San Luis Obispo Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists often face severe injuries in collisions, leading to distress and financial strain due to mounting medical expenses. At Ernst Law Group, our attorneys understand motorcyclists’ challenges, including biases and complex legal hurdles. Contact our San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyers if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash. Fill out the form or call (805) 541-0300 to schedule a free consultation.

san luis obispo motorcycle accident attorney

What are some common motorcycle accident injuries?

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road, facing a higher risk of severe injuries than other vehicle operators. This vulnerability stems from the inherent lack of protection a motorcycle offers and other drivers’ difficulty in seeing motorcycles. Types of injuries typically sustained in motorcycle accidents are often severe and include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limbs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burns and road rash
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Wrongful death

How much does it cost to hire a San Luis Obispo motorcycle accident attorney?

At Ernst Law Group, we believe in making legal support accessible. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning clients pay no fees unless we successfully resolve their claim. This arrangement aligns our mutual interests and removes financial barriers to seeking justice. We also offer free initial consultations, allowing potential clients to start their legal journey without financial risk.

What are the steps to take after a motorcycle crash?

To protect your rights, we strongly advise that you follow these steps:

  1. If possible, move from the road to a safe area.
  2. Keep on your safety gear to protect you from further injury.
  3. Call 911, even if the crash seems minor. The police report is helpful to your claim, and paramedics will evaluate you for injuries you may not feel due to shock.
  4. Tell the police officer your side of the story. Stick to the facts and be honest. Ask for a copy of the report before you leave.
  5. Gather evidence at the scene. Use your phone to take photos and videos and get the contact information of witnesses and other drivers involved in the crash.
  6. Notify your insurance company. Be honest, but only give a detailed statement with your attorney present.
  7. Visit a doctor to check and document your injuries. Keep a record of all medical bills and doctor’s notes.
  8. Arrange a free consultation with a San Luis Obispo motorcycle accident attorney to understand your legal options.

What damages can I claim?

Victims of motorcycle accidents can claim various types of damages. Economic damages cover tangible losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages are more subjective and address intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Understanding and accurately quantifying these damages is key to ensuring fair compensation.

Economic damages

Economic damages reimburse you for costs directly related to the accident, including:

  • Fixing or replacing your motorcycle
  • All medical costs, including current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and potential earnings
  • Modifications to your home

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages aim to compensate motorcycle accident victims for non-financial losses from the crash, including:

  • Mental distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Temporary or permanent impairment

How long do I have to file a claim?

In California, motorcycle accident victims have two years from the accident date to file a compensation claim. This statute of limitations emphasizes the importance of seeking legal assistance promptly to ensure a strong case. Preparing a compensation claim involves gathering evidence, documenting injuries and damages, and potentially negotiating with insurance companies.

Who’s liable for my injury?

Determining liability is a critical aspect of any motorcycle accident claim. Establishing who is at fault involves proving negligence, which requires showing that the other party had a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused damages.

Depending on the circumstances, various parties may be liable for your losses:

  • Another motorcyclist
  • The driver of a passenger vehicle or commercial truck
  • The employer of a passenger vehicle or commercial truck driver
  • A manufacturer who produced defective parts
  • A negligent road maintenance crew

How does a San Luis Obispo motorcycle accident attorney prove liability?

To establish the other party’s responsibility for the crash, we must prove their negligence by showing:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached that duty of care.
  • The breach caused your injuries.
  • You experienced damages due to the crash.

Our thorough process involves analyzing police reports, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts. Additionally, your San Luis Obispo motorcycle accident attorney may use video evidence from various sources to support the negligence claim.

We fight the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation

Negotiating with insurance companies can be one of the most challenging aspects of a motorcycle accident claim. Insurance companies may initially offer settlements below the claim’s fair value. An experienced attorney can negotiate assertively to ensure clients receive the compensation they deserve. If negotiations fail, Ernst Law Group can take the case to trial.

“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance

Navigating insurance claims can be challenging, especially given the prevalent bias against motorcyclists. To ensure your claim is protected:


  • Be polite and firm in your conversations.
  • Direct all questions to your attorney.
  • Maintain detailed records of all communications with the insurance company.


  • Do not agree to settlements or sign documents without your attorney’s guidance.
  • Refrain from providing a recorded statement to the adjuster without your attorney’s approval.
  • Avoid speculating who was at fault or admitting any responsibility for the accident.
  • Only engage directly with the insurance company or their lawyers with your attorney present.

Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible

After a motorcycle accident, it is crucial not to delay medical treatment. Postponing medical care can adversely affect both your health and your legal claim.

Medical records as evidence

Delaying treatment can make it more challenging to prove the full extent of your injuries, as medical records are key in establishing a timeline for insurance and legal purposes.

Hidden injuries

Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries, may not be immediately apparent. Early medical attention ensures these are diagnosed and treated promptly, preventing further complications.

Why choose Ernst Law Group for your motorcycle accident case

Ernst Law Group stands out in San Luis Obispo for its extensive experience and successful track record spanning over 40 years. Our team of skilled San Luis Obispo motorcycle accident attorneys is committed to advocating for our clients.

Comprehensive case evaluation

We offer a complimentary case evaluation, reviewing your rights and accident details.

Maximizing compensation

Our strategic approach is tailored to secure the maximum compensation for your case.

Experienced advocacy

Trust our seasoned attorneys to navigate the complexities of your claim effectively.

Contact Ernst Law Group at (805) 535-3425 for personalized legal assistance.

Frequently asked questions about California motorcycle laws

What are California’s helmet and safety gear laws?

In California, all motorcyclists must wear U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmets while riding. This requirement is outlined in California Vehicle Code Section 27803. Wearing appropriate safety gear not only reduces the risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident but also plays a critical role in personal injury claims, where failure to wear a helmet can impact the damages recovered.

What if I contributed to the crash?

California’s pure comparative fault law allows a damaged party to recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault. However, the compensation amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the crash, and the total settlement amount is $100,000, you could walk away with $80,000.

How much insurance do motorcyclists need to carry in California?

California requires all motorcyclists to carry insurance. The minimum liability coverage for motorcyclists is outlined in California Vehicle Code Section 16056, which requires:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property


Effective January 1, 2025, minimum liability coverage in California will increase:

  • $30,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $60,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $15,000 for damage to property

What’s California’s stance on lane splitting?

California law explicitly allows lane splitting, where motorcyclists ride between rows of stopped or moving traffic. This is covered under California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1. Since lane splitting can contribute to accidents, understanding these laws is crucial for determining liability and negligence in the event of a crash.


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