bakersfield motorcycle accident

Filing a claim for a motorcycle accident in Bakersfield, California, requires attention to detail and an informed approach. This blog is designed to walk you through the key steps to safeguard your rights and secure the compensation you’re entitled to.


From collecting evidence at the accident scene to understanding the fine details of California’s laws and choosing the right attorney, each phase is vital in building a robust personal injury claim.



Laws Covering Motorcycle Accidents in Bakersfield

laws covering motorcycle accidents in bakersfield

Understanding Bakersfield motorcycle laws is crucial when dealing with the consequences of a motorcycle crash. These laws set the rules for motorcyclists and outline the legal options after an accident. Two important factors that affect claims under California law are the “at-fault” system and the “comparative negligence” rule.

At-Fault System in Personal Injury Claims

Liability for auto accidents, including those involving motorcycles, is determined by the “at-fault” system — codified in California’s Civil Code. This states that the party responsible for causing the accident is also liable for compensating any damages incurred. This covers a range of losses, including but not limited to medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


For motorcycle accident victims, this means that if another driver’s negligence led to the collision, that driver (and typically their insurance companies) is responsible for covering the losses. The legal foundation for this can be found in sections 1714 and 2100 of the California Civil Code that address negligence and liability, emphasizing an individual’s responsibility to avoid causing harm to others.

Comparative Negligence for Motorcycle Crash Cases

Adding to this scenario is the “comparative negligence” rule, as outlined in California’s Jury Instructions (CACI No. 405). Comparative negligence acknowledges that in many accidents, more than one party may bear some responsibility. This rule allows for the apportionment of fault among all involved parties, including the claimant.


If you are found partially responsible for the motorcycle accident injuries and damages, your compensation will be adjusted to reflect your degree of fault. For example, if you are deemed 20% at fault for an accident due to speeding, and your total damages amount to $100,000, your recoverable compensation would be reduced by 20%, leaving you eligible for $80,000.


This approach to liability highlights the importance of thorough documentation and evidence in motorcycle accident claims. It compels all parties to critically assess their actions leading up to the accident and their impact on the outcome. California’s comparative negligence rule ensures that compensation is distributed more equitably.

Steps to File a Claim for a Motorcycle Accident
in Bakersfield

steps to file a claim for a motorcyle accident in bakersfield

Victims of motorcycle accidents have a lot of work to do after an accident. From seeking medical care to dealing with insurance companies, it can be overwhelming and stressful. The steps to file a personal injury claim after being involved in a motorcycle accident are:

1. Seek Medical Attention

Before anything else, it is crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. If you are seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine, it is still recommended to get a thorough medical examination as some injuries may not be apparent at first.

2. Contact the Authorities

It is important to file a police report after a motorcycle accident, no matter how minor it may seem. This will serve as official documentation of the incident and can help strengthen your claim for compensation. Do not admit fault. It’s natural to feel guilty or want to apologize for what happened. However, it’s important not to make any statements that could be used against you later on.

3. Gather Evidence

Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your motorcycle or other vehicles involved in the crash. Collect contact information from any witnesses and obtain copies of the police report and medical records.

4. Seek Legal Representation

Consulting with a Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer immediately after the incident can significantly impact the outcome of your insurance claim and potential legal proceedings. A lawyer specialized in motorcycle accident cases can offer strategic advice on:

  • How to Communicate with Insurance Companies: Your attorney can advise on the nuances of communicating with insurers, ensuring you provide necessary information without inadvertently compromising your claim.
  • Evaluating Your Case: A Bakersfield personal injury attorney can assess the specifics of your traffic accident to determine the best course of action, considering California’s motorcycle laws and the specifics of your insurance policy.
  • Legal Representation: If needed, your lawyer can represent you in all interactions with insurance companies, alleviating the stress of negotiations and ensuring your rights are upheld.

5. Report to Your Insurance Company

After consulting with an experienced Bakersfield attorney and formulating a strategy, you’ll be better positioned to report the accident to your insurance provider. When you do:

  1. Be Factual: Relay the facts of the accident as they occurred, without embellishment or speculation. Stick to the information your attorney has advised is necessary and appropriate.
  2. Avoid Admissions of Fault: It’s important not to admit fault when discussing the accident with your insurer. Fault will be determined through a combination of police reports, insurance investigations, and, if necessary, legal proceedings.
  3. Follow Legal Advice: Throughout the process, continue to follow the guidance of your attorney. They will have your best interests in mind and will work to protect your rights and potential compensation.

Reports and Documents Needed to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Bakersfield

To file a claim for a motorcycle accident in Bakersfield, ensure you have the following documents ready:

Police Report

Obtain a copy of the police report from the Bakersfield police department. This accident report includes details about the motorcycle rider, accident, statements, and sometimes fault assessment.

SR-1 Form

File an SR-1 form with the DMV for accidents involving injury, death, or property damage over $1,000. It records accident specifics and insurance information.

Traffic Collision Report (TCR)

For severe accidents, a detailed TCR may be available, offering in-depth analysis and diagrams of the collision.

Medical Records and Bills

Collect all medical documentation and bills related to the accident-induced motorcycle injury.

Proof of Income Loss

Gather pay stubs, tax returns, or employer letters to document any work and income missed due to injuries.

Witness Statements

Secure written or recorded statements from witnesses, along with their contact information, to support your version of events.

Photographs and Videos

Take or collect photos and videos of the accident scene, damages, and injuries to serve as visual evidence.

Repair Estimates and Property Damage Bills

Get estimates or receipts for repairs or replacements of your motorcycle and any other damaged property.

Personal Account

Write a detailed personal account of the accident, noting date, time, conditions, and your observations, to aid your memory and claim.

Having these documents organized and ready can significantly support your claim by providing a detailed and factual representation of the motor vehicle accident, its impact, and the resulting damages. If you were severely injured in a motorcycle accident, your medical records and proof of lost future income are critical to increasing the value of your potential settlement amount.

Statute of Limitations for Filing Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim in Bakersfield

The statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident is two years from the date of the crash. This means that you must file your claim within this time period to potentially receive compensation and restitution. Your Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney will have knowledge of the specific statutes and deadlines for filing in your area.


If you miss this deadline, you may lose the chance to seek compensation. The court may not accept your case, and insurance companies will likely deny your claim.


However, there are some exceptions to this two-year statute of limitations. For example, if the accident caused a brain or spinal injury that was not immediately apparent, the deadline may be extended until the injury is discovered. Additionally, if the victim is under 18 years old at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until their 18th birthday.

Need to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Bakersfield Motorcycle Lawyer for a Free Consultation.

RTM Law Firm specializes in handling personal injury claims for victims of motorcycle collisions in California. Our experienced legal team is equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you file an insurance claim and get the maximum amount of financial compensation possible. 


If the motorcycle crash had led to the death of a loved one, our team can assist in filing a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield as well. Our goal is to make the insurance claim process seamless and painless, so you or your family can focus on recovery and healing. 


Call our experienced Bakersfield motorcycle accident legal team at (661) 402-3200.




    We Help Accident Victims File
    a Personal Injury Claim in Bakersfield, CA

    Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of personal injury claims in several areas, including:

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