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Huntington Beach Accident Proves Fatal for Bicyclist

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Kathy Sieberhein, 44, was killed in a Huntington Beach bicycle accident after a vehicle struck her. According to a news report in the Daily Pilot, the fatal crash occurred at Adams Avenue and Ranger Lane the night of April 16, 2014. Police say they found Sieberhein lying in the street and a red 2001 Chevy 1500 pickup truck nearby. The critically injured bicyclist was taken to an area trauma center where she died from her injuries a few hours later.

Police identified the driver as 80-year-old Brian Chattaway of Fountain Valley. No citations or arrests were reported. Based on preliminary investigation, officials believe both Sieberhein and Chattaway were westbound on Adams when the collision occurred. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 714-536-5670. The investigation is ongoing.

We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the family members and friends of Kathy Sieberhein for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Bike Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 168 injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in Huntington Beach. During the same year, 13 people died and 1,315 were injured as a result of bicycle accidents in Orange County.

What Caused This Fatal Crash?

Based on this news report, it is unclear as to what caused this tragic collision. There are still several unanswered questions here. Was the bicyclist in a bike lane? Was the elderly driver behind or ahead of the bicyclist? Did he rear-end the bicyclist? Was the driver impaired, distracted, inattentive, speeding or otherwise negligent at the time? Was there a dangerous roadway condition that may have caused or contributed to the incident? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.

Fault and Liability

If the driver is determined to have been at fault here, he could be held liable for the bicyclist’s wrongful death. In such cases family members of the deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. A knowledgeable Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to this incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.

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