Motorcyclists and their passengers are among the most vulnerable people on the road. Many times, motorcycle accidents result in the death of a motorcyclist or motorcycle passenger and, too many times, they are the result of a car, truck, or SUV driver who failed to maintain a proper lookout and made negligent errors due to their failure to notice the motorcycle. If you’ve been hurt by someone else’s negligence while you were aboard a motorcycle, you should be proactive and get in touch with an experienced San Mateo motorcycle accident lawyer right away.
A fatal motorcycle accident from nearby San Jose is an awful reminder of two very important things. One is how dangerous accidents involving large trucks almost always are and, two, just how vulnerable motorcyclists and their passengers are in crashes.
According to the SJPD, the deadly crash occurred in the pre-dawn hours of November 3. The motorcyclist was headed northbound on a city street when a Peterbilt garbage truck made a left turn onto the southbound lanes of the same street. The motorcycle impacted the truck on the truck’s driver’s side. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tragically, this kind of outcome is far from unusual. According to fatality statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just over 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives in vehicle accidents in 2019 (the last year for which there are statistics.) That number represents roughly 1 in 7 of all accident death. That’s right… even though motorcycles represent only 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. and they travel a mere 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled, they account for 14% of accident deaths.
Motorcyclists Are Often the Victim, Not the Cause, of Their Accidents
There’s a misperception out there that the blame for this disparity falls chiefly on motorcyclists — that they drive too fast, too aggressively, and too recklessly. The statistics do not bear this out. While we don’t have a study here in California, the Florida Department of Transportation did research in its state and found that in accidents involving at least one motorcycle and at least one car/truck/SUV, the motorcyclist was at fault only about 40% of the time. The nature of the car/truck/SUV driver’s fault in the majority of cases (the 60% where they were to blame) often came down to the car/truck/SUV driver’s improper failure to yield the right of way, the study found.
Keep in mind that you do not have to be completely blameless to win your injury case in court. Because California law follows a rule known as “pure comparative negligence,” you can obtain some sort of recovery even if you were partly (or even mostly) at fault.
Say, for example, you were in a crash with an SUV and the evidence revealed that the SUV driver improperly pulled out in front of you, but also that you were speeding. If your evidence showed that you suffered $500,000 in damages, and the jury found your speeding to be 20% of the cause of the crash, you are still entitled to receive $400.000. Even if you were 60% at fault, you are still entitled to a judgment of $200,000.
If you’ve suffered serious harm or you’ve lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you need the right legal team to advocate for you. For representation you can trust, reach out to the skilled San Mateo motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our firm is one of the leading personal injury law firms in California and is experienced in handling truck vs. motorcycle accidents. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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