Uninsured Lexus Driver Strikes and Injures San Francisco Bicyclist

A recent auto – bicycle accident in San Francisco illustrates a number of the legal and practical problems that can follow in the aftermath of the crash. As reported last month in the San Francisco Examiner, a 45-year-old bicyclist ran a red light on Sixth Street and was struck by a Lexus traveling on Mission Street. The bicyclist was hospitalized with an undisclosed injury.

Bicyclist Ran Red Light, Suspended Driver Uninsured: Who Wins?

Because a San Francisco police sergeant witnessed the accident in its entirety, both the bicyclist and the Lexus driver will need to consider the police eyewitness version of the accident as the operative story unless other credible witnesses can be found to contest any of the main details. Because the bicyclist ran the light, at least as far as the police witness saw it, the driver could develop a strong comparative negligence defense. In other words, if the accident was held primarily to be the bicyclist’s fault, his claim for damages could be seriously weakened.

On the other hand, the driver might have had a clear opportunity to avoid the accident, even though the bike rider did not belong in the intersection. If forensic analysis of the accident scene turns up no evidence of braking or evasive maneuvering by the driver prior to impact, he might still be found liable for negligence.

An important complication that will very likely come up in any litigation of the accident concerns the driver’s suspended license and lack of insurance. He also had false registration information on his license plate. Although the bicyclist can try to collect any damages he can prove from the driver directly, there will be no liability insurance available to cover his claims.

Experienced personal injury lawyers know better than to give up under these facts. The bicyclist’s injuries might very well be covered under his own auto policy’s uninsured motorist provisions, and his own health insurance or even home-owner’s insurance might also cover certain expenses, lost income or other losses.

Call 866-288-6010 in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael

At the Bay Area law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys have focused on bicycle accident claims for many years, and we know how to find sources of compensation even in cases where an uninsured driver was responsible for the bike rider’s injuries. We also know how to meet and overcome comparative negligence defenses under a wide variety of circumstances.

Contact us for a free consultation at any of our four office locations if you need advice about your rights following a serious bicycle accident. To learn more about our practice, visit our website.

Comparative Fault Issues in Motorcycle Accident Litigation

San Francisco | San Jose | Oakland | San Rafael, CA

The doctrine of comparative fault allows an accident victim to recover a portion of the damages proved against another negligent party, even though the victim’s own negligence is shown to have played a role in the accident. Many motor vehicle accident cases involve fault on the part of two or more motorists. The question for the jury is which motorist was more at fault.

Contact a personal injury attorney at Weber & Nierenberg at any of four Bay Area office locations to learn about your right to compensation for motorcycle accident injuries that may have been in part your own fault. You might have been speeding or given a ticket for a different moving violation. You might have been lane splitting under traffic conditions that were unreasonably dangerous. Your injuries might have been more serious than they would have been if you had been wearing a helmet, heavy boots or other protective gear.

The Amount You Recover Is Reduced by Your Percentage of Fault

Despite any of these circumstances, you still have the right to recover damages against another negligent motorist and his or her insurance company under California law. Our state follows a so-called pure version of comparative fault or negligence. In other words, no matter how the jury apportions the fault between the drivers in court — 50-50, 40-60, 90-10, 10-90, 20-30-50 or any other combination that adds up to 100 percent — you’re entitled to recover the portion of damages that represents the other driver’s percentage of fault.

For example, if you were speeding, stopped abruptly at a light, leaked into the intersection and got hit by someone making an illegal turn, you can still recover damages from the driver who hit you. If you were found to be 40 percent at fault, the other driver’s insurer would pay 60 percent of the damages proved at trial. If you were found 70 percent at fault, you could still recover 30 percent of your damages.

Comparative Fault Won’t Defeat Your Claim, But Reduces Your Damages

Our goal in cases where we anticipate a strong comparative negligence defense is to protect the greatest percentage possible of the damages we prove on your behalf. Weber & Nierenberg has handled many cases where our client’s partial responsibility for the accident was clear, but we still managed to recover a substantial damages award.

In one case, our client was speeding on his motorcycle when struck and seriously injured by an uninsured driver pulling out from a stop sign. Our investigation showed that a van illegally parked close to the intersection created a visual obstruction whereby neither the biker nor the driver could see the other. Our client was found to be 50 percent at fault, but still collected a jury verdict of more than $500,000 based on the van owner’s negligence.

Call 866-288-6010 for a Free Consultation in the Bay Area

As experienced trial attorneys focused on motorcycle accident litigation, we at Weber & Nierenberg encounter comparative fault defense arguments on a regular basis in our practice, and we often find ways to overcome them or at least protect as much of our client’s proven damages as possible. Contact us at any of our four Bay Area offices to learn more about comparative fault as it affects your claim to compensation.

With offices in San Francisco, San Rafael, Oakland and San Jose, the personal injury lawyers of Weber & Nierenberg represent motorcycle accident clients throughout the East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and other northern California communities, including Sacramento, Napa, Santa Rosa, Berkeley, Richmond, Fremont, Hayward, Modesto, Stockton, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Walnut Creek.

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1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
P. 415-788-3900

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 600 Oakland, CA 94612
P. 510-663-6000

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