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Who Is Responsible for Motorcycle Accident?

Did you know that California law does not allow or prohibit motorcycles from passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane, a practice often called “lane splitting,” “lane sharing” or “filtering”?Motorcycle Accidents

According to the California Motorcycle Safety Program, a program of the California Highway Patrol, it is the responsibility of all drivers on the highways and roads to share the highway, regardless of whether you are driving a motorcycle or a car. The CHP reminds all drivers that “[C]reating a safer highway environment is the shared responsibility of drivers and motorcyclists alike. This is achieved by staying alert and using common sense and courtesy while on the road.”

We have all seen motorcyclist weaving in and out of lanes on the freeways and roads in Southern California. While this may seem ‘dangerous’ to those of us safely seat belted in our cars, most motorcyclist on the roads are experienced motorcycles drivers and are alert to traffic, cars turning in front of them, or to cars changing lanes straight into their motorcycle. Often, it is the drivers of the cars that make the dangerous and unsafe moves on the road that cause accidents.

If you are a motorcycle driver who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you can hold the driver of the vehicle responsible for your injuries. If a driver’s negligence has causes an accident that results in death, the family of the victim may hold the driver of the vehicle liable for the death of their loved one by filing a wrongful death claim.

Like any other traffic accident, if you are involved in an accident while driving your motorcycle remember to do the following:

  • Stop
  • Check your injuries and see if anyone else is hurt – If necessary call 911 for medical assistance
  • Check your motorcycle and other vehicle for property damage
  • If possible, move your motorcycle off the road
  • If there is substantial damage, call the local police
  • Gather the following information at the scene if you are physically able to do so:
    • name of the other party
    • address
    • phone number/email address
    • license plate number, make and model of the vehicle
    • witness names and contact information
    • pictures of the vehicles, surrounding area, streets, traffic lights, road conditions, people involved in accident
  • Do not discuss how the accident with the other driver, do so only with the police
  • Watch what you say to the other party – saying something as innocent as “I’m sorry” can be taken by the other driver as an admission of guilt and later used against you.
  • Get the name and badge number of any law-enforcement officer you talk with at the scene
  • Request a report number or other information that will allow you to follow up with law-enforcement about the accident
  • Report the accident to your insurance company, even if you do not believe it is your fault
  • Follow up with your health-care provider – often victims of accidents do not realize they are injured right away – take care of yourself!

To learn more about how your personal injury attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you following a motorcycle accident, a car accident, or about a wrongful death claim, call us at 714-505-3000 or email us at