A motorcycle officer was injured in a Chula Vista car accident after a driver made an unsafe left turn in front of him, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The officer was on patrol southbound on Fourth Avenue, the morning of December 21, 2011, when a northbound motorist made a left turn across the officer’s path mid-block between H and I streets. Officials say the driver of the sedan was attempting to turn into the driveway of a business. The officer ended up striking the passenger side of the sedan and was thrown to the pavement. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was injured. It is not clear if the motorist will be cited in connection with this crash.
My heart goes out to the injured motorcycle officer. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. He will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 38 were injured in motorcycle accidents in Chula Vista. In San Diego County as a whole, 39 fatalities and 989 injuries were reported due to motorcycle accidents, during the same year.
Left Turn Law
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the car failed to see the motorcycle officer before making a left turn into a private driveway. California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
Fault and Liability
I trust officials are looking into whether the driver was distracted, impaired, inattentive, or otherwise negligent at the time. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, then, he or she can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused. The injured officer can seek compensation from the at-fault motorist for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, physical therapy, and pain and suffering. He may also seek workers compensation benefits from his employer since he was on the job. Victims in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of the incident and hold the negligent parties accountable.