Who is liable for left-hook bicycle crashes in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2019 | Bicycle Accidents |

California accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles often occur because auto drivers do not see bicyclists. Such is often the case with left-hook bicycle crashes, which may cause serious injuries or death for cyclists. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to a bicycle accident, it is important to understand who is liable for the resulting losses.

Bicyclists in California are expected to obey the traffic laws and biking regulations. Drivers, for their part, are required to yield to bicycles in accordance with the laws, just as they would any other auto on the road. Left-hook accidents occur when bicycles and automobiles approach the same intersection, usually from opposite directions. Not seeing the bicyclists or misjudging their speed, drivers make left-hand turns, striking the bicycles or causing cyclists to slam into the hoods or sides of their vehicles.

According to California state law, courts may assess liability for the results of people’s willful actions, as well as injuries suffered due to a lack of ordinary care or skill. Therefore, financial responsibility for losses resulting from left-hook bicycle accidents falls on whomever is at fault for the crash. For example, a driver strikes a bicyclist, causing serious injuries. Both the bicyclist and the driver had green lights at the time the collision occurred. The driver may be liable because he or she neglected to wait for a safe opportunity to complete the turn. However, if the same accident occurs at a four-way stop sign and the cyclist failed to stop, he or she may share in the liability and lack the grounds to take legal action.

This post is meant only as general information and is not intended to be taken as legal advice.