When a vehicle turns left directly into the path of a cyclist, it’s almost impossible to avoid the crash. Suddenly the cyclist gets left-hooked and is flung into a dangerous slide across the roadway.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we see lots of these terrifying left-hook accidents in bicycle injury cases. Here are some things you should know if you’re a California cyclist.
The Law Can’t Prevent Left Hook Crashes
Although California is very progressive when it comes to bike-friendly laws, motorists often disregard cyclists’ rights. Sometimes motorists completely fail to see cyclists on the road, meaning you’re invisible until the moment of the impact!
The California Vehicle Code requires all motorists to check that their path is clear before proceeding forward or turning. This is why the police sometimes cite motorists for code violations when they cause left-hook crashes with cyclists.
But a citation after the fact doesn’t save you from being severely injured in an accident. You’ll have to start a civil case against the at-fault driver, either bringing a lawsuit or making an insurance claim to get the compensation you need.
Left Hook Accidents are Preventable Accidents
They might seem like “accidents,” but left hook collisions are preventable and potentially arise from negligence. Turning into the path of another vehicle/cyclist is dangerous and forbidden by law. Plus, all a motorist has to do to prevent causing a left hook crash is to pay attention!
That’s why, if you pursue a case against a motorist who causes a left hook accident, you have a good chance of winning. The law takes a dim view of motorists who drive distracted and don’t respect the rights of California cyclists to safely share the road.
Of course, it’s also a cyclist’s duty to drive responsibly. Anything you can do to demonstrate that you’re a responsible cyclist will help. So wear a helmet, don’t wear headphones that block your hearing, don’t text and cycle, and always follow the rules of the road.
Here’s another safety tip: Make eye contact with motorists before proceeding into every intersection. Make sure you can tell for sure which direction they’re heading so you can stay out of their path. It could save your life.
Partially at Fault? Don’t Give Up!
We’ve seen plenty of cases where our client is desperately trying to prove that they were zero percent to blame for the accident. But what if the police report is unclear about fault? Maybe the officer says you share the blame. Maybe a witness made a statement that puts you in a bad light.
That’s okay! Sharing partial responsibility isn’t a reason to give up on a left hook accident case in California.
We live in a comparative negligence state, which means you can still recover compensation if you have some of the blame. As long as you aren’t 100% at fault, you have a shot at securing money. If the other person is found to be 80% at fault, for example, you could recover 80% of the full amount awarded.
We Handle Your Accident Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
After a personal injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including bicycle injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.