Who is at Fault in a Left Turn Motorcycle Crash
Many motorcyclists believe after being involved in a left turn motorcycle accident that they are protected by the California Vehicle Code § 21801, which states that the driver of a vehicle will yield the right of way, until the turn can be made with a reasonable difference. The motorcyclist in a left turn collision may believe that they do not need to be represented by a lawyer, since it appears like it is clear who is at fault. But avoiding motorcycle injuries is not always possible, and neither is determining fault by reading the CVC.
There are several problems with this, the first is even if there is a traffic collision report, stating that the driver of the car was at fault. In the state of California the traffic collision report is considered hearsay. This can mean that the insurance company does not have to consider this as proof of fault.
The insurance company attorneys not having to consider the traffic accident report, will then begin placing partial blame or complete blame on the innocent victim. They have several things that they might claim, like being inattentive or riding at an unsafe speed at the time of the collision or they might claim that even though, you the motorcycle rider had the right of way, you should have yielded to the car.
The insurance lawyers can attempt to claim that the motorcyclist was not wearing bright enough clothing or anything else that could make the motorcyclist at fault instead of their insured driver involved in the car accident. So besides being worried about getting your bike fixed and getting paid for custom motorcycle parts, now you need to worry about how your going to PROVE it was not your fault.
Negligence is the way we determine who is at fault and their degree of fault. Both a rider and motorists can be partially responsible and the biker can still recover money. Some of these accidents take place due the motorcycle operator passing a larger vehicle in the same travel lane, that may have obscured him from an oncoming vehicle that decides to turn left. The other motorist typically is not prepared for this type of maneuver and will not have enough reaction time to complete the left turn safely. This makes the car into a wall of steel that the rider crashes into, ejecting the rider from their bike.
The blame for accidents of this nature is not the sole burden of vehicle owners, but also on reckless motorcycle riders. Starting a motorcycle lawsuit is not always the answer. A key factor to note is that most insurance companies do not want to pay money for compensation after a rider smack down. Their attorneys will do what they can to backup the despicable insurance company, to reduce the liability of their insured driver. This will mean that they can pay less to the innocent or injured victim. It becomes a windfall to the large corporation who treats the rider like a stooge.
When a motorcycle and vehicle collide at a high rate of speed, the insurance company will try to place complete or at least partial fault on the motorcyclist. They will say it is really a matter of improving rider safety, by the cyclist being more attentive, etc. This is why the rider needs the experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for their rights, to prove liability after a driver has caused a collision.
Left-hand turn accidents make up approximately 42% of all reported collisions on the road today according to the statistics with all types of vehicles.
Typical Motorcycle scenarios include:
- A rider is passing a vehicle that had blocked him from view
- A rider driving towards an intersection
- A rider overtaking the biker and cuts left in from on him, sideswiping the rider, etc.
Let’s face it, many motorists simply don’t see the bike until it is too late. Situational awareness on the open road, is a key factor in avoidance of vehicle accidents. Many drivers traversing down the highway are inattentive. This behavior makes the offending motorists liable for the rider’s torment and costs.
Accidents normally come from out of the blue, and are totally unpredictable. Only sturdy boots, helmets and other gear, coupled with training and muscle memory can diminish the overall harm arising from the initial calamity. The bottom line is that even batman driving head on into the side of car making an illegal turn, is gonna get hurt.
But there are some other things a rider can also endeavor to do, in order to prevent, lessen or abate the heinous outcome.
How to Correctly make a Left-Hand Turn
At the outset, a car operator needs to not be a jerk and pay attention. This elementary action will actually save lives and on trips to the courthouse. Below is a checklist for all road users. This should help riders and other motorists understand the rules of the road and exercise some basic civility.
- Always utilize your turn signal when approaching the turn. Slow the vehicle down and give yourself time to scan the road at least 70 or so feet in front of yourself.
- Don’t jump lanes. Assure that you are actually in the correct lane and don’t make unsafe, last minute lane changes when approaching the turn.
- Exercise extreme care when at the intersection. Stay idle until safe to move. You must have optimum situational awareness before turning.
- The law requires that you give the right of way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
- Negotiate the turn by staying right of the center line divider, and don’t jump lanes. Stay in your same predesignated lane. This means stay in the inner lane. The outside lane is designated for motorists who are negotiating right hand turns.
- Always look left and right and in both rear view mirrors immediately prior to making the maneuver.
- Do not speed, especially at a four way intersection. You may not have enough time to slow and avoid a head on hazard as you head towards the lights.
If you or a loved one are ever in a motorcycle accident contact The Reinecke Law Firm at (800)275-8326 for a free case evaluation. The Reinecke Law Firm has helped thousands of motorcyclists recover from their accidents for the past 30 years and we know exactly how to help you. Do not hesitate to call today.