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San Francisco Lawyer Discusses Fatal “Right Hook” Bicycle Accident

S.F. Bay personal injury attorney Boone Callaway discusses the California law regarding "right hook" bike injuries.

Deadly San Francisco Bicycle Collision with Semi Truck Highlights Right Turn Dangers

A bicyclist was fatally struck by a semi truck in San Francisco’s South of Market district. The incident occurred just after 7:00 a.m. The woman, reportedly 30-years-old, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The semi-truck operator was attempting to make a right turn at the intersection of Sixth and Folsom streets. He has not been cited by the police. All too frequently, bicycle riders suffer because motor vehicle operators do not give them fair use of the road, which they are entitled to under California law.

Often bicyclists are injured when motorists make a right turn without checking to see if a cyclist is adjacent to them. If this was the reason that the semi truck driver struck the cyclist, then it may be reasonable to conclude that the truck driver breached his duty to the cyclist.

Preventing “Right Hook” Bicycle Accidents

This type of bike accident is often referred to as a “right hook.” Although vehicle operators will often be at fault in this situation, bike riders of course want to be defensive and avoid any accident. A key way to avoid this type of bicycling accident is for the cyclist to get away from the right side of the street, where he or she might be cut off by a vehicle turning right. California Vehicle Code Section 21202 requires bike riders to be as close to the right as reasonably possible, but has several exceptions, one of which is “approaching a place where a right turn in permitted.” Many cities, including San Francisco, have “bike boxes”—green boxes painted on the pavement in intersections, designed as safe places for bike riders to wait to make a right turn away from the danger zone.

California’s Wrongful Death Statute

In this case, the damages were the most severe that anyone can experience. Under California law, though, there is no recovery for pain and suffering in a death case. California’s wrongful death statute provides that the culpable party may be ordered to pay the financial support that the cyclist would have contributed to the family for the rest of her life, the loss of gifts and benefits she would have given to her loved ones, funeral and burial expenses, the reasonable value of the household services she would have provided, as well as damages for the loss of the cyclist’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, loss of the enjoyment of marital relations, and loss of the cyclist’s training and guidance.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Suits in California

The statute of limitations begins to run from the day of the accident. Ordinarily, the family members of the deceased have two years in which to either settle the case, or file an action in court, but if the City of San Francisco, State of California, or another governmental entity is responsible for the injuries, then there is a six month time limit to file a claim.

Contact San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Contact our offices immediately for a free consultation if you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident. Our lawyers are experienced at handling bicycle accident cases. Click to contact us now or call 415-541-0300 to request a free consultation with a lawyer.

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