motorcycle accident lawyer california

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident due to another party’s negligence, you need a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in San Francisco who can help.

The proficient team at The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart is here for you.

With over three decades of experience representing clients in personal injury cases, Chuck Geerhart has the skills you need as a legal advocate.

We will protect your rights and fight for the compensation you are owed in a motorcycle accident.

Motorcycle riders are far more vulnerable when compared to other motorists on Bay Area roads.

Injuries are almost always more severe in a motorcycle accident. Fatalities in motorcycle accidents are not uncommon either.

Some drivers aren’t paying attention and fail to see motorcycles on the road, while other drivers don’t like motorcycle riders and act aggressively.

When you retain our personal injury team, you don’t need to worry about coming up with a retainer or attorney fees.

Personal injury matters are handled on a contingency basis. What that means is we will only get paid if we successfully recover compensation in your case.

Most personal injury lawyers take an agreed-upon percentage of your settlement or jury award to cover fees and costs.

If we do not successfully resolve your case, you won’t owe any money. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and help you determine the best course of action. 

Contact the California personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Negligence plays a central role in most motorcycle accidents in San Francisco.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of all motor vehicle collisions on California roads.

Distracted drivers may be focused on eating, changing the radio station, putting on makeup, looking at the GPS, texting, or talking to passengers.

All it takes for an injury collision is for a driver to lose focus for one second.

Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Inexperienced motorcycle riders,
  • Weaving in and out of traffic,
  • Speeding,
  • Tailgating,
  • Splitting lanes of traffic,
  • Hazardous road conditions or adverse weather, and
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Motorcycle accidents are typically complicated cases to resolve, which is why you want a strong legal advocate on your side.

There is often a significant amount of property damage, combined with severe injuries.

Some victims pass away from their injuries, opening the door for select surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim.

Many drivers do not realize that splitting lanes is legal in California. California passed the lane splitting law in 2016, adding a formal definition of lane splitting to the California Vehicle Code.

However, lane splitting can be dangerous in some circumstances, especially if other drivers respond aggressively.

Recent Case Settlement

FACTS: A motorcyclist was heading up Portola Drive in San Francisco at about 45 MPH.  A Toyota Prius took a left turn in front of him. The motorcyclist could not stop in time and struck the left rear of the Prius.  The motorcyclist, who was our client, suffered a broken ankle and wrist requiring surgeries, and a closed head injury.

The insurance carrier for Prius claimed the motorcyclist was speeding and that speed was the cause of the accident. Chuck Geerhart retained a skilled mechanical engineer, who ran simulations based on the number of rotations of the Prius and established the motorcyclist was going 40 to 45, which was reasonable for that stretch of Portola.

RESULT: The insurance carrier paid $1.25 million policy limits. This case was settled without any litigation. 

What is Comparative Negligence in California?

California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can still collect compensation for your injuries in an accident where you are partially at fault.

Your percentage of fault will reduce any compensation you are awarded. For example, if you are 30% at fault for the collision, you will only receive 70% of your damages. If you are 60% at fault, you will receive 40%.

One thing to remember with comparative negligence is that the other driver can collect against your policy too.

Using the same examples of liability apportionment, the other driver would receive 30% of their damages if they are 70% at fault or 40% of their damages if they are 60% at fault.

The other driver’s insurance company will look for ways to save money and reduce their potential payout.

Comparative negligence gives insurance companies an incentive to find you to be the primary cause of the accident.

By shifting most of the blame to you, they intend to reduce their exposure risk and potential payout.

What Are Common Motorcycle Injuries in San Francisco?

Motorcycle riders are especially prone to head, neck, and back injuries. When someone chooses to ride their motorcycle without a helmet, they stand a greater chance of dying from a head injury in an accident.

California has a mandatory helmet law. It’s illegal for riders and their passengers to be on the bike without a proper helmet.

The helmet must be U.S. DOT compliant. Failure to wear an approved helmet could result in a fine, but it could also be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company.

It may not be enough to put 100% liability on you, but there’s a definite risk that it could reduce your overall compensation.

Below are common motorcycle injuries that drivers in California can sustain.

Head Trauma

Head trauma is one of the leading causes of death in motorcycle accidents. Many people who die from their injuries are ejected from the motorcycle, and their head hits the pavement or the other vehicle.

People with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may struggle to live independent lives. Medical attention with a head injury is crucial, even if you think it’s only a minor concussion.

If you don’t get treatment right away, a brain injury could become more severe and result in a long-term or permanent disability.

Road Rash

Even in a minor motorcycle accident, road rash is one of the most common injuries. Road rash is more than just scrapes and bruises.

It could result in permanent damage if not properly treated. Infections, long-term skin irritation, and surface nerve damage are all possibilities as well.


Because a motorcycle rider’s body often makes a direct impact with the other vehicle in a collision, fractured bones and burns are also common.

In severe cases where a limb or foot is crushed, victims could require amputation.

Spine Injuries

Neck and back injuries are also prevalent in motorcycle accidents.

Serious injuries include spinal cord damage, partial or complete paralysis, herniated disks, nerve damage, and fractured vertebrae.

Some neck and back injuries will heal on their own, but many others result in long-term permanent damage.

Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

You may be eligible to recover financial compensation for several different types of damages when you pursue a motorcycle accident claim.

The most common types of damages include:

  • Medical expenses to date;
  • Future medical treatment costs;
  • Lost wages to date;
  • Future loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity;
  • Disability and/or disfigurement;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of spousal relations and loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Mental anguish; and
  • Property damage.

In some cases, you could be eligible to receive punitive damages as well. These are reserved for extreme cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or shocking.

For example, cases involving a drunk driver would typically qualify for punitive damages.

Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the defendant and deter them from engaging in similar future behavior.

Do You Really Need a San Francisco Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

While it’s not legally required to retain a motorcycle accident lawyer in San Francisco, it is highly recommended.

The other driver’s insurance company will try to tell you that you don’t need an attorney. They want you to be unrepresented so that they can take advantage of your inexperience with the legal claims process.

They will try to get you to give a recorded statement and see their own medical providers, and they may try to settle your claim early on.

By trying to resolve your case early on in the claims process, the at-fault party limits their exposure and possible payout.

The insurance adjuster hopes you are desperate for money, so you will accept the settlement offer and sign a release of all claims.

Once you do that, you can’t return to them to negotiate for additional money if you find out you need surgery or will have a permanent injury.

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In California, How Much Time Do You Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

With San Francisco motorcycle accident claims, you have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit.

This legal deadline is called the statute of limitations. Failure to file a lawsuit within the allotted time frame means the court would dismiss your case, even if you are rightfully owed compensation.

In most cases, you have two years from the accident date to file your injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for property damage-only claims is three years from the date of the accident.

Even if the defendant’s insurance company had offered you a settlement before the limitations period expired, the insurer has no need to continue negotiating unless you had reached an agreement or filed a lawsuit before the deadline passed.

When you retain an attorney, your lawyer will know when it’s time to file a lawsuit. 

You need someone who is genuinely on your side and will be looking out for your best interests.

Your attorney will protect your rights and ensure the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t try to take advantage of you.

When you hire The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart to represent you in a motorcycle accident claim, we will handle all communication with the defendants’ insurance companies.

We will also be the ones who negotiate compensation for your injuries.

Insurance companies are less prone to taking advantage of you when you have someone representing you who is experienced with the legal claims process.

Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you need assistance with pursuing a motorcycle accident injury claim in San Francisco, let our skilled legal team help.

Contact The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart today by calling (415) 577-4992 or by filling out our online form to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.

With more than three decades of experience, we have seen nearly every type of accident possible. We can protect your rights and will fight for the compensation you deserve.

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  • A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.

    As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.

    A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.

  • Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.

    I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.

    During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.

    I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.

  • Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.

    I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.
    Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
    At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.