Motorcyclists are often stereotyped as dangerous and lawless. However, statistics paint a different picture: the vast majority of motorcycle riders are completely sober and traveling less than 30 miles per hour at the time of a collision. In addition, most crashes involve a left turn motorcycle accident, where a car turns left at an intersection as the motorcyclist is traveling straight.
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Dangerous left turns and motorcycle crashes in California
California is one of the few tort states still in existence. Unlike the “No-Fault” law, our laws dictate that someone must be found liable in a crash– and they must pay for accident-related damages. Therefore, insurance companies and legal defense teams will fight to prove the victim is at fault to escape liability. That’s why if you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you still need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles to represent your case.
Contact us at Salamati Law. We offer free consultations for Los Angeles accident victims.
Left turn accident statistics
-Left hand turn accidents account for 42 percent of fatal car/motorcycle crashes. – Insurance Information Institute
-36 percent of these accidents involve left turn T-bone accidents, where a car makes a left in front of a motorcycle, causing the cyclist to unavoidably hit the side door of the motor vehicle. – NHTSA
-In general, 1 percent of all cross-path crashes involve left turns, compared to 5.7 percent right turns. – NHTSA
-Two-thirds of multiple vehicle accidents involved car drivers violating a motorcyclist’s right-of-way. – Hurt Report
-Left hand turns are three times as likely to cause a fatal crash with pedestrians. – NYC Pedestrian Safety Report
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What causes left turn motorcycle accidents?
Many situations cause left turn motorcycle accidents:
- Drivers pull out of a driveway or street without taking time to look
- Riders pass a vehicle, blocking the motorcycle from the driver’s view
- A driver overtakes the bike, cutting left to make a sudden turn and sideswiping the biker
- A rider travels straight through a green or yellow light, while the turning driver speeds to beat the light
Reckless driving motorcycle accidents can be proven if the other driver was cited for a ticket-able offense. Other times, eyewitnesses or surveillance footage helps uncover what happened moments before the crash. A judge may agree to punitive damages when recklessness or gross negligence is evident.
Where do left turn motorcycle accidents occur?
Driving straight through a four-way intersection is the most dangerous situation for motorcyclists. Also, crashes occur almost equally on rural and urban thoroughfares. In nearly half of these accidents, the motorist’s view is obstructed by oncoming headlights, the sun’s glare, or other vehicles. Distraction plays a role in many other collisions, with drivers admitting they “never saw the motorcycle coming.”
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What does California law say about negligence?
Many motorists claim, “I never saw the motorcycle.” Of course, ignorance is no excuse to dodge liability. California Vehicle Code § 21801 is clear about right-of-way. It the motorist’s duty to exercise care on the road and look out for others. Negligence can be established by arguing that they failed to exercise the care that another reasonable person would have.
To secure compensation for a client, a left turn accident attorney must establish:
- The other motorist owed a duty of care to the motorcyclist.
- The other motorist breached that duty of care.
- The breach in duty of care caused the accident, injuries, and losses to the motorcyclist.
Contributing factors may include speeding, failure to yield, distracted driving, loss of vehicle control, traveling erratically in bad weather, fatigued driving, failure to obey traffic laws and signals, improper vehicle maintenance, or failure to signal. A veteran Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can review the facts surrounding a case to identify any possible negligence that may bolster your case.
How can one avoid left turn collisions?
The Times Union recommends the following safety tips for bikers to avoid left hand turn motorcycle accidents:
- If you are a novice rider, use a standard-style bike that is easier to control.
- Wear a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-approved helmet, jacket with padding, pants, and boots.
- Ensure your lights and exhaust system work properly before departing.
The most important safety tip for drivers of cars, SUVs, and trucks is avoiding distracted driving– texting, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, tinkering with the radio, or adjusting hair. Looking down or away for just a second is often a factor in collisions with motorcycles. At intersections, drivers should look both ways twice.
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After a left turn motorcycle accident, what are the next steps?
The moments following a motorcycle accident can be disorienting, but if possible:
- Grab evidence from the scene IF you are able.
If you are too injured, you might enlist the help of a friend, family member, or attending police officer to take photographs of the crashed vehicles, surrounding area, and injuries. Get contact information for anyone who stops to help and may have seen the accident. Get the name and insurance information of any other drivers involved. Request a copy of the accident report from the police department.
- Seek immediate medical attention.
Most motorcyclists leave the accident scene by ambulance or airlift. If you managed to walk away from the scene with a few bumps and scrapes, it’s still important to see a doctor. Seemingly minor injuries can become chronic later. A law firm can often provide referrals to the best care providers and specialists in the area if you’re unsure where to go for your particular injuries.
- Call an experienced lawyer.
A legal team can help preserve evidence and investigate immediately. Your lawyer can begin collecting documents, photographs, insurance information, and interviews when you cannot. Legal fees aren’t due unless the team secures compensation on your behalf. If you are too hurt to go to the office, a lawyer can come to you. Be sure to find a personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle crashes. There are unique legal elements affecting how these cases resolve.
- Keep detailed records.
Helpful documents include all related bills, receipts, and doctor summaries, as well as photographs, accident reports, calendars of medical appointments, and a daily “pain” diary detailing how the accident has affected your life.
- Recover and wait for maximum medical improvement.
Sometimes it makes sense to file a lawsuit after some time when an accurate prognosis can be made. When necessary, a motorcycle accident lawyer may consult vocational experts, surgeons, medical professionals, and forensic economists who can help reasonably estimate potential future expenses you are likely to incur.
Remember to act fast, as you only have a few years to decide if you would like to pursue legal action. It’s never too early to begin working on a claim. At Salamati Law, we will keep you informed and updated every step of the way. The case may resolve in a settlement within six months or require several years of trial preparation.
Left hand turn motorcycle accidents: who is at fault?
The fact is: Car drivers are primarily responsible for motorcycle accidents. The University of South Florida found that, over a 10-year period, they were responsible for 60 percent of crashes. The real work of proving liability goes beyond pointing to a few statistics, of course. We have a vast network of accident reconstruction experts, motorcycle safety instructors, driver education teachers, medical doctors, and others who can establish liability and build a compelling case.
In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, the plaintiff can be:
- An injured motorcycle driver
- The spouse of an injured and/or deceased motorcycle driver
- The children of an injured and/or deceased motorcycle driver
Damages awarded in left turn accidents often include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost income and loss of future earning capacity
- Home modification-related expenses to accommodate disability
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Legal expenses
- Punitive damages
In fatal motorcycle accidents, damages may include:
- Loss of consortium and companionship (for spouse)
- Loss of guidance and support (for children)
- Funeral expenses and wrongful death
A separate claim may be filed if the decedent lingered for some time after the left turn accident, before succumbing to injuries. Damages can be collected for unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering on behalf of the decedent. Compensation is paid to the decedent’s estate rather than to specific individuals like a spouse or child.
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Contact a motorcycle left turn accident lawyer for a free consultation
The Salamati Firm has an impressive track record of big wins for our motorcycle driving clientele. Here are a few results from motorcycle accident settlements and verdicts right here, in Southern California:
- $2 million settlement when a car failed to yield right-of-way, causing a mild traumatic brain injury
- $1.185 million settlement when a truck cut off a Harley rider, causing a traumatic brain injury
- $200,000 settlement for a crash that fractured a motorcycle rider’s leg, necessitating surgery
All legal counsel is free of charge unless we take on your case – AND WIN. You have nothing to lose by calling us to have all your questions answered by one of our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers.