Motorcyclist Killed in Santa Monica Crash

January 31, 2013

Alexander Smollins, 22, was killed in a motorcycle collision after his bike crashed with a car at a Santa Monica intersection. According to a City News Service report, the fatal collision occurred at the intersection of 25th Street and Pico Boulevard. Santa Monica police say Smollins was eastbound in the 2400 block of Pico Boulevard when he hit a car driven by a 26-year-old Inglewood man. The car was northbound on 25th Street and had turned left on to Pico after stopping at a stop sign. Smollins was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Anyone with information is asked to contact Santa Monica police at 310-458-8495.

Statistics Involving Motorcycle Crashes

There were no fatalities, but 38 injuries reported as a result of motorcycle crashes in Santa Monica, according to California Highway Patrol's 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). During the same year, 74 people died and 2,637 were injured due to motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles County.

Right-of-Way Issues

Based on this news report, it appears that the collision occurred at a street intersection. The car made a left turn in front of the motorcycle when the crash occurred, officials say. The stop sign at this T-intersection is for traffic that is turning onto Pico. There are no stop signs for through traffic on Pico. I trust officials are looking into whether the car's driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming motorcycle.

California law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and proceed with caution. According to California Vehicle Code section 21802 (a): "The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety."

Fault and Liability

In this particular case, if the driver was determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for the motorcyclist's wrongful death. Under California law, families of deceased victims can file a civil claim against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship.

An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition at the intersection caused or contributed to the collision. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Any such personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within 180 days of the incident, under California Government Code Section 911.2.

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