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Riverside Car Accident Injures Motorcycle Officer

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Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Romaine, 35, was seriously injured in a Riverside car accident after he lost control of his motorcycle while trying to avoid hitting a car that made an unsafe lane change. According to a news report in The Desert Sun, the motorcycle accident occurred near the intersection of Cook Street and St. James Place in Palm Desert, the afternoon of September 26, 2011. Romaine was travelling north when a car began to enter his lane. He attempted to avoid the car when he struck a pickup truck driven by 41-year-old Juan M. Chavez. Romaine was thrown from his motorcycle and he suffered a broken collarbone, partially deflated lung and several broken ribs.

My thoughts and prayers are with Eric Romaine following this car accident. I wish him the very best for a complete and prompt recovery.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 75 injuries were reported as a result of Palm Desert motorcycle accidents. During that same year, 31 fatalities and 500 injuries occurred due to Riverside County motorcycle accidents.

What Caused This Injury Accident?

The news account states that the pickup driver was not cited for the crash. It does not, however, mention whether the driver who initially veered into the motorcyclist’s lane of traffic stopped after the incident. California Vehicle Code Section 21658 (a) states that whenever a roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction the vehicle “shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.” If the motorist left the scene, then this can be treated as a “non-contact hit-and-run” where the vehicle does not make contact, but is instrumental in causing the crash.

Liability Issues

In this particular case, the driver of the vehicle that made the dangerous lane change could be held liable for the injuries and damages caused. In addition, the deputy can also file for workers compensation benefits from his employer because he was on the job at the time. Injured victims in such cases would be well-advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to car accident victims and their families.

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