How to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in San Pedro, CA
As of 2021, there were over 900,000 registered motorcycles in California alone. According to the California Highway Patrol’s SWITRS data, by 2022, an average of 17,906 motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities occurred across the nation. Los Angeles has the highest rate of personal injuries and fatal accidents.
In this article, we will discuss what to do after being involved in a motorcycle accident, tips on finding an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you on your case, understanding fault and liability in a motorcycle accident, and the process of filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in San Pedro, CA
If you or your loved one have been in a motorcycle accident in San Pedro, there are several important steps that you must take to safeguard your rights when filing a motorcycle accident claim. Here are the following important steps:
1. Call the police
After a motorcycle accident, you must contact the police department and ensure that a police officer is present at the accident scene. The police report that is generated after the accident will help document the accident and may be essential evidence your motorcycle accident attorney can use to strengthen the validity of your claim.
2. Seek medical care
Following your accident, you must seek medical attention. Even if you feel your injuries may only be minor, it is still crucial that you see a medical professional to ensure that you do not have any internal injuries. If left untreated, internal injuries may result in long-lasting health complications that will require prolonged medical treatment.
3. Take photos/videos
Be sure to take photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. This documentation may be extremely beneficial during the later stages of your personal injury claim.
4. Gather information
Obtain the contact information of any witnesses who may have been present at the time of the accident. Witness testimony may be instrumental in proving certain aspects of your motorcycle accident. You must also procure the contact information of the other party, such as their driver’s license, motor vehicle information, contact information, and if possible, their insurance company information.
One of the most important steps to take following a motorcycle accident is hiring an experienced accident attorney to help guide you through the complex motorcycle accident lawsuit process. A personal injury lawyer will ensure that your motorcycle accident lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations, launch an investigation of your motorcycle accident, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Finding a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in San Pedro, CA
When choosing a motorcycle accident lawyer, there are many considerations to bear in mind. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to what works best for you and your case. Here are some tips to keep in mind when finding a motorcycle accident attorney:
Evaluate their experience
When looking for a lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident lawsuit, find one with plenty of experience. This is because experienced injury lawyers have seen it all and know how to effectively navigate even the toughest issues that may arise – from proving compensatory damages in highly complicated cases to navigating tricky tactics from insurance adjusters.
Check their track record
When selecting a San Pedro personal injury lawyer, remember that even if they have years of experience, their track record may not be up to par. Watch out for attorneys who are known for settling cases quickly at a low value, or lack results when dealing with difficult and high-priority cases.
Be attentive to how they engage with you
Trust your intuition. When selecting a lawyer, it is essential to make sure the attorney-client relationship you have is mutually beneficial. Therefore, their communication and treatment of you aren’t satisfactory, don’t hesitate to look for other legal representation.
Understand their payment model
Some law firms work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t need to pay anything upfront until your case is settled. At Motorcyclist Attorney, we offer our clients a No Fee Guarantee policy that means you won’t need to pay a single cent unless we win.
Consider any additional resources offered
As you consider your prospective injury lawyer, it is worth thinking about the additional resources they can provide. A few personal injury law firms specialize in offering extensive help with every stage of your case while ensuring a stress-free experience for clients. Take into consideration if they work with medical professionals, offer property damage valuation, and more.
What to Expect During the Initial Consultation
During the initial consultation, accident victims can expect to be asked a range of questions including how the incident happened, what injuries were sustained, and what treatment was received. Your legal team will also need an understanding of future treatments that may be required.
During the initial consultation stage, be prepared to answer many questions and have documentation or medical records readily available for review.
Understanding Fault and Liability in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
All motorists on the road have the duty of care to provide a safe environment for other travelers – including motorcycle drivers. In the case of a motor vehicle accident, it is essential to evaluate and determine if any driver broke their duty of care by disregarding traffic laws or driving recklessly.
If a motorist fails to fulfill their legal responsibilities, under the law they are considered a negligent driver and may be considered the party responsible for the accident.
Victims of motorcycle accidents are entitled to financial compensation for their injuries and damages. These economic and non-economic damages are paid to the victim by the liable parties. This monetary compensation may cover the following:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
If the accident caused the wrongful death of a loved one, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. The victim’s family may be compensated for any expenses that arise due to the sudden passing of their loved one.
An insurance company will typically try to determine the party accountable for the accident. The insurance company of the responsible party may offer a lump-sum payment to the injured party to quickly settle the case. If the parties of the plaintiff (injured party) and defendant (at-fault party) do not agree on who was at fault for the accident or the compensation amount, a motorcycle accident lawsuit is the next course of action.
Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Process in San Pedro, CA
Every personal injury claim and motorcycle accident lawsuit in San Pedro, will differ according to several factors of the case. The following are some of the most common steps taken in a motorcycle accident lawsuit:
Step 1: Filing a Complaint & Summons
Filing a complaint is the initial document filed in most personal injury lawsuits. Filing an effective complaint marks the beginning of a motorcycle accident lawsuit in San Pedro, California.
When filing a complaint, the following information is usually included:
- The identities of the parties involved
- The legal basis for the court’s jurisdiction over the personal injury lawsuit
- The insurance claim/motorcycle accident injury claim
- The facts involved in the claim/s
The plaintiff and their team must ensure that the defendant is aware that they are being sued. A “summons” is issued to notify the defendant.
Submitting both the complaint and summons to the court, as well as delivering them directly to the defendant, is essential. Failing to properly serve could cause your lawsuit to be dismissed.
Step 2: Defendant’s Answer
Once the complaint is filed and the summons is served, the defendant is given a certain amount of time to respond. The defendant’s response is called the “answer”. This is the defendant’s chance to address the allegations of the complaint.
The defendant’s response may also include their arguments as to why they should not be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages or injuries. In some scenarios, the defendant may wish to file their own claim against the plaintiff. This is referred to as a “counterclaim”.
Step 3: Discovery
With the complaint, summons, and answer filed, both parties can begin to uncover evidence through a process known as “discovery”. This procedure provides both parties access to all information.
Step 4: Motions
This legal document will ask the judge presiding over the lawsuit to decide its outcome before any trial proceedings begin. In the event that a defendant believes the plaintiff’s claims to be unfounded, they may opt to file a motion rather than an answer. By filing this request for dismissal of all or some of their complaints.
Step 5: Pre-Trial Negotiations
An experienced personal injury attorney may often attempt to settle a case outside of court in order to avoid the time-consuming and costly trial process. Your San Pedro personal injury attorney may accomplish this through negotiation, mediating, or arbitration.
Step 6: Trial
In the event that the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will assess the detail and evidence presented in order to reach a decision on whether or not the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Step 7: Collecting the Judgment
After liability has been proven and the court orders financial damages for the plaintiff, their legal team will then commence collecting the fair compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits in San Pedro, CA
How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in San Pedro, CA?
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another party, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault party. You must act fast. The sooner you file your claim, the better your chances are at recovering the maximum compensation possible.
What damages can I recover in a motorcycle accident lawsuit?
After a motorcycle accident, you are likely to incur certain costs that have an immediate financial impact. These expenses and losses are termed “economic damages” and may include:
- Medical care (hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy, and more)
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses (in-house nurse or housekeeper, medication, travel to doctors’ offices, etc.)
The following are recoverable non-economic damages in a motorcycle accident claim:
- Pain and suffering (the negative impact on your quality of life after the accident, such as anxiety, depression, and mental trauma)
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
Can I file a lawsuit if I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident?
It is required by law to wear a U.S. DOT-compliant motorcycle safety helmet when riding a motorcycle, however not wearing one doesn’t disqualify an injured rider from seeking compensation when they are involved in an accident caused by a negligent party.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Motorcyclist Attorney Today!
Have you or a loved one been the victim of a motorcycle accident? As the injured victim, it is within your right to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit against the at-fault party and recover the compensation you need and deserve.
At Motorcyclist Attorney, we have years of experience recovering millions of dollars in compensation for hundreds of clients.
Not only will our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys fight to get you a fair settlement offer for your injuries and damages, but we will also ensure you get the medical care you need and handle all the complex paperwork of your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t need to pay us a single cent unless we win!
Contact us today, at (310) 317 7814 for a free, no-obligation case consultation. We are available 24/7!