In California, there are limits on when a U-turn may be made. U-turns are 180-degree turns, after which a driver is traveling in the opposite direction. In some cases, for reasons of expedience, drivers make illegal U-turns. This may result in a ticket, and it can also result in a serious accident that causes injuries to others. The injuries may be especially severe for someone operating or riding on a motorcycle. If you are a motorcyclist who was hurt in a U-turn accident, you should retain a skilled California motorcycle accident lawyer. Often, insurers and juries have a bias against motorcyclists, making it especially important to secure a knowledgeable Folsom motorcycle accident lawyer.
U-Turn Motorcycle Accident Claims
In California, U-turns are regulated by the California Vehicle Code, and the law that applies is based on the type of location. Under Vehicle Code section 22102, a driver cannot make a U-turn in a business district, except at an intersection or divided highway where there is an appropriate opening. The driver is supposed to stay as close as possible to the left edge of the lanes going in the driver’s direction just before initiating the turn.
Under Vehicle Code section 22103, a driver is not supposed to make a U-turn if another vehicle, including a motorcycle, is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except when there is an intersection where the oncoming vehicle is controlled by a traffic control device. A device that is expected to control the oncoming traffic could be a traffic light or stop sign.
On any highway, a driver making a U-turn should have an unobstructed view under Vehicle Code section 22105. Nobody is allowed to make a U-turn if they cannot see for 200 feet in both directions. You can even cross over double yellow lines, except in the case of a divided highway.
If you were broadsided in a U-turn accident in which you believe that the other driver violated one of these code sections, you may be able to recover damages under a theory of negligence per se. A driver can be found negligent per se or negligent as a matter of law if they violated a safety law, the violation caused your injuries, and you were in a class of people whom the safety law was enacted to protect. Generally, you have a better chance of recovering damages under this theory if the other driver was cited, which means that it is important that you call the police to the scene of the accident.
When the defendant was not cited or was not negligent per se, you may still be able to recover under a theory of negligence. Negligence may be proven by showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver owed you a duty, breached the duty, caused your injuries, and caused you to incur actual damages. All drivers owe a duty to other people, including motorcyclists, with whom they share the road to use reasonable care when operating their vehicles, including when they make U-turns. When a driver does not look out for motorcyclists while making a U-turn, a jury is likely to find that they breached the duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuries to others.
Damages that you may be able to recover after a U-turn accident include special damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as general damages like pain and suffering. Your spouse may be able to recover for loss of consortium. When a loved one dies due to a fatal U-turn accident, family members may be able to recover damages for the wrongful death.
As a motorcyclist, if you have been hurt in a U-turn accident, you should follow any recommendations made by your medical provider, including going to physical therapy or staying off an injured limb. A failure to mitigate damages can result in your not recovering the full amount of your losses, but only what you would have incurred had you mitigated the harm.