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.
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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.