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Liability in motorcycle collision depends upon investigation

Liability for the damages suffered by a motorcycle accident victim depends upon there being evidence to prove that the other driver was the negligent party. When the operator dies in a fatal motorcycle crash, the accident investigation conducted by the police takes on new importance because of the silencing of the voice of one of the parties.

A recent collision between a sheriff’s vehicle and a motorcycle that resulted in the death of the 59-year-old motorcycle operator will depend on an investigation to find its cause. At first blush, the motorcycle accident victim might appear to be at fault. The sheriff’s vehicle was responding to an emergency call and had its siren and emergency lights on when it was hit in the side by the motorcycle.

Investigators for the California Highway Patrol said the deputy sheriff was making a left turn against a red light when the motorcycle accident happened. According to police, the motorcycle rider approached the intersection on a green light and failed to stop when the sheriff’s vehicle crossed into its path.

One of the key elements in determining negligence and liability in intersection accidents of this type is whether there was a failure to yield the right of way by one of the drivers. Even though the deputy was on the way to an emergency with lights and siren activated might not automatically mean that the motorcycle accident was the fault of the rider. An issue that might arise is whether the speed of the sheriff’s vehicle was prudent for the conditions that existed.

The family of a motorcycle accident victim might benefit from a consultation with an Orange County personal injury attorney. The attorney might be able to offer the family guidance and legal advice about their right to pursue compensation for wrongful death if the evidence shows the accident was the fault of a negligent driver.


Source: Bakersfield Californian, “Motorcyclist killed in crash with Sheriff’s patrol car in Oildale,” Theo Douglas, July 14, 2015

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