San Jose, CA asked in Car Accidents, Libel & Slander, Personal Injury and Civil Rights for California

Q: I would like to know if a driver is at fault for hitting a pedestrian turning out into traffic.

I am a 17 year old son of a mother who had recently been in a collision with a minor on a bike. The minor turned in front of her vehicle -while she turned into the lane she had waited legally for traffic to allow- from the blind spot made by an adjacent vehicle the minor was biking next to. The boy at seemed completely fine, and when an officer arrived to the scene of my mother sobbing about hitting a child, the officer evaluated the situation and said she was not at fault. My mother has since been a target for liability from her car insurance agency for the fact they claimed they would "conduct their own investigation" on the matter. Now, months after the incident, the family of the minor has an attorney, and is targeting my family for almost $200,000, claiming their child has suffered fractures. A separate officer concluded my mother was at fault, saying there was no vehicle blocking vision. I would like to add a nearby business had footage of the event, and gifted it to us as proof.

3 Lawyer Answers

William John Light

Answered
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No one could make a guess about who is at fault without reviewing all of the available evidence. However, fault isn't all or nothing. Everyone might have some proportional fault.

Your mother's insurance company owes her a defense and indemnity. It will appoint an attorney to defend her against these claims. The insurer will also pay any sums for which she is liable, up to policy limits. She needs to cooperate with her insurer. If an attorney hasn't been appointed yet, your mother should request one in writing.

Theodore Allan Greene agrees with this answer

Dale S. Gribow

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: much more info needed.

her auto ins co will provide a defense and do their own investigation on liabililty. It may be 50-50 liability or 70-30.

cooperate with your ins co and be sure to give them video

Peter N. Munsing

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: Traffic reports aren't dispositive, especially where both vehicles are moving.

A bicycle has the same rights as a vehicle in most states. Depending on who was at what point and at what time in the sequence can determine which operator owed the other a certain duty of care.

As the other two attorneys have mentioned, the insurance company for the vehicle will provide her with an attorney. She should avoid posting anything on social media and so should anyone in the family. Insurance companies' profit margin is affected by payouts--they have every interest in denycng the cyclist's claim. They owe your mom a duty to protect her so they may pay in order to get her a release.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.