we are able to establish that it was the car driver who caused the accident in violation of CVC 21658, allowing for our clients to be fully compensated for their injuries.
What are some common types of injuries you see from motorcycle accidents?
Motorcycle accident injuries are often the most serious that we encounter. Of course, you are more vulnerable on a motorcycle than in a steel car, where you are protected in a vehicle that drastically out-weighs a motorcycle. Due to the severe injuries suffered by motorcyclists, it is critical to find a lawyer that is experienced in fighting for liability, and locating and exposing insurance policies to cover your damages – that’s us! Here is a list of common types of injuries suffered by motorcyclists in motorcycle vs. car accidents:
-Burns and scars
-Spinal cord injuries
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, we are SF motorcycle accident lawyers that can get you the money you are entitled to. We are experienced in dealing with motorcycle bias and consistently get great settlements for our clients regardless of what the police report says or the inevitable obstacles we will encounter. We understand you and are motorcycle-minded. Contact us now for a FREE consultation by submitting an online inquiry or calling us (415) 345-4282.
Do you find that there is a bias against motorcyclists?
Yes. And we won’t tolerate it! It is undeniable that many lawyers are made nervous by motorcycle accident cases because they are intimidated by the Average Joe’s inherent bias against motorcyclists and how that can affect jury awards. Not us! We recognize the bias working against motorcyclists, but that only motivates us to work harder to make things right. Most motorcyclists are safe drivers that are misunderstood by automobile-minded people they share the roads with. It is an all too common scenario where witnesses to an accident state that the motorcyclist was speeding based on their preconceived judgments that everyone on a motorcycle speeds as well their lack of experience in determining motorcycle speed. These witness accounts ultimately affect determinations of fault made by the responding police officers, meaning that many times police reports will place fault on the motorcyclist – when in doubt, it’s the bike’s fault. This flawed determination can be due to bias, inexperience, or even outright error. While unfavorable, these reports are not the end of your case and we will never instinctually run from a negative police report. We routinely attack these flawed reports and get our clients the compensation they were entitled to, despite harmful witness statements and negative police reports.
Motorcycle Accident Tips
A lot can happen between your motorcycle accident and the time you hire a great San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer – that’s us! For that reason, we want you to have all the information you can about how to protect your interests from the insurance companies that are already preying on you in an effort to save themselves money. You see, insurance companies are for-profit businesses, nothing more and every dollar they pay you is a dollar that comes out of their profit. Knowing that they will have to pay you substantially more after you hire an experienced lawyer, they attempt to “get to” you before you have one. Here are some things you should know about the immediate aftermath of your motorcycle accident:
Tip #1: Giving Statements
Tip #2: Medical Treatment (coming soon)
Tip #3: Dealing with Health Insurance Subrogation Claims
Tip #4: Med Pay (even without medical insurance you can get your medical bills paid for) (coming soon)