Left Turn Motorcycle Wrecks: A Closer Look
All motorcycle riders know that it’s very difficult to avoid common hazards, like a car pulling out in front of you, on an unstable, two-wheel vehicle. These incidents cause almost half of the motorcycle wrecks in California. Since motorcycle riders have almost no protection from oncoming cars in these situations, they usually sustain serious injuries in these crashes.
Broken bones are often the worst of these injuries. Although these wounds normally aren’t life-threatening, they are usually permanent. Severe broken bones, especially broken joints, like knees and shoulders, usually never entirely heal. These victims must deal with limited mobility for the rest of their lives. These injuries often create other injuries, such as inactivity-related diabetes and addiction to prescription pain pills.
A San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer can obtain compensation for these injuries in court. This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Breaking Down a Left Turn Wreck
Many California motorists drive large vehicles, like big SUVs and pickups. Drivers who turn left against traffic should take a few extra moments to look around these vehicles and spot oncoming motorcycles. Instead, many drivers ignore this part of the duty of care and turn recklessly.
Most left-turn motorcycle wrecks happen at intersections, when a driver is trying to make an unprotected left turn against traffic, or when the driver is leaving a private driveway and needs to cross to the other side of the street.
In both situations, the driver often suddenly accelerates to shoot through a gap in traffic. If the driver doesn’t see an oncoming motorcycle, or rather if the driver isn’t maintaining a proper lookout for all vehicles, the results are usually tragic for riders. The motorcycle rider fatality rate is about twenty-five times higher than the vehicle occupant fatality rate.
Motorists who fail yield the right-of-way while turning violates Vehicle Code Section 21801. If an emergency responder cites a driver for this violation, that driver could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Unfortunately, emergency responders rarely issue such citations, even in fatal accident cases. That’s okay, because turning unsafely clearly violates a driver’s duty of care. This duty requires all motorists to drive defensively and avoid accidents when possible. If drivers breach this duty, and that breach causes injury, the driver is liable for damages.
So, a preliminary negligence claim is relatively easy to establish in these cases. However, a bare-bones case isn’t enough to obtain maximum compensation. A San Jose car accident lawyer must also refute some common insurance company defenses.
If the motorcyclist was speeding or otherwise driving unsafely, the contributory negligence defense could apply. This legal doctrine shifts accident blame from the negligent driver to the victim.
Usually, this defense only applies if the rider was operating recklessly. There’s a big difference between speeding 1 or 2mph over the limit and 10 or 20mph over the limit.
Insurance company lawyers often try to use the last clear chance defense in these cases as well. This legal doctrine is a bit like comparative fault on steroids. If the victim had the last clear chance to avoid a wreck, perhaps by braking suddenly, the victim is legally responsible for a wreck if the victim didn’t take advantage of that chance.
There’s a big difference between the last clear chance and any possible chance. Sudden emergency maneuvers are usually impossible on two-wheel vehicles.
Reach Out to a Compassionate Santa Clara County Attorney
Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Campbell, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.