A woman was killed when she was struck by a car while crossing the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on her bicycle in the early morning hours last Friday. The accident occured between Goldenwest and Seaport Streets on the southbound section of the highway.
When a bicyclist is fatally injured by a motorist, it is usually considered to be a wrongful death in California. While the accident is still under investigation, it is unclear whether the cyclist was crossing with the right of way, or may have contributed to the accident. These cases often come down to a negotiation of “contributory negligence.”
The Judge in the case, or the parties through mediation, arbitration or negotiation arrive at a balance of negligence between the parties. For example, in this case a car should never run into a bicycle, so the driver of the car may carry some negligence. However, if the bicyclist was crossing in the middle of an unmarked section of the freeway instead of a marked crosswalk, or with the right of way of a controlled intersection, she may have contributed to the cause of the accident.
The assignment of contributory negligence establishes a percentage of liability – for example “the driver of the car was 60% responsible for the negligence that caused the fatal accident. This affects the financial liabillity and compensation associated with the case.
If you or someone you love are injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, or you have lost a family member in a fatal bike accident we invite you to contact us for a free and substantive consultation at (949) 305-1400.