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Used Motorcycle Resale Laws and Regulations in California

Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident

Below, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys will discuss several important regulations, laws, and considerations for anyone who is planning on purchasing a used motorcycle in California.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident in California, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about motorcycle accident claims and available damages.

Dealership or Private Dealer?

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

  1. Warranty: This is a key difference. Private sellers will generally sell their motorcycle as-is, while a dealership will at least offer some form of warranty that is time sensitive in the event that something goes wrong with the motorcycle. Warranties offer a buyer a certain peace of mind, while buying from a private seller carries a greater risk if the motorcycle develops issues.
  2. Ownership History: Another important legal consideration. A dealership will typically conduct a search to make sure the motorcycle wasn’t previously stolen or declared a total loss by an insurance company. This will offer a buyer more peace of mind before purchasing a motorcycle. On the other hand, a private seller may or may not know the background of the motorcycle they are selling.
  3. Title Transfer: Anytime you purchase a motorcycle, there must be a transfer of title, as well. If you choose to purchase a motorcycle from a dealer, they will generally handle all the paperwork for you and transfer the title to you in compliance with the DMV. On the other hand, a private seller will sign off on the title and you will then be responsible for visiting the DMV and transferring the title yourself.

Motorcycle Inspection

  • Service History: Some private sellers keep detailed service records, while others do not. On the other hand, a dealership will have records of any work they have performed, and possibly work done before they acquired the motorcycle.
  • VIN / Title History: Legally speaking, this is crucial. Please request a copy of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and research the motorcycle’s history. This will help make sure it wasn’t stolen or previously wrecked. If a seller refuses to provide this information, that is a very bad sign.

Motorcycle Checklist

  • Engine: Check for any wear or damage, coolant leaks, and oil leaks.
  • Frame: Check for missing paint or corrosion, cracks, or any missing pieces.
  • Suspension: Check for leaks from shocks or struts. Protective boots and covers should not have cracks.
  • Cables and Wiring: Cables and wiring should not show signs of fraying and must operate smoothly.
  • Tires: Tires should not show signs of wear and should not be cracked.
  • Bearings: Bearings should not be greasy.
  • Fluid leaks: Fluid leaks are never a good thing. Always check for oil, coolant, and radiator fluid leakage.
  • Chain and sprocket: The chain must be well greased and shouldn’t come off when you spin it. Sprockets should not have cracks and must be clean. Finally, sprocket teeth must be sharp.
  • Bar ends, brake levers, and footpegs: Bar ends, levers, and footpegs must not be too scratched or damaged.
  • Forks: Forks must be straight and free of scratches.
  • Battery: Make sure the battery is new, clean, and that the battery terminals do not show signs of corrosion.
  • Brake Fluid: Brake fluid must be topped up and should be a light tan color. Darker fluid is a sign that it needs to be replaced.
  • Fuel tank: There should be a cap, it should seal tightly, and there should not be any lingering smell of gasoline. It must also be properly mounted.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a motorcycle accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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