When you buy a motorcycle, accidents and insurance claims are a part of the reality check. Michael Padway & Associates is an Experienced Motor-cycle Accident Attorney based In California who has an unblemished record of settling the claims. Injured riders can have full faith in getting the best deal when it comes to availing his services as their accident attorney.
By now most motorcyclists have wondered why autonomous braking, which is about to be required on every car sold in America, is not being offered by anyone for motorcycles.
Clearly, the risk to the rider of a motorcycle from a careless left hand turning vehicle is far greater than the risk to the driver of an airbag equipped four thousand pound car.
So what’s the deal.
Well, let’s start by looking at ABS brakes that allow a rider to brake while leaned over in a turn. Bosch has been distributing these systems for several years now. Clearly, the ability to brake easily if you get into a turn too hot is a great safety addition. Who would’t want that option in a pinch, particularly if it didn’t interfere with any other operation of the motorcycle?
At this point in time, KTM has it, BMW has it, but not on many popular models, such at the RT, and that’s about it. The reason is that the peculiar characteristics of two wheeled vehicles means that this system must be calibrated individually for each model motorcycle. This means a lot of cost. Clearly, motorcycle manufacturers don’t think the cost will be easily passed on without hurting sales.
A similar pattern accompanied the slow adaptation of ABS brakes. It took a lot of years for motorcycle manufacturers to start putting ABS systems on bikes, although the best information was that it would reduce deaths to riders by 40%.
At the point, there are autonomous braking systems available. One concern was whether they would cause riders to lose it when the systems kicked in Studies show that this is not the case. Riders seem well able to handle it when the systems kick in and brake the motorcycle.
So when will we see the systems offered to the public? Nobody knows.
Unless legislation forces the manufacturers to step up to the plate, we can expect the same slow adaptation that accompanied ABS brakes, and now the more advanced ABS systems that allow braking in a turn.
It would be one thing if riders chose not to pay for these systems, but I feel like a second class citizen when they are not even offered.
For several years I have been looking for a motorcycle helmet that deals with prevention of axonal brain injuries. These are the injuries that result when the skull is quickly twisted in a motorcycle accident, usually as the helmet hits the pavement, a curb, or a four wheeled vehicle.
Most brain injuries do not involve a skull fracture. The helmet does a good job of preventing that type of injury. However, the inside of the skull has lots of sharp edges, and the brain floats inside the skull. If the skull is twisted, tearing of the brain occurs, and the result can be anywhere from a “mild” concussion to a serious long term brain injury.
A few years ago, a helmet came out that had an outer “skin” which allowed movement on the outside of the helmet. The purpose was to reduce the amount of twisting the head received in a motorcycle accident. I tried several times, without success, to locate a distributor so that I could try one out.
6D helmets has a line of helmets that incorporate attachment separators that allow the helmet outer shell to move a little more than the inner liner, effectively reducing the amount of twist in most helmet impacts. They refer to independent testing that shows their system is successful in reducing the forces that would normally cause axonal tearing of the brain.
Of course, no responsible person would suggest a helmet purchase based solely on one feature. Fit is paramount, and there are lots of features to consider.
The 6D helmets are more expensive, of course. Someone has to pay for the complexity and innovation.
That said, this is definitely worth checking out.
I personally have not yet tried one of these helmets, but I look forward to doing so as soon as possible.
The only time you use a helmet is if you crash or have an accident. In either event, cost no longer seems important. Because so many of my clients hit their heads in accidents, and because so many of those accidents involve traumatic brain injuries, I am often asked for my recommendations regarding helmets. With the reservation that I have not personally used one of these helmets yet, (although I intend to), this is my current recommendation.
As soon as I can find out how these fit me, and can try one out, I will have a follow up.
So we finally got some rain, plus its been cold, but this week we start spring. Rain or shine, riding season is here. Only the biggest wimps are leaving their bikes in the garage. As Giles Lambpoints out in the latest issue of BIKE, now is the time to get into the groove. Slowly, like you are learning again, practice a little better each time.
One thing to do for sure is practice panic stops. You should comfortably be able to stop in 50 feet from 40 miles per hour, without triggering the abs. Nice and straight, smooth, steady, and end up with one foot on the ground, one foot on the bike. Nice.
Another for sure thing is circles and figure eights. Get used to leaning again. No fun riding a motorcycle if you are nervous or reluctant when it’s time to lean.
Last, it just makes life easier if you spend some time getting familiar with your old friend, the friction zone. Low speed, tight maneuvers, use the clutch to accelerate and slow. Drag some brake when it helps. You will enjoy your rides more when you can take off from a stop at full lock. You will also feel much more comfortable when you are at stops with lots of other riders watching you.
Once you get your sea legs back, you will be safe taking that first couple of longer rides, when you get back in the groove.
After all, soon it will be summer and the riding is easy.
You either love it or hate it, lane splitting is a controversial subject that doesn’t seem to promote any middle ground. However, you can no longer ignore it in California.
On January 1st, 2017, California’s pro-lane splitting Bill, AB-51 went live. Technically speaking, the subject of riding a motorcycle between two rows of traffic on Californian roads has always been a gray area.
Neither legal nor illegal, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) used their discretionary powers to determine whether it was being used or abused on a case-by-case basis. In 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the CHP published their safe strategy documents on the subject. At this point, the chain lube hit the proverbial fan.
One out of California’s 39 million residents wrote to the Office of Administrative Law complaining that the CHP had exceeded its authority by issuing such guidelines. Subsequently, both agencies withdrew the text and web versions.
The AB-51 Bill has now been joined by Section 21658.1 of the California Vehicle Code, which in effect, legalizes lane splitting. It also leaves it in the hands of the CHP to determine safety guidelines.
As of September 2017, lane splitting is currently only legal in California, however there are some states where it isn’t explicitly declared as illegal. Many have been asking about the legality in their own states so we scoured the statutes for each and put together this chart below.
Note that it’s up to the Highway Patrol to determine if your act is unsafe, which means you can still get a ticket, even though your state may not have a law forbidding it.
The Great Motorcycle Vanishing Act (Condensed Edit) - YouTube
According to the State of California’s Legislative Information portal , lane splitting is now legally defined as, a ‘motorcycle ridden between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane including on both divided and undivided streets, roads or highways.’
California is currently the only state to officially recognize lane splitting, so its other pseudonyms such as filtering, lane sharing, and white lining that have different definitions in the other 49 states.
Filtering refers to a motorcycle picking its way through slow-moving or stationary traffic, such as at a stoplight.
Lane sharing covers two riders in the same lane, either side by side or a staggered formation.
Lane splitting aka White lining refers to a rider who stays predominantly on the lane dividing line. (This type of riding is considered bad practice and one that lane splitters would normally condone.)
As a general rule of thumb, lane splitting do’s and don’ts are best governed by a healthy survival instinct. More importantly, if you don’t feel confident enough to do it, then you don’t have to.
Guidelines from the CHP’s Motorcycle Safety Program suggest that a motorcycle should travel no more than 10mph faster than the traffic it is passing. It is also not advisable to do this when traffic starts moving at 30mph or over. The faster you pass, the less time you have to react to an adverse situation.
The lanes that are safest to split are between lanes one and two, which are the furthest left. The lanes furthest to the right see the most movement regarding traffic adjusting for on-ramps and exits, making it a lot more dangerous to lane split. By using the far left lanes, you will be clear of trailers and semis, meaning that you will be able to see over the top of most vehicles, giving you a heads up of traffic flow ahead.
If you see a rider splitting a lane to your right, ease back. Don’t attempt to stay parallel as you could be pushing traffic into each other’s path, as drivers move over to avoid you.
Much like motorcycling in general, lane splitting can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. If it doesn’t look like you’ll fit through the gap, don’t attempt to do so. Similarly, if you find two long vehicles running parallel to each other, wait for them to re-position. If they close the gap when you are halfway through, you’re out of options.
On the subject of tight spaces, take a look at your bike from the front. Do you have wide bars, fairing, panniers, forwards, or engine bars? The object of this exercise is to give you a better appreciation of physical size.
Now add two feet either side. That’s the minimum that you will need if you take into account vehicle wing mirrors and the lateral movement of your bike from potential buffeting or raised line markings.
“Lane splitting keeps riders safer by eliminating their exposure to rear-end collisions, and it helps ease congestion by effectively removing motorcycles from the traffic lanes.”
Whenever the subject of lane splitting is up for discussion, the four R’s will come into play. These refer to the following: Be Reasonable, Be Responsible, Be Respectful and Beware Roadways.
Be Reasonable with your speed, as going too fast turns you into a liability to yourself and others.
Be Responsible. You are solely responsible for your safety, so make sure your decisions and actions convey this, as it also affects the people that surrounds you.
Be Respectful to other road users. Safely acknowledge someone who gives you extra room prior to lane splitting. Remember, although you may be legally allowed to split, other road users aren’t legally obliged to make space for you.
Beware of Roadways, for when it is combined with traffic, it can equate to potential danger. You need to be super aware of poor and uneven surfaces, wide vehicles, inattentive drivers, and poor weather. It therefore stands to reason, that it’s important to stay focused at all times in order to respond to any potential dangers. Remember to stay alert, be sensible, and if it feels wrong, ease back.
DON’T make drivers over-react. If you ride too fast, all they’re going to see is something flash-by in their peripheral vision.
DO stay in a gear that keeps the revs low. Both of these actions may cause a distracted driver to swerve.
DON’T be physically prepared without being mentally prepared for riding between traffic. Yes, your survival instinct needs to be on full alert, but do ride with a positive, mental attitude.
DO be aware of splitting in wet conditions. Riding on painted lines reduces grip when it rains.
DO watch out for lumps, bumps, and uneven surfaces as they can upset the handling of your bike.
DON’T think that the law protects you from riding badly. Bill AB-51/21658.1 makes the physical act of lane splitting legal under set circumstances and CVC 22400 makes it illegal for drivers to block or impede a motorcyclist. These facts however, doesn’t preclude anyone from extending common courtesy to other road users when executing the maneuver, so do be courteous!
From a motorcyclist’s point of view, lane splitting saves time, eases congestion, and keeps them out of harm’s way. According to Rob Dingman, President and CEO of the American Motorcyclist Association, ‘Lane splitting keeps riders safer by eliminating their exposure to rear-end collisions, and it helps ease congestion by effectively removing motorcycles from the traffic lanes.
The next time that you decide to lane-split, remember to stay alert, don’t take rash chances, stay within the safe speed limit, and treat other road users with courtesy. Ride safely!
Defective products are responsible for over 30 million injuries each year. Products can be defective and cause injury because of the way they are designed, manufactured, or labeled. From your hair dryer to your car, any consumer product that is defective in some way has the potential to cause serious injury.
The most common types of defective products include:
Defective vehicles. Defective automobiles pose a serious threat to safety because the defects can lead to car accidents that injure not only the owner of the car, but passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway. Car defects are wide ranging and may include brakes, airbags, tires, or even the overall stability of the vehicle as is the case in many top heavy SUVs.
Medical devices. Medical devices, such as hip implants or pacemakers, should make a patient’s life better. However, defective devices can significantly reduce quality of life, worsen a patient’s condition, and even result in death.
Children’s products. From toys to bedding to car seats, you expect that the products you buy your children will enrich their lives. Sadly defective children’s products can cause debilitating and long-term injuries to children.
Household products. Ranging from household cleaning supplies to the stove you cook on, household products can cause severe injury when they are mislabeled with improper warnings or instructions or designed with a flaw, such as the IKEA dressers that could topple onto small children. Electric appliances have the potential to cause house fires or electrocution.
Contaminated food. If you have ever had the misfortune of having food poisoning, you understand one of the ways contaminated food can cause injury. Contaminated foods can cause severe illness and death.
To check for recalls on the products you own, you can visit USRecallNews.com. However, be aware that a product can be defective even if it has not been placed on recall.
Defective products can cause a wide range of injuries including, among other things:
Device manufacturers should be held liable for the injuries that consumers suffer at the hands of their products. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you and your family pursue the justice and the compensation you deserve if you have been injured by a defective product.
At the end of your case, all you will have is money. Compensation, hopefully, for the injuries caused by someone else who was careless. What everyone wants to know, is what the case is worth. How much should it settle for? What will a jury do with your set of facts?
Of course, if the answer was simple, there would be a chart with injuries on the left, amounts on the right. It isn’t simple. An ironworker with a broken leg needs more compensation than a disc jockey, who can continue to work with a broken leg. A fractured leg can be any one of seven different classes of fracture, and it may heal well or become a permanent problem. Often there is a combination of injuries. Do we just add all of them up?
For years the insurance companies have been tweaking software aimed at helping them with case evaluation, but even they have not really succeeded. Part of the failure is because they don’t really want the true answers, they want to minimize payouts, but most of the problem is that software can’t get all of the elements together in a given case.
OK. Enough excuses. Here is the answer: Cases are valued at the amount that the parties agree best represents what a jury will do when presented with the particular set of facts.
Juries are skeptical. They have been bombarded with the image of the phony accident claimant. They think their job is to question everything. On the other hand, juries are human. They like some people better than others. They take sides.
There are services that publish short summaries of jury verdicts. The facts come from short conversations with one or both attorneys involved, so there are built in biases. Nonetheless, if you look at enough jury verdicts, it will help you predict what a jury will do. Is yours the kind of case juries like?
Insurance companies, of course, have huge databases of settlements. Their software is capable of storing diagnoses, medications, disability periods, costs of future medical procedures, and many other details.
Juries tend to look for bigger impacts. They have a harder time believing there is an injury when there is not much damage to the cars. They are skeptical when an injured person delays getting treatment for several days, or a week, even though it is well established that muscular damage, and strains, typically take two days to appear. They are more impressed by visible injuries, such as broken bones, than by invisible injuries, such as soft tissue damage. They like diagnostics they think are definitive, like MRI reports, EEG studies, and other tests whose results can be explained.
Juries are more persuaded by permanent or long term injuries than by injuries which have healed. They place a lot of weight on the effect of the injuries on your daily activities. If you can’t get through your normal day, juries relate to that, especially when the limitations are severe and not likely to ever improve. Juries have a lot less patience when they think you are a complainer, particularly with a lesser injury.
They consider you as a person. A scar on a pretty young woman has far more value than the same scar on a rough looking older man.
Your case value should take into account:
Damage to your vehicle, if one is involved.
Medical bills. In some places, like California, you receive only the actual amounts paid by your insurance carrier, not the amount billed.
Future Medical Bills. What will your care cost you in the future?
Wage Loss. This should include loss of benefits, as well, such as vacation, pension, health care through your employer, and any other benefits.
Future Wage Loss. How much will this cost you in the future? Will it affect your ability to advance in your job or career?
Loss of future opportunities. These can be very difficult to prove, and it can be hard to demonstrate convincingly, but injuries can change your future prospects.
Damage to ability to function. How does the injury affect your ability to function on a daily basis in your home, around your home, socially, and at work? How does it affect your relationships? Are their things that you cannot do? Do you need assistance or modification to the way you do things? Do you do things anyway, even though it is painful? Do you do things, but not as well? This category of damages takes some thought.
Psychological damages. Do you dream about the accident? Do you have emotional damage or even psychiatric illness? Do you re-live the accident during the day? Do you have a head injury? Head injuries require a lot of effort to quantify accurately, including MRI or other diagnostics, neuropsychological testing, and non-expert witnesses who have observed the changes.
Humiliation and embarrassment. A scar, a limp, a head injury can all cause embarrassment in the course of your day. These need to be addressed as damages.
Loss of enjoyment of life. An injury changes things. Sometimes important parts of your life are affected.
Damage to relationships. A head injury that makes you burst out in anger without much cause can end a marriage, much less affect your social relationships.
The best way to evaluate a case is to list all of the “economic” damages, such as wage loss, damage to your vehicle, and medical expenses, past and future. Then go through the other “non-economic” categories that list all of the ways your injury affects you. Try to imagine the dollar amount an insurance adjuster, a juror, or a skeptical person who dislikes injury claimants will feel is “reasonable” compensation. Compare jury verdicts in cases that look similar.
After you arrive at a number, adjust it for the intangible factors in your case. Is the defendant likable or not? Is this the kind of case that makes people angry, or was it a simple accident? Are you suing an individual where the jury may be reluctant to come up with a large award (in most states jurors are not allowed to know that there is insurance)? Are you suing a government entity, where jurors will feel the award comes out of their own pockets?
You can run part or all of your damages past other people. What do they think? Keep in mind that jurors do not think in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They value cases with the same mindset they use when shopping. A jury may think they made a big award, when you may think it is far less than you deserve.
Believe it or not, this is how cases are valued. Juries are very hard to predict, yet experienced attorneys and claims people are often close in the values they place on cases. More than 90% of cases settle, because the two sides can come to an agreement.
Last, as you can guess, many injuries need an expert analysis and the work of an experienced attorney before they can be presented in full. No insurance company pays on a claim unless they feel you can prove what you are claiming. Sometimes this takes a lot more than the medical records and a letter from your employer.
The holidays should be a time filled with tons of joy. However, for many individuals and/or families it is a time of tragic vehicle accidents. Sometimes motorized accidents are out of one’s hands. It is important to be safe while driving especially during the holidays. If you find yourself in a vehicle crash that you are the victim consider contacting a car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you receive the justice you deserve from the vehicle at fault.
During wintertime holidays car accidents that are fatal occur more often. Winter weather can contribute to hazardous roads. Consuming alcohol, fatigue, and driving a vehicle while the sun is beating down with a distracting glare can be hazardous as well. These are all threats one may experience during summertime holidays that can cause fatalities.
Holidays in general can contribute to the possibility of higher occurrences of car crashes. The following statistics are complied of crashes in North Carolina that happened between 2008 to 2013.
Easter- 91 fatalities during a 4 day time frame or 22.75 deaths occurring
July 4th- 62 fatalities during a 3 day time frame or 20.6 deaths occurring
New Year’s- 35 deaths during 2 days or 17.5 deaths occurring
Memorial Day- 67 fatalities during a 4 day time frame or 16.75 deaths occurring
Thanksgiving- 77 deaths over a 5 day time frame or 15.4 deaths occurring
Labor Day- 64 fatalities during a 4 day time frame or 15.1 deaths occurring
Christmas- 57 deaths during a 5 day time frame or 11.4 deaths occurring
Once the results were reviewed it was surprising to see that Easter was so high in fatalities and Christmas was at a lower end. A possibility of why had been thought out. The holiday Easter usually falls under a Sunday. Majority of individuals have work the following day. Therefore, majority of individuals are driving home after a long day and consuming alcohol. During Christmas time family gatherings and festivities typically extend throughout the day. Individuals may be more rested, consuming less alcohol, and/or spacing out alcohol throughout the day. Overall, it is important to consider these fatalities as a serious eye opener.
In conclusion, do not drink and drive on the road especially during the holidays.
Motorcycle Boots are designed to help minimize injuries to the foot and lower leg. This is one of the more common areas to be injured in an accident. Boots, like any footwear, need to be comfortable. Boots that are not comfortable can be really irritating. Think about how hot the boots will be, or how insulated, and what kind of temperatures you are likely to find yourself in when you have to walk or ride wearing them.
From a safety standpoint, the main requirement of motorcycle boots is that of a stiff sole. The Hurt report, done back in the 80’s, found that a stiff sole was the one characteristic that seemed to make a statistical difference in injury rates. For this reason, many riders wear hiking boots as an alternative to motorcycle boots. This has additional advantages for walking after arriving at a destination
It should be obvious, but boots are designed to protect primarily when you crash and slide on the road. No boots are really designed to protect a foot that is caught between a motorcycle and a car, or under a motorcycle and against the road.
If a boot is too stiff, it can be difficult to shift. All motorcycle boots use leather to provide flexibility. It is a good idea to have leather patches to protect the boot from the shifter, which will eventually create wear in the area where the foot pushes up to shift.
Soles need to have a non-slip quality. Roads can be wet, oily, and you can put your foot down on a painted line that provides little traction. That traction can save you from slipping and going down at a stop. Oil resistance is a good quality to have. If you are ever in a situation where this makes a difference, you will appreciate it. If your legs are not long, the thickness of a motorcycle boot sole can help some, so that you don’t have to stand on your toes at a light.
Boots can close with any combination of zippers, velcro, and buckles. The main issues here are that some boots go on and off easily. Others take work. Buckles give a greater degree of adjustability. If you ride in the rain (and we all get caught at least sometimes), waterproofing characteristics of the closure become more important.
Boots come in a vast variety of heights. You should select a height that works for you. At least the ankle should be covered. The higher the boot, the more you are likely to notice how easily the ankle articulates. Some boots have stiffening to keep the ankle from flexing laterally in a fall.
Motorcycle boots have various kins of protection from impact, including hard plastic covering the shin, hard toes (but never metal), and hard areas over the heel. Metal toe boots are generally frowned on, as they can amputate the toes in the wrong crash.
Over the years, I have tried a few boots that looked better in a work setting, but honestly, this was never successful.
Some boots have Goretex linings. This is an expensive option, but can be a lifesaver if you ride in the rain and need it.
Many consider SIDI the leader in motorcycle boots. BMW often has pricey, but very functional boots, Alpinestars and TCX all are generally thought to make quality products. Motorcycle boots are expensive, and most riders keep them for a relatively long time. Because of this, it is important to be comfortable, and to choose your boots carefully. It goes without saying that you should never buy a pair of motorcycle boots if there is any question about the fit. Think about whether your calves are big or thin, the shape of your foot, and be sure to consider what it will be like to walk in your boots. Even if you ride a bagger, you will not always want to carry shoes to walk in, nor will you want to have to change every time you get off the bike.
This has to be one of the most common questions asked when someone is injured in an accident.
We have all seen thousands of commercials claiming “Like a Good Neighbor”, “Good Hands”, “State Farm is There”, Nationwide “is on your side”. The insurance companies spend millions of dollars promoting the concept that they are “fast, fair and friendly” because the opposite is true. Insurance companies make money by waiting as long as they possibly can before paying a claim. The longer it takes, the better they like it.
If you try to settle your claim yourself, they will ask for unfettered access to your medical records, copies of your bills, a recorded statement, proof that their insured was responsible for the accident, and anything else they can think of. They will string out the process of getting these things, so each time you think they have everything they can ask for, they will come up with something else. In between, they will often fail to return calls, take days or weeks to get back to you, and generally keep things going for far longer than you ever thought possible. Of course, they are all trained in ways to make you think they are actually working on putting together a fair offer.
I have 40 years of experience, and what I see is that insurance companies wait as long as they can and they pick apart every little thing looking for an excuse to pay less. Some companies regularly suggest going to an expensive mediation, where we provide all of the medical records, bills, expensive doctor’s reports, expert accident reconstruction reports, police reports, photographs and witness statements, only to get either no offer at all, or such a minuscule offer that it is not worth responding to.
Trial dates get settlements. Routinely, the insurance companies wait until they have no option but to pay or go to trial. Suddenly, they are on it. The exceptions are situations, such as a really small policy limit and a really large claim, where they are getting out for pennies on the dollar.
If this is my experience with insurance companies, what makes you think you can manage this for yourself? All you will do is delay the claim even more, by waiting to call a lawyer. In the meantime, you may be making mistakes that will damage your claim, such as failing to take steps that should be taken early in the process.
Sadly, the insurance companies have lawyers to fight your claims. You need a lawyer to get your claim paid.
Not incidentally, even after fees, you will most likely net significantly more money and your lawyer will take care of your claim, so you don’t have to.
Those of you who follow this blog will recall that Jeff Zalinski, who does business as Bremco of Northern California, made a real hash out of the building of my new office.
Of course, this is incredible, since the building was pre-manufactured by Butler Manufacturing.. They drill every hole, and supply a pre-engineered and precut fully engineered and ready to assemble building. Even very little electricity is required.
Now that we are in litigation, Zalinski is required, under oath, to respond to “discovery” requests. One request was for him to admit that the roof leaks.
His response? The word “roof” is vague and ambiguous. Since he can’t figure out what “roof” means, he denies that the roof leaks. Further, after at least six unsuccessful attempt to stop the leaks, he says that he needs an expert to determine whether or not it leaks.
This is the same guy who ducked service for months, even telling the gatekeeper at his gated community not to let the process server in. (The law requires it, of course).
Actually, more than anything, this experience reminds me of the kinds of stalling and nonsense that my clients have to deal with in order to get paid. On the one hand, we have the best system in the world for giving people a chance at justice. On the other hand, the nonsense that takes place is pretty disgusting.
Or maybe Zalihski is telling the truth, and he doesn’t know what the word “roof” means. That would explain a lot.