The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 8 in 10 motorcycle crashes result in physical injuries to the rider. Many multi-vehicle motorcycle collisions in California are related to left-turn—either by the motorcyclist or another driver. You may be wondering: Who is liable for a left-turn motorcycle accident? The answer also depends on the specific facts of the case. In this blog post, our Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers provide a comprehensive overview of the key things to know about determining fault for left-turn crashes in California.
Why Left Turns are a Factor in So Many Motorcycle Crashes in California
Left hand turns are considered to be heightened risk vehicle maneuvers. Indeed, they are a significant contributing factor in many motorcycle crashes in California. In fact, one study from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) found that approximately 40 percent of all multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes in the state involved a vehicle making a left turn. Here are some of the most notable reasons why left-turns are a factor in so many motorcycle crashes:
- Visibility: Motorcycles are smaller than cars and may be more difficult to see, especially when approaching an intersection or a driver making a left turn.
- Speed: Speed increases the risk of crashes. Left turn motorcycle accidents often involve at least one party speeding.
- Driver Error: Drivers may fail to yield to oncoming motorcycles when making left turns or misjudge their speed. Driver error contributes to many crashes.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is dangerous driving. A distracted driver or distracted motorcyclist may not properly yield. It could lead to a left turn crash.
- Poor Road Design: In too many cases, intersections in Stockton and elsewhere in Central California are not well-designed for safe left-turns.
California is a Comparative Negligence Jurisdiction (Investigation of Crash is a Must)
California is an at-fault automobile accident state. The fault-based standard of liability applies to all types of motorcycle accidents, including left-turn collisions. In other words, the driver, motorcyclist, or other party found to be at-fault for an accident is the one that is legally responsible for the damages. Notably, California operates under a pure comparative negligence standard. Each party to a motorcycle accident is liable for their assigned share of the blame. As fault is so important in determining liability, it is absolutely crucial that all left-turn motorcycle accidents in San Joaquin County are thoroughly investigated by an experienced Stockton, CA motorcycle accident lawyer.
For example, suppose a motorist is making a left turn at an intersection in Stockton. The driver fails to see an oncoming motorcycle, colliding with the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist sustained $50,000 in damages in the crash. An investigation reveals that the driver is at fault for 90 percent of the accident due to the unsafe left turn. However, the motorcyclist is deemed to be at fault for the remaining 10 percent because of speeding. Under California’s comparative negligence rules, the motorcyclist would be responsible for 10 percent of their own damages, or $5,000. The injured rider can still hold the at-fault driver liable for the remaining 90 percent of the damages.
Know the Statute of Limitations for a Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident Claim
Under California state law (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code, § 335.1), the statutory deadline for a motorcycle accident injury claim is two years from the date of the crash. Left-turn collisions are no exceptions to the rule. If you do not file a left-turn motorcycle accident claim in a timely manner, you may not be able to recover compensation at all. Consult with a Stockton, CA motorcycle accident lawyer right away after a serious crash.
Motorcyclists Have a Right to Pursue Compensation for Economic/Non-Economic Damages
Hurt in a serious left-turn motorcycle crash in Stockton? You need financial compensation to pay your bills and support yourself/your family. Unfortunately, injured motorcyclists simply cannot trust insurance companies to look out for their rights and interests. Our Stockton left-turn motorcycle accident lawyers fight tirelessly to help victims secure the full available financial compensation, including for:
- Motorcycle damage;
- Emergency room care;
- Other medical costs;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earnings;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Permanent scarring;
- Long-term disability; and
- Wrongful death.
Set Up a Free Case Review With a Top Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton motorcycle crash lawyers are standing by, ready to help you maximize your financial recovery. If you or your family member was hurt in a left-turn crash, we are more than ready to help. Contact our firm today to arrange a no cost, no obligation case review. From our legal office in Stockton, we handle left-turn motorcycle accident claims in San Joaquin County and throughout the surrounding region in Central California.