Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Helping San Jose Bikers
If you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver, we can help
There are few more beautiful places on Earth to ride a motorcycle than San Jose. Between the mild climate, the architecture, the bay, and the mountains, it’s no surprise that so many people hear the call of the open road. Unfortunately, too many motorists don’t share the road well with motorcyclists, and the consequences can shatter lives. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident in San Jose, you know firsthand just how devastating an injury can be.
You don’t have to face the road ahead alone. The Swanson Law Group is proud to stand up for injured bikers in San Jose and throughout Santa Clara County. We know what it takes to get big results for motorcyclists, and we will advocate relentlessly for you, inside and outside the courtroom. Contact us today for your free consultation with a San Jose motorcycle accident attorney.
Understanding California’s motorcycle laws
In California, a motorcycle is considered a vehicle and thus expected to follow all the same rules of the road as any other vehicle. For instance, bikers must stop at stop signs and obey speed limits, and motorcycles need to meet the same liability insurance requirements as other vehicles. California also has several motorcycle-specific laws and regulations. To legally ride a motorcycle in California, you must have a special driver’s license (called a Class M1 license) and wear a helmet that complies with U.S. DOT standards. Motorcycles also must meet several safety requirements to be street legal, including:
- Rider’s feet must reach the ground, and handlebars can elevate the hands no more than six inches above shoulder height (California Vehicle Code §27801)
- Motorcycles built since 1973 must have front and rear turn signals
- Motorcycles built since 1978 must have headlights that turn on and remain on whenever the engine is running (California Vehicle Code §25650 - 25651)
- Motorcycles built since 2013 must have tamper-resistant exhaust systems
California is the only state where lane splitting (that is, riding on the line between lanes of traffic) is explicitly legal. For motorcyclists navigating heavy traffic on I-280, I-680, I-880, and other highways in the San Jose area, this can be an excellent way to cut down on congestion, but it must be done safely. The California Highway Patrol recommends driving no faster than 10 mph above the speed of the traffic and no faster than 50 mph overall, among other safety recommendations.
What to do after a motorcycle accident in San Jose
Once you’ve made sure the scene is safe, your first call should be 911. Even if you don’t need emergency medical attention, the police need to investigate your accident and prepare a report. You also need to exchange contact and insurance information with the other motorist involved. Keep your comments brief and don’t say anything that could be construed as admitting fault – remember, insurance companies go out of their way to blame motorcyclists for their injuries, and you don’t want to give them ammunition.
Your next step needs to be to see a doctor, even if you feel OK. Motorcycle accidents often cause internal injuries and brain injuries that can have delayed-onset symptoms. Go to your primary care provider, an emergency room, or an urgent care center and tell the doctor you were in a motorcycle crash. This not only protects your health, but also creates a record of your injuries that will protect your legal rights if your claim is disputed.
Then, you need to contact us as soon as possible so that we can start investigating your accident and building your case. Again, insurance companies don’t treat bikers fairly, and they’re constantly looking for ways to protect their bottom line. You need someone on your side who knows San Jose, knows California law, and respects riders. We would be happy to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
We know how to investigate San Jose motorcycle accidents
To overcome the bias against motorcycle riders, we must build an airtight case. We talk to witnesses, pore over accident reports, and review physical evidence from the scene. Many intersections in San Jose have cameras; if your crash happened at one of them, we’ll take legal action to secure the footage and find proof that you had the right of way. Our goal is to understand how and why your crash happened. Was the motorist who hit you distracted, tired, or under the influence? Why didn’t they share the road? We know how to make the case to a San Jose jury that these types of drivers put everyone at risk and need to be held accountable.
Just as importantly, we build a case for the full amount of compensation you deserve for your lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs. An injury has ripple effects on your entire life, and justice for your motorcycle accident means full and fair compensation for each of those losses. We will listen to your story and acquire documentation to back you up. We often hire experts, such as medical professionals and economists, to help us make the case for the compensation you need.
Many of our cases settle out of court because an insurance company that sees we’re prepared to take them to trial is much more likely to pay up. They know our track record of results and our reputation for relentless advocacy. If they won’t pay, though, we will take them to court and argue your case before a judge and jury.
We’re on your side throughout the challenges ahead
The crash itself may have been over in a moment, but the consequences of a bad motorcycle accident can last a lifetime. We can’t promise it will be easy, but we will absolutely be on your side throughout the process, letting you know what to expect and always preparing you for what’s coming next. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything out of pocket. We only get paid if we win your case.
It’s important to take legal action quickly. In California, you have up to two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to file an injury lawsuit, but we need to get involved much sooner than that to start investigating and preparing your case before evidence disappears. Take control of the situation with an experienced lawyer on your side. Schedule your free consultation today; you can come to our office in San Jose, or we can come to you.